Welcome Back & Happy New Year!

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for an inspiring and eventful autumn term. December was an intense time here at SSHL as not only do our students have a busy social schedule in school and boarding, but the demanding end of term also requires their undivided attention.

After the mid-winter equinox, it seems that the days instantly begin to get longer. Finally! This, together with a 3 week break, will hopefully have given all our students a renewed boost of energy. At the end of our first week back, I can see that we have all returned with a new sense of purpose. I’m glad to see everyone safe and rested back at school.

New Beginnings

I believe all of us love new beginnings. It is something innately human. New beginnings awaken a feeling that we can approach the future with renewed energy, unburdened by the past. The New Year always fills us with a sense of adventure and hope. You only have to look up quotes and meditations about new beginnings on the internet to see that it is awash with all kinds ponderings of the power and importance of the chance to begin again.

Students, at the start of this term, I would like you to remember that we never stand still. What happens to us is important; but what we experience is so much based on our attitude to the things we encounter on life’s rich journey. It is important that we see the potential for change as liberating and an adventure, rather than something we need to fear.

The twentieth century poet T.S. Eliot compares the movement from old to new as if we were speaking in another voice and using another language.
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

Eliot’s poem is not just saying that we are all capable of learning a new language; it is a call to embrace possibilities. We are all capable of learning something new, of making a change for the better. Whether you’re seeking to improve a grade in a subject you’re struggling with, or perhaps looking to make the leap that will take you on to the university of your choice; perhaps you’re just looking to make a difference on the football pitch! This January, make it a January for new beginnings. Embrace the possibilities that 2018 holds for you. All of us at SSHL can do different, can be better. Let’s meet that challenge together.

Have a wonderful spring term!

Margret Benedikz,
Director, SSHL

Skolan har kommit igång på riktigt

Det har varit en underbar höst på Sigtunaskolan Humanistiska Läroverket. Internateleverna har gjort sig hemmastadda och undervisningen har börjat. Undervisningen är nu inne på terminens tredje vecka och alla har vant sig vid internatrutinerna.


Det är viktigt för oss alla att komma ihåg att vid starten av varje nytt läsår så är en tredjedel av eleverna nya på skolan. Få andra organisationer går igenom en sådan drastisk förnyelse varje år. Som lärare lever vi i denna värld av föränderlighet. Med detta i åtanke och för skolans framgång främjar vi kollegialitet och öppenhet. Vi räds inte förändringar och vi njuter av förmånen att få arbeta med våra ungdomar.

Vår inställning till just förändring är oerhört viktig. Vi ser fram emot starten på det nya skolåret och möjligheten att få träffa många nya medlemmar i skolans gemenskap. Särskilt för SSHL är att våra elever kommer från många olika länder och bakgrunder. Detta ser vi som en stor styrka.

Gemenskapen på skolan och internatet är grundläggande för elevernas upplevelse av skolan. Betydelsen av gemenskap kan inte överskattas. Det är därför viktigt att samtliga nya elever blir sedda och får känslan av tillhörighet. Aldrig förr har skolor ålagts så mycket ansvar som nu, när vi gått från en utilistisk syn på utbildning, där eleverna lärt sig hur man gör för att få höga betyg, till en mer holistisk syn på utbildning där vi ser på människan som helhet.

Idag har varit en dag av festligheter. På mentorsdagen har mentorerna arbetar med teambuilding samtidigt som eleverna har lärt känna elever från skolans andra klasser. Våra äldre elever har stöttat oss genom att jobba med förberedelser av många av de tävlingar och evenemang som gjorde dagen till en njutningsfull och rolig dag för alla. Det är karnevalanda i luften.

Pågående skolverksamhet uppdateras kontinuerligt på skolans hemsida och på Facebook. Det är också viktigt för föräldrar på den svenska sektionen av skolan att kontrollera all information i Schoolsoft och föräldrar på den internationella delen bör kontrollera ManageBac.

Vi ser fram emot att träffa alla på föräldradagen, 14 oktober. Mer information kommer att skickas ut inom kort.

School Director Margret Benedikz writes…

I was in London a couple of week’s ago along with Eddy Johansson (principal) as we were hosting a Friends of SSHL reception, together with the SSHL Alumni Association for alumni and parents living in the UK. The reception was held at Aquavit restaurant with the generous support of Coralie & Philip Hamilton. Many thanks to Marika Wäreborn for organising the event together with Caroline Lindahl.

Close to thirty people attended the reception, and Eddy and I had a chance to give everyone an update on the exciting things that are happening at SSHL. The school is continually developing and it’s important for us to keep our community up-to-date. Meeting up with friends of SSHL is not just a wonderful social occasion; it is also a great way of letting everyone know about the work that’s being done at SSHL. Parents and alumni play an important part in helping to spread the word about our school which in turn helps attract new students.

It was tremendous to meet so many friends and feel the strong support for the school and our community. We look forward to returning to London next year!

Germany, Dubai and Abu Dhabi and lots of interest in SSHL

Eddy Johansson was in Munich last week talking about SSHL whilst two house parents, Johanna Flink and Ola Olsson, are currently in Dubai. Many thanks to everyone who made this possible. We’re very grateful to the help and support we get from expat Swedish communities around the world. This, along with the marketing work we do, is really helping us to get the word out about education in Sweden and this in turn helps attract more potential students. We find that offering the opportunity to try boarding (”provbo”) is a great way for young people to see whether boarding at SSHL is the right option for them.

This year we’ve had to introduce an extra (4th!) weekend to accommodate the considerable interest in the school. The next group of potential students arrive March 23 and we look forward to welcoming them to the school. I am sure everyone at SSHL will make them most welcome.

Heading to Singapore & Japan

I will be speaking in Singapore and Japan before Easter about bilingualism. As I meet Swedish families around the world, it’s striking just how international both SSHL and Sweden is becoming. More and more of our students have strong ties to countries outside of Sweden, and as Sweden and the world changes, and with many of us embracing internationalism, it strengthens my belief in the work we are doing at the school. Our ethos, our status as an IB World School, as well as international school status within the Swedish education system, reflects the way in which SSHL is very much a school with an eye to what is happening globally in education. We are preparing our young people to not only prosper as they follow their chosen paths, but also go out and make a difference in the world. In the time that I have been at SSHL I have seen more and more interest in our international programmes. Clearly, no matter what is happening in the world, our young people are embracing the freedom of working within a global economy.

School Inspection

We were very pleased to welcome inspectors from the National Agency for Education in Sweden – Skolverket – to SSHL this week. They’ve been meeting with students and teachers, watching lessons and getting a real sense of what we’re doing here. The inspection is in line with the National Agency’s commitment to ensuring the quality of education at SSHL, just as other schools.

Parents Day

Saturday will see us welcoming parents to the spring term Parents Day on. It’s a wonderful chance for you as parents to meet with your children’s teachers and keep up with what is happening at the school. I hope to see as many of you as possible, whether during the day itself or at the Parents Association Dinner at Sigtuna Stiftelsen in the evening. Remember, there are two performances of this year’s drama production on in the afternoon. I hope you will make time to come and see the work the students have put in. Your support is greatly appreciated. You will find a full overview of the day’s programme here.

Very best wishes,
Margret Benedikz, Director

This post is only available in English

Welcome back!

vår-spring

Välkomna tillbaka! Jag hoppas att alla har njutit av ett härligt jullov. Även om det inte riktigt känns av utomhus ännu så har vi nu påbörjat vårterminen! Lektioner och aktiviteter går helt enligt tidsplan och du kan få en allmän översikt över vårens kalendarium här.

Den största förändringen i skolan denna termin är att Eddy Johansson under våren kliver in i rollen som tf. rektor och Thomas Persson blir internatchef. Vi önskar dem all lycka med sina nya arbetsroller denna termin.

Nu i januari förbereder vi oss på att välkomna cirka 35 provboelever till internatet. Det är alltid lika härligt att få visa upp SSHL för blivande elever och jag är säker på att vi alla kommer att få dem att känna sig välkomna!

Dessutom har vi öppet hus den 28:e januari (kl 10 till kl 14). Öppet hus är inte bara till för blivande gymnasieelever, utan också för de familjer som vill lära sig om vår grundskola. Den 28 januari får du möjlighet att se våra underbara lokaler och prata med lärare och elever.

Slutligen – detta är en viktig termin, i synnerhet för niondeklassare och utgående gymnasieelever. Ni står inför den sista terminen på era utbildningar: jag vill påminna er om att lägga ner ordentligt med arbete på era kurser. Det är aldrig för sent att skapa förändring! Det kommer att finnas gott om tid att fira i maj! Njut av denna termin trots pressen och arbetet som krävs. Även om det ibland kan kännas som att det hela blir för mycket så vet jag att era lärare och vänner finns här för att stödja er.

