The St. John’s art gallery

The St. John’s International School Art Gallery, has an important role to play in raising awareness of the visual arts and encouraging cultural diplomacy between the international and local Belgian communities both in its extensive programme of exhibitions and workshops by visiting artists and its many students shows in elementary, middle and high school. The art department at St Johns International School is excited to be part of this year’s ‘Parcours d’ Artistes’ organised by the Commune of Waterloo. Over 140 artists based in Waterloo will open their studios over the weekend of the 29th and 30th September 2012 … Continue reading The St. John’s art gallery

Welcome to the new St. John’s staff members!

We are delighted to welcome several new staff members for the 2012-13 school year. Please find below some information on each of them: Adam Robinson joins us as a Middle School English Teacher. Born in New York City, he attended University of Texas in Austin. He holds two master’s degrees, one from British Columbia, Canada and the other from Rome, Italy. He has lived in Brussels since July 2011 and substituted in the Middle School last year.   Debbie Corcoran joins us as a third grade teacher in the Elementary School. She comes to us from Centennial School District in … Continue reading Welcome to the new St. John’s staff members!

The Flame Challenge

St. John’s is participating in the Flame Challenge’s World Wide Assembly on May 9, hosted by Alan Alda. The Flame Challenge is an international science cotest sparked by an editorial Alan Alda wrote in the journal Science.  Scientists from all over the world have submitted answers to the question Alan asked as an 11-year-old, “What is a flame?”  Hundreds of their answers have been judged by panels of 10- to 12-year olds from 131 schools, from California to Western Australia, including your local school.   The judging process will culminate on May 9 in a Worldwide Assembly, a video conference of 10 schools, … Continue reading The Flame Challenge

The Rachel’s Challenge Organisation visits Middle School

Rachel Joy Scott was the first person killed in the Columbine High School tragedy in 1999. Immediately after the tragedy, her father Darrell began to speak around the U.S. and used writings and drawings from Rachel’s many diaries to illustrate the need for a kinder, more compassionate world. On Thursday Rachel’s sister, Dana, visited Middle School as part of the Advisory Program, her aim in speaking to our children was to equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in our school, home and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. Dana quoted … Continue reading The Rachel’s Challenge Organisation visits Middle School

Message in a Bottle has been placed into the Sea of Success!

IB Visual Art Show and Auction on Friday the 27th of April wowed the visitors and showed them the skills and uniqueness of each artist. Three words, ‘outstanding,’ ‘interesting,’ ‘unique,’ those three words would be the best ones to describe the work of the IB Visual Art year two students. However, the first question would be, why was it called a message in a bottle? While I was interviewing the teacher, mentor, and person who organized this show, Mr. Alan Mitchell, he told me that “a message in a bottle is a way to communicate to people from different distances, … Continue reading Message in a Bottle has been placed into the Sea of Success!

Message in a bottle

Come and see the IB Visual Art student’s final exhibition featuring a selection of their work as it has progressed over the two years of their course and take part in the exciting auction of selected works. The special opening for viewing will be Friday the 27th April from 6.00pm-8.00pm and the auction starts 7.00pm. Live music, food and refreshments provided by students. All the proceeds will go towards ‘The Rahula Trust’ to help some of the world’s poorest children receive an education. The Rahula Trust -a fully-registered charity in the UK – raises funds to sponsor the education … Continue reading Message in a bottle

Senior Economics Team reaches final of European Central Bank competition!

We would like to congratulate our senior economics team for making it to the third and final round of the monetary policy competition organized by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt in which more than 50 international and European schools in the 17 countries that make up the Eurozone participated. The team will now go to Frankfurt (as guests of the ECB) for the final round in which they will compete against 5 other schools. Well done! Continue reading Senior Economics Team reaches final of European Central Bank competition!

High School Art Newsletter March 2012

Congratulations to Stephanie Wintjes and Borislav Varadinov, who have organized the International Community Art Show, and all the art teachers and teachers, parents and associates who are collaborating artists on the theme of ‘Nature and Culture’. Thank you also to Mrs. Swanson’s students Sabrina Huston and Katherine O’Shea who performed music on the evening of the opening vernissage ‘Let me use a parable’. The parable of the tree. The artist has busied himself with this world of many forms and, let us assume, he has in some measure got his bearings in it; quietly, all by himself. He is so clearly oriented … Continue reading High School Art Newsletter March 2012

Are the Arts the Universal Language?

