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2012-13

Namaste.  My pranams to all those present here.  My heartfelt welcome to our Director, Smt. Geetha Muthiah.  A special welcome to our guests, parents, staff, students and our alumnae.

I cherish my role as a principal, for, among numerous other privileges, it also grants me the honour of being under the limelight for a few minutes during one of the most significant events on the school calendar. While I stand here , my voice brimming with pride, poised to  take you through  the highlights of the year gone by, those who have played a pivotal role in making all these possible are  back stage, in the audience and outside this hall , multitasking, as usual, to ensure the success of yet another HS event. My humble salutations to them.

2012, unlike many other years, began on a nail biting, suspenseful note. We were filled with apprehension and trepidation as we awaited word from the council regarding the introduction of class XI. In spite of initiating the paper work as early as September of the previous session, inevitable delays dragged the process on. However, we were granted approval soon after the inspection in June and the ISC chapter began in HSV with Ms.Bhargavi, an alumnus, who returned to join the commerce stream, in spite of having started high school elsewhere. A privileged student, I should say, for she was the focus of all our attention at the senior secondary level. The science stream sprang to life with Ms.Harini joining us soon thereafter. In the span of 9 years CHSV has successfully grown from a Junior and primary school to a higher secondary institution. An achievement we are proud of.

More accomplishments came our way with Hari Shree being conferred the prestigious Global School Partnership Honors Award by the British Council for the BEST use of technology in a school partnership.  This award, in recognition of our effort towards instilling a global dimension into the learning experience of our children, was the fruit of the year long-labor in the previous academic session by Mrs.SB & Mrs.MN, facilitators of the partnership with Blackfen School, UK.  More accolades came our way as a result of the exemplary work by Hari Shree for the FTF foundation. Due to the relentless efforts of Mrs. PushpaGopal , our special programs coordinator, we have been  honoured with  an ’Outstanding’ certification from the Tony Blair Faith Foundation for our contribution as a LEAD school in the South Zone. This global peace initiative was piloted in all our 5 group schools in Karur.  Due to our efforts, this year has seen these schools engaging in meaningful dialogues with students in UK, Australia, SriLanka, Lebanon and Pakistan.  Nominated by the British Council as a British Council schools Ambassador, for the third consecutive year, Hari Shree has been on the panel of the International School Award Review committee. We made our presence felt at the recent review in Kolkatta.

Our sustained effort in keeping alive the Global School Partnership programs with the UK schools are further evidence of our international inspirations.  As proof of the quality collaborative work between the grade VIII students of Hari Shree and Blackfen Senior School, the school received a grant for reciprocal visits from the British Council., enabling Ms.Lola Blatch and Ms.Katie Scott from Blackfen to spend a week with us.  Our teacher coordinators of this project, Mrs. Hema Malini and Mrs. Sivagamasundari, are set to visit Blackfen in May.  Here’s wishing them Bon Voyage.

As you know, the partnership between us and Holywell Primary School in Loughborough, established in 2009, is already well underway and has successfully moved into its third phase.  The partner schools have received a grant of £ 3000 to facilitate collaborative projects involving class 5 children.  Mrs.Padmaja Mani and Mrs.Jayanthi Natarajan spent a week at Holywell in the month of December, gathering ideas on best teaching practices.  As a completion to this phase of the project, we hosted Ms.Sarah Hant and Mrs.Joanne Westaby from Holywell last month. To place it on records, a total of over 450 HS children have been directly engaged and have benefitted from the enriching experiences that these varied partnerships have brought us.

Our engagement with the wider world didn’t end there. This year, we explored global projects across the subject streams. Consequently, each department established connections with one country around the world and planned projects that naturally integrated with the curriculum. The project on the middle-east was spearheaded by the English department. Math dept chose to explore Singapore while the Hindi dept. selected Germany. China was the choice for the Social studies dept and Srilanka for the Tamil dept. The children interacted with their counterparts in the chosen countries and regions and engaged in a comparative analysis of our nation vis-a vis these foreign countries.

