Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Principal's message

I am sitting in my office looking out the window at the sunshine which is streaming down on Flag Green. The students are doing what they have been doing for the last century, sitting or lying on the green, chatting with each other, enjoying the warmth of both the weather and each other’s company. It is a picture which summarizes the strength and vitality of the KIS community.

This semester is smoothly underway with 35 students either rejoining or joining us, and two new music teachers, as well as a number of volunteers, including two alumni and the wife of an alum. It is a pleasure to have them all here for the semester.

The second semester is always marked by increasing academic pressure, particularly for the seniors as they face up to the demands required of them as they prepare for college and university. I would like to take this opportunity of wishing all our students every success during the course of this semester.

As you are aware, this semester is one of transition and I am delighted that Mr Adrian Moody, Principal Designate, will travel to Kodai twice this semester, as part of this change over.

May I take this opportunity of wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

Geoffrey Fisher


Vice Principal's update

The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn... and change. Carl Rogers

The New Year 2010 heralds the beginning of the second semester of the academic year 2009-2010 for KIS which also means that it is the last semester for the Class of 2010.

There was a rather quick settling in time period for the new staff and students. By the third week of January we had SAT/PSAT classes and support classes in place for those who needed the extra attention. Students who are taking three or less IB certificates or those not doing IB this year are doing an extra requirement for KIS Diploma - Critical Thinking course. This course will not only give the students an extra 2.5 credits but the best essays will be put in our online journal and receive a certificate of merit. The IB students are busy completing their extended essays and are getting ready to meet the challenges of the IB deadlines. For the moment it is “extended essay season’ for IB students!

On 15 - 16 January grade 11 and 12 student attended the interactive seminars entitled “Science and Spirituality” conducted by Andy Fletcher. Andy is the President and CEO of Life, the Universe and Everything, Inc USA and is dedicated to working with international schools and communities, offering seminars on 20th and 21st century physics. Many interested staff members attended also. The seminars were intellectually stimulating and peppered with Andy’s wit and humor! These seminars were of special interest for students doing TOK, Critical Thinking, Science and Religious Education courses and were punctuated by the occurrence of the solar eclipse!

The weekend that followed had some of senior students (apart from the juniors) taking their final shot at the SAT examinations. This was followed by the Republic Day celebrations on the 26 January with its finale being the Social Experience department’s fund raising event – the carnival. Of course there was excitement in the air about the new menu in the Gymkhana also!
In the midst of this, we took time to fondly remember little Micah Daniel, student of KIS and son of our dorm parent Pushpa Lawrence, who passed away during the winter vacations. We need to continue to hold Sunder, Pushpa and their family in our prayers.

For the teaching staff, the semester opened with two full day professional development workshop on “Engaging All Students for the 21st century: Differentiation Strategies for Effective Teaching Learning” conducted by Susan Baum and Henry Nicols- Directors of International Centre for Talent Development, USA. This is the first time we have begun a semester with pedagogical workshops being conducted by globally acclaimed professional workshop leaders. In our MSA strategic plan Differentiation Instruction has been put down as one of the priorities and we are confidently moving towards developing and consolidating it. Susan and Hank also conducted 4 hour workshop for dorm parents. Both these workshops were well received. We were indeed blessed to have Susan and Hank among us.

From the 29 - 31 January twenty three KIS IB Diploma teachers went to Indus International School Bangalore to attend the SAIBSA Job Alike Session and had fruitful sessions sharing and exchanging ideas with their professional counterparts from different IB schools in India.

So we have begun the New Year with renewed vigor, hope and positivity!
Kaisar Dopaishi
Vice Principal


Admissions update

Back in the fold after vacation and in lots of ways it feels as if there never was a vacation!

During the vacation period, KIS Admissions received a total of 100 enquiries. Currently we have 83 prospective candidates on the database and these figures mean that we can look forward to meeting our target of some 190 new students in July 2010.

The second semester started for the Admissions office with the orientation of 28 new students. This brings our total enrolment to 570 with a diversity spanning 25 nationalities. Eight of our new students are staff children and of those eight, five are children of alumni. The bonds remain strong!

Our German exchange students have returned full of stories about exciting adventures in another country / culture and speaking passable German! The Carey Baptist exchange students have their bags packed and are eagerly awaiting their visas.

Orientation was no sooner over and Graham Lambert (MYP Coordinator) and I were winging our way to Bangkok to hold an information reception. The event was very successful with some 14 families in attendance. Thanks to Mrs Thumsuwanna our power point information was translated into Thai and that was of huge benefit to both the KIS team and our audience!

At the end of February Admissions will be hosting receptions in Hyderabad, Pune and Goa. Invitations and further information on these events will be posted in due course. All are warmly invited to attend!

