Looking for a forward-thinking international school that helps students develop skills for the future via a holistic education?
You’ll want to look no further than Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School. This co-educational boarding school serves as a platform for students to enjoy an American education as either day or boarding students.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s provides its students – from Pre-K3 (Age 3) to Grade 12 – with numerous opportunities to flourish both in and out of the classroom. To allow this ethos to germinate across the school environment, the school has learning spaces and resources to build students’ academic and soft skills.
For instance, Shattuck-St.Mary’s weCreate® Center is both a space and philosophy that stresses creativity, collaboration and innovation. It aims to help students pursue their individual passions through a plethora of activities that foster creativity.
“Our goal is to help students retain their sense of wonder and curiosity, while also equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to be problem-solvers, authors, innovators and leaders,” said the Center’s director Kimber Johnston.
“To facilitate that, we have a series of studios that focuses on different types of media or tools. For example, our fabrication studio has sewing and embroidery machines, 3D printers and a laser cutter, as well as other flexible spaces for other types of creating,” she explained.
Developing skills for the future
The school is nestled in Forest City, the “city of the future” in Malaysia’s southernmost state of Johor. Like the city it’s located in, there’s always something exciting and forward-thinking happening on campus.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s is divided into four Divisions according to the stages in a student’s development: Early Childhood School, Elementary School, Middle School and High School. Each Division has a Principal, who takes charge of teaching and learning in that part of the school.
For Elementary School Principal Wayne Burnett, one of the most exciting things for him last year was watching students get really immersed in reading books at the library.
“Watching their self-directed education and learning was a really positive feature last year,” he said.
Equally as popular among students were the after school activities where Burnett would teach his students the programming and design of robotics.
“Once they became competent, they went off on their own, often finding their own solutions to challenges. It’s exciting to see how far they could take it. Our use of educational robotics and educational technology is one of our strong points,” he said.
Nurturing global citizens with strong communication skills
As an international school that attracts students from all corners of the globe, it’s only natural for some students, whose English is not their first language, to struggle in an environment where English is the mode of instruction. At Shattuck-St. Mary’s, parents can lay such worries to rest.
Each of the school’s programmes are designed in an inclusive manner, Burnett explained that, while EAL (English as an Additional Language) teachers further bolster the school’s efforts.
This has proven successful, with students’ academic scores soaring; students are also developing all four English skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. “Even after summer break, students still maintained their strong English skills,” he said.
This is echoed by Middle School Principal and Director of Curriculum and Learning Meg Brainard, who highlighted their remarkable academic achievement in the previous academic year, most notably in students’ acquisition of the English language.
“We had some students with very low levels of English but through their hard work, coupled with the school’s dedicated teachers and its various activities and support to students, we saw a phenomenal growth in their performance,” she said. For instance, students who were unable to ask for a drink of water in English were writing stories filled with expressions. This was seen across preschool up to high school.
Moulding strong, independent learners via a holistic education
At Shattuck-St. Mary’s, there are numerous opportunities for students to develop skills outside the classroom.
For instance, Brainard said older students get to develop their leadership skills during “Field Day,” an event where older students organise the morning for their juniors according to their houses, and engage in planning and preparation.
Middle School students also enjoy “Week Without Walls”, a five-day trip in Malaysia that focuses on service, adventure and culture to enhance their cultural awareness.
At the Upper School Level, students created a yearbook for the school year, an effort that was “initiated, led, and directed by students,” according to Upper School Principal Joe Lingle.
The school also gives their senior students opportunities during school hours to pursue their passion projects, helping them to fine-tune their talents or passion projects to show universities that they’re different.
“This embodies what we aim to hammer in at the school, which is to develop students who know how to manage a large project, collaborate, and take on leadership roles,” Lingle said.
The school has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception last year – SSM-FC has become a SAT centre school, as well as gaining accreditation to run Advanced Placement courses.
“Our students are already showing strong achievements [in the pre-SAT testing]. Some of our top students are posting scores that will make them eligible candidates even for the most selective colleges and universities,” said Head of School Gregg Maloberti.
This, and the many opportunities for holistic development at Shattuck-St. Mary’s make it the best choice for international education in Malaysia.
Maloberti said: “Here at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, we give them the time, the space, the materials and guidance to help them see what is possible; make something and do something; make a meaningful impact on their own learning or perhaps on the community; or making a contribution to music, or science, design or photography.”
“We make things happen.”