In an effort to promote global awareness and the role of faith in their lives and in the lives of others with different social, cultural and religious perspectives, we continued with the Face to Faith programme with the support of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.  Our students from class VI connected with students from The Commonweal School, UK in a series of videoconferences.  Class VII students engaged in several video conferences with GEMS world Academy, Dubai, and The Salvatorian Sisters School and The Irfan School, Lebanon exploring issues that ranged from understanding their community, inspirations, role models to women’s empowerment and child labour.  I am delighted to share with you that to sustain this momentum and open up more windows to such leaning, a fully equipped videoconferencing room is being planned by the management in the new block.

As you know, we are constantly on the lookout for opportunities that will enable us to fine tune our teaching-learning process and one such chance that we have capitalized on is the Action Research Project .  Our strong ties with the British Council were strengthened further with Ms.Meenakshi Nagaraj HoD English dept. taking up this project which has paved the way for learning, for her as well as the other teachers at Hari Shree. Her area of study focuses on identifying learning styles and adopting teaching styles in accordance. We are hopeful that the impact of this study will be transferred to other levels and other subjects.

In the same spirit of revamping academics, under the leadership of Mrs.Bharathi Parameswaran, HoD Social Studies dept., ventured with ANVESHANA which literally translates as “to probe”. Aptly named, this educational plan exclusively for classes 4 and 5 is aimed at kindling the natural inquisitiveness in children and to use curiosity as a vehicle for learning. The objectives of ANVESHANA can be summed up as -

To
develop problem solving techniques
discover facts through research
make deductions
emerge as independent and confident learners.

Such a decision meant rethinking the entire paradigm. This entailed doing away of textbooks for Social studies and having the syllabus designed in a way that will help the students construct a knowledge base while redefining their orientation and attitude towards the subject. This also made it a non-examination subject.

As one may guess, while there were supporters from the parent community for such a daring move, we were also at the receiving end of discouraging comments from those who were apprehensive of the need for and the possible outcomes of such a radical shift. Having witnessed the ways in which the children engaged with this subject in the course of the year, we can confidently claim to having been successful in the baby steps we have taken and are inspired to explore further, across the curriculum and levels. A somewhat similar venture, under the guidance and supervision of Ms Shobana Murali, Head of department , Science,  in the teaching of Science in classes 4 and 5 using Oxford publication as the basis, also proved fruitful and has spearheaded the move for an identical approach to EVS in classes 2 and 3 for the upcoming session. Hari Shree innovations do not stop there. Ms.Jasmine has framed a computer curriculum for classes 2 & 3 to meet this age group’s requirements for more challenging and engaging modules. Simultaneously, Class 9 & 10 computer application elective was further enhanced with many visual modules designed by Mrs.Jasmine to enhance learning of abstract concepts and promote retention.. The Math dept has launched a website for students of class 9 and 10. The website has regular updates on daily lessons, leads to solve math home work problems, weekly worksheets, announcements, and sample question papers.  Students login to this site using their individual login id and passwords. According to Ms. Shobana Balaji, HoD Maths, who launched and manages this website, the children are making effective use of this support system.  We regard this encouraging involvement on the student’s part as a spur to sustain this effort for the upcoming session.

At the secondary level, technology, in the form of Interactive Smart Boards, made a positive impact by aiding learning across the subjects, a boon especially for the visual learners, as confirmed by Mrs Meenakshi’s action research. Though ongoing support was provided for the teaching staff, some remained comfortable with blackboard teaching while some others chose to use the smart board for projection rather than for interactive learning. In an effort to promote more teachers to join the bandwagon of the smart board culture we are devising ways of incorporating more technology oriented lessons leaving our teachers with very few opportunities to opt out. “Devising” may sound rather devious and I hate to admit that is what it is! We are obliged to do justice to the huge budget that the management has sanctioned for the investment in this technology, all in good faith; as well as ensure that these additions benefit the target group, our children. The momentum of the futuristic classroom is being carried forward with more Smart Boards next year. That means one in each of the classrooms from classes 8 to 10.

