Every year we celebrate Computer Science Education Week. This year's theme was "Computer Science for Social Justice." To explore this topic, our Grade 9 students unpacked the meaning of social justice, considered the difference between equality and equity, and then researched a Computer Science for Social Justice hero who inspired them. The students learned about the incredible work of many change-makers who use computer science to improve human rights, access, participation, and equity. Some people profiled included Saad Bhamia, a bioengineer and Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech who has developed a do-it-yourself hearing aid made from readily available, affordable materials. Another #CSforSocialJustice hero is Joy Buolamwini, a computer science digital activities at MIT who has developed an Algorithmic Justice League to improve facial recognition programs particularly for dark-skinned women. Please take a moment to have a look at some of the incredible people they profiled on the posters students made during advisory.
Our Grade 11 students had a special advisory session with alumni Sarah and Paul Young to learn about life in university and job-hunting in the time of COVID. Sarah attended Occidental University in California with a major in Diplomacy and World Affairs and minors in both Spanish and Women & Sexuality Studies. After completing her thesis and graduating with honors from university amidst COVID, Sarah has been working in the state of Michigan on a political campaign. As a result of finding this work so rewarding, Sarah will move to Virginia in January and hopes to work on the gubernatorial race there.
Paul Young attended William and Mary College in Virginia and majored in Chemistry Science with a minor in Public Health. Following university Paul served in the Peace Corps in Panama until his time as a volunteer was cut short due to COVID. Since returning to the USA, Paul has been taking Coursera classes focused on public health, working at a food bank, researching issues related to food security, and serving as a volunteer for a political campaign. He is currently a finalist for work on public health initiatives in the northeastern part of the USA.
Our Grade 11 students had many thoughtful questions for our guest speakers such as how to find the best fit for a university, the importance of the IB diploma for university admissions, race relations on US campuses, budgets, and maintaining balance as young adults with the new-found freedom that university offers. At the end of the session the Grade 11 students reflected on the session and shared some of their thoughts on a Padlet. A few student comments are shared here:
“Today I learned a lot about IB and college. I also learned that self care is very important.”
“One key takeaway i got from this presentation was that in high school, especially in the IB Program, grades are important but not to the point where they consume your entire time at school.”
“University gives us room for personal development. There's enough time to figure out what I want to do- I don’t have to have it all figured out right away.”
We are deeply grateful to Sarah and Paul for spending the afternoon with our AISL Class of 2022 and wish them every success on their next endeavours! We always love it when our leopards come back to visit and share their adventures with us.
Ms. Nevers' MYP Gr10 Visual Arts students have been creating art inspired by COVID and other social issues. Students began the unit with library-based research sessions to develop a deeper understanding of their topics, and then began the process of designing and creating their pieces. Please take a moment to enjoy this virtual gallery walk of their pieces with student-written commentary about each one.
As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues around the world, many athletes and swimmers have found it extremely difficult to find opportunities for competitions.
Our Leopards were privileged to enjoy the ISSEA virtual Swimming and Track & Field that took place on Saturday 12 December.
The ISSEA schools that participated were AISL, HIS, IST, AISM and ICS.
Our competitive streak was entertained although in a very new and virtual way.
We timed our leopards and entered their times via the online form.
We are extremely proud to recognise our AISL swimmers and athletes from both Middle School and High School.
Swimmers: Neel, Jake , Aaron, Zoah , Nathan, Nkhosi , Saana, Shoam , Cerys , Musenge,Siena Harry, Jan , Loe, Mehdi , Payton,Jasmine and Tania.
Athletes: Noa, Mwenya, Rose, Clara, Luci, Lola, Braam, Victor, Alex C, Harry, Benjamin O, Connor.
There were some outstanding individual performances where we bagged a few golds , silver and bronze medals for the team.
Thank you to the Organisers, Coaches and to all our leopards for working so hard and ultimately making it happen.
It is truly something to celebrate that we concluded the first semester with our campus fully open to students. We wish all of our families a wonderful holiday, wherever you may be. Upon return to school, on 19 January, we will open the second semester with four days of Distance Learning.
