2022-2023 school year


Vol 3 Ed 12 2022-2023 SY 2 December 2022 JU

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

“When there is a World Cup the world stops, the country stops, everyone is hugging each other, whether old or young, everyone stops just to enjoy the football.” - Hulk

(please note that this is Hulk the former national player for Brazil and not Hulk of Marvel comic book fame)

The World Cup seems to grab people’s attention around the world - whether one is from a football / soccer passionate nation or not - the joys of the game tends to captivate. Soccer, like most sports, can also be a microcosm of society. It is well documented that soccer around the world is rife with corruption, racism, and disparity. On a more positive note soccer can also be a harbinger of change. Yesterday, the Costa Rica / Germany game was officiated by an all-women referring team. This is a first in men’s World Cup history. Whether this is considered a historical event or an event from the department of “it’s about time,” Stephanie Frappart, Neuza Back and Karen Diaz established a first - and it cannot be lost that this first happened on a world stage in Qatar.

The novelty of the World Cup happening this time of year aside, the month of December also tends to captivate many people due to the festive season. December also happens to be a good time to be mindful of health and safety, in addition to fun, food and festivities.

Health - Seasonal Ills, Rest, Nutrition and Exercise

Sometimes December can signal the arrival of flu season or at least coughs, sniffles and sore throats. As a reminder, the following items are suggested from our health office; wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, get plenty of sleep and exercise, and eat healthily, and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (or cough or sneeze into your elbow). If one happens to be sick with a flu-like illness, please stay home for at least twenty-four hours after your fever subsides. We appreciate the community’s cooperation when it comes to health.

Health - Rest, Nutrition and Exercise

It is unequivocal that proper rest, appropriate nutrition and regular exercise help us learn and contribute positively to physical and social/emotional health. The above can be easier said than done. Nonetheless, please do all you can to ensure your child is well rested, eats well and engages in movement. This can be especially challenging as the festive season tends to involve social events.

Safety - Hurricane Season

December marks the end of hurricane season in our part of the world. Indeed, the wonderful “winter” breezes are with us already. In the rare event that there is a hurricane after December 1, please note that CIS follows recommendations and announcements made by the Governor, the National Hazard Management Council, and the Ministry of Education in the event that schools are to be closed due to tropical storm warnings and potential developments into hurricane conditions.

Safety - Roads, Parking and Traffic

Roads and Parking Lot - In 2021 the RCIPS attended to 2,633 motor vehicle accidents. This included 9 fatalities and 27 people suffering serious injury. There are more cars in the Cayman Islands than people. The high season of tourism also means more vehicles on the road. Please drive with care, watch for people and be patient with fellow drivers, especially around the school. Our security team and others are visible in the parking area to assist with the safe flow of cars and people, yet ultimately we count on you to drive with care and courtesy.

  • On and around campus there are Accessible Parking Spaces, Expectant Mother Parking Spaces, and Visitor Parking Spaces.  The spaces are not to be used by people without accessibility issues, who are not expecting and who are not visitors to the school.
  • Please drive with care, watch for pedestrians and be patient with fellow drivers.
  • The speed limit within and around our campus is 15 mph 24 km/h.
  • Please heed the 3-way stops entering the school.


Safety - Drills

The following is a reminder from our August welcome letters. Safety is vital for schools. All CIS faculty and staff engage in emergency procedure training and review. Schools in the Cayman Islands are required to conduct safety drills on a regular basis, in fact schools are required to conduct a minimum of 10 fire drills per school year, in addition to other drills such as earthquake and lockdown drills. Our first drills each school year are done during inservice days with staff only. Subsequent drills happen with students. These happen on a rotation of fire drills, earthquake and tsunami drills and lockdown drills.

  • Earthquake and Tsunami Drills - Initial earthquake drills do not include a tsunami component. Subsequent earthquake drills include a tsunami warning component which involves all people on campus moving to designated second and third story areas on campus.

  • Lockdown Drills - Two types of lockdown drills happen at schools. Lockdown 1 refers to practice if there is a dangerous situation near the school but off campus. Lockdown 2 refers to practice if there is a dangerous situation on school grounds.

    • In 2021 there were 809 violent crimes recorded in the Cayman Islands. 55 of these were designated as crimes of serious violence. There were 1,735 domestic violence referrals and 1,399 child safeguarding referrals.

  • Fire Drills - Over the course of the school year the complexity of fire drills tend to increase. For example, early in the school year fire drills happen during more predictable times such as when all students are in class. Later in the school year, practice can happen during lunches or other transition times.

    • In 2018, the CIFS dealt with 1,686 incidents of which 44 were structural fires.

Early in the school year, the school calmly announces the purpose of the drill, prior to the start of a drill. As noted above, as the school year progresses drills tend to be conducted in more complex scenarios and less preamble before the drill to ensure the school is prepared as best as possible in the event of an emergency. After each drill the school's Crisis Management Team (CMT) meets in order to look for ways to further enhance the safety of our students and staff should the rare occasion arise that a live emergency situation happens.

