Parents posing after playing curling

Parent Powerhouse

Part of the SIS 70th anniversary impact series

It’s not only SIS that is celebrating its 70th Anniversary this year, so is the SIS Parent Community! Farrah Gillani talks us through the SPC’s work and the positive impact it has when helping new families to settle in Stockholm.

As long as SIS has existed, so has the SPC. Originally called the PTA, the board’s aim in 1951 was mainly to raise funds for the school. Since then it has evolved to become a lifeline for SIS parents. Today, the SIS Parent Community (SPC) exists to build community, fostering relations between parents of widely differing backgrounds and nationalities. Through our events, dedicated communication channels, and an appreciation of our diversity, we provide a connection between parents, the school, and the students.

I joined the SPC Board as Treasurer in 2021, at a time when face-to-face communication had almost disappeared due to the pandemic and morale was low. I had been attracted by the friendliness of the team and efforts by the board to still offer community events, such as the ‘Nailed It!’ online baking competition and the ‘SPC Quiz’, which involved teachers and students, as well as the parents. I was excited to be part of a new flagship initiative called ‘YANA’, (You Are Not Alone), which could be the mission statement for the Board.

Our YANA initiative comprises three main pillars: the Buddy Program, the Parent Representatives, and Student Initiatives. One quarter of the SIS community changes every year  and we felt it was critical for new families to have a contact already at the school who could answer questions and alleviate anxieties. The system had existed, but we revamped it to consider the vastly different needs of new families coming into SIS. Our expectations were exceeded: our survey showed 93% of new families coming in said they found the Buddy Program useful.

The second pillar of YANA is the Parent Representative program. Critical at a grade and class level, Parent Reps help foster relationships between parents for their child’s age group through social events and can support class-specific initiatives. We were able to ensure every class in PYP and every grade in the senior years had at least one representative, providing a point of contact for the school, parents, and the SPC.

The final pillar of YANA was to support student initiatives. Working with the Dean of Students, principals, and the student council, we were able to launch tailored events such as our highly popular ‘Chillax in the Annexe’, where parents provide after-school supervision for the students to hang out with their friends and make new ones. We have also ensured that MYP/DP students at SIS have the opportunity for a spring dance in a downtown location with a DJ and dance floor, liaising with the students every step of the way to give them a great experience.

Make a difference while having fun!

The SPC Board has come a long way since 1951 and some of our events are legendary, including Halloween, the Curling event, and our iconic ‘International Day’, where we showcase the diverse nationality of our school through parent-led performances, games, and authentic food from around the globe. On a smaller level, we have a variety of clubs from pilates and running to reading and cooking, as well as Stockholm nights out and coffee mornings. 2021 also saw us launch the SPC website, where you can find information about the SPC, read a blog from the Board of Trustees, and access ‘Unlock Stockholm’, a one-stop guide to living in the city with ideas on what to do, restaurant recommendations, and even get advice from a registered counsellor!

As we approach a new school year, we’d like to tell all parents: you’re already part of the SIS Parent Community. Come and join the SPC Board in 2022-23 and make a difference while having fun!

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