iMPAct Newsletter November 2010

Table of Contents

    In Honor of Satya Amrit Singh (1983-2010)

    Many have heard by now that our beloved and enlightened Khalsa brother, Satya Amrit Singh, passed away a little less than a week ago. We would like to express our deepest gratitude for all the work he has done in the little time he spent here at Miri Piri Academy. From the moment the kids arrived for the school year, to the moment he passed away, he was constantly serving and uplifting the 100+ people at the school. Daily, he did Sat Nam Rasayan with the growing boys, or counseled rebelling teenage girls, or played beautiful music for the whole school to sing and meditate to. As hard as it is to become a make-shift parent for growing leaders, he always smiled, always had kind words, always a positive outlook on challenges that arose. As a staff member, mentor, friend, brother and teacher, those were invaluable and critical virtues that kept the entire school exalted.

    He had a strong and passionate interest in La Bandera De La Paz (Banner of Peace),

    International Day of Peace Celebration

    which is a symbol of the Roerich Pact, a pact that is dedicated to protection of artistic and scientific institutions as well as historical monuments. On World Peace day, the school had the honor of participating in this event by making the sign of the banner, chanting to Guru Ram Dass, and making group artwork; all organized by Satya Amrit. That day and event brought such a change in the consciousness of the entire group.

    His service, compassion and smile will be forever remembered and revered.  The students have been meditating daily and have created a wall of remembrance in the center of the academic block to share their memories and thoughts about him.  The daily meditations will end on November 12th, the 17th day after his death, in accordance with Sikh tradition, and will culminate with a special service in his memory.

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

    Students post their memories of Satya Amrit Singh

    MPA students looking at Satya Amrits' remembrance wall

    The students are doing a special meditation for Satya Amrit Singh for 17 days.

    Back to the Classroom for an Enriching Experience

    by Kirandeep Kaur

    Principal of Academics

    Kirandeep Singh, Academic Principal

    As part of the continuous professional development program, supported by Miri Piri Academy, I am currently enrolled with CIE (Cambridge International Examinations, UK) for a 5 week online “Assessment for Learning” course. Since a major focus at MPA, this year, is to promote Assessment for Learning (introducing teachers to formative assessment strategies), I selected this course to work towards that goal. The aims of the course are: to consider the different purposes of the assessments you do; to give you an understanding of some principles of Assessment for Learning; to enable you to evaluate the practical uses of within your own classroom; to allow you to discuss your own professional development and share challenges with CIE colleagues worldwide.

    As an integral part of the course, I had to submit an assignment which involved planning a lesson, teaching the lesson and to note evidence of student learning. I also had to describe the evidence which enabled me to assess the students’ learning. For this assignment I worked with grade 10 on “The Yellow Wall Paper” by Charlotte Perkins, an English Literature story from their text. The teaching which lasted 4 days was an absolutely elevating experience for me. Being a teacher first and an administrator second, I don’t think I have taken pleasure in and  received gratification from any other activity, as I did teaching this class. I was amazed, as I worked with our extremely bright students, to see them engaged in meaningful conversations which resulted in high quality work being presented.

    During the 4 days of teaching, I had opened my class for teacher observations and all through this period I had an involved and curious audience of teachers attending. It truly was an enriching experience for me and I thank my students for making it so incredible that I want to soar right back into teaching.

    Here is what Ramneek Kaur, a student of grade 10, shared about the class taught by Kirandeep.

    A teacher you can learn from is hard to find, but not impossible. Last week we had a chance to be taught by Kirandeep and what I can say is that they were some of the best English classes my peers and I have had.

    I would wake up every morning bursting with excitement for that “one” English class. I knew I would be learning something new every day, which kept me interested and ready to learn. The way that my peers and I sum up those 4 days of class is “that we all actually learnt”.

    A teacher has to want to teach, no one is good at anything when they are forced and I believe everyone has a teacher in them. Kirandeep has the enthusiasm, spirit and longing to teach. She kept us all motivated and inspired to learn.

