I have been teaching Diploma age students for a long time and this time of year always seems to bring out the nerves for many in their last year. It is easy to see why this happens with Internal Assessments, University applications, mock exams and all the rest. The issue comes down to two things as I see it, the lack of experience in knowing what is really important and worrying about things that are beyond our control.
Now I could say that I have mastered those two items above, but that would not be true, I think we all suffer from lapses in these areas, but age and repeated exposure hopefully gives us more perspective in these cases. For second year Diploma students the university application process reaches the point where a feeling of lack of control kicks in. Students and staff have worked hard to provide universities with the best argument why a student should be admitted and now the wait begins. Having done all the hard work, there should be a sense of relief and satisfaction, but the reality is that for most students this is not the case, rather they are still anxious even if they cannot affect the process any longer. This is another area that as a community we work together to refocus this energy into the other things they can control.
As a school we aim to listen to students’ worries and give guidance based on our experiences. We try to speak in a common voice based on the school’s values and expectations. Hopefully we communicate these well with parents, but should you ever have questions please talk to any of us as we are happy to meet with you to talk specifically about your children or the school as a whole.
Bob Cofer – Head of Campus
As you may have seen the building on campus is progressing despite some small delays. Right now, the labs and classrooms are scheduled to be completed by the end of February and the Art room by the start of April. This means all of the facility should be available for term 4.
Over the next few weeks you will see the room going on as they are working inside on the rendering, electrical and plumbing systems for the labs. They are installing the staircase and roof support columns as well. Once it is appropriate, I will be taking the PYP classes back in to see the progress. If you have questions about the building, please ask.
As many of you already know, this week saw the inauguration of some very important people. Indeed, the eyes of the world were on Room 4 for the maiden meeting of the Primary Student Voice representatives for Semester 2! Last semester’s group did such a wonderful job that lots of potential candidates put their names in the hat this time around. The new group, consisting of delegates from every class, met for the first time on Monday to share ideas and plans for the coming weeks and months.
Student Councils or Governments are an increasingly common feature in many schools. At UWC East Africa, we believe that students have a valuable contribution to make to the effectiveness of our school community. Indeed, there is even research that indicates how Student Councils or Governments can improve academic results! We believe our Primary Student Voice created a sense of ownership in the Primary School and provided an opportunity for students to develop the sort of communication, planning and organisational skills which will benefit them in the classroom and beyond.
We are very proud of how the students took responsibility for their chosen projects and initiatives, demonstrating that they can manage and bring their ideas to life. Monday’s meeting has already started the wheels turning on a number of possibilities, so, watch this space! What’s more, there are plans afoot to establish a reimagined Student Government in the Secondary School and there will be a role for the Primary Student Voice in this set-up when it comes to fruition.
It is all about having a voice.
Ben Morley – Deputy Head of Campus
It has been an interesting week. On Monday a group of D1 students returned from the South Pare OP trip. The D2 students are preparing for their mock examinations and completing Internal Assessment required by the IB. You may receive updates from me if we notice there is insufficient progress on the IAs.
The current schedule is to start the mock exams on 2nd February and complete them the following Thursday. Also in February the final versions of the TOK essay are submitted.
Margaret Brunt – Diploma Coordinator
Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we navigate returning to online learning for a brief period of time. Please remember that our children watch, listen and learn from us. How we respond and talk to each other is very important. We need to model what it means to listen, discuss and, at times, compromise.
Teachers are working hard to find the best platform to reach their students and need constructive feedback from parents and students as to what is and isn’t working. Many teachers are using “Google Meet” while others are using Zoom. Google meet is a part of Google classroom, making it convenient but it has some flaws. If your child is having internet issues please have them email the teacher as soon as possible to let them know so we can try another way to get work to them. We must all work together.
Most important is to remain calm and listen to the children. In a world where there is a lot that is seemingly uncertain they need us to help sort it out as rationally as possible. It will all be okay, but even better if we remain the great supportive community that we are. Please email me if you have any questions about the online learning or are struggling to get the work done with your child. I am sure there is a way to help each other.
Jeanne Aman – MYP Coordinator
From the Counselor
Forrest Gump spoke nothing but the truth when he quoted his mother , “…life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” The events of this week have demonstrated how you have to stay prepared because life can change quickly. It is great to see our students, staff, and community have maintained safety precautions that we can adjust as needed. Also, the positive and productive attitude that has been on display during this change in circumstances, and the emotions it brings, has reinforced why this is such a great community to live and work in.
Last week the topic of Grit was introduced in D2 Life Skills on the Moshi campus, and an array of world events have caused us to need to revisit how important the concept of grit is in our lives. Angela Duckworth is the author of a book that explains the research she has conducted on grit in a variety of locations, and we encourage you to glean some insight into her work via this brief video if you are unaware, or need a refresher after this week’s events. If you would like to take a moment to explore how gritty you are when seeking to accomplish goals in life, we encourage you to take this survey to see where you fall on the Grit Scale. Once you complete the survey, you will receive your score and a link to resources to help enhance your level of grit. Not only is this important to achieving success in life, but it is essential to helping you overcome obstacles and setbacks along the way. Our Mount Kilimanjaro climbers embody the essence of grit as they seek to achieve their dream no matter what challenges lie in front of them as they take each step up the mountain to reach the peak.
