Principal's corner: a word from Ms. Nadine Backhaus

I had the wonderful privilege of experiencing an awesome first semester and seeing the students and our campus grow in so many ways. The semester grades have been posted, and we noted improvements in all areas of the students’ lives. This is chiefly due to their hard work and commitment to learning, but also due to our wonderful teachers, involved parents, and the community as a whole. During this first semester, the students received first-class education in English, science, mathematics, social studies, technology, and Arabic/Religion. Their days were filled with studying and extracurricular activities to further foster their minds and characters. 

I would like to take this opportunity to address the following points where I have noted the most improvements, and which are the most important characteristics for a successful future. 

Discipline: When I write about discipline, I do not just mean the idea of obeying the rules of the school like being on time and doing what the teachers ask them to do, but it is the idea that students are able to internalize the importance of studying, taking notes, being prepared for each lesson, and to carefully keep track of their study materials. During the first semester, it was very important to foster a sense of self-control, and to instruct the students to learn for learning's sake and not just for grades. It is my strong belief that when we teach students discipline, learning will become easier and more focused. Visitors to the school have noted and commented on this, and after the first semester, our school is organized and allows a calm environment for learning and teaching. 

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is one of the core values of Burao Academy. The teachers and I do not want to raise students to just recite and memorize the lessons, but we want them to use what they have learned and add their ideas and thoughts. All teachers encourage lively debate in class, and encourage students to bring with them new thoughts and ideas to each lesson. Our science and engineering clubs are particularly suited for critical thinking, and both boys and girls greatly contribute to the clubs’ success. Next semester, each student will have a long-term project for each subject that she/he will research and present to the class. These assignments will further build critical thinking skills and confidence. 

Creativity: Just like critical thinking skills, creativity will assist the children to become better students and eventually better citizens. As the principal, it is very important for me to look at each student and find ways to educate her/him in a holistic manner. We have introduced art clubs, and many students show incredible artistic skills. Another activity where we noted the students’ creative minds was during our road building club. The students came up with the design, and they feel a great sense of accomplishment every time they work on the road. 

Respect: Last but not least, I want to share with you my thoughts on the importance of respect. From the start, we wanted to ensure that the students respect each other, the teachers, and, of course, themselves. We did not want to run this school where fights and vandalism are an everyday occurrence. I am proud to say that we have accomplished this task, and the school is a respectful and peaceful place where students take responsibility for their own actions.