The 2023-24 year is coming quickly to an end and like many others before it, it has had its challenges and highlights. It is always so pleasing to see how our students make the most of what is available to them. I am so proud of how our DP and MYP students have shone in the creative arts the open podium, music showcases and international evening have shown yet again that we have enormously talented students in our midst. And once again the school show, Annie, saw our international students display their talents in a wide range of fields as musicians, actors, members of the tech crew, stage design and in the production team. Our DP2 Arts vernissage also showcased the fantastic work of our exam students under the guidance of their teacher Marja Selier.

This academic year the school has also seen exceptionally talented students shine in national and international Maths and science Olympiads whilst, at a more local scale, our STEM club has gone from strength to strength. Our students have been a driving force in the school’s MUN club and we look forward to the inaugural RijnMUN, in October, with a high degree of excitement and anticipation. Furthermore we have also seen successful projects and activities focused on a wide range of charitable causes, such as Brusjesdag and the recent DP1 fundraiser for local homeless people. And throughout the year there have been numerous other events and opportunities that have added value to a young person’s life, be it pre-university courses and university visits, Action Horsepower, translating competitions, charitable football matches and sports day, canoeing on the Kaag or enjoying laser gaming in the school corridors to celebrate your last days of school.

ESS DP1 field trip to Hei-en-Boeicop

Our DP1 students have also travelled a small group participated in the wonderful Taiwan exchange while the whole cohort experienced a trip to the Czech Republic like no other.  They were able to engage in a varied experience that took in understanding the plight of homeless on the streets of Prague and the horrors of Terezin along with the beauty of the Czech landscape and the fun of adventure sports. Some also learnt a memorable but harsh lesson about the risks of drinking untreated water from a mountain stream!

All of these activities and experiences have enabled our students to grow, balancing their academic studies with a broader learned experience whilst providing some life long memories. 

Within the realm of the academic progamme it has been wonderful to see how colleagues and their students have grasped new opportunities – just last month, for example, we had the inaugural Biology and ESS DP1 field trip to Hei-en-Boeicop in the green heart of the Netherlands. Luckily the weather gods were kind and students and their teachers had a good learning experience that will support the completion of formal IB coursework next year.

Across the year there have also been trips and experiences for TOK, Dutch, Visual Arts and History to name but a few.

All in all a busy and exciting year but, as I write,  some big moments  still lie ahead. We are just a few days away from the release of the class of 2024 exam results. It is always a nervous and exciting time in the school. I hope, whatever the IB grades, our graduating students will remember their rich and rewarding time at ISRLO with pride and pleasure.

At this time of year, we are also busy preparing for the next one. The start of the 2024-25 year will see some enforced changes as we are saying goodbye to colleagues who have been mainstays of IB diploma teaching for many years. I want to thank and pass on my very best wishes to Desa van der Lugt and Sjaak Fonville, who are both retiring this summer, and also to Marja Selier who retires in the autumn.

We will start the new academic year with some key personnel changes most notably in the core curriculum. Tessa Sprunken and Isan Driessen will be taking Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) forward, while Annelies Brabant and Nell Crawford will join Jane Barrett to form a new Theory of Knowledge (TOK) teaching team. Jeannie Lamens will take the English Literature class to their final exams in May 2025. In addition, we will have a new team of four DP1 tutors to start the year with Graham Parker, Liesbeth Nouens, Florentina Rosca Pruna and Nell Crawford ready to guide the class of 2026 throughout their IB diploma experience.  As the saying goes there is no constant but change..yet I remain excited for the new academic year and wish all my colleagues the very best in their new roles.

However, for everyone at ISRLO it’s now time for a well – deserved safe and relaxing vacation…!

Jon Symmons

IBDP Coordinator / team leader

Spirit Week 2024

An overview of the week by Beatriz Soares – DP1b

This year our school’s Student Council (Leerlingenraad) decided to try out having a Spirit Week, similar to the ones in American schools, and it was a lot of fun! Many times it is difficult to bring together the different educational sides of the school, but when they do come together it is so great, which was one of the main goals of the Spirit Week!

I was a bit disappointed by the lack of participation from some people, but I took every advantage to dress up for the themes. On Teacher Tuesday my friends, Hannelore & Elena, and I arranged to dress up as our DP coordinator and Geography Higher teacher, Mr. Symmons, we even coordinated matching outfits, his reaction was perfect and we all enjoyed ourselves (now it’s even become an inside joke). The rest of the week was Wacky Wednesday; Throwback Thursday in which I came to school dressed as the 70s; and Famous Friday where I tried my best to be Britney Spears.

