Monday, August 31, 2009

Recent happenings - Alumni update

The KIS community has been experiencing the flu for the past month. It has been a very busy month for the Dish staff. Dr Malini Devanandan (Class of 1986) and the nurses have worked hard to keep us all safe and return us to health. The Dish has been overflowing and the KMU set up to handle the overflow. Precautionary measures were taken to reduce the possibility of our community picking up infections and in particular the H1N1 virus. KIS was advised by Dr Prof Mathan, KIS Council Chair and Medical Advisor to the Central Government of India. Students were kept on campus, bussing them on and back to off-campus dorms for breakfast and after dinner. Visitors were limited. Alumni and admissions parents and children were given guided tours when lessons were underway, only to areas void of students and staff, and were not allowed to enter buildings. Staff and day scholars were advised to limit their interaction with the larger Kodai community and everyone was told to report to Dr Malini prior to coming to school if any members of the family, domestic help or associates showed flu-like symptoms. As of today, it is good to report that the numbers of students in the Dish have dropped and mattresses have been removed from the KMU. The campus is still under cautionary measures.
With all of the disruption of trying to keep 580 students, 150 professional staff, 40 support staff and 160 operational staff on campus, healthy and our program on schedule as per the calendar, it has been difficult on teachers trying to maintain their lesson plans with students out sick for various durations and times. However, we have survived and everyone is in tact!

Class camps are still going on, safely out at Poondi in the beautiful outdoors. The Writer’s workshop was held at the beginning of August in combination with American College, and hosted visiting author Usha KR.

Independence Day, a holiday falling on a Saturday, shared by India and Korea, celebrated the flag hoisting at the Flag Green, followed by an interesting and engaging speech by Mr A Venkatesh, District Forest Officer of Kodaikanal, dances, music, other speeches and finally tea and coffee, ladoos and vadai. The boys soccer team left to participate in the Ooty tournament. Track & Field and girls volleyball teams continue to practice and will travel to Ooty for their tournaments at the end of the month. Staff are practicing for their recital this weekend. TOK (Theory of Knowledge) presentations have been scheduled this week. Grade 10 students are busy working on their MYP (Middle Years Program) personal project. Teachers in grades K to 5 are preparing and learning about the PYP (Primary Years Program of the International Baccalaureate), which KIS hopes to become a part of in the near future. Hiking season is into more serious hikes, with high schoolers going on B and C level hikes (D are the hardest). To date, approximately 300 students have gone on at least one hike. We are now narrowing down with the serious hikers numbering about 50 from grades 9-12, 30 from grades 6-8 and some 15-20 staff chaperoning on a weekly basis.

A fourth principal candidate will be visiting KIS this week to meet SMT (Senior Management Team) members, students and staff, followed by an interview with the Council of Directors in Chennai. He will be considered along with two other candidates who visited Kodai in early August and we hope for a decision in the near future, and pray that a suitable leader will be found for KIS.

Julie Nichol Stengele (Class of 1980)
Alumni Officer