Director’s Update – ISPP – International School of Phnom Penh



For February – April 2022
As we begin the last quarter of the academic year, our Grade 12 students had their last formal day of school on Friday 8th April. As such, I would like to congratulate the class of 2022 on the completion of their school-based education. We recognise that the last two years have brought many challenges and uncertainty for you. Both individually and collectively, you have been robust in your response, handling the emotional difficulties and anxiety that uncertainty brings. I know that this will stand you in good stead as you transition to the next stage of your education and life. We wish you well in your future endeavours.
As I write, we are seeing a reduction in covid cases both within Cambodia and neighbouring countries and it appears that we are now transitioning to a more regular type of on-campus schooling. We are excited about the opportunities that this will bring over the final quarter and feel optimistic for the new academic year.
In this article, I would like to share with you key developments in our strategic and operational planning as we look to the future, not just surviving the pandemic but emerging from it with optimism for the future. I will also summarise some of the feedback from students, parents and staff as we reflect on lessons learned throughout the pandemic.
Learning

ISPP was re-accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS), the Western Association of Schools and College (WASC) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization for the IB Primary Years (PYP), Middle Years (MYP) and Diploma Programmes (DP).
Inclusion at ISPP has been broadened and deepened to include in-house speech and language therapy and school psychological services, and professional development in learning inclusion. A valuable workshop on Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Justice was recently undertaken by our faculty.
The whole school English as an Additional Language (EAL) committee has completed its review of the provision of EAL and made recommendations for implementation. Additionally, the feedback from the whole school language committee is complete and is currently being reviewed for implementation.
A Secondary Learning Centre Leader role has been established to further develop the approach to a learning hub for the region.
IT infrastructure continues to be upgraded and a one-to-one Chromebook programme has been incorporated in Grades 4 and 5. Backend IT upgrades have also taken place.
Educational pathways and offerings as well as graduation diplomas are being reviewed

Community

An Outdoor Education Committee has completed its study and presented its recommendations to the administration and the Board. As a result, an Outdoor Education Director (incorporating a Community Access Leader) role has been created for 2022-2023 and an appointment was made.
Community access guidelines have also been reviewed to provide greater access to the campus to community members when possible.
Our scholarship programme continues with the selection process underway for students for entry to Grade 6 next year. The programme provides access to 3-4 students per year, aiming to have students in Grade 6 – 12. The students will take part in a preparation programme this summer. We currently have 19 students in Grades 6 – 9.
The whole school Community Pillar Coordinator is in place to have oversight of the strategic actions in the area of the community.
A Community Centre Committee, chaired by our incoming director, will be set up in the new academic year to review and develop options for this project, which is part of our strategic plan. 
The Parent Committee Organisation (PCO) Terms of Reference are being re-envisioned with an approach that includes grade level and language area representatives for full initiation at the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year.

Environment

Eco-School green flag re-accreditation has been achieved.
Greater alignment between the Environmental Action Committees (EAC) across ES and SS is being developed.
We continue to seek dialogue with EDC and the Ministry of the Environment to reduce and or remove the environmental tariff on solar energy. We have made changes to mitigate part of the tariff and our student EACs are seeking support from the Prime Minister for ISPP’s approach to solar development.
Additional buses have been purchased to increase bus service use when permitted by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

Wellbeing

Our Child Protection Policy and Safe Schools Procedures Handbook have been updated.
All faculty, support staff, board members and contract staff have completed child protection courses online, either in English or Khmer.
A whole school Well-being Coordinator is in place, with oversight of the pillar’s strategic actions to ensure aligned and coordinated support. Well-being audits will be conducted in the new year and several teams are involved in flourishing the school’s professional development programme.
The Staff Wellbeing Committee has ensured well-being activities were included in both our orientation and in-service programmes for all staff.
The Secondary school counselling team has been restructured vertically – Grades 6 through 9 and Grades 10 through 12.
We are waiting for the appropriate materials to upgrade the ES playground equipment.

Governance Leadership and Strategy

ISPP’s legal restructuring process is nearly complete and will be in place before the end of the academic year. 
A Trustee Governance, Leadership and Strategic Planning Handbook is in development and will be finalised for use by the beginning of 2022-23. 
The annual review and update of the Board’s Policy Manual are underway with Standard Operating Procedures for both Finance and Human Resources being initiated and finalised.
Director and Board transitions are working to ensure continuity and the maintenance of positive relationships.
The Board of Trustees has provided appropriate governance, level oversight and support for the Director and Administration Team in the conduct of all planned and unexpected school business, including implementation of the Strategic Plan 2020-2024 and matters arising from the covid-19 pandemic.
Aspects of ISPP’s Strategic Plan, accreditation and operational planning have been consolidated into a whole school development plan which is reviewed and updated regularly.

Finance Facilities and Resources (including Human Resources)

A long term (8 years) financial plan is being developed to take into account strategic planning goals, operating and capital expenditures as well as long term cash flow.
A zero-based budgeting process has been implemented.
Finance Standard Operating Procedures Manuals have been developed, approved and implemented. 
A risk management framework has been developed and implemented for the annual updates.
Cash flow is being managed to ensure maximum returns on surplus liquidity.
Facilities have been upgraded and developed, including additional elevators (in the Learning Centre and the Black Box Theatre), two additional buses, and toilet/bathroom additions including two gender-neutral bathrooms. A workshop is currently being constructed and should be completed before the new academic year.
New information systems that can be integrated are in the final stages of the implementation process. This includes PowerSchool (central admin system), SAP (accounting system) and Unified Talent (human resources system). Options for school fees to be paid via ABA have been added.
The formal benchmarking process for salaries and benefits for faculty and support staff is taking place.
HR Standard Operating procedures manuals are being developed and finalised.
An updated faculty professional appraisal process continues to be piloted and the staff system is under review.

Reputation: Admissions, Marketing, Communications and Advancement

ISPP’s updated admissions policy continued to be monitored for impact.
A strategic planning communication pamphlet providing a higher-level overview of our approach has been developed and distributed to all stakeholders.
Our first “Year in Review” (annual report) has been developed and distributed
Key areas and updates have been focused on and published in different editions of The Pulse.

In addition, we recently conducted a “Lessons Learned Survey” for students, parents, teachers and support staff. We sought to draw out themes across different cohort groups and the themed responses can be found here.
As we move forward, this feedback and the recommendations from our accreditation reports will be incorporated into our approach and whole school development plan.
As we approach the end of the school year, I would like to wish the members of our community who are planning a move to a different school and/or country all the very best with your transitions and as that you keep in contact with us here at ISPP. Whether your stay was a long or a short one, you have enriched our school community and your touch will have an impact on this school forever. Please come back and visit us sometime in the future. ISPP as a school seems to have a permanent hold on all those who spend time here and you will always be welcome. This academic year is also my last at ISPP and I look back fondly, having grown both personally and professionally over my time here. I will always have a special place in my heart for ISPP, Phnom Penh and Cambodia.
With kind regards,
Gareth



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