NEWSLETTER 

December 2020


MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL

Thank you very much for your continued support and understanding, through these uncertain times. The best thing that has happened this term has been the transition of classes from virtual to campus. Though only a partial number of students have returned, it is very heartening and motivating to see classrooms, corridors and fields buzzing with noise, laughter and games. This is just what we need to work harder! 

During this term, I have observed little EC children attending Zoom assemblies and wanting to share screen with their teachers to share their favourite stories and poems; Primary students engaged in virtual fieldtrips; Secondary students having fun with art and connecting with each other on campus. Over the term, we have shared many aspects of learning, fun, enjoyment, and connectivity and many achievements that AIS is proud of:

Virtual School Play

Art Week

Virtual Fieldtrips

3-way Conferences 

Year 9 Community Project

PTO meetings with parents 

MYP Week Without Walls

Back to Campus! 

The whole team at AIS is working hard to make our face-to-face, virtual and hybrid programmes a success. This certainly means additional work, additional time, and new lessons learnt on a daily basis. The real hard work—assessing, planning, structuring, designing, instructing, engaging, evaluating, re-instructing, enhancing, correcting, engaging, acknowledging, praising, dialoging, questioning, connecting, synthesizing—is what teachers are teaching, but in the most challenging environment they could have imagined. The messages of positivity and support you have been sharing with us are really valued and appreciated. 

In 2021, along with hoping for some respite from the pandemic, excitement over all our calendared events and normalizing campus life as much as possible, we are also looking forward to new milestones such as:

Upper Secondary floor will be in use at the start of next term.

The whole campus will wear a refreshed look with a fresh coat of paint and renovations. 

Based on the survey results, it is safe to conclude that parents are willing to send their children back on campus and you all trust AIS with the safety of your children. Therefore, as communicated earlier, I want to reiterate that ALL students will return for online classes beginning January 5, 2021 and students whose parents have filled the survey form agreeing to return to campus will return on January 20, 2021. Snapshots of survey results are available below:

Early Childhood Reponses and Parent Comments

  • “still it’s hard for me to take decision on this but I trust Acorns”
  • “We feel our son needs to learn more social skills. And he is finding the online programme difficult.”
  • “She misses school a lot”
  • “____needs to start interesting with teachers and classmates. I think the schools is well prepared to help them in this phase.”
  • “However, considering the current situation and the number of cases, we feel a little reluctant and confused on what should we do.”
  • “As for the increasing cases, I would like to continue with online”

Primary Responses and Parent Comments

  • “I am confident about AIS – their measures and decisions- on that level of confidence I am willing to send my child to campus for class.”
  • “Thank you AIS for enabling our students continue with online studies through the pandemic.”
  • “Too soon due to Covic”
  • “I chose to return my children to school because they want to go back. If things are normal after the election period then I will send them to school if not then they will stay home and continue the online programme.We hope that things are normal. Thankyou!”
  • “I am in touch with his teacher and all is well.Thanks to Tr Jamal and team.”
  • “The online learning has felt like learning from behind the curtains. We would like to feel the campus learning.”
  • “We are still observing the Covid-19 situation so for now we prefer studying from home.”
  • “We’re still not certain of the current Covid-19 situation so we prefer studying from home.”
  • “Let’s just say that I’m tired of playing teacher.”
  • “Cases are still on a high and the political dilemma is still not stable and the chances of Jan-Feb are still unpredictable”

Secondary Responses and Parent Comments

  • “We think it would be fine if the kids returns to their normal routine rather stay at home where all the school activities not possible and for the better study with more focus while on campus.”
  • “We will prefer online schooling because of presidential election.”
  • “Looking at the pick pandemic COVID-19 spread throughout the country by community transmission we are scared of sending our daughter to attend school physically which can be too dangerous and fatal. All the hospitals across are overwhelmed by COVID 19 patients.”
  • “I shall wait and follow the covid-19 government directive as the risk of infeion is still high.”
  • “She’s so happy studying @ school than doing online classes”
  • “Cases are increasing especially with the election campaign”

Wishing you all a safe and healthy holiday! In conclusion, I have one humble request, if you are planning to travel (though we would highly recommend not traveling unless required), please quarantine yourself for at least for 2 weeks before returning to campus, out of personal responsibility towards the larger society and AIS community.


TASKFORCE UPDATES

Standing at the pinnacle of Term 1, it gives me great pride in sharing that the AIS Community has stood strong in keeping each other safe and healthy. I would like to thank each family for playing their part in this success, be it checking their child’s temperature at home every morning, sending them with masks, keeping them home when unwell, following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) while dropping/picking students/uniforms/Exit IDs or just encouraging children to follow SOPs while on campus. Thank you for standing in solidarity against the common threat.

We request everyone to continue being as responsible as you have been, be it during the holidays, or when preparing to return to campus. I am sure that this pandemic has left high levels of frustration, the need to travel, break-free, do things that we have been unable to do over the last eight to nine months, but please be mindful while doing any or all of the above. The virus is still real, and very much a part of our reality. If you have travelled, please quarantine yourselves, as per government directives and monitor for symptoms. If you notice symptoms, please seek medical advice immediately. You can read more on caring for yourself/or relative, in case of COVID 19, in our Taskforce Handbook.

