Dear Parents,
Mid-term treks Sept 28th to Oct 2nd
This time of year, ahead of the mid-terms, we always keep a close eye on the weather conditions. Last year we had to adjust three of the routes for private parties and we made a few groups take an adult with them. 445 link roads are closed and only this week, 180 people had to be rescued and 13 people were killed in the hills here because of the volume of water that has been brought on by the monsoon.
This year, along with the rest of the state, we have had to respond to the High Court and the HoFF order that has banned camping in the high altitude, alpine and sub alpine meadows across Uttarakhand from August 28th. This has made it impossible for any of our planned mid-terms to take place. It is disappointing for all of us, as it is a core component of what The Doon School offers its students, but we need to comply with these orders like everyone else.
We will instead continue school as usual, with the academic classes in the mornings and the community service outings (some of which were planned for mid-terms), sports, drama and music practices for Founders as usual in the afternoons and evenings.
As has been the practice for sometime, mid-terms were optional for the SC Form, some taking the opportunity to return home to study and work towards their SATs and ACTs. Now that we will be running school as normal, we expect the SC Form to be present. Classes will continue as normal, as will SAT support and they will be involved in the Founders music and play rehearsals as well as their IPSC tournaments.
I am aware that some of you have made bookings and travel arrangements because the time was available, but we are asking that you cancel what you can and reschedule for the break after Founders. If there is anything that you cannot rebook or reschedule, we will work with you on an individual basis to give an approved absence once we have seen the confirmation of your planning or reservation.
I really am sorry about the inconvenience, but like the moving of the examinations last year because of the elections (and we will wait and see what happens in 2019) we couldn’t have planned for this.

Other news from school…
We have had our first round of PTMs with the S and SC Form the week before last. One of the key messages to share was that we will be working to strengthen the academic performance of the boys in the run up to their examinations. We will do this by helping them manage their timelines and deadlines for internally assessed work more carefully, by focusing on areas or particular papers that our analysis of the results have highlighted as underperforming and by limiting their involvement in some of the things that pull on their time.
We know that many of our boys are doing so much because they believe they are valuable to them. In the last few weeks I have been writing university recommendations for my tutor group and have seen that the 9 page CVs they give me, when edited for repetition and doubling-up, amount to only two pages of original and distinct endeavours. Five publications, four MUNs, three teams, five trips in the summer for summer schools and three internships… when looked at as learning experiences, 20 things might boil down to only 5. Often it is chasing after positions, titles and key-words for a CV that takes a boy away from the experiences and learning that colleges and employers are actually looking for; and we hear this from the universities themselves! Our culture of trying to do and be everything does not help. The feedback that I hear each year from the graduating class, the night before they leave, is that they wish they had chased less prizes, done fewer things but spent more time doing the things that they loved with the people who mattered to them. Ah, wisdom!

We hosted our Careers and University Fair on Tuesday. 72 Universities come from around the world to meet our boys and 250 students from other schools in Dehradun. As well as the stalls that the universities set up there were several sessions on particular aspects of college applications that were led by some of the admissions officers.
We have had to deal with a couple of disciplinary issues in school involving e-cigarettes and student’s Instagram accounts recently that have highlighted the façade of discipline that some boys maintain. E-cigarettes, like other tobacco products, alcohol and drugs have no place in a school and while we will always support students who are struggling with issues and who reach out for help, we cannot help those who make a habit of making poor decisions.
The key to real, personal, discipline is being able to manage yourself and to do the right thing when no one is looking; that is what taking responsibility for yourself and others means. When I watched a psychology on Monday, I learned about the development of morality in children and how the pre-conventional stage is dominated by the fear of punishment and by self-interest.  In order to strengthen the moral compass of our boys we, and they, all need to be able to take responsibility for actions taken as well as the consequences and they certainly need to move beyond a punishment and self-interest approach.
I’m off to San Francisco and NY this weekend with our Chairman, DSOBS President and the team to touch base with our alumni there and share some of the projects in school that we would like their support with.


Matthew Raggett

The Doon School
The Mall Road
Dehradun-248 001