Communication, according to many experts, is the creation and sharing of meaning. Is there a form of communication that transcends linguistic boundaries and cultural divides?Can art, dance, drama and music speak to all people everywhere? If the Arts are a Universal Language, are they capable of uniting all of us? The arts can be used to develop intercultural relationships, inspire creativity and influence how people “see things” and open them up to new possibilities. Just as the painter gazes at the blank canvas, and the actor steps onto the darkened stage, and the musician is surrounded by the silence that … Continue reading Are the Arts the Universal Language?

Lions End Winter Season On A High Note

St. John’s hosted the 2012 ISST Girls Division 1 Basketball Championship this past week, March 8-10. The tournament lived up to its slogan, “Peace, Love, Basketball”. The three days of competition were filled with great spirit, sportsmanship and wonderful basketball. The tournament was made up of 12 teams from 9 different countries and a total of 120 athletes. ACS Athens was the dominant team of the tournament, winning its five games by an average margin of 41 points, and beating the American School of Paris in convincing fashion in the championship game, 69-26. The St. John’s girls finished in a … Continue reading Lions End Winter Season On A High Note

St. John’s hosts AMIS, PYP, and ISST’s with great success!

Dear parents, Last week, more than 200 highly capable high school musicians from around the globe graced St. John’s with their energy and enthusiasm for music.  The Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) has been coordinating fantastic music opportunities for more than 20 years, and this was the 4th time St. John’s has hosted and event, this time the AMIS Mixed Choir and Senior Orchestra festival.  Guest conductors David Lawrence and Jonathan Mann worked amazingly well with the students to prepare them for the concert on Saturday night last week.  It was indeed a pleasure to host this wonderful … Continue reading St. John’s hosts AMIS, PYP, and ISST’s with great success!

AMIS Concert videos and photos now available

Dear parents, For those who were unable to attend the wonderful AMIS International Honor Orchestra and Mixed Choir Festival concert on Saturday night, please enjoy some of the videos posted on our Youtube channel at and the photos in our gallery at Thank you to Cathy Swanson and all involved in making this festival happen at St. John’s! Continue reading AMIS Concert videos and photos now available

Little Peacemakers

Most everyone talks about having peace in the world. From philosophers to politicians to rock stars and religious folks, a longing for peace is expressed in a variety of ways and through a variety of mediums. It is a daunting subject for adults resulting into discussions and even arguments over the role of politics, the cause and results of warfare, the rights and wrongs of countries and more.  But for young children, the topic is limited in scope.  It involves every day conflicts with their peers in the school yard, the classroom, and the cafeteria – all part of the … Continue reading Little Peacemakers

Learning life lessons through sports

by Robert Fronk, grade 9 and 10 counselor As I reflect back many years ago regarding my participation in sports, I can’t help but think about the support and encouragement I received. From my parents to my coaches and others as well. Additionally, I think about the thousands of hours I put into sports. This ranged from summer camps attended at a young age, to summer leagues and camps during the high school years. The days and nights of shooting baskets in the rain all by myself, all in the hopes of obtaining my dream. I appreciate the phrases, “the … Continue reading Learning life lessons through sports


We received the sad news that Mary McGowan, long-time purchasing officer here at St. John’s, passed away on January 19, 2012. Mary was born in 1945, in Dublin, Ireland. She came to St. John’s in 1989 and stayed with us till her retirement in the summer of 2010. We all knew Mary as a person who lived intensely, had a tremendous sense of humour, and a big heart. Not only was she dedicated to her work but she was a person many turned to for advice, for help, or for a laugh. Mary volunteered at numerous school events, helped in … Continue reading R.I.P.

Big Ideas Week on water

We are getting towards the end of the second Big Ideas Week to be held here at St. John’s. Big Ideas Week is our innovative program for group-based experiential learning that allows students the space and time to recognize and stretch their innate capabilities and reach their own conclusions about their own performance.  It brings together the 7 competences which underpin our curriculum in middle school; Thinker, Creator, Explorer, Communicator, Collaborator, Contributor and Self assessor.   The week kicked off with a collaboration between the St. John’s and the organizations Green Light for Girls and Levi Strauss as well as … Continue reading Big Ideas Week on water

Don’t miss the PTP’s Casino Royale!