    We learnt the story “The Yellow Wall Paper” and it was taught in such a way that I will never forget it.  At the end of the week, my peers and I all loved the experience and we had a lot of fun with it. Thanks Kirandeep.

    I would like to say here in the words of C.P. Bedford “You can teach a student a lesson a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning as long as he lives.” This is the impact Kirandeep’s classes had on us.

    Devneet Singh, one of the teachers who attended the classes, had this to add:

    Kirandeep Kaur began the first day with an exciting short activity to stimulate enthusiasm, promote thinking and to engage the students. Nothing was imposed on the students and they were persuaded to study and were motivated to learn gradually. She created a co-operative environment in the class and got her students interested. Students also took responsibility for their learning by involving themselves in making the classroom a positive atmosphere for learning.

    To make lessons interesting, active student engagement strategies were used. Students were engaged with hands on activities that enhanced the lesson’s objective. I was enthralled to see the students on their toes with their minds ticking. The worksheets given corresponded to the full range of learner’s needs. At the end of each class Assessment for Learning techniques such as self assessment, peer assessment, checking written responses and providing positive feedback were used.

    Kirandeep had an understanding of students’ educational needs. She had adopted the principle of ‘our class’ and not ‘my class’.

    It was an exemplary learning experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed being in her classroom.

    New Staff at MPA

    Ongkar Singh Teske will be arriving at the school on November 5th, 2010 to fill

    Ongkar Singh at his graduation ceremony.

    the position of Assistant Mukhya Jethadar for the intermediate boys. A recent graduate of Miri Piri Academy, he is a natural leader and a very solid and responsible young man.  He is very excited to have this opportunity to serve at the school and we are confident that he will be a great example and loving caretaker for our students.

    Jaap Khalsa Gardner

    Jaap Khalsa Gardner from Espanola, New Mexico has joined our MPA team as assistant to Saraswati Khalsa, Director of Marketing and Admissions. We are very grateful to Pooja Vohra for all of her hard work and help to ensure both students and parents needs were met.  Jaap Gardner will now be answering your questions and concerns, and assisting with the admissions process for all new and returning students.  You can continue to contact the office at [email protected]

    In addition to her part time  position with MPA Jaap takes care of her husband and two children. She also runs the local ashram gift shop and owns her own real estate company. Some personal hobbies she enjoys are trail running, cooking, eating, hanging out with friends and sitting in the sun!  She is honored to be in service to MPA and looks forward to learning more about the school and how she can be of greater service.

    Highlights from the Blog

    Remembering Satya Amrit Singh

    Remembering Satya Amrit Singh

    With the permission of Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa, Mr Sikhnet, we are reprinting this beautiful tribute to our friend and brother Satya Amrit Singh who died yesterday.  He was loved by friends and family all over the world. Remembering Satya Amrit Singh Posted by Gurumustuk Singh on Oct 26th, 2010 at Earlier this year I […]

    Miri Piri Academy students celebrating the 2010 Guru Ram Dass Parkash Utsav at the annual Nagar Kirtan and at Darbar Sahib.

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    Parkarma Seva

    Published on 19 October 2010 by Guru Amrit Ramos in Blog

    Parkarma Seva

    Every year, there comes a time when we all wake up at two in the morning to go humbly wash the floors of Sri Harmandir Sahib, most commonly known as The Golden Temple. The Golden Temple gets as many as 10,000 visitors a day, and triple fold on holidays and special celebration, which are common […]

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    Focus on Learning

    Published on 13 October 2010 by kirandeep in Blog

    Focus on Learning

    When teachers and administrators have a common vision of “focusing on student success and improving student learning”, a powerful collaborative team is essential to make that vision a reality.  The MPA Professional Learning Community-Focus on Learning team was created on 13th October, 2010 with the following members:  Bhupinderjeet Kaur, Devneet Singh, Gagandeep Kaur, Gurinder Singh, […]Continue Reading