NEWSLETTER 

August 2020


MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL

A new academic year, new chapters, new circumstances. There are many uncertainties, but what I can say with certainty is that we are starting a new academic year on August 24, 2020. In keeping with government directives, our campus will remain closed, but we will continue to execute our online programme – new and improved. The pandemic is closer to our reality than before, and today, more than ever, we need to prove our mettle, and uphold the resilience we have displayed, as individuals and as a school community. We are in this together!

At the beginning of every new school year, we are given the golden opportunity to start afresh. This year is no different. Despite the short break, I am proud of my team who have turned up, ready to embark on this journey with your child and you!

Format of Newsletter

In the spirit of starting afresh, we present our newsletter, with a twist! We hope this newsletter answers most of the questions you may have. If not, please feel free to contact the relevant people, who have been listed in this newsletter.

Survey Results:

Thank you, AIS community, for participating in the survey and making your voices heard. Your feedback and concerns have really helped us make some informed choices like your preferences with extended live sessions, fee concerns (with red and fire emojis), health issues, and teaching priorities. Please take time to read them. For some reason, if you missed filling the survey and still have suggestions or want to feel heard, do not hesitate to contact me, your Department Head or our Head of Admissions/Administration through email or phone call. All the contact details are included in this newsletter.

Fee Discount:

Let us start with a topic that has been a talking point, not just for AIS, but for schools regionally and globally. This was also a point that kept coming up in the survey we recently sent out. We are happy to share that, in keeping with our promise last year, we have not hiked the tuition fee this year, instead, we are offering you a discount.

However, before I discuss the discount, I would like to thank all the parents who had faith in us and our programmes and invested in it. I have always maintained that a school is so much more than just the four walls, it is also about the quality of the curriculum and programme. And the pandemic has given us a chance to prove it. We have always had a list of non-negotiables, and we still stand by it, be it the delivery of our International Programmes (in our case – four International programmes now – IBPYP, IBMYP, IBDP and Cambridge A levels), our International accreditations like Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) and International Schools’ Assessment (ISA) – ACER, bank interests, staff salaries, providing our teachers with resources, be it in class or with personalized laptop and internet at home during lockdown.

Yes, just like our global counterparts, we have also seen a drop in enrolments, with many parents opting for a gap year for their children. And that has us impacted severely, but we will not give up. These are challenging times, but we are up for it! No matter what, quality education should not stop.

On that note, we acknowledge all the survey feedback and numerous meetings, and are happy to share that the Directors have decided to extend a discount of 25% for the Early Childhood Department on one term’s fees (with an additional 5% discount if fees are paid within the first two weeks of school) and for the Primary and Secondary Department we are offering a 20% discount on one term’s fees (with an additional 5% discount if fees are paid within the first two weeks of school). You will receive invoices this week. Fees are due on or before September 07, 2020

We understand and respect the situation that some families are in, at the moment, due to which we are also offering monthly payment plans. Kindly keep reading to find out who to contact for this.

Professional Development:

As mentioned above, our teaching staff is back to work and preparing very hard to welcome you and ensure a rich teaching-learning experience. Also, these staff, other than teaching students, will be engaged in learning themselves. They will have weekly professional development sessions proving they are lifelong learners. They have also found themselves thrown into the deep end, to teach in new ways, but they are all set to learn those ways and then make this process of teaching and learning rich and engaging.

New Names for Secondary Classes:

As you may all know, AIS is now an IB Continuum School, and among all the other wonderful changes that you will see in our Secondary Department, let us start with class names. Our Secondary classes will be now called M1 to M5, DP1 and 2 and A1 and A2. All initials representing the programme being offered i.e. MYP, DP and A levels respectively. In case of streams, the class name will be followed by the homeroom teacher’s initials.