As shared in last week’s newsletter, all lessons will be Path 2 (synchronous learning) on Google Meet according to your child’s timetable from 19-22 January. For those families who wish to connect via Path 3 (asynchronous learning) for that week, please inform your child’s homeroom teacher. Seesaw will remain the platform for accessing and completing tasks for that week. For that reason, your child (KG-G5) will be bringing his/her iPad and charging cable home with him/her on 18 December. In order to necessitate the return of charging cables and iPads, your child will complete a sign-out sheet indicating that he/she has one in his/her possession. It will be the family's responsibility to take care of the device and cable over the holiday break. For cables that are not returned in January, there will be a USD$20 fee to cover replacement costs.
We look forward to seeing everyone again in person on Monday, 25 January. Should your family’s quarantine extend beyond the 25th, please inform your child’s homeroom teacher and the Primary Office (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you for your support and Happy Holidays!
As the next step in our campus security upgrades, we intend to commission the barriers at the entrance of the school in the coming weeks. Drivers will need a proximity card in order to access the school’s drop-off/pick-up zones and parking areas. These cards will also serve as picture ID badges for all campus access as we start to gradually reopen the campus.
In order to issue parents and drivers with these cards, we have created a schedule below to take your pictures. Access cards will be issued at a later date, before the barriers are commissioned.
The picture-taking process is quick. We will ask you to write your name on a card as well as the names of your children and your relationship (parent/guardian/driver). We will also ask for the licence plate numbers of vehicles that may be used to collect your children. This, along with a quick photo, is all we need. Estimated time to complete the process is just two or three minutes per person. We have included some times during the Festive Break for those who will be staying in Lusaka. Since we need to do this for several hundred people, please consider stopping by sooner rather than later.
Please feel free to show up at any of the times listed below:
→ Monday, 4 January to Friday, 15 January (weekend not included) from 12:00hrs to 13:30hrs at the secondary school entrance.
→ Tuesday, 19 January to Friday, 22 January from 07:15hrs to 08:00hrs in the Primary School parking lot.
→ Saturday, 30 January and Sunday, 31 January from 13:00 to 14:30hrs.
After these scheduled hours, picture taking can be arranged by appointment.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Security Manager, Mark Haynes, at email@example.com.
What I am excited about…
Please join us for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Parent Association via Zoom on 16 December at 18:00. All parents of AISL students are welcome. The agenda for the meeting will include the following:
It has been sixteen weeks since we welcomed back students to the AISL campus and we continue to have a safe and engaging learning environment for all students.
I love the rain. I love how it sounds, how it smells, how it cleans all the dust. I even love how it stirs up all the bugs and snails and creepy crawly things from under the earth. None of this is uncommon. Many people love the rain for sensory reasons. But I have another, perhaps more unusual reason for liking the rain.
I like the rain because it messes things up.
Now, I need to explain that lest you think I am some sort of anarchist. What I mean by this is that the rain, like any external variable, exposes flaws and gaps. It leaks through roofs, revealing places that need maintenance attention. It floods sidewalks, identifying problem areas and making us reconsider the routes we take. It complicates outdoor activities, forcing us to find other recreational options.
In short, the rain provides us the opportunity to reconsider how we plan for things. All plans look great on paper, but throw a thunderstorm, or a pandemic, or the unpredictability of a developing adolescent human, into the mix, and you realize how pliable plans need to be in order to be effective.
Hopefully, this is the lesson we take from COVID. Once there is a vaccine that is safe, effective and available, I know the temptation will be to look back on COVID as “the bad year” and move on. However, if we ignore this opportunity to reexamine our plans, policies and structures then we will be missing the chance of a lifetime, and we will definitely be in a worse place when confronted with the next issue that comes our way.
I want to thank everyone for what has been, blissfully, a relatively quiet week in regards to behavior and health and safety violations. As we look towards the holiday season, the safety of the students is the best present the faculty and staff at AISL could ever receive. So, thank you for reinforcing that message at home.
One more thing, please send your child to school with a raincoat/hat and umbrella until the end of the rainy season.
Have a great weekend!
Open Arms Fundraiser
This week, Ms. Cullen shared with the students the following message:
“Although some notebooks and pencils may seem trivial, these utensils open up so many learning opportunities, and enrich the educational experiences of students who are fortunate enough to have them. This was the experience of The Pencil Project, an Africa-based NGO whose central goal is to provide students in underprivileged communities across the continent with pencils, simply so that they could learn to read and write.
It is this same caring support that the Open Arms Fundraiser seeks to provide.
On behalf of the Grade 7 team, I would like to thank those of you who have already supported this CSD initiative.