Whatever your plans may be as we enter December, may you enjoy the festivities of the season, whilst being alert and mindful of personal and community health and safety. If you are looking to enjoy some musical and artistic stylings of our students - December is concert and musical season too. This all starts tonight with High School Musical 2 Junior - it's fabulous.

Be well - sincerely,

Jim

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School


Vol 3 Ed 11 2022-2023 SY 25 November 2022 JU

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself” - Tecumseh

Yesterday evening 152 CIS staff and family members participated in a potluck meal. Whilst yesterday is designated as Thanksgiving in the United States of America - one hopes that the notion of gratitude transcends national boundaries. In testament to the above, at the potluck there were staff members of 18 different nationalities.

Certainly thanks and gratitude is something that one hopes happens year round - rather than just on designated days depending on your country of origin. A Forbes magazine article boasted seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude.

Five of the seven purported benefits of showing gratitude include;

  • Improving physical health

    • Grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health and be physically active.

  • Improving psychological health

    • Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. 

  • Enhancing empathy and reducing aggression

    • People ranking higher on grateful scales tend to experience more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and decreased desire to seek revenge.

  • Sleeping better

    • Spending just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and a person may sleep better and longer.

      • Of course, a skeptic might say, “hey, I just lost 15 minutes of sleep because I was writing.”

  • Increasing mental strength

    • Recognizing what one has to be thankful for can foster resilience.

Thanks / Gratitude is one of the few things in life that can be truly shared. For example, yesterday, a colleague shared two cupcakes with me. While this was lovely (despite my desire to someday fit into my non-stretchy waist pants), technically these cupcakes were not wholly shared (I had two cupcakes and my colleague had two cupcakes - please note these were mini-cupcakes). Thus, in reality, the sharing resulted in my colleague having 50% less of their yummy cupcakes and my having the unexpected benefit of two cupcakes.

Gratitude and thanks, on the other hand, can be wholly shared. When one gives thanks, a person does not lose a portion of their gratitude. For example, when a person shares thanks they do not have 50% less thanks, the person still has 100% thanks and indeed the other person gains 100% of this thanks. Considering this fun math, being thankful can be fully and wholly shared. With this in mind, may you find the time this weekend to share a thank you with an acquaintance, a colleague, a friend and a family member.

Be well - with gratitude - sincerely,

Jim

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School


Vol 3 Ed 10 2022-2023 SY 11 November 2022 JU

 

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the world blind.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Currently, there are at least 10 wars happening in the world, many more when considering terrorist insurgencies and ethnic violence. The most prominent war in the western news is the invasion of Ukraine. Emphasizing the paramountcy of peace, please note the Cayman Islands observes Remembrance Day on Monday 14 November this year.

Remembrance Day -  Depending on your country of origin you may also know the day as Veteran’s Day or Armistice Day or 11 November or perhaps by another name. Regardless of the name, this is a time to pause in memory of those who lost their lives in military service whilst serving their country. Red Poppies are a symbol of this homage. The poppy often accompanies the phrase “lest we forget.” Remembrance Day ceremonies often include the poem In Flanders Fields (shared below).

Over time, Remembrance Day has also become a day to remind us of the importance of peace as well as service. Each year around Remembrance Day, forlornly, rarely does a day go by that we are not reminded that the world needs more peace and, for that matter, kindness. For those of us fortunate enough to live in relatively peaceful places, Remembrance Day may also remind us of the many wonderful things in our lives and the opportunities available to our children. Our children, here in the CIS community, are growing up without the immediate presence of conflict or war, food instability or barriers to education. Remembrance Day is a day to appreciate the wonders of our world and lives - to pay homage to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in hopes of making the world a better place for future generations – to think and act on what we may do as individuals or groups in service, to make the world a better place.

Each year to support remembering those who have fallen, CIS participates in the annual Poppy Appeal, lead by our grade five students. You may have noticed the signs related to this at school and around the island - perhaps you have provided a small donation in order to get a poppy of your own. The poppies distributed throughout the island are donated by the Royal British Legion and the Royal Canadian Legion. Money collected in the Cayman Islands during the Poppy Appeal remains in the Islands to assist the members of the Cayman Islands Veterans Association.

In Flanders Fields 
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, physician, soldier, poet, author, artist
 
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
 
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
 
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. 

 

Please be reminded that there is no school for students on Monday 14 November as the Cayman Islands observes Remembrance Day.

In partnership and peace,

Jim

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School


Vol 3 Ed 9 2022-2023 SY 25 October 2022 JU

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don't have the first, the other two will kill you.” - Warren Buffett

School Inspection Update

Last month, CIS had a full inspection. This is part of the Cayman Islands protocol in which all schools on island, public, private or otherwise are inspected by external inspectors using the Successful Schools Achieving Students 2 Framework. The Office of Education Standards has posted their report.