Welcome Packs:

Welcome packs await all our students!!!
These packs include various necessary stationary items, exercise books, journals, diary and some surprises for EC students as well. Please collect your Welcome Pack from the Admin Block Reception as and when you make your fee payments.
P.S.: We also have Magnetic white boards (with a chalkboard on other side (37cmX29cm)) available with two markers, chalks and a duster. These can be borrowed by Early Childhood and Lower Primary students. We expect these to be returned before issuing of Term 1 reports.

Early Childhood Welcome Pack

Year 1 – 5 Welcome Pack

Year 6 Welcome Pack

Secondary Learning Packs

Magnetic white board with chalkboard on other side

Learning Packs and Library Checkouts:

In other good news, we will now be sending home Learning Packs. These packs will contain all sort of goodies to help our learners study better at home. There will be weekly learning packs for EC and Year 1 classes, while Years 2 to 6 will have Unit-wise learning packs and Secondary will have a starter Learning Pack.

Every student will also have library books for checkout, on a weekly basis. Read on for more information.

Open Day:

Normally, this is just for new students and parents, but this year it will be for all students and parents. This will be done by each homeroom teacher on Friday, August 21, 2020. We exhort all parents to attend the AIS Open Day and meet your child’s teacher. The teachers will share with you the new timetables and the expectations for the new class. Our school Open Day will take place on August 21, 2020. This will be a great opportunity for your child to interact with their teachers, and for you to clear any doubts that you may have.

Upcoming Events:

AIS is committed to leaving no stone unturned. All calendared events such as CCC, PTO elections, MAP assessments and Global Village will be held (of course, virtually) and we will keep parents updated.

Please let us be mindful and remember that these are temporary times, these are temporary solutions and temporary hardships. We will see better times, where we will be on campus and learn together as we did last year this time. Let’s be more hopeful, more forgiving, little kinder, more helpful and we will defeat this situation and smile back at life.

Warms regards,


MEET YOUR DEPARTMENT HEADS

Rafiq Vellani

Chief Finance Officer (CFO)

Tel: +256 751 975 480
Email: cfo@ais.ac.ug

Kindly contact him for any fee-related matter, such as monthly fee plans or payment schedules.


Binal Patel

HoD – Finance and Transport

Tel: +256 754 202 667
Email: accounts@ais.ac.ug

Kindly contact her for any fee-related matter, such as invoices, payment receipts or fee follow-ups.


Nishitha Shrivastava

HoD – Admissions & Administration

Tel: +256 758 202 681
Email: admin@ais.ac.ug

Kindly contact her for any admission-related or administration-related matters, such as new admissions, withdrawal of admission, official letters to immigration/embassies, etc.

Dear EC Parents,

Welcome to the 2020-21 Academic Year!

My name is Rachelle Hale, and in the absence of Ms. Sarah, who is enjoying her beautiful baby girl, I will be stepping in as the temporary Head of ECDC. In this newsletter, you will find all the information that you will need to start our Online Learning Programme. In addition, you will also receive more information in the days leading to Day 1.

In case you still have any questions, please feel free to contact me with questions and feedback at echod@ais.ac.ug


Sarah Bowman

HoD – Early Childhood

Currently on maternity leave

Welcome to PYP!

My name is Shallon Mbabazi Baguma, Head of the Primary Department.

I hope all of you have had a restful break and are ready to start a new academic year. Day 1, for all of us, is fill with laughter, excitement, hugs and such exhilaration! Unfortunately, this year, we will miss all the hustle bustle down the corridors and in the homerooms, but I bet, we will have a noisy chat room on Zoom sometime soon and catch up on your holidays, as we always do!

We are excited to receive all our new students. Year One Students, everyone has been waiting for you! I am confident you will enjoy PYP.

Dear parents, we understand that things continue to look different, and uncertainty may be unsettling, however, we will continue to strive to provide the best quality education for the children. We will inspire and empower pupils to grow in their abilities and our teachers will continue to collaborate and attend professional development programs, which will enhance their skills to interact with students effectively, and ensure best learning using virtual online platforms.

