October 2020


Today, October 5th is International Teachers Day. On this day, we celebrate not only teachers who are in the classroom, but also the entire AIS staff who are outside the classroom and rendering every help, so that teachers can teach in the class and keep the campus safe and clean. Every year, we have received great support from parents, who have left motivating notes on our boards and brought delicious snacks for staff members. This year, the pandemic has changed how we live, think and function. Therefore, we Heads of Departments have taken responsibility this time and made a small video for our teams, to appreciate their hardwork.

In addition to that, I welcome whole school community to post your messages to appreciate our frontline workers at school with a message on the padlet link share below. All students, teachers and parents are encouraged to post your messages.

Click here for the Padlet link

We are so excited with the possibility of our beautiful campus slowly coming back to life, with a few students returning on October 15, as per government directives. 

As announced earlier, as part of the phased reopening, surveys were sent to parents of candidate classes – Year 6, MYP5 and DP/A Levels. Here is an update on the Class Parent Survey:

  • 77% of MYP5 Parents opted for online programme, due to which the whole batch of MYP5 will continue the online programme. 
  • 71% for DP/A Levels Parents agreed to return to campus, hence, they will have a hybrid programme.
  • The Year 6 parents are, currently, in discussions, to decide whether to return to class, or continue the online programme.

We are considering multiple scenarios to ensure teaching and learning is uninterrupted, including fully in-person classes, hybrid models, and remote learning only. But note that this will face major budgetary challenges, to meet the social distancing requirements demanded in the recent guidelines issued by the Health and Education Ministries. 

We all need to be aware that the first days and weeks back will look far from what AIS normally does – spontaneity of our interactions and freedom of movement will be limited. However, you will still be able to see people and spaces that you have surely missed. Let us face this different (and temporary) reality with a positive, ‘can do’ spirit. Please read on for more updates from the Taskforce. It is important to view this framework for creative scenario planning, effective communication, and informed decision-making about reopening school.

I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate Duggan Byakora, our new Parent Teacher Organisation (PTO) Chairperson and her team for their appointment in this exciting academic year 2020-21. I am certain your commitment, time and efforts, will take AIS to newer heights hand-in-hand. Read on for a note from our PTO Chair.

Lastly, as committed, irrespective of circumstance, AIS teaching and learning activities will be uninterrupted. Global Village Celebrations, Student Rep elections and School Play, etc. are all lined up and watch out for action-packed term, after this short midterm break,


On behalf of the PTO and myself, I would like to extend our warmest wishes to you all, on reaching the halfway mark of Term 1, in this rather unique new academic year. Let it be interesting and unusual for you and let it bring new knowledge and discoveries, as well as new challenges amidst the harsh conditions with COVID 19.

To the students, we would like to wish you a creative, responsible approach to education and an interesting passion, which inspires your teachers to do more.

To the teachers and staff, I would like to wish you smart, intelligent and more energized term/year ahead.

As PTO, we are very proud of our school with its focus to improving our children’s learning and development, which is a continuous partnership between us, the parents the teachers and the children. Our school community has a strong involvement in our school, which is evident in the efforts of our PTO and parent community. We continue to encourage all our parents and community to get involved and we shall continue to work together to ensure Acorns International School is forward-focused and committed to the betterment of education of our children, at large.

There are many exciting changes in the future and we welcome you to come on this journey with us.

Duggan Tugume Byakora – Chairperson – PTO

We are excited to introduce you to this year’s PTO for the 2020-2021 academic year. Please meet our team and feel free to reach out to any of us!


Thank you to all the parents who showed up to the EC CCC event on September 4th. Ms. Rachelle hosted a Zoom session in which we reviewed the fundamentals of our EC Distance Learning Programme, received tips for how to best implement and avoid stress while learning at home, and parents were able to ask questions about the EC programme. If you are an EC parent and didn’t get the chance to join us, you can still access the recording on your child’s Google Classroom stream-page. 

For the first time, the stage for the Primary Years Programme Coffee with Curriculum Coordinators (PYP CCC) was set virtually and parents honored the invitation, with our highest attendance yet, for a single session. In this series, we covered the PYP distance learning program, discussing its elements, addressing parent feedback and also providing tips on how to make the best out of learning from home. Feedback from the parent survey was referenced and taken into account, when designing our working program. Our distance learning program remains a work-in-progress, as we continue to take in feedback and learn from best practices in the industry, in order to provide the promised international standards at affordable prices.