To further complement the learning process in the core subjects- Maths, Chemistry and Physics; Mrs Geetha recommended that we invite guest lecturers with subject expertise to interact with the graduating class. We had a trial program in the recent weeks and the feedback on these sessions, held over 3 Saturdays, has been encouraging and we are hopeful of sustaining this initiative in a more refined manner. Though the sessions till date seem oriented towards getting the children ready for the council examination, keeping in view the aim of this venture, we will strive towards ensuring a wider exposure to the topic instead of narrowing it down to the examination.  Parents, we will appreciate support from you in delivering these classes as well as welcome recommendations of resource people for the same.

On the language front, the recent revision in the council’s second language policy and the ensuing opportunity for non NRI children to offer a foreign language for the ICSE examinations has been eagerly embraced by parents bringing our enrollment in French from72 this year to 122 for the next session. The group of French students to take the ICSE 2014 council exams will be our first batch.

Another milestone for us.

The Samsktritam children, at the end of the second consecutive year, are progressing rather impressively. Our special thanks to the Samkritam and French teachers for ensuring a smooth transition to these languages.

To enhance academic support the resource room was set up two years ago. The school mentor, Mohana Narayanan, along with our special educator, Krithika Viswanathan, together with the teachers, have been engaged in the tedious process of identifying children who will benefit from a remedial program to enable them to meet grade level expectations. This support system, aimed at helping our children bridge the gap, has been received with mixed reactions. The apparent progress of the current batch of children who have been regular to the remedial sessions gives us the confidence that such timely intervention and effective action on the school’s part will be more welcome by the parents in future. It is commendable that the management has been extremely supportive in this venture and has been funding this program.

Moving beyond academics, here is a brief glimpse at the path traversed this year. The launch of an innovative Music Programme by  Brhaddhvani has brought about applaudable  changes to the music classroom, literally as well, with the setting up of the Music Lab equipped with 8 systems and an exclusive software  that maintains a vast database designed to hone the listening skills and the understanding of music.  The organization’s faculty worked in tandem with the school’s music facilitator in rendering the lessons and monitoring the effectiveness of the programme. An integration between Music and Art is reflected in the art work on display in the campus and at present, we are engaged in a dialogue with Brhaddhvani to integrate music into the academic subjects in the primary grades, to begin with.

We ushered in Freeplay at the lower levels to promote physical activity on a daily basis and to curb the restlessness the children seem to exhibit in the classroom. During this slot, children play games and sports of their choice with peer groups they select. Most of the time, with more than one group out at play and the play space being the central courtyard, this plan worked well for them but the rest of the school had to cope with the noise it  generated. Soon, the construction workers will be vacating the sheds in the play ground and we are eagerly looking forward to a larger area for the physical activity periods. The outlook gets more positive. There is an ongoing feasibility study for the laying of a new basketball court and a cricket pitch too.

With the aim of giving our children an effective beginning to the day we had invited Mr. Ravishankar from Yoganidhi Organisation to empower students with yoga-inspired exercises. The teachers and students were initiated into the routine and compromises were made in the timetable to release more time for this session at the start of the day. Despite these efforts and immense support from the management, we were compelled to conclude the program at the end of the trial period owing to a lack of  enthusiasm and involvement on the part of the children.  We are exploring alternative programs that would contribute to enhancing the holistic well-being of our children and thus tackle  some of the challenges we face with regard to discipline related issues. Our efforts in this direction will continue, especially since student welfare has always been one of the priorities with us.

More initiatives include – A series of panel discussions from various fields, for parents of the primary grade children, coordinated by Ms. Mohana Narayanan, the school mentor. A panel of experts engaged our parents in a dialogue which focused on parenting issues. As for the session involving class 6 parents, the children were participants too. It is noteworthy that the children’s response, comments and questions took many of us by surprise and shock, should I say?

To inculcate civic mindedness and the spirit of social service, the Interact Club, a youth wing chapter of the Rotary Club of Madras Temple City, was formally inaugurated on campus. The highlight of the inauguration was the induction of the 9 office bearers of the Executive Committee & 20 volunteers who are Hari Shree Vidyalayam’s student representatives in this Club.…The Interactors visited the village school adopted by the Rotary at Chinnambedu. The purpose of this visit was to meet the local school children to understand their needs.  With the objective of setting up a library for the village children, Hari Shree Interact club members have been engaged in several fund raising efforts. Let’s wish them well on this noble mission.

