In January 2022, Mark Renie, Head of School, OWIS, hosted a virtual meeting with parents of our Secondary School students. The webinar’s agenda was to introduce himself and explain his vision for the Secondary grades. He also took down the concerns and feedback of the parents and emphasised that all of these would be looked into the coming months.
Here is an excerpt from his webinar and the text of the video is below:
“Let me come to my vision. I’m very aligned with OWIS’ vision. In fact, what drew me to the school was the commitment to kindness, empathy, inclusion and diversity. As Head of School, I can assure you that we will continue to promote these values and the guiding statements of the school will continue to inform everything that we do. I always reference our guiding statements to make any decisions at the senior leadership level, the board level or even within the classroom.
I also believe that it’s really important that a child has a holistic education. I want to emphasise how important it is to me that our students are placed in top universities. We should be providing the opportunities for them to start thinking about their paths and where they want to go, as early as Grade 6. We should be exposing them to a variety of learning opportunities and subjects and then be supporting them to pursue these at their university of choice.
I am also considering how we can engage our children beyond academics. Things like clubs, activities, sports – these are very important to me. I want our students to have access to a wide variety of options for CCAs, different types of engagements and sporting activities. Right now, we all recognise that we are limited by the Covid-19 restrictions that are placed on us. But I have been talking to our team about being ready, so that when the restrictions are removed, we can start putting those systems in place, so our children don’t have to wait at all.
I feel it’s important for students to have a voice. I have been going into classrooms and talking to children about how important it is that they share their input with me. That they become part of taking decisions for the school – what programmes we should be offering, what clubs we should have, what they want for their school.
I have been meeting with teachers as well and talking with them about their vision for Secondary. I feel that it’s important that we look at OWIS as being made up of two parts – Primary and Secondary, and both have distinct identities, which should be celebrated. I have been engaging with the team to develop a strong Secondary identity. Students need to know that when they leave Primary, they are making a huge jump in terms of expectations, independence and ownership of their learning. You will see this developing in the coming months.
I want transparency in this collaborative process – for you as parents and for the children as well. They should know why we are doing what we are doing, the part they play in it, and why we are not able to do something as well. As they grow into becoming young adults, they deserve that level of respect.”
To wrap up the webinar, Mr. Renie concluded with these words: “I want to conclude by saying how impressed I am by the quality of the student body and the staff in my walks around the school. It is humbling for me as a school leader and you have my commitment that I will support this school on the great path that it has been on.
To all the parents this morning, thank you for joining me in this webinar. There is lots for me to take away from this. I want to assure you that I am accessible to you. That will be my approach.”