Now that we’re into our second week I see the faces of our new students brightening as they adjust to a new environment and start to participate in all that is KIS. SoEx and weekly activities will be in full swing this weekend, conditioning hikes for the Tahr camps were last Saturday and the Middle Schoolers are off to Betelpuram on Friday as their reward. Republic Day will be celebrated with a carnival on Bendy. Grade 9 class camp kicks off further Poondi trips this weekend … MYP and IB deadlines are loaming. Music and sports trips are happening in February as is the Senior Class trip. How do we ever catch our breath?! And dare I say that graduation is just around the corner …

As KIS heads towards a new academic year and transition of staff, along with changes, comes challenge. Admissions is moving ahead with a positive attitude preparing for another increase in student body. We trust that staffing, resources, and infrastructure will be firmly in place. As KIS nears 109, her infrastructure not only needs to be continually updated but in some cases fully renovated. We’re in a good position to meet the demands of a growing population – a population that increasingly has greater demands!

Helen Haeusler
Admissions Coordinator


In Memoriam

We were deeply saddened by the news that Micah Daniel passed away very suddenly on 10 December here in Kodaikanal. Those of us who have known Micah will miss him dearly. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Pushpa and Sundar and their children Vashti and Joash.



Shivashankari was married during the vacation. Congratulations to Shivashankari and her husband.
Congratulations also to Cynthia Navamani on her engagement.


Life, the Universe and Everything - Investigating God and the New Physics

The TOK department invited Andy Fletcher, historian, mathematician, linguist and philosopher to help us answer the big questions such as "What is the meaning of Life?" (42?!?) "Is there such as thing as spiritual knowledge?" (Spiritual IQ), "Does God exist?" (science seems to be showing evidence of a "higher intelligence") and "Do we have Free Will?" (Newton vs Einstein). The focus tried to examine the God / Science debate in a quantum universe by investigating infinity, determinism, mechanism, reductionism, quantum mechanics, chaos, fractals and the anthropic principle.

Friday's seminar for all 135 members of the senior class of 2010 ran from 11:30-4:30 pm with a break for lunch and annular eclipse watching. Saturday's session for the grade 11 full IB students and many other interested students and staff ran from 1-6 pm and included many wonderful questions and mind blowing moments. Our students (and teachers) may never be the same again. Special thanks go to Mr Kaisar Dopaishi who not only made this fantastic event possible but has started off 2010 with many mind expanding opportunities for the entire KIS community.

from his website: http://tokseminars.com/

The answer is not, after all,

Assumptions made about the nature of the universe in Isaac Newton's day continue to drive not only today's methodology of scientific inquiry but the direction and ultimately the interpretation of, as Douglas Adams called it, Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Since 1991, Andy Fletcher has been giving classroom seminars in public (state) schools in the US, the UK, and Canada, and in private and international schools around the globe, more than 100 schools altogether. Interactive, discussion-oriented, multi-media presentations challenge the brightest of students to re-examine the base points of scientific inquiry.

The Infinite Universe -- It was a vital ingredient to nature and physics, something that Einstein himself refused to abandon though it was his own theories that put an end, and a beginning, to Infinity...

Determinism -- The brilliant French mathematician La Place claimed that given the speed and location of every particle, he could predict the rest of history. But curiosity could neither kill nor not kill Schroedinger's Cat...

Mechanism -- Does the universe run like clockwork? Are humans nothing more than complicated machines? The lowly butterfly and its effect made Chaos out of Order...

Reductionism -- Are we nothing more than the meaningless sum of random parts? Things turn out to be a bit more Complex than that as we get Order out of Chaos...

At home in the universe -- Does the universe exist to produce mankind? Do we "observe" it into being, the very act of observation that which keeps the universe moving along? Why did Einstein wander around the yards of Princeton wondering why the moon wasn't smeared all over the sky?

Take your classes on a "journey to the center of the galaxy to go windsurfing with dear old dad", as it was put in the film Contact.

Relativity. Space-time dilation. The Singularity and what observed it into Big Bang.

Quantum Mechanics. Schroedinger's Cat, quantum tunneling, the Bose-Einstein Condensate, and what really happens to a quantum tree when it falls in a quantum forest.

Jurassic Chaos, the butterfly effect, the Challenger Space Shuttle, and 9/11.

Fractals and the doorway into Complexity via the Mimic Octopus and the Blister Beetle.

Finally, the Anthropic Principle and Freeman Dysan's claim that "in some sense, the universe must have known we were coming."

Your students may never be the same. With gratitude and appreciation of our non-dualistic possibilities...
Bryan Plymale
TOK teacher



Youthrise was formed by a group of students from the Kodaikanal International School, in the wake of the horrific attacks in Mumbai on the 26th of November, 2008. It was started with a single goal in mind – to mobilize the youth of today. To spread awareness about how we, even as students, can help make the world a better place.

