Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year! We are thrilled to be back to school and working with your children. Obviously, the start of this school year is unlike any other year yet we remain committed to our mission of offering the highest-quality international education taught by the most highly-qualified faculty in the country.
Our new Distance Learning 3.0 (DL3.0) program has been heavily revised based on feedback from our students, parents, and faculty. It is designed to be highly flexible in order to support the wide range of needs in our community. Our distance learning program has two Learning Paths: Real-time Distance Learning and Flexible Distance Learning.
Our Real-time Distance Learning Path is designed to offer a synchronous student experience within our regular school hours and following our normal schedule of classes. The goal of this program is to provide as much of an “in-the-classroom” experience as possible. It is meant to maximize engagement and provide frequent opportunities for students to have direct interactions with their teacher, teaching assistants, and peers.
Our Flexible Distance Learning Path is targeted toward students who are located in other time zones or who have unique educational circumstances that are not suited to the Real-time Distance Learning Path. The Flexible Distance Learning Path is largely asynchronous, which allows students to work on learning tasks according to their own schedules. There are still multiple opportunities each week for these students to interact directly with their teachers.
Our goal in implementing these two learning paths is to provide as much flexibility as possible. For example, it is conceivable that a student’s unique situation might require that he or she has to switch between these two paths. The critical factor in our success lies in regular contact with the student and parent. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Primary and Secondary Principals to explain your situation so we can make an educational plan that will best support your child.
It is important for parents to remember that this is not a “home-schooling” program. You do not need to teach your children; please leave that to our highly-skilled teachers. We do ask that you provide the necessary support, including adequate rest, a safe and pleasant work-space, and consistent internet access but please feel free to leave the teaching to us! Please take some time to explore our Distance Learning Setup and Support page on the school website. There is a wealth of information designed to ensure a smooth start to the school year. If you have questions, need advice, or technical support, please contact anybody on our staff. If that person cannot help you with the issue, he or she can direct you to someone who can.
Of course, the ideal situation is the reopening of campus. Currently, the government of Zambia, by Presidential Decree, only permits the opening of school campuses for “examination” grades. In the Zambian context, that means Grades 7, 9, and 12. You are correct in thinking that these grade levels do not necessarily align with our own program’s “examination” grades; however, at this time, we do not have the legal flexibility to reinterpret the government’s mandates. Rest assured that we are working to seek the necessary permissions. In the mean-time, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Zambia carefully and are planning to reopen the campus to the authorized grade levels (7, 9, and 12) on 20 August. We will review and communicate our plans to reopen campus next week.
In other news, we are thrilled to report on the successes of the Class of 2020. Despite having a tumultuous ending to their high school years, these impressive young people have landed very well. First, we were generally pleased with their IB Diploma scores. We believe that the cancellation of the exams and the subsequent measures that were used to calculate student grades disadvantaged some of our students. We have joined with hundreds of schools around the world in a strident appeal to the IB to review the process that they followed and many of the decisions they made. If we are successful, our results will be even better. Second, regardless of the IB Diploma scores, 95% of the students who applied to university were accepted into their first-choice school! Furthermore, the students earned a combined total of $1.7 million in non-repayable university scholarships. These are spectacular university results and are indeed some of our best ever. You can learn more later in this newsletter. Congratulations to the Class of 2020 for rising to the challenge!
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.
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