02 Parent Emails from HOL

Email sent 22nd June 2016

[Sec1s] Welcome Back to Term 3, 27th June 2016
Dear Sec1s,

Hope you have had a well rested and deserved break and all ready to conquer the next 2 terms and be ready for the end of term 3 assessments and the End of Year (EYE) exams in term 4.

We believe you have made use of some part of your break to catch up on your work and re-filed your notes and files to be brought back to re-pack your lockers. Do note to have your locks and keys for your lockers with you when you do so.

Term 3 and 4 will progress very quickly and hence your catch-up and revision done so far will be helpful in taking on the new topics.

A few events will occur in the next few weeks(refer to the school diary):

0. Temperature taking exercise to be held on 30th June 2016. Ensure you have a working thermometer that was issued in term 1 or you may have to purchase a new one and be ready with it in your pencil case for easy access.

1. English Oral will take on a new spin and you will be briefed by your respective English Teachers. This will be via online means conducted in the school computer lab.

2. Rolling out of BYOD( Bring Your Own Device). Please dont bring them yet as you will be informed by your respective teachers when to bring them and for which lessons. Your devices are to be strictly used for academic matters and not abused for games and time wasting sessions. This should be the agreement you have with your parents as they have so nicely provided you with the tools.

3. Inter-Class Badminton competition(1st August 2016, Monday, 230pm, Term 3) - more details will be given once we return.

4. Annual Cross-Country ( eve of National Day, 8th August 2016 ) - more details will be given once the plans are firmed up.

5. MTL Oral exams will held in the first week of August.

6. No PTM for term 3, but there will be PTM conducted by subject teachers in Term 4, 28th Oct 2016, in the morning.

7. In Term 4, we return to school on Tuesday, 13th September 2016, as the 12th of September will be a school holiday( Hari Raya Haji)

8. Canoeing Contact Time/ Field Cooking/ Orienteering to be held after EYE( End-of-year exams) - dates and timings to be confirmed.

9. ACE Camp from 2-10 November 2016( dates for respective fraternities yet to be confirmed )

If your parents wish to book holidays, it would be safe to do so after the 10th of November 2016

To prepare for the start of the new term on Monday, please ensure you have had a proper haircut as depicted in the school diary( no other variations are allowed and suspension from class will result if specifications are not adhered to). Ensure you have your school diary, 2 school badges ( one spare in your wallet and the other is the one on your breast pocket), proper white shoe-laced shoes and white socks above the ankle. Failure to adhere would result in similar suspension from class as you would not be deemed ready to partake in lessons and be part of the school.

On a last note, we firmly believe that you have used the break to reflect on the past 6 months and are ready mentally, psychologically and physically to start the term on a fresh slate. Dae are looking forward to working with a renewed 'you'. Life is about being better than yesterday. If we are aware about ourselves and learn from the good habits of others, we can only be better than yesterday. Do spend some time looking up the famous quotations of the late Muhammad Ali. He left us with nuggets of wisdom and many of which he practiced what he preached before. Self-belief and confidence while being humble and taking care of others around him. (LINK)

Remember gentlemen, Manners, Habits and Care, our theme for the Sec1s 2016. As Muhammad Ali also said before, " Don't count the days but make the days count." Make each day henceforth in term 3 onwards count towards building a new 'you'.

Thanks and see you on Monday.


Email sent 29th Jan 2016

[Sec1 Parents] HOL Email - Managing expectations and CCA

Dear Parents,

Thank you for your support, patience and understanding these few weeks while we tried our best to calibrate and point the boys to the right adjustments for secondary school life at SJI.

I am also copying this email to the boys, so that they will better understand our joint intent, purpose and collaborative learning when we journey together.

I hope you have been able to witness some changes in your boy after these 4 weeks of registration, orientation and getting into some routines with class and classmates and teachers.

They are literally milestones and as a growing teenager, milestones are key to his development to be aware of the stages he will need to overcome and face. Growing into independence and learning how to work effectively in groups would be his key motivations to build his capacity and be able to survive the new world as a student and beyond.