Wish you all a safe, healthy and happy term break.

Nishitha Shrivastava
Community Liaison Officer for AIS COVID 19 Taskforce/ Head of Admissions and
Administration


CURRICULUM COORDINATOR UPDATES

3-WAY CONFERENCES


The culmination of Term 1 is the 3-way conference for every student at AIS, from EC to Secondary. Conferences continue to be the cornerstone of communication between school and home. In Term 1, we involve the learners in their conferences, so they can look over what they have accomplished.

We are grateful to all the parents who took time to meet with your son’s/daughter’s homeroom teacher. The comments and thanks we have received have been and will continue to be a great encouragement and a truly pleasant way to end the term.

For all Secondary parents, Ms. Zoe had sent out information on how you can access your son’s/daughter’s report on Managebac, if you have not been able to login/receive this information or you did not meet your child’s homeroom teacher, then please contact Ms. Zoe within the second week of the holiday, so she can assist you.

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEPARTMENT UPDATES

Greeting AIS Families,

The Early Childhood Department has had a fun-filled and certainly unconventional Term 1. I have been so impressed with our teachers and families working together to provide a fun and interactive curriculum while online. We have accomplished a lot and have to give credit to our young learners for their adaptability and positive attitudes.

We are so excited to announce that in Term 2, AIS will be in Phase 4 and EC students will be able to choose to return to on campus classes.  While this step forward is exciting, we also want to ensure proper procedures are in place to keep our families safe. EC families have been sent the Phase 4 Handbook and a survey in order for parents to respond to the offer to come back on campus.

If you have a child of EC age, who was not involved in the Term 1 online programme, but you are interested in having them join on campus classes in Term 2, please email echod@ais.ac.ug and/or admin@ais.ac.ug.

As we are ending Term 1, it is time for us to welcome Ms. Sarah back from her maternity leave. I have enjoyed my time working with EC teachers and families and have to say thank you for the support while in this temporary role. I wish everyone a wonderful, safe holiday!

EC Virtual Field Trip

Our friends in Early Childhood connected and shared the experience of virtually visiting the Georgia Aquarium. Through the aquarium’s live webcams, our learners were able to explore the different animal habitats to see whales, penguins, otters, seals, sharks and much more!

Students and their families enjoyed the tour. Some of the teachers and students even dressed the part in swimming costumes and goggles. Students were in awe, as the animals moved around their enclosures and the students made observations and asked questions.

Below are some highlights of the fieldtrip.

Rachelle Hale  – Interim HoD Early Childhood


Hello EC parents,

I’m overjoyed to announce that in August I welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world! My maternity leave has come to an end and I am happy to be returning for Term 2 in January. I trust that you had a wonderful Term 1, as I know I left you in good hands. With that, let me say a huge “thank you” to Ms Rachelle for all the hard work done in my absence. 

Wishing you all a peaceful holiday break. See you in 2021!

Sarah Bowman – HoD Early Childhood


PRIMARY DEPARTMENT UPDATES

Dear parents/ guardians,

We are happy to see that we have come to the end of Term 1. I want to say that it was not easy, but you worked tirelessly to adapt to situations we never imagined we would have to.
I cannot stop thanking you, for the role you have taken this year; as educators and parents, thank you so much.
Phase 3 of school reopening was equally successful as the first 2 phases. Students who opted to study on campus reported with excitement and enthusiasm; those who stayed online also did not lose focus.
I thank everyone for the effort of ensuring that the students got the best from the program they chose.

Ms. Amanda, one of the teachers on campus, had this to say about her experience:

Primary Virtual Field Trips

This year, our field trips had to be virtual, because of the current global issue. Although it may seem more challenging, having a virtual field trip opened up so many options of places we could explore together as a class. Students were very excited to attend the field trips. They explored different locations that were interesting, educative, and unique.

Year One explored outer space, courtesy of the International Space Station(ISS). Year Two visited the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust-operated rehabilitation program in Kenya for orphaned elephants and rhinos. Year2 Chimps were excited to explore China and had lots of fun. Y3 class explored the Amazon Rain Forests. Year4 Titanium took their field trip to Smith Soniah Museum and SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, USA. Year 4 Platinum also went to the International Space Station. Year 5 Dolphins went to the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville. Year 5 Sharks enjoyed the tour to Hudson River Valley. Year 5 Sea Lions toured the National Aeronautics and Administrations in the USA (NASA). Year 6 Cedars had a wonderful experience on their field trip tour to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Year 6 Maples visited the archaeological sites, animals, and the amusement park and hotels. After the visit, they created a tour company agency where they will advertise tourist sites, and arrange for tourist transportation and accommodation in a way that is friendly to the environment in the local area.

Overall, the students enjoyed the virtual tours and did different activities.

Year 5 Assembly

“We were meant to explore this earth like children do, unhindered by fear, propelled by curiosity and a sense of discovery. Allow yourself to see the world through new eyes and know there are amazing adventures here for you.” – Laurel Bleado Maffei.