Jag önskar alla en framgångsrik och härlig vårtermin!

Margret Benedikz

Skolchef, SSHL

God jul och gott nytt år

Nu när julen närmar sig har vi haft nöjet att delta i flera underbara evenemang här på skolan. Terminsavslutningen var magisk. Jag kan inte låta bli att älska traditionen med att tända ett ljus för varje elev och medarbetare över hela skolområdet. När ljusen glittrar i mörkret, lyser skolan över hela Sigtuna.

Det var inte bara terminsavslutningen som förde oss samman. Julspexet var mycket roligt, och det var härligt att fira elevernas akademiska och idrottsliga framgångar förrförra veckan.

För mig är höjdpunkten av julfirandet på SSHL, som alltid, lucia i Mariakyrkan. Det är en sannerligen fantastisk händelse som verkligen sammanför oss här på skolan omslutna av skenet från levande ljus. Detta var ett privilegium och en glädje att skåda, och att döma av kommentarerna från de föräldrar som var där, så var det hela mycket lyckat. Tre saker slog mig mest av allt: antalet elever som deltar, deras entusiasm och glädje och kanske viktigast av allt, deras vilja att uppträda inför en publik tillsammans med sina vänner. För mig är denna entusiasm, detta engagemang och denna vilja själva kärnan i vår skola; det är också ett utmärkt sätt att stärka självförtroendet hos många.

Om ni inte har besökt vår Facebook-sida ännu och därmed missat de underbara bilder som Ville och Jon tog, så rekommenderar jag er att ta en titt där.

Tack till alla inblandade för denna framgång!

En mer tråkig nyhet är att vi fick ta farväl av rektor Johan Norvell på terminsavslutningen. Johan har varit hos oss på SSHL i 13 år och har gjort enorma bidrag till SSHL, både som lärare och medlem i ledningsgruppen.

Johan håller hög standard, säger vad han menar och är extremt lojal. Allt Johan har gjort har motiverats av målsättningen att hjälpa elever och att göra SSHL till en enastående skola. Så godhjärtad, vänlig, rolig och omtänksam som Johan är kommer han att saknas av både elever och personal och vi önskar honom all framgång på Bromma Gymnasium.

Nästa termin börjar måndagen den 9 januari på vanlig tid; internatelever ska återvända på eftermiddagen dagen innan.

Jag avslutar med att tacka er alla för ert stöd till SSHL denna termin och önskar just Dig en mycket god jul.

Margret Benedikz
Skolchef, SSHL

Greetings from Amsterdam

Welcome back from höstlov – autumn break – everyone! As always I hope you had a great half-term. Now that you’re rested, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. We have a lot to look forward to here at SSHL in the coming months.

The cold and snow have officially arrived in Sigtuna. In fact, we are on track for record snowfall in the month of November. But no matter the weather, there is always plenty to do, especially as we head towards Christmas.

I know the boarding homes are already looking forward to the traditional weekend when they make gingerbread houses and there’s Lucia to look forward to. Last year’s was wonderful as the video we made showed (it got over 200,000 views and was even being watched in July!) so this year we have a lot to live up to.

Go Royals!

sshl-necis-fotboll-2016

This week, I’m at NECIS in Amsterdam to meet with colleagues from other international schools but also cheer our varsity and junior varsity teams on. If you’ve not come across NECIS before, it is comprised of eleven schools from seven countries in northwest Europe, and provides students at SSHL to compete in a variety of sports and interact with a diverse group of their peers.

sshl-volleyboll-necis-2016

Watching our students compete at NECIS is one of the highlights of the sporting year. It’s a joy just to participate, but of course winning is good too! Soccer and volleyball tournaments commenced yesterday and run through Saturday. Best of luck to our student athletes competing in these tournaments.

Looking Ahead

Yes, it’s that time of the year again! Provbo begins next week, when many students will stay at SSHL for three days to try boarding. We always look forward to these sessions and see them as an opportunity for students to learn as much as possible about life at SSHL. Students who currently board love the chance to meet and bond with potential future house and classmates.

The last day to register for the upcoming Provbo was Friday, 11th November. If you missed out, you also have the chance to register for Provbo in January or April. If you’re considering an education at SSHL, this is one the best ways to find out if boarding is right for you!