Email: primaryhod@ais.ac.ug
Phone: +256758292666


Dear AIS Family, for those who have joined us this year, I go by Mr. Evans. The PYP leadership team is excited to have a strong start for this unique school year. As usual I’ll be helping out chart our paths for curriculum, scheduling and assessments for the PYP section. I look forward to interacting with you during our very first virtual coffee with the curriculum coordinator later this term. For any academic/assessment-related matters, I’m available to help and you

Email: pypcoordinator@ais.ac.ug
Phone: +256750264510


Dear parents and students, we are so excited about this new school year and can’t wait to get started! Most of you already know me, but for all of our new parents and students, my name is Ms. Arianna. I work as the Head of the Specialty Subjects: French, Kiswahili, ICT, Performing and Visual Arts, Physical Education and the Library. Please feel free to reach out to me regarding any of these subjects. I look forward to interacting with you more and to another fun-filled and academically challenging school year!


Email:
deputyhodprimary@ais.ac.ug
Phone: +256794795805

Greetings to you all,

Ms. Zoe here! You may have seen me around school but for those who don’t know me, I am the Head of the Secondary Department.

Welcome back to all our current AIS families, I hope you have all had safe and rested summer holidays.

Unfortunately, we are not starting our new academic year as we would have liked to. As you will have read, we will be continuing with online learning until the current COVID19 situation improves. For Term 3, the Secondary Department excelled whilst online learning and we are so grateful for the continued support given to us.

Tel: +256 708 331 275
Email: secondaryhod@ais.ac.ug

If you are a Secondary parent, she will be your first point of contact with the school.  You can contact her for any administration/pastoral issues regarding your child’s learning.


My name is Sam Weavers and I am thrilled to be joining AIS as MYP coordinator!

I believe that the IB is truly the right system for developing in students the skills that are necessary to succeed in the world of today and tomorrow, and I know the team at Acorns has worked extremely hard to develop the right conditions in which to implement the IB so that students flourish.

Email: mypcoordinator@ais.ac.ug

Phone Number: 0758202691

If your child is in M1 to M5, you can contact him on any matters to do with the MYP Curriculum.


Hello AIS Family!

My name is Mr. Ken.

I joined AIS in August 2019, as Math Teacher and a Homeroom Teacher.

During this period of time, I have learnt so much form the team, as well as been able to share my knowledge. I feel this is just the beginning of my long journey as part of the AIS community. I am so glad to now be starting my new role, as Diploma Programme/ A Levels Coordinator.

Email: alevelscoordinator@ais.ac.ug

Phone Number:  0706202667

If your child is in DP1/DP2 or A1/A2, you can contact him on any matters to do with the DP/A Level Curriculum.

MEET YOUR TEACHERS


WHAT TERM ONE WOULD LOOK LIKE?

Live Lessons

Per your class timetable, you will have a number of Live Lessons throughout the week. Note your schedule as it contains the lessons and the timings.

Live Lessons will take place on Zoom. Teachers will send invites to join the lesson via the class WhatsApp group.

Live Lessons will be 20-30 minutes long.

Attendance for these lessons will be taken.

Follow up activities from teachers will be posted on Google Classroom and all activities for the week will be due Friday at 4pm.

Pre-Recorded Lessons

Your child will have several Pre-Recorded Lessons throughout the week. They will assign fun, interactive play-based learning activities each day. Please take time to help your child accomplish the activity set for the day.

We appreciate all those who participated in the survey about online classes. Based on your feedback, we have increased the number of Zoom sessions in a day. All PYP students will have 3-5 sessions.  The class timetables will detail how it will work.

We have decided to add more live sessions to the timetable for all students. This is a decision that we have made to ensure that all students will be able to cover the content that is needed across all subjects. We have also received feedback from a number of parents in our recent survey that was sent out.  During Term 3, we were doing at least four sessions a day, but we will now be doing at least six sessions a day.

In response to parent feedback from our survey, there has been some changes made to lessons and assignments by specialist teachers this term.

