The day of days approacheth! In no time at all, kids will be streaming back to campus. They’ll be laughing and playing. Teachers will be able to scan a whole classroom to see who has the required materials. I’ll get to shout, “DISTANCE!” 75,867 times per break. It’s going to be magnificent!
In all seriousness though, it will be nice to have the kids back. Distance Learning is a grind, a necessary one to be sure, but a grind nonetheless. We all appreciate glimmers of normality peaking through the black shroud of this newest wave of COVID. However that joy and appreciation needs to be tempered with a knowledge of just how fragile this situation can be.
So, it is essential that we remember to stay vigilant in our adherence to the AISL Health and Safety protocols. We all have to wear masks. We all have to keep our distance. We all have to sanitize our workspaces. We have to come to school with our materials so that we don’t have to share. We have to make responsible choices after school and on weekends. We need to avoid crowds and social gatherings. We have to be forthright and honest when it comes to showing symptoms, or being in contact with anyone showing symptoms.
We may be going back to school, but the situation is FAR from normal.
Coming back to school is a contingent situation. It requires that we all follow the guidelines; it requires that we all keep away from dangerous situations; and it requires us to look at the world differently.
Your child’s health and safety at school is my number one concern. It is what keeps me up at night, mentally touring the campus looking for potential hazards. It is also the most controllable aspect of this entire situation. We cannot necessarily control the virus, but we can take action to mitigate our risk.
I have said it before, after this is done, and it will someday be done, we will all look back and ask ourselves, “how did I do during COVID?”. I want all of us to be able to answer that question with, “I did my best”.
Have a great weekend!
Parent Information Sessions:
We host three to six Parent Information Sessions each month to support our parents in understanding what their children are learning and how to support them at home.
Our next information session is for Grade 12 parents on Thursday 18 February from 19:00-20:00 (Google Meet link here). This session will focus on the award of IB grades through exam and non-exam routes.
If you have ideas about Parent Information Sessions that you or others would like to attend, please let our Assistant Principal, Dr. Sheila Seiler, know by writing to her at email@example.com.
FAQS for the Class of 2021
The IB announced last week that it will offer both an examination and a non-examination route to IB results.
Please join our Diploma Programme Coordinator, Monica Murphy, for an evening information session aimed at parents and students on Thursday 18 February from 19:00-20:00 (Google Meet link here). She will share information about the two routes. We also have a Frequently Asked Questions page to provide guidance for students and families around the May 2021 examination session. It will be updated as the IB provides more information. You can submit questions through this form.
Grade 12 Personal & Social Education
As teachers and students begin a new semester in an academic year full of many uncertainties, we can all reflect on our experiences of 2020 and realise that academics are certainly not the most important part of our lives. The relationships we form with others, our physical and mental health, our beliefs and our values - all of these contribute to our well-being and sense of self. AISL's Personal and Social Education (PSE) curriculum aims to complement our academic program with lessons on a variety of important topics, including, for our older students, sessions on sexual education. These sessions are led by Advisors, Counselors, or subject teachers, as appropriate.
Honoring the diversity of our community, we provide parents with the dates and topics in advance. While the following lessons will be postponed if we are in Distance Learning, the current schedule for upcoming lessons is as follows:
Reproductive and Sexual Anatomy (Bob Stewart, co-taught by Biology students)
If any parents would prefer that their child not attend a PSE lesson, they are welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org, to exempt their child from attending. Whether or not your child is attending a PSE lesson, we do encourage all families to discuss these important issues with your children at home.
To meet the needs of the community, the Secondary Leadership team held a parent session to explore teaching and learning in a virtual environment. Of utmost importance is a reminder that social-emotional well-being is the foundation of any learning. More so than ever, in this time of flux, this must be prioritized. While many families – and teachers – fear that their children might fall behind, we suggest that nothing can be further from the truth for the simple reason that every child around the world shares the struggles of distance learning together.
Difficult as it might be to imagine, “the power of educational disruption caused by the pandemic might not be a bad thing. Look at the new skills we have had to learn…we have had to reinvent” (Finley, 2020). What new technology skills has your child had to learn rather quickly? There are the less obvious skills – but powerful skills nonetheless – that are actually being developed: resilience, adaptability, and even empathy. And underlying any learning are the Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills that your child continues to practice daily in ways that are real and organic: collaborating using different media, organizing virtual and real folders, meeting deadlines, applying critical and creative thinking to the various tasks independently.
The Secondary Leadership Team offered Top Ten suggestions for optimizing learning at home.
1. Set up a learning space with a desk and supplies at hand.
2. Create a routine that is consistent to support your child’s time management.
3. Pre-make snacks and lunches (or better yet, invite them to do that with you) to enjoy together.
4. Limit the use of video games through direct instruction. Don’t tell them what not to do; rather, tell them what to do. For example, instead of: “Do not play video games,” say “It is time for math.”
5. Model the language and attitude you wish to see in your child.
6. Be realistic and flexible in your expectations. Be prepared for internet issues and subsequent frustrations. What is the plan you have in place for when your child is not able to get online? Keep in mind that every teacher will understand.
7. Encourage time away from the screen unless it is directly related to schoolwork.
8. Take a walk or partake in a physical activity with your child whenever possible.
9. Talk to your child about what he or she is reading in literature, what cool experiments were done in science, something new learned in music, something creative to try in art.
10. Talk to them about their worries.
This, too, shall pass. And we shall look back and smile, wonder how it was possible, and marvel not at what a child has lost, but at the resilience and grit that he or she has gained.
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: