SECONDARY NEWSLETTER

December 2023


MESSAGE FROM THE MYP CURRICULUM COORDINATOR (MYPCC)

End-of-Term 1 Workshops

Skills Workshops

Students participated in various skills workshops from December 11 to 13, including one focused on the development of an ATL (Approaches to Learning) skill-based portfolio in Toddle. In this workshop, students curated a selection of their work to showcase and explained how they developed one or more ATL skills during the creation of each piece. These Toddle portfolios will be shared with parents during the Student-Led Conferences at the end of Term 2. Additionally, students took part in workshops as part of the Pathways curriculum, conducted at different points throughout the year. The purpose of these workshops is to encourage students to regularly revisit their plans and goals. This process, supported by parents and teachers, helps students make informed choices as they progress through their academic journey.

Understanding the MYP Assessment Criteria

Another workshop was dedicated to ‘Understanding the MYP Assessment Criteria.’ Throughout the MYP, students were invited to demonstrate their understanding against a set of descriptive criteria. The workshop highlighted that success was not solely about improving exam performance or increasing word count but ensuring that the work consistently matched the skill (command term) at the core of a qualitative level descriptor. This understanding was crucial for parents, students, and teachers, shedding light on why some students might feel ‘stuck’ at a particular grade despite putting in considerable effort. This workshop built upon earlier sessions on the same theme with parents and teachers.

End-of-Term 1 Examinations and MYP5 pre-mock eAssessments

The End-of-Term 1 examinations for MYP students took place from December 5 to 8. These assessments provided students with a final opportunity to showcase their knowledge, understanding, and skills. Additionally, they helped students refine their revision and time management skills as they prepared for topics covered throughout the term. MYP5 students completed a set of pre-mock eAssessments, aiming to familiarize themselves with the format and content of the May 2023 eAssessments under exam conditions.

MYP3 Parents Information Meeting

The recent workshops focused on guiding MYP3 students transitioning to MYP4, emphasizing pathways and subject selection. In these sessions, we introduced BridgeU, a practical tool for academic and career planning. Moving forward, students are urged to carefully consider their MYP4/5 subject selections, crucial for shaping their educational journey. Decisions should involve thorough discussions with parents and the school regarding future goals, requirements, and university pathways. We strongly encourage ongoing exploration and discussions, particularly during the year-end break. Proactive engagement ensures confident, well-informed choices based on research and evidence. Your continuous exploration and discussion play a vital role in helping students align their choices with aspirations and goals.

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MYP 1-4 Field Trips

These trips from December 11 to 13 provided practical, curriculum-related activities, bridging theory and practice for students. These experiences let them apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations, enriching their learning.

At Innovation Village Kampala, students gained insights into refining entrepreneurial ideas, from conception to market. A design thinking session was included. At MoTIV, students engaged with entrepreneurs in artisan, craft, and vocational sectors, learning how MoTIV supports them through workshops, guidance, facility access, and business scaling assistance. The trips enhanced students’ understanding and connected them with valuable real-world experiences.

Sam Weavers
MYP Curriculum Coordinator
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Email: mypcoordinator@ais.ac.ug


MESSAGE RFOM THE DP CURRICULUM COORDINATOR (DPCC)

End of Term 1 Assessments

End of Term 1 Assessments for Cambridge A Levels and IBDP occurred from December 1 to 8, 2023, offering students a valuable opportunity to evaluate their comprehension of acquired concepts and skills. Crucially, these assessments identified learning gaps for both students and teachers, facilitating personalized improvement strategies through feedback. Additionally, they served as a vital revision tool, aiding preparation for the upcoming external Cambridge and IBDP exams scheduled for April next year. We encourage students and parents to use teacher feedback for effective support strategies, prioritising growth over final scores. Thank you for your commitment to excellence in education.

Predicted Grades for DP2 and A2 Students

On November 8, we issued students and parents the initial predicted grades crucial for university applications. Meetings were held with parents to foster a shared understanding of their child’s academic progress. If you missed a meeting with the academic team, please allocate time during the upcoming PTM meetings to connect with the career and academic team. This will allow us to discuss the implications of these grades and develop strategies to support all students in achieving their personal best.

