Looking back on the whole year…
When we started this school year in August, who could have guessed what an unprecedented ending it would have? The global pandemic has challenged us all to reconsider many aspects of how we live and to adjust how we interact with each other. It certainly led us to re-think our approach to schooling. In August, nobody would have imagined that we would spend the last twelve weeks of the year engaged in distance learning. Although we are all hyper-focused on it right now, let’s not allow COVID-19 to define the entire school year.
I am proud to say that, whether in person or through the distance learning program, we have never wavered in our commitment to teaching the whole child. Beyond an unparalleled academic program, we have continued to strive to support our diverse students in social, emotional, and physical health along with artistic expression, service to the community, and a commitment to leadership. Despite the global pandemic, the 2019-20 school year was another exciting one for AISL’s students.
We continued to develop our band and choir, produced two school plays, multiple coffee houses, various music and drama nights, and multiple arts exhibitions (including the first virtual DP Visual Arts Exhibition). We hosted a brilliant ISSEA Band and Choir Festival. Our After-School Activity (ASA) program offered more than sixty individual activities in each season. We fielded dozens of teams that participated in scores of fixtures and tournaments. Along the way, our students won ten LISL championships, 23 ISAZ Midlands Championships, and six ISAZ National Championships! Our students traveled on numerous international trips, Explore Zambia trips, and sports trips. They participated in more than two dozen individual student-led service projects. We had an exciting school-wide Zambia Day and our largest ever PTA Trunk or Treat. And there is so much more!
Most importantly, we accomplished all this while never losing focus on our day to day commitment to a world-class academic program! Our students worked hard across the entire International Baccalaureate program. Their efforts culminated in impressive displays of learning, including the Extended Essay presentations, MYP Personal Project Expo, and the virtual Grade 5 PYP Exhibition. Our MAP testing showed our students making great progress across all grade levels and subject areas. The majority of students in the Class of 2020 were accepted into their first-choice university and many earned significant amounts of financial aid. In short, we managed to have a great school year despite the significant challenges presented by COVID-19.
I am honored to serve as the eighth Director of AISL. This is a very special school blessed with an involved and supportive community, wonderful students, world-class educators, and superb facilities. Despite the unusual ending, I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed your time at AISL this year. If you are leaving us, I wish you the very best of luck. If you are staying, I look forward to working with you again next year. Either way, always remember that once you are a Leopard, you are always a Leopard!
Have a great vacation!
URGENT: Please let us know your plans
As I mentioned above, the COVID-19 situation is forcing us to plan for August in a situation with very little reliable information. Planning staff and student schedules under these circumstances is extremely difficult. If you haven’t done so already, please reach out to Natasha in Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let us know your family’s plans for August. Will you be in Lusaka? Will you be overseas? If you are overseas, when might you return? Are you planning to re-enroll your child(ren) at AISL? Even if you are not 100% sure, please let us know. The sooner we have this information, the better we will be able to serve everyone.
Please share your feedback on Distance Learning 2.0
As you know, the team here at AISL is deeply committed to continuously improving our programs. Having transitioned very quickly to our distance learning program, we worked hard to gather feedback and adjust along the way. Your feedback was very helpful to that process.
Although we are hoping to return to face-to-face learning in August, we humbly request another round of feedback so that we can make further refinements to our distance learning program – for whenever we need to use it again. I would be grateful if you could share your reflections by clicking here. Your feedback will be very useful to us.
Check out our Virtual Awards Ceremonies
It’s not too late to enjoy our virtual awards ceremonies. Events such as Graduation, the Academic and Sports Awards Ceremonies, and the Grade 5 Transition Ceremony are important rites of passage for our scholars. Although we could not hold this year’s ceremonies in person, our team has worked very hard to create virtual versions of these annual traditions. Please visit our Virtual Awards Ceremonies webpage and take some time to celebrate our students’ many achievements (password as per parent portal). I hope that you enjoy your visit to these ceremonies and that they demonstrate to you our unwavering commitment to create opportunities for our students to thrive.
Thank you for all the support, communication, and care that you have given our school and your child as we have continued with teaching and learning during distance learning. We have all grown so much over the past few months as we have learned new ways of communicating and creating, improved our adaptability, and thought deeply about what it means to be a school and a community.
Taking a break
We have all worked hard and accomplished a great deal over the past school year. We set goals and achieved them, stretched ourselves in ways we could not have anticipated, and are looking forward to a much-needed rest. We hope that all our students will use this time to rejuvenate, work on some non-academic goals, and will focus on connecting with themselves, their friends, and families. For those students who are looking to extend themselves academically during the break, our library has resources they can use and many of our teachers have already given supplemental assignments for students who need them or who have requested them.