Exploration, adventure and life were showcased during the Year 5 Assembly with remarkable presentations attached to their unit, “Explorers and Exploration.”   Year 5 Sharks gave an overview of who the great explorers were, their attributes and roles, and their contributions and significance. Year 5 Dolphins shared a poem meant to remind us of the greatest explorers of the past and Year 5 Sea Lions sang and danced to Christopher Columbus’s song to celebrate his journeys, voyages and expeditions. Great work, Year 5 students!

Shallon Baguma – HoD Primary


SECONDARY DEPARTMENT UPDATES

Community Project- MYP 3

As with many other things this year, our Community Project has been a little different. Has this stopped the MYP 3 students from creating and planning? Absolutely not!

The MYP 3 students on campus and at home have been able to work collaboratively to ensure they are able to implement the project when we are able to travel to Kyambra. This is a continuation of the work that was successfully carried out by our current MYP 4 students last year. After the break, the students will continue to develop the different ATL skills, whilst completing their own process journals. Well done, MYP 3 students, who have most definitely risen to the challenge of creating a Community Project, through a hybrid programme whilst displaying a number of learner profile attributes. Stay tuned to see what happens next!

Week Without Walls

MYP Week Without Walls is where each yearband ends the term with projects relating to the MYP Curriculum. To ensure that we did not cause too much disruption to our hybrid programme, this year’s Week Without Walls spanned two days. These two days provided meaningful engagements for students in addition to their academic study in order to further develop as learners and as people.

Students were given the opportunity to give something back. All three classes created their own Thank You cards and posters to give to the frontline workers here in Uganda. This gave students time to reflect on the vital work frontline workers have been doing for all our benefit  during this difficult time. THANK YOU, FROM US ALL!

As face masks/covering are now part of our daily uniform, the MYP 2 students have been working hard to give face masks/covering to other students. The team have been cutting,  sewing and packaging masks which will be delivered to others. Working together and creating awareness of the importance of a mask can actually help save lives!

#strongertogether

As you are aware, the MYP 4 students took part in last year’s Community Project and this year they continue to do so. The students in MYP 4 have been working with the students of MYP 3 to come up with different ways of fundraising online. We know that times are hard, but we would like to ask that you look at what they have done and consider a small donation to help one of the communities.

These students have been making their own videos to share with our very own EC students.

As our EC students are still at home, the MYP 5 team has been able to make virtual stories come true.

Unfortunately I’m unable to say much about this, as it’s a surprise. Both classes have been working on project “Shhh” during WWW and all will be revealed next week on all our social media platforms.

Please ensure you all have a well-earned rest during the holidays and we look forward to seeing you all in the New Year!

Zoe Calder – HoD Secondary



SPECIALTIES UPDATES

School Play

On November 13, AIS aired its first-ever virtual school play, titled, ‘The Lockdown Madness.’ The play is a musical comedy that reminisces over the past several months of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown through a humorous and entertaining lens.

So what exactly happens when the President declares a national lockdown and the closure of all institutions of learning? It’s a party for some, boredom and stress for others, while a huge learning curve for us all! If you missed it, you can still watch the school play below.

Art Week

Art Week 2020, a time to tap into our creative, reflective, thoughtful and artistic abilities! This year, each student was given their own canvas to display their talents, whether studying on campus or online.

The following were our themes for each yearband:

We look forward to displaying these marvelous art pieces around our school next term!

EC1 – Year 2 – Colours of Our World

Year 4 – IB Transdisciplinary Theme: How the World Works

MYP 1 – Personal and Cultural Expression

MYP 5 – Globalization and Sustainability

EC1 – Year 2 – Colours of Our World

Year 5 – IB Transdisciplinary Theme: How We Express Ourselves

MYP 2 – Identities and Relationships

DP/ A Levels – AIS Core Values

Year 3 – IB Transdisciplinary Theme: Who We Are

Year 6 – IB Transdisciplinary Theme: Sharing the Planet

MYP 3 – Orientation in Space and Time

Arianna Anglin – HoD Specialties


PARENT TEACHER ORGANISATION (PTO) UPDATES

PTO Parent Socials

This month the Acorns International School (AIS) Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) held several successful departmental parent socials on Zoom. The purpose of these meetings were to give parents an opportunity to connect and socialize, as well as, to share any important feedback with the AIS PTO. The meetings were held on:

  • Saturday, November 14 – ECDC Parent Social (EC1, EC2 and Reception)
  • Tuesday, November 17 – Lower Secondary Parent Social (MYP1 – 4)
  • Wednesday, November 18 – Lower Primary Parent Social (Years 1, 2 and 3)
  • Thursday, November 19 – Upper Primary Parent Social (Years 4, 5 and 6)
  • Friday, November 20 – Upper Secondary Parent Social (MYP5, DP, A Levels)

Parents discussed topics ranging from online to on campus lessons, the school’s continued phased reopening, amongst much more. The AIS PTO looks forward to hosting another set of parent socials on Zoom in February 2021. Stay tuned!

PTO Team