Dear Parents,
Last week was a busy one of travel for the regional Friends of the Round Square AGM meeting, a Board meeting in Delhi and then to Udaipur for the ScooNews Global Educators Fest. 
Friends of RS is a group of school Principals and RS Coordinators who meet to review and allocate financial support to school service projects like the Sankalp Project work at Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya that is being scaled up in other schools or the Kerala Social Service Project hosted by The Lawrence School, Lovedale which saw our students help in the construction of classrooms and toilets in Wayanad that were damaged during the Kerala floods in 2018. Anoop Bishnoi (‘75) chairs this group and hosted the AGM.
The Board meeting, one of the four Delhi based meetings we have in the year, focused largely on the measures that we are taking to bring the academic rigour back into focus for the board years following the disappointing results in some subjects; the details of which I have already shared. The plan and the interventions, of course, remain the focus of the work that we are doing in the academic departments in school, recognising that we are building an approach to working and learning amongst the students that grows their understanding over the two year programme in B and A Form. At the same time we are trying to develop those soft and meta-cognitive skills that they will need to help them learn how to learn; skills that will probably be of more value to them than any content.
At the ScooNews Global Educators Fest, I had the chance to listen to and meet the speakers from across the country and around the world who had been invited to share their work in the area of Education for Sustainability. Some of the most interesting thinkers and speakers were the ASCD’s Global Outreach Lead, Sean Slade, the co-founder of the Heritage School, Manit Jain, Bihar’s Super Cop, Amit Lodha (he wrote the Bihar Diaries) and Sashi Banerjee, Head of the Shiv Nadar School. We also heard from Anand Kumar who founded Super 30, who is riding a wave of fame around the film based on his life so far, and Sonam Wangchuk, founder of SECMOL in Leh, another educator made famous by a film based on his work.
There was a meeting of the Campus Development Committee (CDC) earlier this week which I attended by video-conference (trying to reduce my carbon footprint and time out of school as much as possible). This was the last meeting with Sumanjit Chaudhry (‘63) in the Chair; Arun Khanna (‘73) has now taken over that responsibility. What has been achieved over the last four years by the CDC is a remarkable list of work by any standard: The renovation of Jaipur House, the restoration of the main buildings and renovation of its classrooms and work spaces, the creation of the new masters’ housing and renovation of the old MCR and Chestnuts houses, the creation of the new chemistry labs, the refurbishment of K House Villa and the refurbishment of the bedrooms and common areas in H and K Houses that will be completed with the final phase of the top floor this winter. These were the very visible projects that the CDC undertook to support the work and the lives of the boys and the staff in school, but in all there were 37 projects including some of the more invisible, though no less essential, things like plinth protection for every building that has been worked on, drainage, rain-water harvesting and recharge pits around the campus, water-proofing all of the sub-ground level spaces in school, installing fire fighting systems into every building and providing spaces to sit and be around the campus for everyone. Each of these projects has been led by a member of the CDC who, like all of our board members too, takes on the responsibility and gives their time and their expertise on an entirely voluntary basis. Thank you to each of the projects leads and to Sumanjit for all of his work.

The results from the International Mathematics IGCSE also came in this week. There are a few subjects that our students study which are currently assessed in the May examination session rather than March (this will change from 2021). Of the 57 students who took the examination, 65% were awarded A*- A, 89% A*- B and 100% A*- C. These are excellent results for the boys and for the masters who helped them along the way; they worked hard for this. I think the results also reflect the seriousness with which the boys take the subject and took the process of preparing and exam taking. In introducing the Cambridge Assessments, we have ushered an approach that requires understanding to be developed and practised over time and the careful reading of questions that require a process led response rather than just an answer; a cultural shift that is gradually taking hold.
Independence Day started with some internal service in the houses to tidy up some of the more neglected corners. I joined Martyn and Tata Houses during their work and got to put to the test 
David Orr’s hypothesis, in Earth in Mind, that our children recognise 50+ brand logos, but will not recognise 5 plants by their flowers or leaves; in Tata house the SC Formers I was tidying the quad with were able to recognise only two. After baths and breakfast we assembled in front of the main building for the unfurling of the flag and to sing the national anthem. We were joined by Ambassador (Retd.) Nirupama Rao, former Ambassador to China and the US as well as former Foreign Secretary. She read from Tagore’s hand written copy of The Morning Song of India and talked to us about the human aspect of patriotism that comes from working to ensure that the justice, liberty, equality and fraternity enshrined in the constitution are being delivered; fraternity particularly that comes from us knowing and understanding one another. After being interviewed by the Weekly and being asked about just this sort of work in the wake of last week’s removal of Article 370, we learned about some of the work that she has been doing with the South Asian Symphony Foundation which brings youth and musicians from the region together to build just that fraternity she was talking about.

DSMUN has begun and we welcome almost 400 students and accompanying teachers from 28 schools around the country and the region. The Secretariat led by our MUN President, Nandil S. and Secretary General, Vikram J. have worked with their Masters in Charge, MHS and RDG to put on this event which they organise all the way from the committees and scenarios being played out over the weekend to the logistics and support for the visiting delegations. I have seen some of our boys problem solve and respond to the needs of our visitors with an initiative and grace that most adult event managers would find difficult to manage. No doubt they are learning a good deal about politics, history and negotiation, but they are also learning those soft skills that separate the good from the great in the world of work… part of what all-round education should provide. Mr. Y. K. Sinha, Central Information Commissioner and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom was our guest for the opening ceremony.
After a week punctuated by holidays and change-of-pace days, we will be back to our routing on Tuesday and I will be back observing classes. As well as the regular classes, the sessions that we have put on for the S Form boys registered for the October SATs are happening so that come October, they are as well prepared as they can be having built their learning over the course of months rather than days. We will also be joined by our new French teacher, Dr, Mugdha Pandey, MPY. The week will end with the S and SC Form PTM during which there will be sessions on the ISC and IB programmes by the DHA and the Programme Coordinators, on university admissions by the Careers Department and some general information on what’s going on in school in response to the feedback and questions that we have received. Do remember that PTMs are a great way to meet and talk to the masters, but they are not the only way to be in touch, ask a question or share something that you are thinking about. Email, phone or an appointment at another time that works for both is always there and is often a more effective way to raise a personal issue. 
Ms Mugdha Pandey, French Teacher

I will take this opportunity to remind the community that Night outs begin at 6:00 p.m. and boys will only be permitted to leave after that time, once the school day's commitments are met. This means that the outing that falls over Diwali this year will run from Saturday, October 26 from 6:00 p.m. till 9:00 p.m. on Monday, October, 28. Thank you for recognising the school’s calendar and planning.

Matthew Raggett
The Doon School
Mall Road
Dehradun-248 001
Uttarakhand (India)