We had spent the last few weeks imbibing them with the Growth vs Fixed mindset framework(Carol Dweck), lectures, examples and reminders. It would be good too, as parents, you have some understanding about it and be able to converse with your boys with the same undertones and intent as the school. This will help the boys build up their abilities and not be resting on their past laurels of what they had attained but rather to strive for new challenges in growing their minds and mindsets while using that to learn how to work in teams effectively.

While gearing for the PSLE would give them little or no opportunities to work in teams and share knowledge and information as the modes utilised are normally one-way rather than 2-way. Students are normally working alone most of the time while preparing for the PSLE. In secondary school, learning how to adapt, learning about others, and learning how to work in teams other than in team sport games, is a key skill they will keep for life. We had spoken to the boys about this. It will be good to include in your conversations with them about their journey in learning how to grow into effective teams and how their strategies pan out. 

On another note, we are at another milestone this weekend. Your boys will now choose his CCA. There have been many queries about CCAs and we have also briefed the boys and yourselves about the demands and commitment needed as baseline for all CCAs. Sports CCAs are popular and highly demanded, but supply is limited in places. We worked towards trying to meet some of the demand and supply by enhancing merit based allocation by offering pre-selection by the CCAs after the skills testing and trials. Those not pre-selected, will have a smaller chance with being given a CCA assuming all those who were pre-selected puts down those CCAs as first choice.

This brings us to the point of managing expectations. The conversations this weekend must include the topic of what if a student does not get the choices he had put down. How will he approach his newly allocated CCA? How will he match what he has learnt about growth mindset with this new road he will travel down? How will he challenge himself to be positive to learn to accept that in life you may not get everything you want and how you must learn to work with what you have been allocated knowing the constraints surrounding allocating the CCAs the best we can. Using growth mindset and managing expectations is crucial in ensuring the life skill in dealing with setbacks and moving ahead by making the best of the situation is essential to building the capacities not learnt in the classroom. We spend time teaching the boys these things but the time we have with them on these things are better reinforced at home when the messaging is similar and knowing how these will grow them internally, mentally with the right attitude from the get go.

By understanding brain science of a teenage boy at the age of 12,13 and 14 years of age, they will have many instances of rising levels of cortisol in their brains caused by stress and worrying about things like why they are not in the CCA they want or if they have disappointed parents by not scoring 90 out of 100 for tests and exams etc. We must help the boys lower the levels of cortisol with constant conversations and learning to understand what they are going through and thinking through with them how to manage situations with suggestions rather than solutions. The brain needs a workout and a teenage brain works out better than we think. Point them in the right direction but stopping short of the answers. Let them discover the answers. They will internalise them better. Move away from spoon-feeding but don't go to the other extreme, letting-go completely. They need guidance. They will talk less to you and more with their friends, and that's normal. Observe and include their friends at home so that he will know you are supporting him while he is building a responsible social circle knowing you are observing him. Let him know you are there for him and observing. You must be the pillar or one of the pillars for advice. Be there for him, but again, give him space to grow with his new circle.

I will speak more about brain science and managing idevices in my next edition email. 

Have a good weekend and do start your conversations as advised above. You are in the driving seat to grow with your boy, as his teenage years comes once. We were there once, and you will know your boys well enough to know the approaches needed.

Thanks and best regards,

Email Sent 18th Jan 2016

Dear Parents and Sec1s,

Hope you have had a restful weekend. Boys are back with gusto and raring to go. Keep the spirits high!

A few matters and updates:

1. Sports Heats - Email to Sec1s was sent out to Sec1s last week that included a soft copy of the Parent Notification and details. We will upload onto a page in the level website for reference too, soon. Any queries, please email Mr Loqman, Meet Manager for Sports Meet 2016, at loqman.alfaiz@sji.edu.sg

2. School Fees payment for Jan and Feb - Please prepare a crossed cheque for 2 months addressed to St. Joseph's Institution and pass it to your boy t pass to his Form Teacher by hand as he will need to sign off his submission for accountability. We will issue the receipts soon. To lesson the need of a queue at the General Office, the Form Teachers will assist in collation and submission.