Dear parents, A reminder to all that tickets for Casino Royale on Saturday February 4th, are now on sale in the Lion’s lair and at Reception.  Payment by Cash, Bank Contact or Credit Card accepted. The PTP would like to encourage your participation in our ‘More Bonds the Better’ dress code for the evening, and look forward to your stylish outfits that will add to the magic of the evening. You will be greeted with a Champagne cocktail upon arrival, and a full Buffet service will be in place. For your pleasure there is a live Big Band for dancing as well as a disco for those that want to dance the night … Continue reading Don’t miss the PTP’s Casino Royale!

Big Ideas week 2 in Middle School next week

“Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” So said the Hungarian biochemist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1937. Our students will have opportunities to explore water from angles not examined before. Why do we sell water in bottles?  Is access to water a human right?  Why bother to save water when it rains all the time? Why do holiday destinations often include access to water? Why worry about pollution in water? Why worry about droughts and floods when it never happens where we are? How do we … Continue reading Big Ideas week 2 in Middle School next week

Happy 2012!

It’s great to be back after a winter holiday break. Before the holiday, we had to say goodbye to the departing students whose parents’ assignments took them to new posts. But on Monday, January 9th, we welcomed numerous new students and new families to the school to start the new year: 10 new students in Elementary School and two new students in Middle School.  Some grades are now completely full, but we still have some seats available in specific grade levels. We held an orientation meeting and two coffee mornings this week for the new families and those who joined us … Continue reading Happy 2012!

Welcome Commitee coffee morning on December 5

St John’s Welcome Committee is calling new and existing volunteers for a Coffee Morning on Monday, 5 December at 8:45 (after drop-off) in the Sports Foyer. Help us welcome new families to St. John’s this January! Learn more about our upcoming events: -New Parent Coffee Morning, Monday 9 January -WC Coffee Mornings, Tuesday & Thursday 10 & 12 January -Winter Welcome Wine & Cheese, Friday 20 January We need all nationalities & languages represented! Incredible opportunity to help a family adjust more easily! If you are unable to join and are interested, please contact: Gretchen Morrison ( or Colleen Gilbert … Continue reading Welcome Commitee coffee morning on December 5

It’s a life – art exhibition

From October 21 until November 8 this year, I had the pleasure of exhibiting my paintings at the Art Gallery of St. John’s International. The gallery is a beautiful space for exhibitions because of large windows, open spaces, good lighting and white walls. It was great to see my work in this surrounding. The gallery of St. John’s is used throughout the year for all kinds of exhibitions, which are related to the school. It varies from work from Elementary School students, Middle School students, IB students, Community Art Vernissage (work from staff and parents of the school) and work … Continue reading It’s a life – art exhibition

Appointment of three new Advisory Board members

The St. John’s International School Advisory Board is delighted to announce the appointment of three new Board members: Mr. Geoffrey Furlonger, Dr. Gary Wilton, and Sr. Brenda Wallace. With the retirement from the Advisory Board of Mr. Christian Varin and Mr. Andrew Renshaw after many years of service, the Advisory Board was looking to fill the vacation positions with people that have specific expertise and background relevant to our school. The aim was to bring in one new Board member with extensive educational expertise and another with legal experience and background. In addition, the Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) have … Continue reading Appointment of three new Advisory Board members

Why the arts?

We believe that art and design, dance, drama and music are essential components of human life, a doorway to a whole new world of expression. In an international school like St. John’s, with a diverse student body from different cultural backgrounds, the Arts become the language of all students. Most academic classes exercise the left side of the brain and the Arts enable us to have a balance as much of what we do is, in essence, is “right brain” activity. Howard Gardner has been making sound arguments for a broad and balanced curriculum based on the theory of multiple … Continue reading Why the arts?