CIS’ rating is excellent, as judged by the inspection team and the Cayman Islands Office of Education Standards  – CIS’ Inspection Report is Found Here.

This is a testament to the school’s and community’s collective hard work and care in all aspects of the school. To the best of my knowledge, and a quick review of the OES website, CIS is the first comprehensive school (Pre-K2 to Grade 12 / Nursery to Year 13) in the Cayman Islands to be judged as excellent.

Recruiting

Recruiting, developing and retaining excellent staff that inspire students, colleagues and the broader CIS community is extremely important – many school heads argue that this is the most important thing they do. The recruiting season is complex, exciting, ongoing, and time consuming. CIS takes great care in its recruiting, using a variety of protocols, as mentioned above, in order to ensure our faculty and staff is aligned with our principles (kindness, partnership, sustainability, good intent), appreciative of our mission (connect, inspire, serve) and dedicated to global citizenship. Throughout the school year CIS reviews and meets with people applying to our school for faculty and staff positions that may open up. October to March are usually considered the busiest months with respect to recruiting. The market for international teachers is very competitive and continues to be more so each year. The rise in inflation worldwide, and here at home will assist in making this recruiting season interesting.

The ISC Research Group (a research group focusing on international school markets), reports there were just over 5 million students attending 9,484 international schools worldwide with a combined faculty of 467,262. International schools are located in almost all countries in the world. Pre-pandemic projections indicated that by 2025 there will be over 11,000 international schools. To get a sense of the growth, in 2000 there were only about 2,500 international schools with a combined enrollment of about 1.0 million students, who were primarily expatriates. Much of the growth is being attributed to the expansion of for profit schools. In 2000 roughly 75% of international schools were not-for-profit and 25% for profit. Today the numbers are essentially reversed - roughly 20% of international schools are nonprofit (CIS being a not-for-profit school), and 80% for profit.

With this competitive market in mind CIS has already begun its formal recruiting, reviewing and hiring process. In fact, earlier this week was one of our internal dates for incumbent faculty to indicate their hopes/plans for the next school year.  CIS recruits candidates using a variety of methods including recruiting agencies, job fairs, HR services and word of mouth to name a few. CIS is fortunate to be governed by ISS (International Schools Services) which is one of the largest international teacher recruitment agencies in the world. Our process includes extensive review of paperwork, security checks, police checks, interviews, practice lessons and thorough reference checking, just to share a brief overview of the process.

 Anticipated openings for the 2023-2024 school year will be posted on our website, with ISS, Schrole and with WORC (Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman). The past 25 years have seen the heaviest recruiting month creep earlier and earlier from late February to October. The past two - three years things are different with the recruiting season anticipated to be longer and later as people and schools manage the challenges the pandemic has presented. CIS is fortunate to garner interest from candidates. This is reassuring, especially when considering the competitive market for teachers, and whilst the Cayman Islands is an attractive location, as is CIS, the cost of living on island presents a significant recruiting challenge - thus creating a discrepancy in standard of living relative to other international schools. Many other schools are situated in locations with a desirable climate, have strong resources, have government to government agreements involving no income taxes for educators, and are in large capital cities. Thus, our perennial challenge is to ensure our professional climate at CIS is an environment in which current and future staff wish to serve.

Wishing you a pleasant weekend - be well - sincerely,

Jim

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School


Vol 3 Ed 8 2022-2023 SY 14 October 2022 JU

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers. - Socrates (circa 420 BC)

Thank you for participating in the conferences Thursday, as well as Wednesday evening. The school parent partnership is very important for our collective learning.

Being a parent is difficult and so is being a child.  As I become older - and perhaps grouchier and perhaps happier (and hopefully more reflective too) - I am becoming more convinced that we as parents inadvertently make our children’s life more difficult because we have difficulty finding the balance between being not involved enough and too involved. On island, we see examples of students having a roof over their head, food on the table and a nice phone and car yet absent parenting. On the other hand, our island also has plentiful examples of parents being too involved or knowledgeable of our children’s lives. Parents often know what their child is doing each waking moment. Children may be over-scheduled with adult-lead activities. Adults are quick to jump in to attempt to solve issues for their child. There is a fast growing body of evidence that the above, all with good intentions, are doing a disservice to our children. Indeed, young students today (whether in kindergarten or in university) as a whole, demonstrate less independence than say we did when we were younger, and certainly our own parents and grandchildren. Some researchers attribute this to the notion of Play Deficit Disorder. Children in developed countries today play less than children of previous generations. At play, many important life lessons tend to be learnt in an authentic setting through trial and error, taking initiative, creating, having time to reflect and solve things by oneself or with peers rather than having an adult step in (arguably too quickly). Indeed, at play, people develop emotionally, physically and intellectually and socially.

While the western world may have coined the term Play Deficit Disorder. Some parts of the eastern world have coined the phrase, “High Scores Low Ability,” referring to long term results of children spending most of their time studying to attain high scores on tests - that in the grand scheme of things have limited relevance to “real-life”. The result being that children have less time to be independent, creative and to find ways to solve complex social issues on their own or with their peers.