3. Fraternity T-Shirts - This is a compulsory T-Shirt for major events we have when fraternity is the focus. We are taking orders and sizing this week and since the first major school event is coming up, Sports Meet, the boys will need to be in Fraternity colours. Cost: $11.00 per shirt, cash or cheque payment, to Form Tutors, by Friday 22nd Jan 2016.

4. Casual Friday T-Shirts - This is optional for the boys to buy. Not necessary as it is another semi-formal Polo Shirt for the boys to wear instead of the white uniform top only for Fridays. The wearing of this causal Friday shirt is suspended on Formal Friday events, when announced. Otherwise, the boys can wear either their normal full uniform or the casual Friday Shirt. Cost: $13.00, cash or cheque to Form Teachers by Friday, 22nd Jan 2016.

5. Mugshot photo-taking was done this morning for all Sec1s, so there will be no need to take photos as this has been paid for via Misc Fees. We will take 3-4 photos from the lot of 8 and pass the rest to the boys. The photos taken will be for SJI report book, Dossier, Class Tutor and a spare.

6. If there are any changes to student data, email, address, medical status etc, please email the following personnel and indicate the name of the boy and class so we can verify and update the changes:

Mr Lee Ming Liang -  lee.ming.liang@sji.edu.sg
Mr Lee Zhi Hao - zhlee@sji.edu.sg
Mr Joseph Edison Junior - josephe@sji.edu.sg

Thanks and have a good week ahead.

If you have not received any emails, please contact Mr Lee Ming Liang at lee.ming.liang@sji.edu.sg or Mr Lee Zhi Hao at zhlee@sji.edu.sg and inform them of the following:

1. Class of your child
2. NRIC of your child
3. Is the email you are updating, belongs to mother, father or other( to specify)

If you are changing email addresses, same procedure applies too.

Thus he can assist to update the parent email grouping and you will be able to receive future emails.
If email address is correct, and still not receiving, check your non-focused email folder, or your spam folder, just in case.

Thank you.

Email sent 5th Jan 2016, 11:40pm

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank you for holding the fort at home and possibly hearing all the good and fun things your boys are telling you about SJI and what they are experiencing.

As we approach closer to the Parent Orientation in week 2, I would like to invite you to be part of 2 additional options to receive quick bites of info updates:

Head of Level Twitter found at https://twitter.com/SJI_HOL_Edison

You can join both and get quick updates but do refer back to the Level Websites when directed via Twitter, Telegram or even via Email from SJI. This will be how we will triangulate and extend the info reach and keep us all on the same page.

Twitter link is embedded on the landing page of the level website and hence the updates are LIVE.

Telegram is a broadcast channel created for you to join and see all the broadcasts so far and the future ones.

Both will have similar updates and some times both will require you to check for things on the level website or better still check your emails for details.

I do see up to 100 plus followers for both platforms and picking up each day.

And finally the level website at http://sec1.sji.edu.sg where it all happens and info is there for all to access.

As adults, and with our handy devices, these are some of the new improvements we are experimenting to make info flow seamless and near effortless( I hope so).

Email platform is the only official 2-way communication link between you and us. We will not reply twitter nor telegram as we would want our 2-way communication to be official and recorded within the email system for tracking accountability purposes.

On the other hand, while we can encourage our boys to aspire to be responsible self-managing your adults with their devices and similar, we must be the constant beacon to monitor and draw the boundaries and even admonish when needed. Parents play a large part in this area. It's a a big deal to be always playing the proverbial 'bad parent' and only for the better in the longer run.

My personal experience with my 11 year old daughter has been rather easier because we laid the ground rules and told her we can afford anything for her but whatever device she gets, its still ours and we can always have the right to check it and take it away anytime and without any reason. Only upon agreeing to those terms and several more to come( so we keep a backdoor open just in case...) she was allowed to get the likes of an iPhone and iPad. 

Her iPhone is on restricted apps use: No Safari, No Youtube, No apps downloads( it is locked). Only WhatsApp( on our restricted rules use), phone and messages function and a phone tracking app to monitor her whereabouts anytime via a paid service. there are paid services that monitor app time and usage too if you want to consider higher levels of monitoring. Our negotiation was one of many important conversations we had with my daughter on the perils and the problems with device and app use and how chat groups can be destructive and abusive. that's we do not allow her to be on any whatsapp groups and this is monitored closely.

She leaves he phone on the common table at home for us to be allowed to check her phone. her password is known to us too. We also check her emails and her school education portal also used for chats and updates too.

Her iPad is only on restricted holiday time use of 2 hours max per day. After the time is up the iPad is returned to one of us in person.

We stress the importance of our involvement as they do not have the maturity of the pre-frontal cortex to understand the impact and implications that can face them down the road with the wrong turns early on. All this is done with stressing the why of everything and how sometimes they will not understand today but in the long run or sometime down the road, they will understand( that's when the pre-frontal cortex is starting to develop). By the way, brain science, as indicated by Dr. Daniel Amen and Michael Gurian, have shown how boy's brains generally take a longer time to have developed pre-frontal cortexes. These years is where we play a key part in guiding, advising and showing them examples of what is right how those got there. mistakes will be made along the way, it's how we take the moral courage approach to handle the mistakes and explain to them why the consequences were necessary. having no consequences will lead to big problems in future. Boys' need structure and a firm and fair hand. justice is key to them.

Do take time to read the books recommended in this page found in the level website, 

Start with Michael Gurian Books about boys and Leonard Sax. Knowing what is happening scientifically and chemically in your son's brains is key to building a strong relationship when you understand him well. Then put that together with Carol Dweck's book about mindset.

It may take boys longer to grow the pre-frontal cortex( the part of the brain used for high level cognitive thinking and making decisions that are calculated and well-considered as compared to the flight and fight part in the brain stem), but we can use the readings to help them make connections faster and fire up the neutrons and synapses to see things clearer and earlier.

Many more emails like these will come your way.

Have a good week ahead and share stories with your boys when does too with you about school.


yours sincerely,

Ora et Labora

Mr Joseph Edison Junior
Head of Level 1 (2016)
St. Joseph's Institution | 21 Bishan Street 14, Singapore 579781 
Tel: (65) 62500022 | Fax: (65) 62533640 | Web: www.sji.edu.sg | 

Email sent 2nd Jan 2016, 1:55pm

***Please note that if you have not received this email below today, it would because registration is pending or that the email address keyed in was incorrect. Please check again if it is the latter. We have sent this email to both parents and guardian where it was registered in the online system. There are also some with no emails registered too. Thank You.****

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Warm welcome to SJI! Congrats on making it to a school that wants to learn from the boys and teach the boys to be Men of Integrity and Men for Others.

As an Old Boy myself, I believe thats the main difference we have when we need to, though not necessary, to compare between schools. This is where boys will grow into good, responsible and difference making men for the world to be ready for. Each of us and the boys will have talents and positive things to bring to SJI to make it grow further as a school.

I hope this email will be a first of many to be the main form of communication between us and you. The level website at http://sec1.sji.edu.sg will serve as the platform for all updates and announcements along with email indicators of the updates. Also, we have put up a Twitter link( https://twitter.com/SJI_HOL_Edison) for you to follow to have quick alerts about some announcements and reminders also found on the main landing page of the level website.

We are trying something new to add and triangulate announcements by using a broadcast method for the Sec1 parents and students, via Telegram( https://telegram.me/SJI_HOL_Edison ). The link is also found on the level website landing page too. With all these notification systems, we hope to ensure high rates of communication transfer and notifications.

We seek your understanding in helping us protect our personal time and space by limiting your email queries and similar to school days between 730am to 6pm and no emails during the whole of weekends and public holidays. On eve of public holidays, we hope to maintain personal and family time from 2pm onwards. This will work both ways for emails especially. For the Twitter and Telegram Broadcasts, I will try to keep them minimum as you will be able to set the alerts to be notified or not. These few days in order to expedite the many queries and changes, we were not able to abide with the protection of personal time. So our joint challenge now, after this email, would be to observe our personal time and space.

I will send out reminders via email latest by each Friday afternoon to prepare for whats to come in the next week, each week, If not, do keep checking back to the level website for updates and will be indicated with a RED NEW icon.

Some things to be reminded of for the 4th of January 2016:

1. Check online at the level website for class allocation. The printed format is found at the school foyer when they arrive and they can check there too and make their way to the school hall with their bags and belongings to be seated by class order. The form teachers and myself will be there to welcome them. Report by 730am seated in the school hall on the 4th of Jan 2016 in class order.

2. Boys to report to school in full uniform, white shoe-laced shoes with no markings, white socks(higher than ankle length), School tie and a proper haircut that would be acceptable in any school. We will be taking note of names of boys who do not meet these minimum standards and expectations. This must be enforced by both you and us from day 1.

3. Ensure all sections of the Online Registration form is completed, checked, printed and signed to be submitted along with all other documents on the 6th of January 2016 to their respective form teachers. By now, you can put in the class posted in all the forms. Orientation consent forms to be completed and submitted along with all other forms on the 6th of Jan 2016.

4. Timetable posted online is not yet confirmed but do check back tomorrow(3rd Jan at 7pm) for any changes and pack accordingly based on Odd week(top line) of the timetable.

5. Dismissal for 4th Jan 2016, for Sec1s is at 2:10pm, regardless of the ending time seen in the timetable for any class. For all other days, we follow the end time of each class for each day.

6. Locks for lockers should be key and lock type and not big locks. Combination locks not advisable due to high usage that causes spoilage. Keys of locks are personal responsibility of each boy.

7. Mobile phones and similar are not encouraged but if brought, must be switched off during curriculum hours till dismissal and locked up in own locker. Mobile phones and similar are personal responsibilities of each boy. Misuse and using them during restricted times or if even seen on their person, pockets etc, they will be confiscated and parents will need to notified to come down to sign out the phone. The latter is a discipline infringement that will be recorded.

8. To and from SJI would be better served if public transportation is used to alleviate the multiple congestions that occur in the morning. If dropping off, come very early to SJI but follow the Traffic Advisory as seen on the level website. Alternative drop-off areas would be at Exit D Bishan MRT and making their way on foot to SJI. Learning to take the public transportation would bode well when you are unable to pick you r son at rubber times after school due to various activities ending late like CCA and the like.

9. School Diary will be issued to your son on the 4th of Jan 2016.

10. A temperature taking exercise will be conducted on the 7th of Jan 2016 and each boy will be issued with a new thermometer each on Wednesday( 6/1/2016), by their Form Tutors.

11. Orientation Week reminder for parents: Please note that parents will be involved on either 12th of Jan 2016, 6pm in the school hall or the 14th of Jan 2016, 6pm, in the school hall. This is a Parent Orientation briefing.

For Parents of Fintan(FN) and Lawrence(LE) fraternities, to report to the school hall on the 12th of Jan 2016, 6pm.

For Parents of Marcian(MN) and Michael(ML) fraternities, to report to the school hall on the 14th of Jan 2016, 6pm.

For the 15th of Jan 2016, Campfire Evening, Parents are invited and this is not compulsory for parents. Event to start and parents to be seated at the amphitheatre by 645pm.

Students starting 3rd language classes in the afternoons of the Orientation Week will be given a letter by SJI to be given to their respective tutors at the language centres to be excused from lessons only for that week since their orientation programmes will mostly take up the afternoons that week.

Other Matters:

Students can continue to use their current EZLINK cards till new ones are issued

I wish you all a Happy New Year and I am sure your boys and you will bring the positive energy to grow the school together while nurturing and teaching the boys in their journey.

yours sincerely,

Ora et Labora

Mr Joseph Edison Junior
Head of Level 1 (2016)
St. Joseph's Institution | 21 Bishan Street 14, Singapore 579781 
Tel: (65) 62500022 | Fax: (65) 62533640 | Web: www.sji.edu.sg | 
Enabling youth in a Lasallian community to learn how to learn and to learn how to live; empowering them to become men and women of integrity and men and women for others.

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