I hope this message finds you safe, healthy and ready for another successful semester of learning at AISL!
This past week we have been online, and we know how difficult that can be, but I have spent the past few mornings doing online classroom “walkthroughs” and I wanted to take this time to affirm the students and teachers for the high level conversations that I have observed. It is an amazing testimony to the quality of our students and teachers that this kind of engagement can occur online, and coming off a long break. Good job!
While I am excited about the promise of a new semester, I am fully aware of the challenges the new year brings to AISL, to Lusaka, to Zambia and to the world. I’m afraid that the main challenge of 2021 will be the same as 2020, health and safety. To this I am obliged to mention the necessity of compliance with AISL’s health and safety protocols. This has never been more important than now, with an increase in cases in the community, and after a long winter break. Please take some time to review the Campus Reopening Procedures for grades 6-12 before the students come back to campus on 1 February. We will remain as vigilant in our maintenance of these procedures as we were in semester 1. This includes the potential to send kids home if they are not abiding by the rules. To be clear, no one wants this. We can’t wait to get the kids back, to have them in their classrooms with their hands raised, waiting to engage in meaningful conversations. The idea of having to send a student home after all that has gone into reopening the campus is anathema to all of us, but we’ll do what we need to in order to keep the campus safe for everyone.
Again, I am so proud of our teachers and students for all the fantastic work that they’re doing, I look forward to seeing all the amazing things that they can do online, and I look forward to the time when we can all come back together on campus safely.
Have a great weekend!
The IB recently added a resource to their website entitled Why wellbeing matters during a time of crisis: Wellbeing considerations for a successful post-Covid-19 educational transition. Here is the link to the full text. Below I have summarised some of the ideas. The suggestions align with and support the AISL mission statement: AISL is a compassionate community of innovative and courageous learners preparing for the challenges of the future.
Why wellbeing matters
Much research indicates that “positive student well-being is often associated with strong cognitive functioning, higher level of learning engagement and focus; better mood and behaviour; better mental health; a more pro-social, responsible and healthy lifestyle (Yu, Shek & Zhu, 2018).”
When dealing with fear, anxiety and stress suggestions from the research are that schools should draw intentional attention to the practice of resilience and celebrate it. We should make time for positive interactions and make sure accurate data and research about the virus is communicated. We need to provide learning experiences for students to develop physical and mental health and help them develop skills to deal with stress: skills like exercise, meditation and mindfulness.
Parents, teachers and students worry about the “lost learning” and managing the feeling of being behind. Suggestions are that we acknowledge that there may be some loss of learning and that we should feel able to express the anxiety this idea provokes. We should focus positively on the learning that has occurred and help students particularly to understand they are not to blame for any loss of learning. For all of us, reflection on learning is paramount at this time as is setting achievable goals.
In order to deal with uncertainty, it is suggested that we collaborate with our community and focus on our strengths as a school. We are encouraged to build relationships and empower students in leadership roles in realising change and in decision making. We need to continue to foster trust and emotional safety within our community.
This IB resource urges us to
International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) (2020) COVID-19: resources for a new landscape in education https://www.ibo.org/covid-19-support/
Social and Emotional Health
This week and next, Ms. Smith and Dr. Odum will be presenting on Social and Emotional issues relating to COVID -19 and the present uptick of the pandemic in Zambia.
Information on social stigma and COVID -19 can be found HERE.
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
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: