XS San Juan HSPO: Concerns Raised During the Parents’ Orientation

In lieu of an open forum during the parent orientations held last June, parents were instead encouraged to write their concerns and questions. Below are the concerns raised in the High School sessions and the school’s responses.

1. Bringing of Cellphones
After much discussion and consultation, the school administration feels that the disadvantages of allowing students to bring personal cellphones still outweigh its advantages. Having students bring phones give rise to more possibilities of bullying (in different forms), gambling, cheating, theft/losses among other things. On the other hand, we feel that the ‘problem’ predicted to be solved by the availability of cellphones; i.e., lack of coordination as regards fetching, may be addressed in other ways. For example, the school is now exploring the possibility of setting up message boards at selected gates where parents can send urgent text messages to their sons.

2. Picking Up a Younger Brother at Another Gate
An older student may exit through the gate his younger brother uses so that they can be fetched at the same time.

3. Yearly Shuffling of Classes
As a matter of practice, we shuffle classes only every 2 or 3 school years to allow the students to bond with their classmates. However, we evaluate the composition of each class at the end of each school year and may transfer a few due to very specific concerns; i.e., greater opportunity for leadership, need for a different environment, etc.

4. Details About the IB Diploma Program
More information about Xavier School’s IB Diploma Program is available at http://w5.xs.edu.ph/international-programs/ib-diploma-program/, and http://xsibdp.wordpress.com.

5. Coordination with San Juan Police Regarding Traffic
Mr. Gerardo Castañeda, Head of Security, regularly coordinates with the local government and external partners regarding traffic concerns. The school’s Board of Trustees is also considering some proposals for a long-term solution to the traffic problem.

6. Feedback (qualitative) on Assessments
While an assessment may only reflect a letter grade, that letter grade has a very comprehensive description based on the rubrics given for each graded activity. Nevertheless, we also remind the teachers to add more qualitative feedback whenever possible.

7. Status of Symbiosis (H3)
The Symbiosis of the High 3 batch is almost finished with just a few pictures missing. All materials will be forwarded to the printer by September so we can expect a release before the end of the school year.

8. Contacting Teachers/Guidance Counselors Via Email or SMS
The teachers may be contacted directly via their official email address, available when your son makes use of his Xavier email. We do not provide an official SMS contact number for teachers and staff; therefore we do not recommend this channel for home-school communication.

9. Too Much Subjectivity in the Grading System?
Both numerical grades and letter grades entail some amount of teacher subjectivity in the sense that the teacher will always have to use his/her judgment when evaluating any piece of student work. To ensure that student grades are fair and accurate, detailed rubrics and marking schemes are used. Moreover, prior to the giving of the assessments, teachers discuss the marking schemes and agree on a common interpretation of the scheme and standard way of checking and scoring the assessments. Teachers also do calibrated-marking to minimize subjectivity when grading exams and performance tasks.

10. Where To Buy Novels Online
The required e-novels are available via www.amazon.com and can be purchased using the IPad application Kindle and other similar applications. At this point though, students are still given the option of using either printed copies or electronic versions of the required books.

11. Giving of Assignments Online
Teachers have been instructed to assign and explain homework within their class period. However, printed instructions and other documents (e.g. exemplars, etc.) may be posted online for the students’ additional reference.

12. No Gaming Policy
Xavier School has a no gaming policy. Students caught playing games on their gadgets will be sanctioned accordingly.

13. How to Prevent Loss of Gadgets During Varsity Training
There are lockers in most of the training venues. We are currently doing an inventory of the venues that would need one. In the meantime, coaches regularly remind the athletes to ensure the safety and protection of their personal belongings during practice and games by instructing them to keep their belongings (e.g., wallet, MacBook, iPad, etc.) inside their lockers.

14. Getting a Sanction When Getting Involved in a Bullying Incident
A student is never sanctioned for simply reporting a bullying incident. The Office of Disciplinary Services (ODS) conducts a thorough investigation of all reported incidents. When all parties involved are deemed to have contributed to the wrongdoing, appropriate sanctions—with due regard to mitigating and aggravating factors—could be meted to all parties.

15. iPad Purpose of Lessening Cost of Books
The main purpose of requiring iPads is not to cut down on costs; rather it is mainly to enable 21st Century learning through technology. Though the conversion of some textbooks and resources to ebooks or e-versions is a recognized advantage, the goal is really for students to move beyond mere consumption of information, to becoming more active participants in their learning. This includes allowing students access to the internet, and in turn, access to an almost limitless library of both historical and current information/media, at the same time, giving them access to tools that can allow them to create and contribute their own insights and ideas.

16. Inclusion of General Education (GE; e.g. Organic Chemistry, Calculus) Subjects in Grades 11-12
In line with the shift to K-12, all academic departments are currently in the process of upgrading their curriculum to make it compliant with the requirements of the Department of Education. Higher sciences and mathematics will be offered in both IB and non-IB Grades 11 and 12. Corollary to this, the earlier year levels will be so spiraled as to prepare the students for the higher levels. Full implementation of the upgraded curriculum will take place by 2016-2017.

17. Adopting the XCE Model of Teaching Chinese and Hiring Chinese-Filipino Teachers To Teach Chinese
The model of teaching used by teachers of Chinese during the XCE is not very different from the model used by teachers here in Xavier. However, given the language immersion that goes with the program and the increased motivation of the students due to the environment, the students usually learn faster and better. All things equal, Xavier School would rather hire Chinese-Filipino teachers who will have no language barrier from the students, but the reality is that there is a shortage of such teachers. Most, if not all, Chinese schools in the Philippines need to employ volunteer teachers from China.

18. Scheduling of Chinese Oral Exams on Weekdays
The quarterly Chinese oral exams could not be scheduled on a weekday inasmuch as we do not have the manpower for this. To prevent leakage and cheating, the exam has to be administered in one go across a year level. This entails mobilizing the entire Grade School and High School Chinese Departments, and this is not possible on a regular school day when the Chinese teachers have to attend to their regular classes.

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