The life lessons of play help young people (and older people for that matter) grapple with important life skills of honesty, humility, bravery, empathy and respect. These important lessons can be learnt about in a class or adult organized setting, however, they can be truly experienced and internalized in the setting of play. For example, long term studies over the past 60 years in the USA show that accompanying the decline in play there has been a steady decline in empathy, as well as a steady rise in anxiety disorders and narcissism in students.

If the notion of Play Deficit Disorder or High Scores Low Ability has some attribution to having generation(s) of anxiety ridden narcissists who lack empathy, then I am worried for sure. If play helps galvanize lessons of empathy, humility, honesty, bravery and respect, then I certainly look forward to seeing parents and schools appreciating the value of play.

Wishing you a pleasant weekend and please be reminded that school for students resumes on October 24 2022 after the half-term break.

Be well - sincerely,

Jim

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School


Vol 3 Ed 7 2022-2023 SY 7 October 2022 JU

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

Yelling at living things does tend to kill the spirit in them. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts. – Robert Fulghum

Conferences

Wednesday, October 12 afterschool (3:30pm to 7:00pm) and Thursday, October 13 all-day (8:00am to 4:00pm)

Participating in parent conferences is an example of parent involvement. Balanced parent involvement can result in stronger academic achievement, better learning habits, and decreased behavioral challenges. Indeed, the best predictor of a student’s success in school is not social status or income. The strongest predictors of student success tend to be if a family,

  • Eats meals together
  • Has a home environment that encourages learning
  • Expresses high, yet not unrealistic expectations for children
  • Is appropriately involved (i.e. not hovering or helicoptering, yet not laissez-faire) in their child’s education
  • Is appropriately involved (i.e. not hovering, yet not laissez faire) within the community

We are fortunate to have two formal conference sessions during the school year, as well back-to-evenings, community learning meetings, and more, to foster parent involvement at CIS, in addition to the weekly newsletter (The Weekly Current). The first conferences of this school year are Wednesday, October 12, 2022 Afterschool to 7:00pm and Thursday, October 13, 2022 8:00am to 4:00pm. Please be reminded that on Thursday, October 13, 2022 there are no classes for students. Prior to the conferences you will receive communication on how to sign-up for the conferences.

What are some hints to help the conferences be helpful for me, the teacher, and my child?

  • To assist with the conferences, below are some tried and true hints.

    • Be on time for conferences and respect time limits.
    • Be honest with teachers and make your concerns known in a respectful manner.
    • Show appreciation for teachers.
    • Take time to reflect before the conference and try to prepare specific questions.
    • Try to be open-minded. Listen first, reflect and then act.
    • Discuss the issues rather than the teachers.
    • It is okay to feel defensive on behalf of your child, but act as an advocate, not an excuse-maker.
    • Remember that it is okay to be a real person. It is helpful to let the teacher know that you struggle with parenting; everyone does. The teacher also struggles with teaching (and may be a parent as well).
    • Remember that we are all on the same side – we all want each child to be as successful as possible.

Be well - sincerely,

Jim

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School


Vol 3 Ed 6 2022-2023 SY 30 September 2022 JU

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

"There is a cliched unwritten school/home agreement in every country…”If parents promise not to believe everything their child says happens at school – the school promises not to believe everything your child says happens at home.” – Anonymous

Conferences

Wednesday, October 12 afterschool (3:30pm to 7:00pm) and Thursday, October 13 all-day (8:00am to 4:00pm)

Participating in parent conferences is an example of parent involvement. Balanced parent involvement can result in stronger academic achievement, better learning habits, and decreased behavioural challenges. Indeed, the best predictor of a student’s success in school is not social status or income. The strongest predictors of student success tend to be if a family,

  • Eats meals together
  • Has a home environment that encourages learning
  • Expresses high, yet not unrealistic expectations for children
  • Is appropriately involved (i.e. not hovering or helicoptering, yet not laissez-faire) in their child’s education
  • Is appropriately involved (i.e. not hovering, yet not laissez faire) within the community

We are fortunate to have two formal conference sessions during the school year, as well back-to-evenings, community learning meetings, and more, to foster parent involvement at CIS, in addition to the weekly newsletter (The Weekly Current). The first conferences of this school year are Wednesday, October 12, 2022 Afterschool to 7:00pm and Thursday, October 13, 2022 8:00am to 4:00pm. Please be reminded that on Thursday, October 13, 2022 there are no classes for students. Prior to the conferences you will receive communication on how to sign-up for the conferences.

What are some hints to help the conferences be helpful for me, the teacher, and my child?