Very best wishes,
Margret
Director, SSHL

Working With & For the IB

katrin fox IB

School Director Margret Benedikz talks to Katrin Fox, Diploma Programme School Services Manager AEM at The International Baccalaureate.

Margret caught up with Katrin at the IB Conference Team 2016 AEM Regional Conference, which took place in Barcelona.

Margret asks Katrin about the IB and just what makes it special.

IB Dip Programme

Discover why the IB is great preparation for university!

Making a Real Difference

barcelona-ib-program

Last week a number of my colleagues and I attended the 2016 IB Regional Conference in Barcelona. It was, as always, a fantastic opportunity to meet with colleagues and thought-leaders from the world of international education.

One of the speakers who most resonated with me was Dame Ellen MacArthur who, in 2005, became the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe.

MacArthur spoke passionately about the finite nature the resources our linear economy relies on and the important part education will how students must be encouraged to rethink the future. Ellen encouraged us to inspire young people to change, shape and even restore the world that we are living in as resources dwindle and competition to thrive increases.

I think many delegates came away from the conference invigorated and energised not just by Ellen’s keynote, but also the other sessions and workshops we attended. There is a great spirit at the IB and I genuinely felt that as we all said our goodbyes and headed back to our respective schools around the world, we did so with a renewed sense of determination to make a real difference to our students’ lives.

I am very proud of what we’re doing with the IB at SSHL: everyone involved in the running and teaching of the programme is committed to ensuring our pupils are fully equipped with the kind of skills Sweden and the world will need in the future. That’s not to say that we aren’t equally committed to the many Swedish national programmes that we run; indeed, I believe we are a richer school because of our diversity.

Many Thanks

I would like to thank the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Barcelona for hosting a small gathering for us whilst we were in Spain. Last Thursday evening we met with a small group of educators and business people to give them an insight into what we’re doing at SSHL.

Parents Day

I would also like to say just how much we are looking forward to Parents Day tomorrow. Many will come from just down the road here in Sigtuna to meet their children’s mentors and teachers, whilst others will fly in from abroad as well as long haul destinations.

Parents Day, just like Dekaddagen in the spring, is a wonderful reminder just how big a school community we really are. SSHL is not just students in the classroom: it’s every single one of us connected to the school.

On behalf of everyone at SSHL, if you’re coming tomorrow, I look forward to welcoming you.

Margret Benedikz
Director, SSHL

Life on the IB Diploma Programme

How is the IB Diploma programme

On this week’s podcast School Director Margret Benedikz talks to Beata Ankarcrona and Sara Svensson, who are both in the first year of the IB Diploma Programme at Sigtunaskolan Humanistiska Läroverket.

Margret talks to the girls about their choice of programme, the subjects they’re taking and the exciting CAS project they’ve just started work on.

The show gives listeners an idea of what it’s like to make the transition to the IB. If you haven’t taken the IB MYP at secondary school, you’ll get an insight into the set-up of the course and the kind of work involved. Beata and Sara also share their insight into what life is like at an internationally-minded school in Sweden.

Many thanks to Beata and Sara for taking the time to talk to Margret.

Visitors from Abroad at SSHL (Director’s Blog)

UK universities at SSHL 2016

It was wonderful to see so many students interested in the visit last week by some of the top British universities. We really appreciate it when universities come to visit us. It gives students an insight into the world of opportunities out there and something to really aim for with their studies.

We’re very lucky that during the course of the academic year a range of universities visit the school both from Britain and the US.

As well as the visits from speakers, we also run a number of talks during the year to help students put together their applications for foreign universities. Unlike here in Sweden, students have to write personal statements or submit extra work when applying. At SSHL we strive to ensure that our students are as fully prepared as they can be should they wish to study abroad.

In the last couple of years our graduates have gone on to study at such universities as Brown, Yale, NYU in the last couple of years in the US and a variety of places in the UK like UCL, Kings, Imperial and Exeter University.

Although the UK voted for Brexit earlier in the year, we don’t see this having a major impact on our students applying to study in the UK. Sweden has a long tradition of sending students to Britain and our guests always speak warmly about Swedish students.

In keeping with the visit from foreign universities, it was a pleasure to interview Lucy Parsons for the podcast last week. Lucy gave some very useful insights into applying to Oxbridge (the universities of Cambridge & Oxford) as well as sharing some of her best tips.

If you have not listened yet, I encourage you to do so.
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