July 06, 2017
They say, it takes a village to raise a child and, at GEMS International School Tropicana Metropark, they completely agree. From the teachers to support staff, they are dedicated to helping students flourish.
Here to ensure GEMS, the largest private education provider, the founding principal, Simon O’ Grady is ready to redefine standards of international education in Malaysia.
Simon has an international reputation for leading an outstanding school, with more than 15 years of senior management experience. He is an advocate of high performance learning, a belief that all children are capable of great things, and he believes in holistic education.
Being an experienced team inspector with the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), Simon focuses on high-quality learning. He is committed to the health and fitness of all members of school.
Artist Impression: Primary & Foundation Block
Simon is also a member of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS). He formally joined GEMS Tropicana Metropark in April this year.
GEMS Education Brand
GEMS is an effective brand in education because it does things well. Firstly, it establishes a clear vision and standard of what the board of directors want to achieve with each of the 250 schools that GEMS have in 13 countries.
Next, it recruits the best teachers in the field that lives up to what the brand stands for so the school is well led and well represented. Another factor that is inarguably important is the right partnership with parents and cultivating the right culture for the children, whom the school is privileged to serve.
It is the mixture of all these factors that has made GEMS such an effective brand in the education.
The GEMS core values also lie at the heart of their holistic approach to education especially in their planned curriculum, in the school life and other places of work. The core values of GEMS help students in not only becoming great students but also greater people.
Artist Impression: Parents waiting
Fun fact: GEMS Education has been around for 55 years!
Great teachers inspire great students
Do you remember your own school days? There are high chances that the science equipment or the playground were not the first thing that came to your mind. Instead, your favourite teacher is what you thought of.
According to Simon, it is not only important to recruit qualified teachers, it is equally important to hire teachers that children would like to work with. “To know that your kids are happily going to school every day and is in the hands of inspiring and engaging teachers, is a great thing for a school to have,” says Simon.
Simon also explains that GEMS Tropicana Metropark has a group of talented teachers who are not only highly qualified but are able to see things through children’s eyes.
Artist Impression: Learning Centre
“Unless you’ve got that unique gift to understand how children view things, you’re not a great teacher,” adds Simon. According to Simon, every staff member at GEMS cannot wait to start the new school term and that infectiousness rubs off on everybody including the administrators at GEMS because the teachers are all working towards the same end.
Though GEMS are known for their first-rate facilities, Simon stressed facilities is only a stage where great performances happen. The staff members and teachers are the ones that make these performances great.
Thus, it is the head of the school’s mission to recruit and attain the best teachers in the world and give them the opportunity to work with the best facilities to achieve greater things for the children they are privileged to work for.
Simon assures us that all teachers that work for GEMS Tropicana Metropark have a progressive and no boundaries approach to teaching. The school is aware that every child has unique talents and temperaments.
Artist Impression: Swimming pool
Instead of having students of different abilities racing towards the same finish line, GEMS Tropicana Metropark encourages them to excel as individuals by applying themselves diligently, stretching their abilities and doing well in whatever they undertake.
“If a child is struggling to act on stage today, GEMS is going to encourage her to be an Oscar winning actress tomorrow and that’s the way we play it,” says Simon.
Personalised learning for Malaysian students
Simon assures that GEMS Tropicana Metropark gives all children the opportunity to a broad education and equip them with the knowledge and skills. That is the first thing the school will do for all children irrespective of who they are and where they are coming from.
Additionally, Simon acknowledges that it is crucial for Malaysian students to gain international opportunities to be given that added advantage earlier on in life, to be effective leaders of tomorrow.
“It is also equally important that students have love for their country, culture and an appreciation of it, as it is fundamental for them to be able to lead a country well,” add Simon.
Artist Impression: Multi-purpose hall & Sports field
How does GEMS Tropicana Metropark plan to instil children with love for their country?
“By exposing to them to their native languages and local people, of course!” Elaborating further, Simon mentions that the school will be dedicated in serving and reaching out to the local communities with extensive charitable projects because when students make connections with other children locally, they will understand the importance of culture to the country.
What should parents look for when choosing a school?
It is important for parents to include their children in the process of choosing a school because their happiness matters most. “At GEMS Tropicana Metropark, we want all our children to come to school feeling happy.” Simon encourages parents to bring children to ‘Open Days’ and see how a school operates on a normal working day and experience children connecting with each other.
This makes for a successful occasion because parents can see that their child is going to be happy there. “Happy children make for successful school and it is as simple as that,” Simon adds.
Artist Impression: Main Reception
When GEMS Tropicana Metropark opens its door fully on Sept 1, all prospective students will be invited to the school on a normal day and in that, students and parents will get the feel and buzz of the school. Most importantly, they will come to understand and appreciate how the school operates routinely.
In terms of attributes that makes for a good school, Simon explains that, other than focusing on the quantitative values such as good examination results, great teachers and facilities, parents should also look out for the fundamental qualitative factors like, ‘are the children smiling?’, ‘are the children looking happy?’ or ‘are the children looking civilised’ A good school has all these attributes without pretending.
GEMS Tropicana Metropark
The school is in its final phase of completion. The administrating staff are expected to move into the school building on July 31, and the school gates will be officially opened on Sept 1, this year.