See you later!
In international schools, our population is often transient, needing to leave one school and country to go to another. All of our Secondary students spent time last week and this week in learning to say “see you later” to classmates and friends. They had dedicated Advisory sessions to share favorite memories, say a few words about leaving students, and find ways to stay connected to each other. “Goodbye”s are hard, so we prefer “see you later”s - because we do hope to see all of our transitioning students later.
Please share your feedback.
We were able to make improvements and adjustments to the distance learning program because of feedback from parents, students, and teachers. We would appreciate your feedback on your child’s experiences, what we did well, and how we can improve. Please help us be the best school we can be for your child by sharing your insights through this feedback survey. Thank you for supporting your child’s learning by giving us feedback.
We’re ready for August.
During distance learning, we continued our work with curriculum revisions and planning, working on improvement programs, and continuing to raise the standards of teaching and learning in the Secondary school. Our teachers are ready to ensure that, come August, we can keep making sure that every student thrives.
We look forward to seeing you again in August - or somewhere out there in the world!
Ty Smeins, Secondary Principal
Sheila Seiler, Secondary Assistant Principal
Secondary Library Updates: Book Returns, Free On-line YA Books, & This Week's Audiosync Free Downloadable Audio Books
Happy vacation everyone! On this last day of school we want to take a moment to thank our entire community for a great year- even with its unusual ending! Here are some updates:
Book Returns: Please Drop Off if You Haven't Already
Huge thank you to those of you who've returned books to the guard post at the Secondary School Gate. We appreciate it! We know that some of you are too far away to return books. Please bring them with you as soon as you return or send them to us if you are able. If you left Zambia with books and now do not anticipate returning, please be in touch with us so that we can issue bills. We will need to do a lot of book replacement so that we do not have huge holes in popular series or missing beloved books or ones that students rely on for MYP / DP coursework and major assessments. We appreciate your understanding.
Overdue Notices & Book Payment
Our library software system will continue to send out overdue notices weekly across the break until records are cleared. This is for your information so that you are aware of what our records are showing you as having out. Note that should you need to pay for any items that are lost or that cannot be returned, we add 30% to the cost of the books to cover international shipping, high-quality library bindings, and processing.
If you need to pay for lost books, please see Ms. Cleopatra Chabalenge in the AISL Business Office. She will assist you with payments.
Yes, you WILL be able to keep checking books out across the break! We will continue to use the book request form that is posted right on the virtual library pages & on the library page of the AISL website. The form will close Wednesdays at midnight (Central Africa Time) preceding a Friday pick-up date. Pick-ups will be Friday every other week from 09:00-18:00 as follows:
Holiday Enrichment and Activities
If you are looking for ideas for holiday fun, reading activities, and more, please check out both our #BookLove Libguide and our Holiday Learning Libguide. The password for both of these is the same as for parent portal and virtual library. Please ask your child if you need it!
Great FREE On-line YA (Young Adult) Novels
For the month of June, Riveted by Simon Teen (part of Simon & Schuster Publishers) has FANTASTIC YA reads online for FREE! It really is too good to be true- but there it is! The first book on the list, Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is incredible.
This Week's AudioSync FREE Downloadable YA Books
Check out this week's AudioSync Books: Mark of the Raven by Morgan Busse (The Ravenwood Saga #1), a work of fantasy, paired with Easy Prey by Catherine Lo, a YA mystery read. Keep checking AudioSync weekly so you can download books across the holiday. The downloads run weekly through 29 July.
Middle School & High School Virtual Library Classroom Spaces
All middle school and high school students have access to the virtual library classroom spaces I made for them. These virtual spaces include some great book suggestions, books coming out as movies (here's the AISL MS Youtube playlist of trailers & here's the HS Youtube playlist of trailers), free audio books, free on-line YA books, and more. Please encourage your son or daughter to take a few minutes to explore the spaces!
Thank you for a great year, everyone! Please send pictures of your family reading together or your son or daughter reading to email@example.com or to Twitter: @terryamaguire using the hashtag #aislreads.
Every semester I showcase the MYP student's visual artworks in the Tiyende Pamodzi Theater Gallery. This year I have done a Virtual MYP Visual Arts Exhibition. The students have produced some great work this semester and have thoughtfully written about their process so please enjoy.
Secondary Visual Arts teacher.
We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank-you for all of your support and flexibility over, not only these past two months during the campus closure, but throughout the whole school year. Despite some challenges along the way, it has truly been wonderful working together as a school community.
Transitions... a word we have become familiar with
We want to wish all of our students and families who will not be returning next year to AISL the very best in their new chapter. Whether that means moving to a new country and/or a new school, please know that you will be remembered. We always tell our students, "once a leopard, always a leopard" and we hope that you will stay in touch.