  • To assist with the conferences, below are some tried and true hints.
    • Be on time for conferences and respect time limits.
    • Be honest with teachers and make your concerns known in a respectful manner.
    • Show appreciation for teachers.
    • Take time to reflect before the conference and try to prepare specific questions.
    • Try to be open-minded. Listen first, reflect and then act.
    • Discuss the issues rather than the teachers.
    • It is okay to feel defensive on behalf of your child, but act as an advocate, not an excuse-maker.
    • Remember that it is okay to be a real person. It is helpful to let the teacher know that you struggle with parenting; everyone does. The teacher also struggles with teaching (and may be a parent as well).
    • Remember that we are all on the same side – we all want each child to be as successful as possible.

Be well - sincerely,

Jim

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School


Vol 3 Ed 5 2022-2023 SY 23 September 2022 JU

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud” - Maya Angelou

As you know we are entering the more active part of storm season. Whether you are experienced in living in a storm region or you are newer to living in a storm region - below are some frequently asked questions to help with understanding with respect to storms, the Cayman Islands, schools and CIS, specifically.

Please tell me about CIS actions in relation to hurricane season.

  • Please be reminded that CIS will be in line with recommendations and announcements made by the Ministry of Education and information from Hazard Management Cayman Islands in the event that schools are to be closed due to tropical storm warnings and potential developments into hurricane conditions.
  • CIS receives notices from, and is in communication with, the Ministry of Education regarding mandates, direction and guidelines regarding school closures and openings during storm season.
    • The above is also in conjunction with their communication with Hazard Management Cayman Islands and the Governor’s Office.

Storms vary in magnitude, timing and direction. Sometimes schools, services and offices etc. are advised to be closed yet a storm changes direction and we end up with just a blustery day.

  • Decisions with respect to storms and schools on the Cayman Islands are made with abundance of caution in mind. Hurricane Ivan (September 2004) remains, and for good reason, deep in the psyche of the Cayman Islands. The more recent Tropical Storm / Hurricane Grace (August 2021) is an example of a seemingly innocuous storm gaining strength and causing considerable damage.
  • Indeed it can be frustrating when the direction is that schools are to be closed and a storm passes us by or does not materialize as originally projected by authorities. Thus, creating the scenario of having no school for students on what could amount to merely a blustery day. People who have lived in the Cayman Islands or other storm susceptible regions for an extended period of time have no doubt experienced this.
  • It is frustrating for schools to close for sure. Since storm related decisions in the Cayman Islands are made with an abundance of caution in mind, the Cayman Islands and its schools choose to err on safety prudence. The notion is that it is better to have the frustration of a blustery day and no school, than to have school and have flooding, debris, traffic dangers and potential injury because a storm changed direction and schools remain open.
    • In the case of CIS over 3500 people have a schedule interruption in the event of a school closure, informed in advance or otherwise (in the case of emergencies such as an earthquake or fire).

  • Of course, when an announcement is made that schools are to be closed and weather changes overnight and a storm passes, the benefits / debates of hindsight can begin. This can certainly happen if an All Clear announcement is made for the Cayman Islands the morning of a day when schools were announced the previous day to be closed. When this happens the schools and the Ministry of Education weigh in multiple factors, such as;

    • The timing of the All Clear, events scheduled on island, family plans made in light of storm warnings (i.e. child care, work schedules, time with children, clean-up, etc.) 
    • Availability of staff (i.e. child care issues (particularly, if some schools are open and some are closed in case of flooding or power outages or water outages).
    • Home flooding, transport issues of CIS community.
    • Cleaning protocols that may have been interrupted.
    • Differences in power outages and other disrupted services around the island.
    • Many of the above items may still affect people despite an All Clear. Such as conducting a comprehensive review of school infrastructure for function and safety (i.e. clean-up of debris, leaks, power supply, connectivity etc.). 
  • Thus a decision to remain closed as per prior announcements or to reopen on short notice (if there is good fortune for a storm to pass) is not taken lightly. If there has already been an announcement that schools will be closed, it is unlikely that such a decision will be reversed. In an effort to best balance information, communities’ diverse wishes and certainly people’s safety. CIS is reviewing its processes taking a best account possible in the future event of an early All Clear announcement. Of course noting that when an All Clear announcement is made by the Cayman Islands, they are also managing multiple interests such as, businesses possibly being anxious to open, environmental, utilities and safety authorities possibly preferring to delay an All Clear until risk assessments are thoroughly checked and double checked.

If there is a school closure does CIS need make-up days?

  • No - CIS has between 1,100 and 1,300 hours depending on the age group. This number does not include extracurricular activities and enrichment activities in which students participate. Thus, it is highly unlikely that we will need to make up for any lost time in the event of a school closure because we already intentionally exceed the minimum legal requirements on island (which is 925 hours of compulsory age instruction time).

    • In the event of lengthy school closures due to a hurricane of great magnitude, or lengthy school closures due to other reasons - then the school may need to consider additional school days.

When is hurricane season and what does an average hurricane season look like?

  • The Atlantic Hurricane Season is six months and is considered 1 June to 30 November. Please know that storms can form outside of this season on occasion.
  • 2020 was the most active year in recorded history for hurricanes in the Atlantic. The trend is that the number of hurricanes each year is increasing and it is anticipated that the 2020’s will be very active.