From the New York Times

How About Better Parents? By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Published: November 19, 2011 In recent years, we’ve been treated to reams of op-ed articles about how we need better teachers in our public schools and, if only the teachers’ unions would go away, our kids would score like Singapore’s on the big international tests. There’s no question that a great teacher can make a huge difference in a student’s achievement, and we need to recruit, train and reward more such teachers. But here’s what some new studies are also showing: We need better parents. Parents more focused on their children’s education can … Continue reading From the New York Times

Athletics at St. John’s

It has been an eventful and positive start of the year for the Athletic Department. One highlight of the past three months was the visit of Genazzano FCJ College from Melbourne, Australia. They stopped by the St. John’s campus for a day as part of a three-week tour of Europe. Genazzano is an all-girls school and our teams played games of soccer and volleyball with our fellow FCJ students from Australia. It was wonderful to welcome the girls to St. John’s and to strengthen our FCJ legacy. Another great moment was hosting the Alistair Thorpe Memorial Cross Country Meet and … Continue reading Athletics at St. John’s

The HS parent coffee morning presentations

Dear parents, Once again thank you for supporting our High School Coffee on the issue of ‘Parenting Teenagers through a rigorous academic programme”. Here are the hand outs which were produced by Mr. Fronk and Mr. Johnston. This event is merely the first of a series we wish to host concerning several aspects of parenting and the partnership between home and school. Please contact us if you would like more information and please send us any ideas for topics for future coffee mornings. Best regards, Deborah Brook – HS principal Continue reading The HS parent coffee morning presentations

Book club for French native St. John’s parents

C’est avec grand plaisir que nous vous proposons, au sein de l’école, une toute nouvelle tournante de livres placée sous le signe de la passion et du dynamisme. Pas d’exclusive : romans, biographies, livres historiques, essais peuvent tous figurer dans la liste que vous nous aiderez à établir en suggérant un ouvrage lors de votre inscription. Ouvrage que nous nous chargerons d’acquérir. Notre comité est composé, à ce jour, de cinq membres – Mesdames de Halleux, Standaert,  Athas, Vinçotte et  De Cock. Nous nous adapterons, cela va de soi, à la demande tant au niveau du nombre d’adhérents que des … Continue reading Book club for French native St. John’s parents

Life-long learning

Confucius is credited with once saying: Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous. This very succinctly sums up why schools, earnest in seeking to improve, choose to participate in self-studies and accrediting projects. It is only in taking the time to look within that we can move forward to becoming better. Self-studies offer schools and educators an opportunity to face the truth or ‘brutal facts’ of the current situation and find a way to make positive changes. During the school year, 2011 – 2012, Saint John’s Elementary School is participating in not one, but two self-studies … Continue reading Life-long learning

Evolution of the Hub

About a month ago, we launched our password-protected parent portal, The Hub. Based on the recent parent survey comments, we developed a visual that shows the evolution of The Hub. In phase 1, you will see all current online communications tools. In each of the following phases, you will see how these tools get rolled into the Hub. All tools will continue to exist, but will now be accessible from one central place, The Hub, in order to increase convenience and accessibility of all information for current parents. Continue reading Evolution of the Hub

How can Parents Support Children in their Adolescent Years?

Our next High School Coffee Morning will take place on Thursday November 10th at 9.00 in the Cafeteria. We will cover the topic of, ‘How can Parents Support Children in their Adolescent Years?’  The session is for any parent who would like some handy tips on how to support and nurture their children through the very demanding years of High School. Grade 9/10 Counsellor Robert Fronk and Dean of Students Daniel Johnston will cover topics such as, ‘School Work/Leisure Time Balance’ and ‘Setting Firm but Fair Expectations’ We sincerely hope that you can join us. A theme for the year … Continue reading How can Parents Support Children in their Adolescent Years?