The whole Grade 7 team
Notes from Ms. Chevanne’s Grade 9 Design Class
The Grade 9 Greenest Greenhouse project has met a major milestone. This semester, Grade 9 has been designing a greenhouse using recycled materials. The grade group presented these ideas to members of staff earlier in the academic year and was asked to create a prototype.
The Grade 9 Design group have now completed two prototypes: one with an irrigation system and one without. This week we were able to begin the testing of the builds. We found that the prototype with the irrigation system worked well! The system, using the shape of plastic bottles to funnel water into the bottles that make up the wall and into the soil, was a success. However, the material the group used to help keep structure did not hold up and sadly their prototype fell apart.
We will do further testing on the second group's prototype making sure that water will be mostly kept out during the rainy season and that their roof design is stable. Maybe we will even have a brave student volunteer to go inside and help us come to a conclusion!
Interdisciplinary Learning in the MYP
In the MYP, interdisciplinary learning is the process by which students come to understand bodies of knowledge and ways of knowing from two or more subject groups and integrate them to create new understanding.
Grade 7 are completing an interdisciplinary unit this week which integrated Language and Literature and Individuals and Societies. The statement of inquiry which shows the overarching conceptual learning is Systems in successful communities need processes, structures and purpose.
We have been exploring systems that enable humans and creatures and the environment to thrive. Last week students watched the documentary Kiss the Ground narrated by Woody Harrelson which explores ways we farm that damage the earth and ways we can farm in order to protect and regenerate the earth and how poor farming impacts climate change.
Here is the link to the documentary which is well worth watching. It is about an hour and a quarter long.
Students reflected on the systems, processes and structures they noticed using the visible thinking routine Notice Think Wonder.
They are currently researching a system of their choice in order to write their summative which is an online magazine article. We are hoping to share some of these in the new year.
Last Day of the Semester Schedule: Friday 18 December
7:30-8:15 am - D block
8:20-9:05 am - A block
9:10-9:55 am - B block
10-10:15 am - Break
10:20-11:05 am - C block
11:15 am-12:00 pm All-School Assembly
Please collect your child at 12:00 pm on the last day of school.
We know that this can be a time filled with uncertainties, so please understand that our highest priority is the health and well-being of your children. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Dr. Rick Odum, Secondary Principal
Dr. Sheila Seiler, Secondary Assistant Principal
Toward a More Inclusive Society: AISL Hosts Guest Speakers to Honor the UN’s International Day for Persons with Disabilities
On 3 December each year the UN celebrates the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Disability inclusion is a core facet of human rights, yet stigmatizing persons with disabilities persists in many places throughout the African continent. Learning about the importance of inclusion for all persons connects to the goal of an IB education, which is “to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.”
To raise awareness of the importance of disability inclusion, our secondary school hosted two guest speakers for Thursday’s advisory session this week:
Ms. Gertrude Lungu from the Bauleni Special Needs Project: Ms. Lungu spoke about the role of the Bauleni Special Needs School as well as the income-generating projects they support that assist the families of children who attend their school. Not only does this project support the education of children in the Lusaka area, but they extend their services to rural communities, too, by training people This school is located right on Leopard’s Hill Road after Crossroads when you are heading toward AISL.
Mr. Kenneth Habaalu from the Apters Project: Mr. Habaalu has been the director of Apters for the past 28 years. Apters uses paper, cardboard, flour, cereal boxes, and cornflakes (yes, cornflakes!) to make walkers, chairs, stands, and other mobility aids to assist children with disabilities (most of whom have cerebral palsy). The income from the sales of other craft items that Apters sells at local markets (such as the Dutch Reform Market) pay the salaries of the 10 permanent employees, all of whom are adults with disabilities (some of whom benefited from Apters technologies as young children!). AISL has been sending its used paper to Apters for more than a decade, and we would like to increase our support of the incredible work they do.
The third option students had for this special session was to learn about disabilities in Africa and the stigmatization that unfortunately is often associated with it. If students preferred, they could focus their independent learning on invisible disabilities, such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety, ADD, and OCD, to name a few. Curated video playlists for these topics were shared with students on the Different Not Less libguide (password is the same as for parent portal if you’d like to watch any of the videos).
Following these sessions, we will be exploring how students' understandings have evolved as a result of these interactions and explorations.
“It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
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: