For the first Dalat News each year, I like to focus on “What’s New.” The first week of school is always an exciting one as the campus finally comes alive with students and activity. All the work that has been done in preparation of the new year starts to pay off as classes begin meeting and students get back to their studies. It’s fun to see our new students learning all about what makes Dalat a special and unique school, and our new staff beginning to understand why we are so proud of our students.
In North America, an expression that is used to say “hello,” or greet someone you know, is to ask the question, “What’s New?” So, at the beginning of each school year, that is a good question to answer in the first director’s message.
So what is new at Dalat this year? Quite a bit actually, as you will see in the list below.
New Students: Our enrolment for this year currently stands at 560 students from 24 different countries with 79 being new to Dalat.
New Staff: This year we have nine new full-time staff and one part-time staff joining Dalat; Tom Penland – MS math teacher, Carre Penland – fourth grade teacher, David Nguyen – MS science teacher, Shuyin Nguyen – elementary ESL teacher, Sara Kearney – HS math teacher, Andrew Kearney – MS band and chapel coordinator, Jodi Hoogendoorn – HS science teacher, Josh Allen – HS Spanish teacher and testing coordinator, Stephanie Chhangur – HS science teacher; and Emily Peace – dorm assistant.
New Facilities: Our gym has gotten a major facelift with brand new locker rooms, a large classroom, a much bigger weight room, and a larger PE staff office. A new gym floor is being installed as we speak – a huge thank you to the Booster Club for making it possible. The middle school received some renovations to improve the classrooms, and a new slide was installed. We also have dramatically increased the size of the upper field parking lot over the break.
New Theme: Our theme for this year as a school is “First Things First,” and as the year goes on, this theme will be fleshed out in many different ways. Our “Focus ESLR” (Expected School-Wide Learning Result) is Transformed Thinker.
New Bells: Dalat has invested in more speakers and a new bell system. This will make it possible to have bells that are specific to a division. The system allows for new sounds, so we will have students give input and choose a sound that will become the bell for their division.
New Schedule: A major change that the middle school and high school students will have this year is a new daily schedule. The high school starts 5 minutes later (8:25) and gets a 10-minute morning break. Both the middle school and high school have one lunch so that students in each division can all eat together. The x-block (last period of the day) has become much more flexible, which creates more opportunities for our students.
Other New Things: We have a new recycling program, new textbooks and resources in all divisions, new equipment, etc.
The list could go on with a number of other small changes, but I will stop there. A lot of things are new around Dalat right now, but my hope for our new families is that very soon it will no longer feel like a “new” school but instead will feel like “home.”
Have a great weekend, and please make sure to join us next Friday for the Dalat Open House.