The first session of Coffee with Curriculum Coordinators (CCC) 2020-21 in September was hosted by Mr. Sam and Mr. Ken, both led their first CCC virtually. Mr. Sam guided us through an Introduction to the IB Middle Years Program (MYP). This session was attended by new parents/guardians, who were joining the MYP this academic year, but we were excited see many of our current parents.  During this session, Mr. Sam spoke in great detail about the MYP programme. This will, of course, encourage and support the students to keep learning and achieving here, at AIS, as we continue our remote learning programme. Mr. Ken guided the DP and A Level parents through both programmes and explained in detail the expectations and deadlines for both yearbands. Now that AIS is an IB Continuum School, we are extremely proud of our DP students as they enter the Diploma programme showing great attributes of the IB Learner Profiles.  Both of these session were a great opportunity for parents/guardians to meet one another, ask questions and share experiences and information.  We are extremely grateful to you, as parents/guardians, for attending our virtual events during these trying times, as it allows us to work with you, for the benefit of our students. If you missed the virtual CCC, please contact the Secondary Department as both sessions were recorded and are available to you all.


Our friends in the Early Childhood Department have been busy and creative learning their first Unit of Inquiry, “All About Me”. Our EC team is working extra hard to provide EC families with dynamic lessons at home through Google Classroom, Zoom, and weekly materials in the Weekly Learning Packs. Take a look at some of the great things we have accomplished already this term! 

Family Week and Grandparents Day

We hope that you have “liked” our Facebook page and have already seen the amazing update about EC Family Week and Grandparents Day. Our EC friends participated in this themed week that focused on activities promoting family participation and appreciation. 

Families made banners to proudly display with the members of their family. Students focused on learning about the members of their family and the roles those members play. 

Families made a new recipe together; Yummy!! Our young learners practiced organization, following directions, and building self-help skills. 

Families watched a read aloud of the book “Wacky Wednesday” by Dr. Suess. In the book, you have to count all the wacky things you see. For fun, our families also had a wacky day and spent the day doing things backward, silly, and wacky. 

Our families focused on what they were thankful for and made a Tree of Thanks together. Students learned about graditude, saying thank you, and appreciating what you have.

Students dressed up and put on a show for our grandparents. Families also made cards to send to their grandparents. Below is our Grandparents Day video enjoy:


Rachelle Hale  – Interim HoD Early Childhood


Online Programme

I am excited to inform you that most students have settled in well with their virtual classes. They are completing the assignments given on the Study Ladder and Google Classroom, and they continue to practice their Learner Profile attributes. They are working hard to complete Global Village videos. Students, you are doing a great job! Your teachers are proud of your achievements, so far. Keep up the good work! We appreciate all of you parents for working closely with the students to ensure that they get the best from the online classes.

We have noted a few students who mute themselves during the lesson and fail to participate in the classroom activities as expected. Teachers have continued to reach out to such students, and this practice has continued to surface. We request that these students are monitored and guided from home. If not, their performance will be affected, and they will not perform to their highest potential. The teachers will continue to emphasize the attributes of Responsibility and being Principled to students, and we know when we do it with your support, we can achieve our goal. Also, a conducive environment, free from noise and other distractions, will benefit and motivate students will do their best.


MAP Assessments

One of the elements covered during our CC session this September was assessment practices. Assessment is at the heart of learning, within the PYP, and we have evolved our systems in order to continue to track, monitor and report on learning regularly. 

Our first attempt at Remote MAP testing was a great success, in most part, due to parent/home preparedness. We would like to appreciate the efforts that parents put in to ensure devices were available, tuned for testing and students were ready to show what they have learned. This first session of testing will be used to inform instruction for the term as new classes settle into their new yearbands. Family reports will be issued later on in the term.

Gsuite for Education – New Google Classrooms Rollout for Upper Primary (Y4-6)

We continue to unveil new improvements to our teaching and learning services regularly. AIS has registered with Google for Education and this will see a lot of integration and efficiency, especially in how we run our Google Classrooms. All students are to be furnished with a school email account and we will be migrating to the new platform classrooms, after the midterm break. Teachers will be working with your students to get them set up for this exciting move, but here is a short instructional video to help you out with setting up at home.

Shallon Baguma – HoD Primary


Online Programme

The first half of the term has been a continuing learning curve for us all. The Secondary Department continues to use Managebac and Zoom for our online learning programme. The students, parents and teachers have been making full use of the applications that the software has to offer. One of the benefits of using Managebac has been the Homeroom application. This has allowed the students along with their homeroom teacher to meet on a regular basis during the remote learning programme.  There have been a number of training sessions for Managebac and these are also available, if you missed out and would like to learn to get the best out of Managebac. 

