PenDragon - the official magazine of Lyford Cay International School PenDragon Vol 5, Spring 2019 - Page 10

up with the world and become a legitimate international school.” As the new millennium approached, the community was on the cusp of the next point in its evolution. The school leadership and community, consisting of parents and some alumni, set about to meet the world that was arriving on its doorstep. Determined not to let the school be defined by the walls of the gated community around them, they set about a quest to reach for international standards in education and achieve recognition well beyond New Providence. Becoming an “International School,” went far beyond the diverse global school it already was. Board members scoured the planet for skilled change agents and world-class administrators who had literally written the code for the emerging international school criteria and, with the introduction of International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum models, change was afoot. In 2000, a new Principal was appointed, Mr Thomas Schädler who was recruited from the International School of Stuttgart, and the multi-year application to the acclaimed IB Organisation had begun. He brought the stringent standards he was accustomed to in Europe and Asia to marry with the Lyford Cay “island” style. The school had become one of the first institutions in the Caribbean to be recognised by the European Council of International Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the Council of International Schools. Pets on campus became things of the past, as international norms for safety were adopted and procedures were standardised as part of the various international school accreditation processes. The IB Middle Years Programme was the first to be authorised in 2003 followed shortly by the Diploma Programme in 2004. This made the school an all-age school with students from Nursery to Grade 12. The school celebrated its first graduating class in June 2006. LCIS School History from the New Millenium By Eric Wiberg (1975-79) and Dr Joanna Paul, Director of Development This excerpt is taken from Chapter 3 of the forthcoming book, The History of Lyford Cay International School, which chronicles the beginnings of the Lyford Cay community and the school that calls this community home. The late 80s and early 90s were a period of very significant changes and expansion for the Lyford Cay School. With tremendous support, the school had become a stand-alone institution within the Lyford Cay community, independent of the Club, developer and Property Owners Association. It had grown from a one-room pink schoolhouse centred around a leaking headmaster’s cottage to the 1980s campus which was bursting at the seams with students. Saved from demolition in the early 90s through the incorporation and asset purchase led by the Dingman and Dauphinot families, the school was growing into its expanding footprint and mission. More change was still to come as the school evolved to meet the changing and growing demographics of the island in the late 90s and early 2000s. In the late 90s under the guidance of Headmistress Mary Guthrie, the school expanded its offerings to include middle school grades which attracted many local students. In addition, alumni who had been compelled to study abroad from young ages bucked the trend, returning to Nassau and keeping their children on the island for their schooling. The student body, which numbered only 100 in 1994, had doubled in 1997 with the addition of Grade 9. The faculty grew from 16 to 30. The Bahamas and Lyford Cay were also growing as a whole. Renowned as a place for the world’s cosmopolitan set to stay, visit, or keep their money, Nassau began attracting new residents and investors from around the world. Top-tier financial, legal and career opportunities became available to parents and alumni right outside the gates and the demographics shifted from a migratory, short-term expatriate model to include more families who were full-time citizens and residents. Subsequent headmaster, Paul Lieblich (2005–2008), noted that his predecessor “left me a school that was running quite smoothly.” On his arrival, he expanded on the recent authorisations to offer the IB curriculums in the elementary school. “We started with a name change to Lyford Cay International School and then to get the school fully accredited by IB by expanding their curriculum to the youngest children. Part of what I was brought in to do was modernising the curriculum. My having helped to co-author and co-found the Primary Years Programme (PYP) may have helped. PYP learning is based on the student doing inquiry, finding out. The student is learning and collecting information, then they’re constructing meaning, they’re constructing knowledge.” At the time, adding the PYP made LCIS the only school in the Bahamas and one of a handful worldwide to offer all three components of the IB. Along with curriculum standardisation and external accountability, IB accreditation brought openness and ability to interact in the global educational marketplace in new ways. Former student Michele Cove (1971-1978), a board chair and parent, said that the board chose the IB after researching different types of curriculum and came to the conclusion that “for our students who would be going all over the world, the IB would be the best education that we could possibly provide for the kids.” In order to keep up with this new demographic, school governance knew that it was time to expand. The late Mr Yves Lourdin was one of the visionaries who helped to guide this transition in the late 90’s in his role as chair of the LCIS Board and subsequently as a Governor. Fellow board member and parent, Mr Peter Vlasov, commented Mr Yves Lourdin on Mr Lourdin’s impact at this time, “As Chairman of Pictet Bank, Yves knew that in order for the country to continue to grow economically, the school would have to keep 10 11