In ECDC, standalone teachers will continue to post pre-recorded lessons, but will not include an extra task or assignment for students to complete and upload.

In PYP, the following standalones will now teach a full 40-minute lesson every week on Zoom: Performing Arts, PSPE, Physical Education and Visual Arts. At the same time, the following standalones will now teach two full 40-minute lessons every week: French and Kiswahili.

Please note that due to popular demand, the following standalones will not be posting assignments or homework for students on Google Classroom: Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Physical Education and PSPE.

French, Kiswahili and ICT will continue to posts assignments as usual on Google Classroom.

Parents will be able to pick up a library book once in a week according to this timetable:

Mondays 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.: ECDC

Tuesdays 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Year 6

Wednesday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Year 5

Thursdays 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Year 3 – Year 4

Fridays 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Year 1 – Year 2

Please note that if you have children in multiple years bands, you will be allowed to pick up books for all children on the same day.

All parents coming to pick up a library book must ensure they are strictly following the government SOPs:
-wear a mask
-maintain social distancing
-sanitize upon entry


TIMETABLES

Timetables for each class will be given out electronically on during the course of this week through new formed WhatsApp groups. Printed copies will be sent in the learning packs.

Timetables for each class will be given out electronically on during the course of this week through new formed WhatsApp groups. Printed copies will be sent in the learning packs.

Timetables for each class will be given out electronically on during the course of this week through new formed WhatsApp groups. Printed copies will be sent in the learning packs.


WHATSAPP GROUPS

Along with the Google Classroom, the WhatsApp group will be another method of communication from teachers to parents. In order to join the class, use the link that will be sent to you on your smartphone and you will automatically be connected to the group.

If you have difficulty joining the group, message your homeroom teacher, and they will add you.

*Reminder that only the teacher will be able to post in this group. This is to ease readability for parents.*

All class WhatsApp Groups will be disbanded this week. New class WhatsApp Groups will be created thereafter. You will get to know your child’s class through the new WhatsApp Groups. You will receive a message before disbanding.

We will be using WhatsApp groups to share information and give reminders for the Secondary Department.  This will be one of the methods of communication from the Secondary administration to parents. Please open the link on your smartphone and you will automatically be connected to the new group. The links for the new groups will be sent during this week. PLEASE ONLY ENTER THE GROUP FOR YOUR CHILD. If seen in a group other than your child’s, you will be removed from the group.


GOOGLE CLASSROOMS

We will be using Google Classrooms as our platform for online learning. This will not only be the place teachers put lessons; it is also a method for students and parents to stay connected to the teacher and classmates by it as an interactive platform. Post videos and pictures of your child’s work and send comments to teachers and classmates. We can’t wait to see all the great work our students come up with!

At AIS, we will continue with Google Classroom (GC) as our Learning Management Platform. All Learning Engagements will be conducted through GC, where students will receive set tasks according to the guidelines set. Independent and regular practice will continue on Study Ladder to complement the learning on GC.

As we continue with online learning due to the pandemic, communication remains key. Whilst maintaining multiple channels for communication, we will be centralising learning and communication more through Managebac, which is designed as a hub which places the students at the centre and through which materials are shared, lessons scheduled, work submitted and feedback given, and allows for easy communication through mobile apps. Regular training will be given to students, parents and teachers so we can all stay better connected.

Please do not do anything with the old classrooms but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE back up your work that you had in the classroom, as when they are gone, THEY ARE GONE meaning all work will be gone and you might need this. The teachers will also be backing up the work but to ensure we don’t lose anything, you also need to do it.


ONLINE STUDENT LEARNING EXPECTATIONS

All students are expected to wear their school uniforms during the zoom sessions. Students are required to be attentive with no disruption, while learning from home. We request that you create a conducive environment for your child at home so that he /she is not distracted, during the course of the lesson. Please organize snacks during breaks and free times, so that you do not interrupt the sessions. Ensure that the student has a notebook and a pencil before the start of the class.
The Zoom platform provides the interactive ‘chat section’ for user’. Students are advised to use it for constructive discussions. Please talk to your child to use the chat section for class discussions and use appropriate words. The teachers will continue to work closely with students on this matter.

Below, explains what each student is expected to conduct themselves during the term as we continue to teach online,

  • Students will treat remote learning with the same levels of respect and responsibility that they treat in school classrooms.
  • You are expected to follow your given remote learning timetable as closely as you can as you work independently.
  • Students will do what they can to participate in the livestream sessions with their teachers, and expect to receive feedback from your teachers on the scheduled days. Teachers will be taking attendance and your activity on Managebac will be monitored.
  • You are expected to follow your given remote learning timetable as closely as you can as you work independently. Much of the work that is given will be scored.
  • The blank spaces in the timetables are for your independent study. It is your responsibility to do what you need to do when you need to do it within these timeframes.
  • If you have questions about classwork, please first get in contact with a classmate for clarification, and then email the teacher directly for assistance if needed further.
  • Students are required to be attentive with no disruption, while learning from home.
  • We request that you create a conducive environment for your child at home so that he /she is not distracted, during the course of the lesson.
  • Please organize snacks during breaks and free times, so that you do not interrupt the sessions. Ensure that the student has a notebook and a pencil before the start of the class.

Please remember that the choices you make now will shape the person who comes out at the end of this pandemic and enter back into school life when we return to school site. Practice responsibility. Practice duty. Work to strike a balance between work and play. The academic work that your teachers are giving you is not intended to merely be busy work. It is valuable and they have put time and effort into making this time meaningful for you. Be creative with your time.


WEEKLY LEARNING PACKS

Everyday there is a teacher-planned activity for students to complete. Materials, instructions, and worksheets will be found in the Weekly Learning Pack.  

The Pack will be available for pick up every Monday from 9am-12pm at the AIS Administration office.

There will also be Library Books available for pick-up at this time. Please note you must return the previous week’s book to take a new one.

*Note we must follow Government Restrictions at this time.*  

  • Masks must be worn at all times.
  • NO STUDENTS are allowed in the school.

Distancing and limited number of people in spaces will be advised. We may ask parents to wait outside of the office during high traffic times.

Stay Understanding

Thank you for your support as we continue online teaching and learning. It is important we, teachers, parents, and students, stay understanding of each other and flexible in these times. If you have questions or need help please contact your child’s homeroom teacher.

Year 1 students will receive weekly learning packs for homework and the library books.

Students from Year 2 through Y6 will receive Learning Packs at the start of the Unit of Inquiry.

The packs will contain resources that student will needs during the course of the unit.  Learning Packs for all students will be available after Open Day at the Administration Office Reception.

*Note we must follow Government Restrictions at this time.*  

  • Masks must be worn at all times.
  • NO STUDENTS are allowed in the school.

Distancing and limited number of people in spaces will be advised. We may ask parents to wait outside of the office during high traffic times.

Stay Understanding

We will be giving every student a pack to collect from school to help them start the new academic year. All their assignments, feedback and expectations will be posted on Managebac.


ATTENDANCE

Every live session attendance will be recorded

Learning pack activities to be completed and submitted on weekly basis and will be marked.

Students must attend all the live sessions daily. In case of unavoidable circumstances that result in absenteeism, the homeroom teacher must be informed. All assignments should be done in the allotted time. Google Classroom and Study Ladder activities should be completed, as required by the teacher

All Secondary students are expected to attend all the live sessions daily. In case of unavoidable circumstances that result in absenteeism, the homeroom teacher must be informed. Students are also expected to complete all assignments within the allotted time.


CLASS LIST

During the course of this week, you will get more information through the Class Whatsapp Group, as well as through the Learning Pack.

During the course of this week, you will get more information through the Class Whatsapp Group, as well as through the Learning Pack.

During the course of this week, you will get more information through the Class Whatsapp Group, as well as through the Learning Pack.


ACADEMIC YEAR CALENDAR (2020-21)