I really hope that this tradition continues into the coming years, even if I am already long gone from the school because I am sure that it can easily become part of our school traditions and bring everyone closer, encourage some proper school spirit.

Pre – University Programme Course at TU Delft

Lenka Huang and Ethan Thiébaut both in DP1 have this year completed the Pre-University Course at TU Delft (October to March).   The TU Delft Pre-University Programme provides a realistic representation of studying at a technical university.  It  gives the students the opportunity to relate their school subjects such as physics and mathematics to the topics of the University Degree Programme, in this case engineering.

The Programme is based in three phases:

Phase 1 Pre-University Kick Off Event – 1 day online

Phase 2 6 weeks (30 hours of study)  choice of 3 topics out of 5 with practical and  written assignments (Online)

Phase 3 4 time on Fridays to attend TU Delft to work on practical project

For Phase 3 both Lenka and Ethan chose the Robotics Programme to assemble, program, optimize

and troubleshoot a robot. Throughout this process, the students received support from TU Delft students

studying a Master’s programme as their mentors with regular tracking meetings. At the same time, they

had the opportunity to speak to students and lecturers about studying and life at TU Delft.

DP2 Visual Arts Vernissage.

After two years of hard work, perseverance, experimentation and creativity, it was time for the DP2 Visual Arts students to show their work to their audience. The artworks (drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, projections, prints) were well received by parents, siblings and teachers. The students’ involvement during the art classes paid off; the artistic level of the artworks is high and that makes us proud of these great students. Some of the artworks have a permanent place in school now and that’s what art is for: to share and make people enjoy it 

Marja Selier  VA Teacher

Photos: Lexi Korink Romani 

An overview of the Theory of Knowledge better known as TOK – By Lenka Huang in DP1b

Theory of Knowledge (also abbreviated as TOK) is a core module of the IB DP programme taken by all DP students regardless of their subject package. The aim of TOK is to explore how humans obtain, create and or confirm knowledge in each of the six different Areas of Knowledge (AoK: math, human sciences, natural sciences, art, history). In class, we discuss examples (a bit like case studies) within each Area of Knowledge and how factors play a role in understanding what we know, e.g. the relation between power and who writes history, and ethics behind methods used by certain fields in the human sciences.

While often times concepts within TOK can be difficult grasp, bringing in real life examples into discussions greatly help us in putting these concepts into context, allowing us to relate and reflect on knowledge as a whole. The first of the two TOK assignments is an exhibition- really demands students to think critically by selecting three objects that can answer one prompt from multiple perspectives. The TOK essay that we will begin writing in September will then take us further in exploring the nature of knowledge when we need to research and compare examples within different Areas of Knowledge.  

There will definitely be more or less interesting moments in the TOK lessons, often depending on the topics being discussed, but to be fully engaged in a discussion on perspectives and ethics on a topic of your interest is certainly challenging and insightful!

DP1 Biology and ESS Field Trip to Hei-en-Boeicop

In June the DP1 Biology and Environmental Systems and Societies students traveled together to the Hei and Boeicops fieldwork center near Utrecht. The research focused on ecological experiments ranging from waterquality to airquality measurements using freshwater biodiversity and lichens. Before we travelled to the research center we worked hard at developing our research questions and preparing for the research to begin. There were students working on soil composition to investigate water infiltration rates and students comparing the effect of plant biomass on the south versus the north side of a forest area. We arrived early in the morning, getting organized in our rooms and having some lunch. After lunch we got straight to work submitting our finalized research questions to the teachers who then helped us make small groups of students with similar research questions. The experienced staff at the field center directed us to the place where we would conduct our research and helped our groups gather materials. By the early afternoon all of us had set out to conduct our experiments. By Friday morning, nearing the end of our trip, the vast majority of our students had collected all the data that we would need to complete our internal investigations, which will be submitted to the IB examiners by the early months of next school year. The trip offered us a great opportunity to complete our research within a short time span, providing us with the materials, time and expertise needed to collect an abundance of relevant data. Next to an excellent opportunity for research the trip also provided many of the DP1 students with a lovely bonding experience. All three of the days we were given some free time filled with sports, music and card games. In the evening after our arrival we even had a lovely bonfire overlooking the Boeicop polder. Although the trip consisted of intense research and a lot of hard work many of the DP1 students enjoyed their time throughout the trip. As we are quickly approaching our final year we have begun to look back at our core memories made over our years at Rijnlands Lyceum and the Hei en Boeicop trip has now become one of them.

Written by Emily Hanlon (DP1a) & Riley Frankland (DP1c)