MAP Assessments 

 Students have recently done online MAP assessments in English, Mathematics and Science, as well as internal assessments in all their subject areas. The week of MAP assessments, which kicked off on September 8th and ended on September 11th, was characterized with calmness, maximum concentration, technical questions, as we explored MAP assessment from our homes and smiley faces.  Overall, the assessment process was smooth and successful and students did their best in difficult circumstances. Each student will receive their MAP assessment results along with their End of Term reports (Term 1- December 11th 2020).  

 Department Growth

We are excited to note that our student enrollment throughout the Secondary Department has grown extensively and as you are aware, we also have new teachers who have joined us. Even in hard times, the Directors of AIS and our CEO Ms. Ameena have been working tirelessly to ensure that our Department’s growth is supported. We have been building above the current Secondary Floor, to ensure that we are able to expand when we return to campus. The new top floor will be a mix of classrooms, a new ICT suite, and science labs. We will be able to share some photos of the development with you soon.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your consistent support and trust. I hope you all take some time to rest during the midterm break and we look forward to your return. 

Zoe Calder – HoD Secondary


Each of our EC classes has hosted their own virtual assembly for the rest of the department. Our Reception classes were the first to host with songs identifying their body parts and qualities they see in themselves. EC 2 presented dances “All About Me” and “Shake and Move”.  EC 1 Leopards finished their unit with an assembly featuring what they have learned about their senses. 

Ms. Rebecca, our EC Performing Arts teacher, made a video for each assembly featuring work the students had done at home. The students enjoyed watching the video and looking for themselves and their friends. 

“Culture, culture, the mother of our identity…” this and other messages were conveyed, during the Year 6 Assembly. The theme was “Cultures and Communities.” Each of the three Year 6 streams had a different presentation. Acacias concentrated on Cultural extinction. Westernisation and globalization were mentioned as the greatest risk factors that have contributed to this.

Each of the learners in Maples showcased the elements of their respective cultures such as food, clothes, religion, regalia, language, etc…

The assembly was crowned with two cultural dances performed by Cedars.

If you missed the assembly, please don’t be disheartened. You can catch it here:

During the first half of this term, we focused on bringing students and parents onboard with all the wonderful features that Managebac has to offer, and are important for our day-to-day activities. Once we return after midterm break, we will be hosting a variety of assemblies, covering different topics. We will be asking students for their input and to help us present throughout the next half of the term.


In the face of adversity, flexibility and adaptability are possibly the best virtues that will hold us in good stead. This has been our endeavour, through the entire reopening process. We have tried to prepare a plan that is not rigid, yet follows all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and best practices.

We hope parents of all AIS Candidate Classes have had a look at our Reopening Handbook. As we prepare for our dear students to return on October 15, we have left no stone unturned, to ensure that the campus is safe, be it the disinfection tunnel, social distancing markers/stickers, automatic soap/sanitizer dispensers, and/or all the changes in how we do even the most mundane chores!

There are two elements to safety procedures – the ‘know-how’ and ‘know-why’. While we have all had an overdose of the ‘know-how’ of this pandemic, very few have the ‘know-why’, and this is what we are trying to bridge. The Taskforce members, last week, had a meeting with the AIS Auxiliary team, for this exact purpose – to explain the ‘know-why’ of this pandemic. Such sessions will be held with all stakeholders, as we progress.

While the manual has all the information for returning Candidate Class students/parents, one of the biggest changes for the rest of the AIS Family, after October 15, will be visiting the campus by appointment only. We have always encouraged taking appointments with different members of staff, however, in the current situation, this will be followed very seriously, to ensure Contact Tracing. Everyone visiting the AIS Campus will be expected to email/text the member of staff prior to your visit, and present proof of appointment to our Security team.

As we manoeuvre these unique times, we request your cooperation in this matter. So whether it is to meet the Admissions Team, pay fees, meet a teacher, or any of the Heads of Departments/Curriculum Coordinators, we request you to plan and schedule your appointments. You will find all necessary contact details here to schedule your appointment. The new schedule to pick up Library books, learning packs, etc, will also be communicated by each HoD.

We are truly proud and thankful for the unwavering support that has been doled out to us, as we strive to do our best to keep the AIS Community safe!

In case of any query or ambiguity about reopening, please reach out to any member of the Taskforce.

Nishitha Shrivastava – HoD Head of Admissions / Administration & Community Liaison Officer for the Taskforce