For those students returning next year, we hope that the fly-up session this past Tuesday was helpful in learning more about what to expect in the next grade-level. Below are some images from our afternoon sessions.
We realize that this is the time when we usually share next year's class lists with families; however, as we are still in the process of confirming class sections, we will share these with families closer to the start of school.
We recognize that the June/July holiday may present a very different routine compared to other years. For some families, depending on where they are and how their travel plans may be affected, that may mean remaining at home for some time. We wanted to share some ideas on how you might wish to continue bridging learning with your child(ren) over the holiday months. Our teachers and librarian have put a few 'Bridging Learning' resources together to provide some ongoing learning opportunities until we return in August. They are not mandatory, but rather, ideas to explore should you wish. Students can access these resources through Seesaw and you can click here or on the image below to access these resource ideas:
Please share your feedback with us
After eleven weeks of Distance Learning, we have grown stronger as a teaching team and as a school community. With the shifts and tweaks along the way, we would love to know how the experience was overall for your child and family. We would be grateful for a few minutes of your time to complete a feedback survey about your experience.
Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday break!
Our Primary faculty had some fun exploring Bitmojis as part of creating a farewell slide (coordinated by Jill Daley). We wanted to extend wonderful holiday wishes to each of you and let you know that we are grateful to have been part of a wonderful year.
We look forward to seeing many of you again soon.
Darlene Huson, Primary Principal
Tony Potts, Primary Assistant Principal of Systems and Innovation; Tech Integration Specialist
Christine Kelly, Primary Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning; PYP Coordinator
Our High School singers continue to engage with collaborative music making during Distance Learning.
Invited to the "VOICE" project, an initiative from a team of students at Frankfurt International School, Adhiambo, Bernice, Deborah, and Zauritz demonstrated their passion for singing through this globally-minded endeavor which involved 80 students from 35 countries around the world.
The composition selected for this Virtual Choir project is “The Song We Sing” by Jacob Narverud. The lyrics speak of peace, solidarity, and hope. As mentioned by the leaders of this project, "this is exactly what the world needs in this time of uncertainty!"
You make us proud, Leopards! Well done.
While not the traditional Transition Assembly, this year we continue in celebrating the Grade 5 students as they set their sights on Grade 6. Congratulations to all the students for their perseverance during the PYPx and Distance Learning to successfully complete Grade 5. We are so proud of all you have accomplished not only this year but also the many years previously that have provided you with a solid foundation in learning.
You may recognise the song that you hear in the background. Grade 5 decided as a grade level that they wanted the song "A Million Dreams" from The Greatest Showman as part of your Transition Ceremony, marking the end of your Primary School experience and the beginning of your life as a Secondary Student at AISL. Although they were not able to sing this song as planned, they had a new opportunity! The beautiful musician Taylor Davis gave us official permission to use her Violin Cover of the song choice for the Transition Ceremony video!
One of the highlights at the conclusion of the Grade 5 year is the student recognition of a peer that has embodied the Primary Years Programme Learner Profiles and in turn International Mindedness. As last year's recipient of this award, Aditya provided a speech about how important it is to live the Learner Profiles, to be an inquirer, knowledgeable, thinker, communicator, principled, open-minded, caring, balanced, reflective and courageous.
We are pleased to announce this year's recipient of this award is Isla. Congratulations, Isla. We are so proud of who you are, your kind and caring ways, your principled attitude and your courageous way you approach new learning.
To view this Grade 5 Virtual Transition Ceremony - and all the other ceremonies from the end of the school year at AISL, please visit the Awards Ceremonies page here.
Non - returning students please contact Christine from the Activities Office to make an appointment by sending an email to: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The hard copy certificates & medals can be collected at the Activity Office in August for returning students.
All students that participated in LISL, ISAZ or ISSEA tournaments have been recognized with a medal.
Thank you very much for the support and we look forward to seeing you in August.
Some parents may be concerned about their children having ‘missed out’ on their education over the last few months. The teachers at AISL are a dedicated, highly qualified cohort who are constantly upskilling in the field of education. Please know that, as educators, we are trained to differentiate learning.
Here are two ways you might approach extra ‘learning’, if you are at all concerned, in your home this summer.
The Leopard's Tale is our main medium to keep our families informed on such things as the day to day happenings on campus, after school activities, summaries of any arts and sports events, helpful resources, and important dates and reminders.
Parent Information Sessions
Here are the upcoming sessions – all parents are welcome and encouraged to attend:
Office Hours: Monday - Thursday: 08:00 - 15:00 / Friday: 08:00 - 13:00