In the course of the upcoming session, our student members will be working on similar public service projects.  Having observed these children in their role and based on feedback from the coordinator, I am obliged to share with you that this team is yet to internalize the objectives of the club and to contribute in tandem with it.  Well, no venture is free of initial hiccups and we are hopeful that with encouragement, motivation and insistence from the home front the CHSV interact  club will make its presence felt within the school  and in the wider community.

The prefectorial board, with the generous support and efforts of, parents and the teachers in-charge, Mrs. Bharathi Parameswaran and Mrs.Vijaya Dhayakar, has managed to raise Rs.87,000 through the New Year Carnival.  Your generosity will go towards funding several charity organizations.  Thank you parents and teachers.  A special mention here of those  who have been contributing in every way possible way – be it coordinating class activities and newsletter, annual day programs or accompanying our children on trips, you are there for us.

ThankYou.

On the Sports front, Hari Shree hosted the Tamil Nadu Annual Regional Tennis Tournament which saw the participation of 9 ICSE & 3 ISC schools from across the state. The event took place at SDAT Tennis Stadium, Nunngambakkam. Rusmi Chakravarthy, the accomplished tennis player was the special guest. Lawn tennis has been introduced by the council for the inter school competitions for the first time this year and HSV is the first host of this event in Tamil Nadu. Our efforts have been applauded by the Regional Association of ICSE Schools, I am proud to say.

With that, let’s move on to catch a glimpse of the year ahead. CHSV will celebrate its tenth year in the new session. More rejoicing comes our way with the completion of the second block which  will house 24 classrooms, a fully air conditioned    auditorium cum multi purpose hall, an additional  library, a state of the art audio visual lab for video conferencing  and one more computer lab.

One more section in  class  3 & 10 and the introduction of class 12 welcomes  ‘Desh’ ,‘Sitar’, ‘Neelambari’ & ‘Hamasadwani” environments.  To reiterate, at the inception of Hari Shree Vidyalayam it was decided that the school will ultimately have 4 sections at each grade level and the recent infrastructure development paves way for the realization of these plans.

In accordance with the stipulations of the council, Art will form a part of the curriculum up to class 10 and the Socially useful Productive Work that takes the form of the community projects till class 8 will be reflected in the child’s overall progress in school. Students are to be graded in programs that impart Moral and Value Education. The grading will also take into account the students’ decorum and general behavior in school. We are hoping that these measures will enable us to combat discipline issues particularly in middle school and in the senior grades. A recent worrying development is the conduct of our children in cyber space. The flip side of social networking is something the children seem oblivious to, judging by their attitude and ignorant ways. Plans are underway to educate them and the parents in this regard. Since bypassing the cyber highway seems almost impossible I am sure you will agree that we need to educate ourselves and our children on these pertinent areas. We are certain of your cooperation in this collaborative effort.

A part of our evolution as an institution that aims at setting its standard high, we will stay committed to constantly reviewing the existing practices, to fine tune them, while exploring new dimensions.

I shall conclude now by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to the management. Dr M.A.M Ramaswamy, Chairman, the Chettinad Group, for his  blessing; Shri M.A.M.R Muthiah for being a pillar of strength and especially our director, Smt Geetha for her support and trust in all of us. My appreciation of the relentless efforts of Hari Shree  team member, teaching and admin staff alike.  Thank you for your adventurous spirit and dedication, without which we may not have been able to take on challenges. It is a privilege to be working alongside you.

I take this opportunity to express our special thanks to those leaving us, Mrs.Sahana, Ms…Vaishnavi, Mrs.Nagapriya, Mrs.Archana Das, Mrs.Geeta Asokakumar, Mrs. Sunita Gladson and Mrs.Sagayamary. Thank you for your service to the school.  We wish you luck. To the graduating batch, I have to say we look forward to having you join us on the next phase of your journey and for those moving on, Best Wishes and keep in touch; we are hopeful that you will be contributing members of the HSV alumni.

I seek Ishwara’s blessing for a wonderful year ahead.

May I invite MrsShobana Balaji to share some of the illustrious performance of our children in 2012-13.

Thank you. Have a great evening.

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