Kenneth Kanyesigye

DP / A Level Curriculum Coordinator

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Email: dpcoordinator@ais.ac.ug


FAMILY CHECK-IN MEETINGS

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Family Check-In Meetings

The first-ever Family Check-In meetings were held on October 28. This was a great opportunity for the parents to interact with the teachers and help students reflect on their first few weeks of the academic year so that they can calibrate their academic goals. It helped the students in improving their term grades, with the guidance and support provided by the teachers.


BAG CHECK

Bag Check

The Secondary Department’s bag check procedure was completed on November 1, 2023. This essential process ensures a safe and secure environment for effective teaching and learning, creates a sense of order and discipline, and provides an opportunity to identify students struggling with personal issues and engaging in risky behaviors, allowing for necessary help and intervention. We humbly request that caregivers and parents monitor the following:

  • Use of over-the-counter painkillers, cough syrups, cough lozenges, an excessive number of paracetamol drugs, and any other medicine by the students.
  • Carrying a significant amount of money to school.
  • Carrying expensive gadgets like mobile phones and unsafe items like deodorants, perfumes, sanitizer sprays, etc. (Accidental or deliberate spraying may cause harm to others and pose a potential fire hazard).
  • Carrying anything that resembles a weapon, such as torches that look like guns, clubs, knives, USB drives shaped like knives and weapons, etc.
  • Carrying any sharp objects like paper cutters, knives, razor blades, etc.
  • Distractive elements like an excess of makeup items, beads, bracelets, and jewelry.
  • Bringing contraband and illegal items like drugs, drug accessories, and alcohol to school.

We hope and look forward to the parent community encouraging safe behaviors and supporting the school’s rules and protocols.


DELF EXAMINATION

DELF Examination

At AIS, learners eagerly embrace the challenge of the DELF exam as an opportunity to showcase their French language proficiency and secure a globally recognized certification. The DELF (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française), awarded by the French Ministry of Education, assesses language skills while fostering cultural awareness through testing knowledge of Francophone cultures. This certification enhances admission prospects to French-speaking universities, unlocks diverse career opportunities, and contributes to personal enrichment goals. We applaud our Secondary learners who participated in the November DELF session, a linguistic journey expanding their horizons. We encourage you to enroll your child for the upcoming DELF session in June 2024 to continue reaping the benefits of multilingualism.


MESSAGE FROM THE SCHOOL COUNSELLOR

As we approach the end of Term 1, exams emerge as the central focus for most students, triggering anticipation and preparation-induced stress and anxiety. Recognizing the need to address these concerns, PSPE lessons delved into Stress and Anxiety topics.

To tackle these themes, classes were divided into groups, granting students autonomy to emphasize aspects they chose in presentations. The only stipulations were avoiding tools requiring a projector or manila. This challenge urged students to research and devise creative solutions, encouraging them to step outside their comfort zones.

Emphasizing the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone is paramount for students. It’s akin to expanding the boundaries of their universes—a realm where magic happens! By pushing their limits, students not only discover new talents but also cultivate resilience and refine problem-solving skills. This growth extends beyond academics; it serves as preparation for the unpredictable adventure called life.

Students excelled with exceptional presentations, using breakout rooms, online quizzes, game shows, musicals, skits, and more. Each presentation served as an informative yet engaging platform, contributing to our collective understanding of Stress and Anxiety.

As we enter the holiday season, it’s not just a time to study and catch up; it’s an opportunity to recharge mental batteries. Taking a break is like hitting the reset button for the brain, involving more than just catching up on sleep (though crucial). It’s about giving the mind space to wander, dream, and rejuvenate—a pitstop for mental well-being. Resting during the holidays isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity for balance, ensuring students return to studies with a fresh perspective and renewed energy.


MESSAGE FROM THE CAREERS TEAM

One of our primary objectives has been to expose students to diverse career paths by hosting professionals from various fields. These sessions have broadened students’ horizons, offering insights, inspiration, and practical advice essential for their career decisions. Most recently, we were honored to host Mr. Tim Hook, a distinguished animator from Creatures Animation Studio. Mr. Hook’s illustrious career, with accolades in internationally acclaimed films such as ‘A Kalabada Ate My Homework’ (2016) and the ongoing Kizazi Moto: Herderboy Episode 1 on Disney Plus, provided invaluable guidance to our aspiring animators.

The culmination of students’ efforts is evident in their university applications, with many already receiving conditional offers. Additionally, our engagement with students and parents through workshops, such as the recent MYP3/4 Career Guidance Workshop on December 8 and 9, has been instrumental. This session facilitated discussions around subject selections and their implications for future career paths.

