Dear Members of the AISL Community,
I hope that this week’s Leopard’s Tale finds you healthy and well.
We are now in our second full week of distance learning. By now, I hope that you and your children are beginning to settle into a routine that includes schoolwork, exercise, and new opportunities for quality family time. Parents, please do not feel like you have to step in and act as a teacher. The best way you can support our distance learning program is to provide a time and place where your child can access the internet, provide moral support, and encourage your child to regularly engage with his/her teachers through our online platforms. Their feedback and support will be the key to your child’s learning. Also, we fully realize that parents, students, and teachers are all going to make this transition at different speeds and that is perfectly fine.
Many thanks to those who submitted responses to last week’s feedback survey. We will use this data to better calibrate the pace and expectations of our distance learning program with the varied needs of the community. If you have additional feedback, questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the principals or me. We are committed to continuing to offer high quality teaching and learning through these unprecedented times.
Health and wellness are going to be critical areas of focus for all members of our community in the weeks and months ahead. Please make sure that you are carving out time to take care of yourself. This may be a great time to add a little more exercise into your routine, spend a bit more time thinking about what you are eating, and perhaps even adding a wellness practice to your day such as meditation or yoga. Most importantly perhaps, find some time in the day when you can disconnect from the news feeds, social media, and work emails. We cannot deny the stress that this historic moment is creating for all of us - but perhaps we can use this time as an opportunity to find better ways to manage that stress.
Speaking of health and wellness, I am excited to announce the launch of our Distance ASA Program! Each week, our Activities team will be releasing links to short videos that feature our coaches offering drills and exercises that will help our students sharpen their ASA skills. You can see the first installments later in this newsletter. Thank you to the Activities Department for coordinating this project. Also, many thanks to Tony Pappa for filming and editing these videos. Tony is from Conceptually Speaking Designs. He came to the school to create some promotional videos for us, but then found himself stuck here as COVID-19 limited air travel and closed borders. So while in Zambia for an unexpected length of time, he volunteered to create this video series for us! Please join me in thanking Tony Pappa for his generosity!
Thank you all so much for your patience, flexibility, and support as we navigate these tumultuous times together. Let us continue to look for ways to support each other. I have always been proud to be a part of such a strong community and I am confident that, together, we will be able to weather this storm.
Stay healthy and safe,
Hello AISL Families! We hope you are all well and that if you travelled, that you have safely reached your final destinations. For our families who remain in Lusaka, we are planning to offer a limited circulation service as soon as the anticipated lockdown has ended. We have already developed plans to manage this safely and hygienically with an on-line request form and an outdoor pick-up location. Please keep checking the Leopard's Tale for details in the weeks ahead.
For our secondary families and students, please see this #BookLove Libguide (password is the same as for the parent portal- contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need it again). This guide is also linked as a page on our main secondary virtual library page. On this guide you will find:
Dear Parents and Students,
We are excited to be bringing ASA’s directly to your home. Every week, we will be sending out videos of some drills to help practice some skills you would have learnt during our ASA program.
We hope you enjoy these drills! Stay safe and see you soon!
Special thanks to all our Coaches and Tony Pappa for putting these videos together!
Kindly click on the thumbnail below and the video will pop up for you to view .
Soccer - Beginners Lessons
Soccer - Advanced Lessons
Coach Nancy's Weekly Fitness Tips
With the second week of distance learning well underway, we are continually looking for ways to continue our educational program as smoothly as possible. Feedback from families and students this past week has helped the teachers make tweaks so that the process flows better. Thank you to everyone who shared their perspectives with us - please continue to provide feedback so that we are able to refine our practices to support the needs of students.
To celebrate some of our mathematicians this week: Well done to Lina (G2) and Henry (G2) for sharing your math strategies.
Ways to connect
It has been wonderful to see how engaged students have been with distance learning and this is credit to the families supporting your child at home - thank you for your support! We also acknowledge how challenging it is being a parent in this difficult time and we do not expect you to also be the teacher. Please reach out with any questions, concerns and struggles. We are here to help. Here are a few ways that we can further support you:
Daily structures for home
Many teachers have provided a sample schedule or suggestions for parents of how to organise their week. With the varied home situations of families, classroom teachers have not provided a fixed schedule. For those that are seeking more daily structures, please look on Seesaw for suggested ideas, checklists, or sample timetables for students.
A number of you have said how the number of notifications from Seesaw can be a little overwhelming at times. YOU can control this through the settings on your Seesaw Family app. Here is our IT guru and Seesaw Ambassador, Mr. Frank Louw, to explain how:
As we close the third quarter of the school year, your child's mid-term report will be shared with you via ManageBac on Friday, 3 April. This is an interim report that provides a snapshot of progress so far this semester. Should you have any challenges accessing your child's midterm report, please email email@example.com for support.
On a final note, we are aiming to host Parent-Teacher Conferences after the midterm holidays. It will be a video conference format where families will be able to schedule time to talk with your child's homeroom and specialist teachers. More details will be shared with you soon.
Darlene Huson, Primary Principal
Tony Potts, Primary Assistant Principal/IT Integration Specialist
Christine Kelly, Primary Assistant/PYP Coordinator
Many thanks to the PTA for coordinating this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week. It was off to a wonderful start but was unfortunately cut short by our campus closure. If you did not get a chance to participate, it is never too late. Please reach out to a teacher - or any of our hard-working staff members - and tell them how grateful you are for their work with your child.
Under the best of circumstances, teaching is extraordinarily difficult. Teachers have to be ready every day with engaging lessons across a variety of topics and then be ready to adjust those lessons to the abilities, background knowledge, mental blocks, passions, and daily mood swings of as many as two dozen unique individuals sitting before them at any one time. When the lessons are done, there are papers to grade, Managebac or SeeSaw posts to update, meetings to attend, and extra help sessions to support students. And then it’s time to switch gear and coach, advise an activity, chaperone an event, or work on a professional development activity. And now, a serious new challenge has arisen with the closure of campus and our move to distance learning.
Please join me in applauding our teachers who, with little warning, adjusted their approach and transitioned to distance learning. Luckily, our transition was made smoother because we have been planning for this kind of eventuality over the last 18 months or so. Yet, when something like this actually happens, you realize how much is left to do.
Our teachers rose to the challenge and have been working hard to maintain important continuity in the education of our students. Of the hundreds of thousands of schools that are closed around the world right now, only a small percentage have been able to carry on with credible educational programs. Our distance learning program may not be perfect but our teachers are working long hours and meeting remotely to hone and refine what they’re doing. As they do this, they are also faced with the same worries as everyone: their own health and safety and that of their families; uncertainty about what’s coming next; whether they can get groceries; whether they can access the internet, and more - yet they have carried on working hard to support their students. In many instances, they are also trying to support their own children’s learning at home, too.
I stand in awe of our teachers’ dedication, flexibility, and perseverance. They are being tested in ways we never imagined and are pressing on. They are superior role models for our young people. If you haven’t done so already, please find a few moments to recognize these fine professionals for their important impact on your child.
What I am excited about this week…
Distance Learning at AISL – Please provide feedback! We are now in our first full week of distance learning. We recognize that there is a steep learning curve for students, parents, and teachers as we move into this new style of teaching and learning, all while adapting to unprecedented world events. Please be patient with everyone involved as we all adjust. We know that our distance learning program will evolve over time as we get a better sense of what is working and what isn’t. You can help us by clicking on this link and providing feedback. We want to do our best to serve our students so please let us know how we’re doing.
ASA’s moving online! We have always believed that our After-School-Activity (ASA) program is a vital part of an AISL education. Therefore, I am excited to announce that we will be moving some of our ASA’s into distance learning mode as well. From next week, the activities office will begin to share videos made by our coaches that provide drills and training advice for how to keep up those ASA skills.
Another doctor on campus! Recently, our Secondary School Assistant Principal, Sheila Seiler, earned her Doctor of Education degree from the University of Memphis in Tennessee. Her focus of study was online education and how the academic and social integration of students contributes to their success and perseverance. She chose this focus because she believes that online education is the future of personalized learning. This is a very timely topic given the current state of the world. Dr. Seiler also holds degrees from Harvard University, Columbia University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Sheila is one of five doctorate holders on our staff. Congratulations, Dr. Seiler!
AISL’s COVID-19 webpage! Many thanks to Tony and Claire Potts for maintaining our COVID-19 webpage. You can find it here or click on the button on the opening page of our school’s website. This page is designed to be a one-stop shop for information about COVID-19, the school’s response, and our distance learning program. We will continue to update it on a regular basis.
We have had to make a change to the 2020-21 Academic Calendar to accommodate October’s Day of Prayer. When we approved the calendar, we failed to account for the fact that the Day of Prayer falls on Sunday and thus would be celebrated on Monday, 19 October. The board approved an adjustment to the calendar that will designate 19 October as a school holiday. As a result, the last day of school for the academic year will be one day later. The last day of school will be 10 June 2021. You can see a copy of the revised calendar later in this newsletter and it will be updated on the website soon.
Personal and Social Education (PSE) lessons will resume after Spring Break. They will be organized by the counselors and advisors and will take place in each grade level through Google Meet.
The PSE lessons will focus on the Quarter 3 standards that weren’t finished because of the campus closure, as well as the upcoming Quarter 4 standards. We will be sure to update parents via the Leopard’s Tale about what learning will happen when.
You can find the Personal and Social Health Handbook here.
Please don't forget that during this time of distance learning, the Secondary School has created the Secondary Daily Comms page. This is the place to receive the most up to date information as well as video Q&A revolving around your questions and concerns with distance learning. In addition, we are very eager to hear your feedback about how things are going in your home with distance learning. Please remember that using the feedback that we have received from students, parents, and teachers, we will reexamine different parts of the distance learning plan and adjust after midterm break to ensure that our systems are making learning as smooth as possible for our students.
We are striving to balance the delivery of a holistic, rigorous program, balancing the academic and the socio-emotional, while remaining sensitive to each family's unique situation (i.e. difference in time zone, travel dates, a household with multiple siblings, working parents, etc.). In order to know how we might be able to balance this even better, please share your feedback with us. We welcome your perspective as a family.
Take care and be safe,
Ty & Sheila
Office Hours: Monday - Thursday: 07:15 - 15:45 / Friday: 07:15 - 14:30