I am new to the Cayman Islands and hear terms like depression, tropical storm, categories etc. What do these mean?

  • Tropical depressions and tropical storms are types of tropical cyclones. A depression has winds up to 38 miles/ hour (61 kilometres / hour). A tropical storm has wind speeds of 39 to 73 miles / hour (62 to 118 kilometres / hour). A tropical depression and a tropical storm have an identified centre.
  • These tropical cyclones (depressions and storms) become a hurricane if there are sustained winds of 74 miles / hours (119 kilometres / hour). The categories or rankings of hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson Scale are as follows,
    • Category 1 - 74 to 95 miles / hour (119 to 153 Kilometres / hour).
    • Category 2 - 96 to 110 miles / hour (154 to 177 Kilometres / hour).
    • Category 3 - 111 to 130 miles / hour (155 to 209 Kilometres / hour).
    • Category 4 - 131 to 155 miles / hour (209 to 249 Kilometres / hour).
    • Category 5 - 156 miles / hour or greater (250 Kilometres / hour or greater.
    • Categories 3, 4 and 5 are considered major or intense hurricanes.

In the Cayman Islands I hear people mention Hurricane Ivan or Hurricane Paloma, why are hurricanes named?

  • A tropical cyclone is given a name when it becomes a tropical storm (thus tropical depressions are not given names). It is easier to keep track of and remember the name of a storm rather than its positioning by latitude and longitude. Naming storms also helps limit confusion when there is more than one storm or hurricane happening at the same time.
  • The names of English, Spanish and French origin. They are given in alphabetical order except the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z.
  • Some storm names are retired. This is when a storm caused so much destruction that it would be insensitive or confusing to use the name again. For example, the names Ivan and Paloma are retired.

What are some recommended sources of information regarding storm preparation and management?

People and organizations rely heavily on power and connectivity to get information. How can I stay informed if power and communications go down?

Given that we do live in the tropics, it is also helpful to be familiar with storm watch / warning flags at some point. They get raised at all government buildings and other key strategic locations on all 3 islands (Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman). These flags are also hoisted by police at the same time the warning is being announced.

In Cayman, seeing two red triangular flags with black squares in the middle lets you know a tropical storm warning is in effect. For hurricanes, the flags are square. The range of flags and what they all mean is below should it be helpful.

Tropical Storm Signal Flags

  • Tropical Storm Alert

    • Storm threat more than 36 hours away.

    • Flag Description: One triangular red flag.

  • Tropical Storm Watch

    • Storm threat 24 to 36 hours away.

    • Flag Description: One triangular red flag with a black square in the centre.

  • Tropical Storm Warning

    • Storm conditions expected within 24 hours.

    • Flag Description: Two triangular red flags with black square in the centre.

  • All Clear

    • The storm has passed, but still use caution.

    • Flag Description: One triangular green flag.

Hurricane Signal Flags

  • Hurricane Alert

    • Hurricane threat more than 36 hours away.

    • Flag Description: One square red flag.

  • Hurricane Watch

    • Hurricane threat 24 to 36 hours away.

    • Flag Description: One square red flag with a black square in the centre.

  • Hurricane Warning

    • Hurricane conditions expected within 24 hours.

    • Flag Description: Two square red flags with a black square in the centre.

  • All Clear

    • The hurricane has passed, but still use caution.

    • Flag Description: One square green flag.

I trust the above information is of some assistance. Again, please know that it is school as usual on Monday unless otherwise informed via email from CIS. Wishing you a dry weekend and a good start to your autumn season.

Be well - sincerely,

Jim

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School


Vol 3 Ed 4 2022-2023 SY 16 September 2022 JU

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

“It is through this lens of history that we should view the conflicts of today, and so give us hope for tomorrow.” - Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II

One of the banes of being human is the desire to make meaning. One such example is the shift from the prominence of intelligence quotient (IQ) to emotional intelligence(EQ) to Intelligence (CQ). We have noticed shifts from emotional intelligence to social intelligence. And in recent years we have seen movement to the prominence of cultural intelligence. A balance of all of these is paramount for us as individuals in society to hopefully leave our world a better place for younger people. Indeed sometimes people hit the mark in this regard and other times people miss. The Cayman Islands’ setting of being a physical island and having a mix of people - highlights the value and importance of a competent mix of emotional and cultural intelligence. These elements are key aspects of communication. Elements of communication that in many ways were epitomized by Her Majesty The Queen.

Richard D. Lewis and his organization have studied communication patterns, in particular cross-cultural communication, leadership styles and cultural identity in relation to communication. In his book, “When Cultures Collide,” cultural communication patterns as well as cultural leadership styles are diagrammed. Of course, there are great individual differences within the way a culture communicates - exceptions abound. And looking deeply into culture can be risky on many levels. Lewis does point out however, that there is evidence of cultural norms in the way we communicate. With this in mind, and considering our school is Cayman International School. I thought you may find the diagrams below (from “When Cultures Collide” and also appearing in the Business Insider - Diagrams of Communication Patterns from Around the World.