An exciting initiative has been the collaboration between the AIS Careers Team and the AIS PTO to secure internship placements for AS and DP1 students. This partnership has not only strengthened the bond between parents and AIS but has also significantly enriched students’ academic pursuits.


ASSEMBLIES

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On November 9, MYP5 presented their assembly on “Emotions in Music and Dance.” The assembly showcased unity and cultural diversity through various performances, including dances, video presentations, and an orchestra performance. These performances depicted a range of emotions, from the tranquil classical piece expressing peace to both Indian and Afrobeat dances representing cultural diversity. The assembly highlighted the enjoyment, peace, and happiness commonly seen while people dance. In conclusion, this assembly served as a showcase of how music and dance help us, as stressed students, express emotions such as happiness and joy.

On November 30, MYP4 presented their assembly themed “Peace around the World,” embracing the power of unity and diversity. The message of peace was captured and showcased through a remarkable display of talent, including traditional dance performances, heartfelt presentations, inspiring peace quotes, and declarations. The atmosphere was filled with positivity as the message of global peace echoed in every corner. The students emphasized the IB learner profile of ‘Communicator’ by conveying the importance of tolerance, understanding, and communication through small acts of kindness.


MESSAGE FROM THE SERVICE COORDINATOR

As we wrap up this term, I am thrilled to share some remarkable achievements in the areas of Service Learning and Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS).

DofE Clubs

Our students actively participated in Tuesday and Thursday clubs, honing new skills, embracing innovation, reflecting on their experiences, and developing leadership skills. These sessions also provided collaborative opportunities, fostering outstanding qualities that position our students competitively on a global scale.

Outdoor Adventure: DofE Trips

MYP-4, DP1, DP2, AS, and A2 students undertook a successful practice journey, stepping out of their comfort zones. Engaging in activities such as cooking, tent-pitching, trekking, and tree planting, they showcased their abilities. In an exciting milestone, our school boasts its first gold participants, a testament to the dedication and achievements of our students. On February 16-20, 2024, our students will go for their qualifying adventurous journey.

Community Project

MYP 3 students commenced their community project journey with a visit to Katoogo village, identifying authentic needs. Collaboratively working on solutions, they documented their progress in process journals. Next term, they will implement their projects, showcasing their commitment to making a positive impact. Fundraising initiatives, including part-time jobs, exemplify their determination not only to raise funds but also to enhance communication and social skills.

Service Internship

Scheduled for January 15-16, 2024, MYP4 students will embark on service internships at Mukisa Foundation, Dawn Special School, Red Cross Uganda, and Blessed Children’s Home. This initiative aligns with the MYP curriculum’s service as action component, encouraging students to actively engage, reflect, and consider the ethical implications of their actions.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

Our DP1, DP2, AS, and A2 students have been actively involved in developing CAS experiences. A recent donation drive for the Mukisa Foundation and the Ismaili community demonstrated the generosity of the entire AIS community. Their ongoing CAS project involves building a kitchen for the Mukisa Foundation, a promising endeavor that we anticipate will come to fruition.

As we approach the December break, I wish each of you a restful and enjoyable holiday season and a fruitful New Year in 2024.


SPORTS DAY

The Secondary Sports Day showcased the epitome of competition, resilience, and team spirit. We are thrilled to announce that Team Water emerged as the champions, securing victory with an impressive 678 points. Team Light showcased exceptional performance, earning a well-deserved second place with 636 points, while Team Fire demonstrated formidable skills, securing third place with 624 points. Team Earth finished fourth with 546 points, Team Metal was in fifth place with 530  points, and Team Air was in sixth place with 440 points.  Let the spirit of sportsmanship continue to thrive!

MYP 1-3

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MYP 4 and Above

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3-WAY CONFERENCES

3-way conferences at Acorns International School involve students, parents, and teachers coming together to discuss a student’s progress, achievements, and areas for improvement. This collaborative approach fosters a supportive learning environment, enhancing communication and understanding between all stakeholders. 

Students actively engage in reflecting on their work, setting goals, and taking ownership of their learning journey. Parents gain valuable insights into their child’s academic and social development, while teachers provide personalized feedback and guidance. These conferences strengthen the partnership between home and school, promoting a holistic approach to education that goes beyond grades, emphasising the importance of collaboration in nurturing each student’s potential.

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