The creator of the group, Ananda Boga Pandit, spoke to us about the group. At first, it didn’t seem terribly interesting. He spoke of the sponsors they’d gotten and the famous people they’d talked to, but you couldn’t make out any sort of concrete plan in his words. It seemed like he was all talk and no walk.

But slowly, the sincerity of the group began to seep into the conscience. They weren’t just a bunch of children meeting well-known people to talk about things they’d never do. This group of students truly believed in themselves and in their goal – it was heartening to see.

They told us about their main goals – unity in diversity, leadership, and environment. They spoke of some of the events they’d planned, including a not-so-successful rally the previous year and the more successful adoption of a group of tribal children. When a person in the crowd asked what the group expected of its members, Ananda gave a very simple answer: “We are not like other groups that sit there and tell you what to do. In fact, you will tell us what to do, because you know your city a lot better than we do.”

After visiting Sanskriti, the group went on, presumably to meet other schools in Delhi, as well as other people across the country. Some of the initiatives they hope to put in action include a magazine for the group and a music album dealing with issues of the present and future.

The thing that impressed the most about this group, however, was their belief in themselves. Despite a few stutters and a few awkward pauses, Ananda’s talk was quietly confident and showed no hesitance. The other members who spoke were also equally sure of themselves. It wasn’t conceit – it showed that these students took themselves seriously, and that they truly wanted to make a difference in the world - however small a step it might be.

To learn more about Youthrise, you can visit their site at www.youthrise.in or visit them on Facebook.

Article from Sanskriti online school newsletter


Professional Development

Academic Year 2009-10 Second Semester: Professional Development Workshops

Topic : Engaging all students for the 21st Century: Differentiation Strategies for Effective Teaching & Learning

About the workshop facilitators

Susan Baum PhD
Susan Baum is a celebrated and renowned author of many books including the very popular and useful Multiple Intelligences in the Elementary Classroom: A teacher’s toolkit with Howard Gardner. She is an expert on twice exceptional children and is a Professor Emeritus for the College of New Rochelle, New York and presently works as an international educational and business consultant serving international communities around the world. Susan Baum – subeebaum@yahoo.com

Henry J Nicols, MS.(Hank)
Hank Nicols is a teacher, adventurer, and an international consultant in both education and business. He is co director of the International Center for Talent Development and an adjunct professor for the Buffalo State College of the State University of New York and for the College of New Rochelle where he teaches graduate courses in emotional intelligence, adventure based learning, conflict management and violence intervention. Hank has presented extensively all over the world on topics as diverse as stress management, time management, communications, and innovative training, teaching and learning.
Hank Nicols – hjnicols@yahoo.com


Calendar events for February

1 - 6 February - CE week
11 - 13 February - Grade 8 camp
12 - 13 February - Girls hockey & soccer in Ooty
17 February - Ash Wednesday
20 February - ES fun day, International book fair, Personal Project fair (afternoon)
25 - 28 February - AMIS Junior Honor Orchestra - strings, Music field trip


Monday, January 11, 2010

New staff

A brief introduction to our new staff:

- Benjie and Erna Llorente are from the Philipinnes. They will teach music and be living at Burnside Annex on Ganga compound with their 2 ½ year old daughter Zarah Isabelle.

- Suvidha Sadasivan is from Chennai and joins us as Archivist. She is staying at Ghatside on Ganga compound.

- Fran Friesen is a volunteer and comes from the US with her 3 children; Daniel grade 11, Loren grade 7 and Rebecca grade 4.

- Sophie Van Horne is in her gap year after school and comes through Princeton in Asia. Sophie will assist in the Music department (viola, flute and violin). She will be staying with Coco Lammers in Kennedy Annex on High Clerc campus.

- William and Margaret Klingelhofers come from the US as volunteers. They have two children, Katherine (Kate) grade 12 and John Karl (Jake) grade 10. The Klingelhofers will be staying at the Swedish house apartments.

- Bill Martin (Class of 70) comes from the US with two of his daughters, Theresa Rose grade 10 and September Dawn grade 11. Bill’s wife Christine will join him for a month. Bill and his family will live at Loch Nagar A on Loch End compound.

- SaraAnn Lockwood (Class of ’61) and former staff is a volunteer in Alumni Relations and KIS Community Office (KISCO). Sara Ann lives in her own home in Kodaikanal.

- Fatima Jackson is on an administrative appointment as assistant dorm parent at Swedish Dorm Upper.

- Akansha Gupta (Class of 2000) who volunteered last semester has rejoined on an administrative appointment as Projects Assistant and will update the KIS website and KISNet when appropriate.