Wishing everyone a pleasant long weekend - please be reminded that there is no school for students on Monday 19 September as the Cayman Islands mourns the death of Her Majesty The Queen.

Be well - sincerely,

 Jim

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School


Vol 3 Ed 3 2022-2023 SY 9 September 2022 JU

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

"It’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change." - Queen Elizabeth II

The Cayman Islands, as a British Overseas Territory, has strong ties to the crown. The Cayman Islands Government has shared a document with helpful FAQs, regarding island protocols at this time.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has left an indelible imprint on the modern world. The Commonwealth alone, constitutes about 2.5 billion people. Her love, wisdom, strength, and sense of community have impacted so many people in some way, shape or form - from a kind word to an individual to influencing the direction of countries - her example endures.

Regarding love she noted, “grief is the price we pay for love.”

With respect to wisdom she shared, “Let us not take ourselves too seriously. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom.”

In managing difficult times and garnering strength she remarked, “We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions it is easy to forget to pause and take stock.”

Her community mindedness is illustrated in her comment that, “family does not necessarily mean blood relatives, but often a description of a community, organization, or a nation.”

Wishing you a good weekend and in a quiet moment, may we find the time to appreciate and reflect on Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s grace, wisdom and strength.

Be well - sincerely,

Jim

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School


Vol 3 Ed 2 2022-2023 SY 2 September 2022 JU

 

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” -  Bob Talber

The notion of teaching them what counts resonates deeply with me on a professional level, and is heightened this time of year on a personal level, entering my fourth year as an ‘empty nester.’ My wife and I live roughly a 10.5 hour trip from our son and an 11.5 hour trip from our daughter. In referencing the above quotation, the good news is that our children can count very well, have completed their undergraduate degrees, and have secured scholarships for further study. This is all fine, however, as I write this (secretly hoping my children might send a snapchat or bereal) I can assure you their academic performance is not top of mind. What is going through my mind, as well as the minds of the other empty nesters (of which we have many newly minted empty nesters in the broader CIS Community), I have met along the way, are all the things related to what counts and what matters in life. I, like the other parents, know the academic part of learning will fall into place - and naturally we all want our children to do as well as they can in their studies and in their careers, jobs and passion projects. What actually is on the collective parental minds though are concepts related to independence, good decision-making, happiness, safety and health. And of course, for many in our CIS Community, not having our children at home - means less chairs at the supper table each evening. This is life I suppose - yet I am sure that at this time of year in the northern hemisphere there are thousands of parents (and siblings for that matter) wishing that chairs at the dinner table were not empty and hoping very hard that their children (now well into the journey of ‘adulting’) are making wise decisions, having fun, being kind to others, being healthy and being good global citizens.

Parent Involvement

Teaching children what counts is a team effort. A team requires many people, a lot of effort, and involves hard work. It inherently encompasses mistakes along the way too. Thus helping our children understand, appreciate and act on what counts requires a strong school / parent partnership. To be sure, success in school is measured not just by academic standing, but also via social-emotional health, engagement in the arts, athletics and service and much more. Arguably these are the realms where our children practice, first hand, skills like, managing independence, coping when things don’t go one’s way, developing decision-making skills and doing the right thing when no one is looking - the things that count. Indeed, we have all come across children and adults for that matter who carry themselves in an oddly entitled manner - sometimes demonstrating questionable decision-making and habits. Thus perhaps underscoring the importance and value and notion of “teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” 

Parent involvement in a child’s learning is important, and certainly varies from age group to age group. It requires a fine balance. Too little and too much parent involvement is detrimental to student growth. The art is in finding the right balance – and, of course, this too varies from child to child too.

Two forms of parental involvement consistently show a positive effect on student success. One is attending school information sessions such as orientations. When parents attend information sessions, and other similar types of orientation, students tend to have higher rates of school work completion. In fact, when parents participate in school events their children tend to have a student work completion rate 15% to 20% higher than students whose parent(s) did not attend such an event.

The other form of parent involvement that consistently helps students is having family suppers or meals. Our busy lives often get in the way of the ritual/tradition of eating a meal together. Children who are in an environment in which their family regularly eat meals together (three or more times a week), tend to have stronger academic achievement, lower instances of substance abuse, less behavioral issues, and are more likely to complete high school and / or post-secondary education, and tend to participate in service to others as well as themselves.

On behalf of the CIS team, thank you to our parents for engaging in the school / parent partnership. Below are just a handful of examples I have already observed in the first week of school.

  • Introducing yourself to your child’s teachers, teaching assistants and other staff members at back-to-school evenings.

  • Returning parents introducing themselves to new families to the school at the welcome back BBQ.

  • Asking your child questions about the strengths / dangers of social media.

  • Talking with your child about prudent health habits around hygiene, rest, food and exercise.