The Language of the Internet

Google celebrated its 13th birthday this year. That means that all of our children at St. John’s below 7th grade were born in the Google age and our 12th graders were only four or five when Google was ‘born’ and cannot remember life without Google. The World Wide Web has been with us for a miniscule amount of time in relation to the development of the human race. The industrial revolution lasted for approximately one hundred years and had an amazing impact on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of the time. Today the internet revolution or knowledge revolution has lasted … Continue reading The Language of the Internet

Student Leadership

Over the past few weeks since the beginning of school we, in High School, have been building structures for student representation and providing opportunities for student leadership. Dr. Wendell Hausdorff and Dr. Jesus Castillo-Coronado have been hard at work preparing a range of projects ranging from School Council to Global Conservation Alliance work. In many schools, however, lip service is paid to this very important aspect of school life. The history of student leadership is a very interesting one. John Dewey wrote about it in 1916 in ‘Democracy in Education’ and yet student representation, leadership and contribution to decision making … Continue reading Student Leadership

Childhood road safety statistics

Following up last week’s blog post, please find below some statistics on childhood road safety from the World Health Organization (WHO): • For children 0 to 14 years, pedestrian and bicycling deaths and injuries contribute as a major factor risk factor, whereas youth 15 to 19 years have greater use of motorized vehicles and therefore greater risks to deaths and injuries from these causes. • Children are particularly vulnerable until the age of 9–10 years, owing to their weak capacity to concentrate attention on traffic. They are considered to be especially vulnerable when motorized traffic is heavy or fast, visibility … Continue reading Childhood road safety statistics

Safety and security at St. John’s

The past week’s sunshine has made it feel like summer here in Belgium! And the sunshine and great weather has brought people out to school walking, pushing prams, and riding bikes. This is great, except that the challenges of walking or pushing a pram or biking around St. John’s can be a real challenge. We need your help to remedy this situation. CARS – Please remember that parking, or sitting your car to wait for a student, outside the school on the sidewalk and bike path of Dreve Richelle is not permitted. I have been out at the front of … Continue reading Safety and security at St. John’s

The governance of the school

As the new chairperson of the Governance committee of the Advisory Board and a Board member of the ASBL Board, it is important to me to make it as clear as possible to the St. John’s community what the governance structure of the school is and the responsibilities of the ASBL Board, the Advisory Board, the Director and the Administration of St. John’s International School. In addition, all of the St. John’s community should understand the pertinent policies and the way the budget is created-the factors and the influences that all work together to make this such a successful school. … Continue reading The governance of the school

Foundress Day and Guiding Statements

Foundress Day – September 21 As we celebrate “Foundress Day” on September 21st, we explore our historical roots and focus on their contemporary affirmation as expressed in our Guiding Statements. St. John’s International School has a longstanding relationship with the FCJ (Faithful Companions of Jesus) congregation. Not only was our school founded by the FCJ Sisters but our Heads of School were traditionally Sisters till just 10 years ago. Even though we no longer have the privilege of having Sisters on campus, their legacy remains with us till this very day and we are privileged to have our Sisters active … Continue reading Foundress Day and Guiding Statements

Launching the Hub, our new parent portal

We are delighted to inform you of the launch of our new parent portal, the Hub. The Hub (available at is a password-protected, web-based portal that provides your family with information specific to your children. This is one initiative that will further improve the communication between the school and parents and provides an efficient and easy-to-use tool  to keep up to date. After putting in your credentials, you will see a screen with your children’s names and links to relevant information such as the academic schedule for each child in Middle and High School (a technical issue is preventing us from … Continue reading Launching the Hub, our new parent portal

Advisory Board: All will be revealed on September 8th at 19:00

Was the first day of school really only last week? Feels like ages ago already. Also feels like a very good start for St John’s. I attended a presentation of the new staff in the theater: a new high school principal, 16 new teachers and supporting staff, representing 7 different nationalities. The quality and energy they bring to the school is impressive.   Green and White day last Saturday kicked off the sports season with players, parents and coaches. Again, the enthusiasm was palpable on the soccer field, along the cross country run and in the arena. The volleyball team … Continue reading Advisory Board: All will be revealed on September 8th at 19:00

Welcome to the St. John’s Director’s blog!

Dear parents, The school year has officially begun…and it has been another great start.  We managed to get all students into the appropriate classes, on the right buses, and into the right areas for athletics and activities try-outs.  The halls and fields and theater are abuzz as the anticipation of the new year brings with it great energy and enthusiasm.  Of course, the enthusiasm is buoyed by the recent excellent IB results. With a remarkable 98,4% passing rate and an average score of 33.3, St. John’s scored far above the global average. (click here to see the full results). As we constantly look for … Continue reading Welcome to the St. John’s Director’s blog!