  • Listening to our children and not just telling them exactly what to do when a difficult situation arises or coming to their  immediate ‘rescue’ without taking time to pause or letting them find a viable solution or sometimes better yet, having to manage fitting consequences.

Indeed, children's attitudes towards school, their engagement, achievement, attendance, motivation, self-concept, and behaviors are influenced by the attitudes of their parents towards learning and school. CIS is very thankful for the hard work of our parents in support of young people.

Wishing you a good weekend and a smooth start to the month of September - may you have the opportunity to have a meal together with your child, in partnership,

Jim

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School


Vol 3 Ed 1 2022-2023 SY 26 August 2022 JU

Dear CIS Community,

Something to Ponder

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud” - Maya Angelou

The first week of each school year is a gift of renewal – it is an annual revitalization filled with anticipation. From early childhood students cautious to leave parents for the first time … to high school students who are eager to leave their parents to reunite with friends … to staff excited about the new year...to parents experiencing a swirl of pride, excitement and trepidation - the anticipation of the first day / week / month of school is one of the many joys of serving in education.

Communication and Contact Details

Collectively, we are fortunate to be part of the CIS community. Our principles of kindness, sustainability, good intent and partnership aid our students’ and community’s growth. Partnerships are crucial in creating the best learning environment possible. A key component of a good partnership is effective communication. It is important that the information that we have about your children is kept current and updated. This helps the school share your child’s progress, as well as fostering a greater sense of community. The CIS Weekly Current (our weekly newsletter that goes out on Fridays during the school year) is an excellent source of information. The electronic age helps communication (or possibly creates communication clutter), yet face to face time still remains paramount. I hope to see you at school for the following events.

  • Welcome Back BBQ - Saturday 27 August @ 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

  • Elementary School Back-to-School Night - Tuesday 30 August @ 5:30 pm

  • Middle School Back-to-School Night - Thursday 1 September @ 5:30 pm

  • Early Childhood Back-to-School Night - Tuesday 6 September @ 5:30 pm

  • High School Back-to-School Night - Thursday 8 September @ 5:30 pm

  • Conferences

    • Wednesday 12 October - afterschool to 7:00 pm

    • Thursday 13 October - 8:00 am to 4:00 pm - NB: No classes for students on this day

Health

Edward Stanley noted that those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. Also related to health, it is highly recommended that students bring a filled water bottle to school. To support broader community health, if your child has a fever or is ill, please have them stay at home until they are feeling better. If you have health questions, please feel free to contact  Nurse Ann Thomas at ann.thomas@cis.ky.

It is unequivocal that proper rest, appropriate nutrition and regular exercise help us learn and contribute positively to physical and social/emotional health. The above can be easier said than done. Nonetheless, please do all you can to ensure your child is well rested, eats well and engages in movement.

Safety

Unfortunately, traffic accidents are a notable cause of injury and death in the Cayman Islands. Fortunately, road and traffic safety can be greatly controlled as individuals. The first days of school also involve families setting and adjusting their routines of student pick-up and drop-off. Inevitably this means greater traffic in the parking lot and roads near CIS, and all schools for that matter, at the start of the school year.

  • Please drive with care, watch for pedestrians and be patient with fellow drivers.

  • The speed limit within and around our campus is 15 mph 24 km/h.

  • Please heed the 3-way stops entering the school.

Our security team and others will be visible in the parking area to assist with the safe flow of cars and people, yet ultimately we count on you to drive with care and courtesy.

 

Tropical Storms and Hurricanes - Tropical storm and hurricane season is June to November in the Cayman Islands. To help with community understanding regarding this season, the following link addresses frequently asked questions regarding  tropical storm and hurricane season in relation to CIS.

Learning

CIS continues to grow and evolve to continually improve to enhance learning across different time periods, within different buildings and across changing environmental and economic settings. The reverse is true too, in that the CIS community has also adjusted to changes in education and the reality of being a diverse school that is mission driven. We must continue to anticipate what our students today will need for tomorrow’s world. The challenge of course being that the future is the hardest thing to predict.

We also need to make good use of what we know about how students learn; processes and approaches that are often different from those used in the recent past. Some might argue that even more important than learning, is the ability or comfort with “unlearning” and being comfortable with ambiguity. This requires our school (and education in general) to better leverage the learning implications of current brain research, new knowledge in the field of child development, and balancing what may be important to adults with what may be the passions of children. The world’s knowledge now doubles so rapidly that it is not uncommon for things learned in the first year of university to be obsolete by the time a student enters their final year. With the above in mind, schools have become more complex, elements of parenting have changed and the nature of young people’s lives certainly continues to change. Indeed, change has become the default. We do know that our community principles of kindness, partnership, sustainability and good intent, as well as our definition of learning focused around concepts, competency and character are elements that transcend time and help our students to manage change and be strong global citizens.

Wishing you all the best in the new school year, in partnership,

Jim Urquhart

Director - Cayman International School

 

Jim Urquhart

Director, Cayman International School