Another way we would like to support our community in building the skills to persevere is via the resources that the counseling team has put together over the course of the pandemic facing the world. We continue to add to this document, and invite you to explore the resources included in the COVID-19 Counselor Resources to see if there is something that may help you maintain through life’s challenges. This is a living document, and we welcome members of the community to share resources with us that you have come across that will provide support and encouragement to our community. One of the recent additions to the resources document is a great story about Grit, and how hard times can impact you. Please take a look at this story and the moral it teaches when you have a moment, and please continue to support and look out for each other as we all deal with this thing called life.
Big news recently came out this week from the College Board about SAT Subject Tests and the optional essay. We invite you to review the announcement on this link as you discuss the implications for your child who may have been thinking about these tests as part of their post-secondary plan. This quarter, Ms. Kate Swope (Arusha Campus) and Ms. Ford (Moshi Campus), will start meeting with D1 students to discuss the creation of their Post-Secondary Plan, as we also assist D2 students with finalizing their plans for life after UWC East Africa. Please stay tuned for parent invites to attend meeting later this semester. Also, parents of M4-D2 students are invited to request Parent Access to their child’s Maia Learning account where a majority of the post-secondary planning work will take place. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your child’s name, grade level, your name, and preferred email address in order to be provided access to follow along on your child’s planning journey.
Finally, as always there are some upcoming virtual events for international institutions that we invite students and parents to participate in. We anticipate a lot more will occur in the fourth quarter when institutions in North America have completed their application cycle and are ready to recruit their next class. Please take a moment to review some of the upcoming events on this link, including a couple for institutions in Canada with scholarship information and the links to presentations you may have missed recently.
Take care and stay safe,
UWCEA School Counseling Team
The mountain hiking OP trip to south pare was more than just a nice hike with nice people. It was a once in a lifetime experience with incredible sights not many people get to see. On the bus ride towards our destination we saw many beautiful but also very different landscapes. We got to know each other better on the journey through talking for hours and playing card games together. After arriving we were shown some very interesting sights of the town as the hospital and the church and our guide, Mr. Elli, told us fascinating parts of their history. Over cooking and watching the sunset we got more and more acquainted and new friendships started building. On the big hike the next day we walked, talked and sang a lot. Some of us even had cameras with us and we took an uncountable amount of pictures. The mood in the group was great and we were fighting our way to the top together. Reaching it, we all knew that it was absolutely worth the effort. It was magical! We stopped next to Ranzi Dam to eat our lunch. We passed Tona Moorland, various breathtaking views and also quite some snack spots where we decided to pause for a bit. Arriving back a little early we got the chance of going to a small nearby waterfall afterwards where we had loads of cooling down in the water. Way too fast the trip came to an end. With one minor tire problem we managed to come back to our campuses tired but very happy. We all made and strengthened lots of friendships and are very thankful for that as well as for the valuable life lessons our supervisors and guide offered us. We will never forget it!
Written by Christine
PYP Student Voice is back for Semester 2.
Presenting, your new Student Voice reps!
P2/3 – Rimon and Christian
P4 – Nahar and Colin
P5 – Josephine and Otis
P6 – Joshua and Dara
We look forward to an exciting semester with tons of activities planned. Keep checking this place, and the student voice board when you’re back!
Thank you to all of you who took time to connect to zoom meetings and complete assigned work. It is not easy to ask little ones to sit in front of a screen and talk to each other so your help is immensely appreciated.
This coming week, we will be carrying out a water experiment. We will be using food colouring, at least three colours, and kitchen tissue paper. Rafiki, Kilimanjaro, Woodlands and Highway Supermarkets are some of the places where we can purchase these items. I was glad to hear that the little ones had time to play with water. Please continue to let them explore.
Your suggestions and thoughts have been very valuable. Keep them coming as we get geared for next week. P1s are making excellent headway and they will be challenged a bit more next week.
I hope all the P2/3 families are doing well and keeping healthy. It’s been a quick transition to online learning this week. It has been great seeing all the children over Zoom. I hope online learning has not been too tedious for any parents, and you’re enjoying playing the games that have been sent home. We’ll be doing some learning over Zoom next week, so please help your child sign in during the allocated time.
At the start of the week, at the behest of some of the children we’ve spaced out the classroom and have physical distancing taking place when appropriate. We will continue with this spacing as we move forward. Many of the students have been talking about how they can stay safe during these times, and I encourage you to listen to their ideas and help them find their comfort zones.
What a week! Thank you for your patience and flexibility. Email will be the best way to communicate this week. Zoom meetings have been productive and fun. The work sent home in the packets should be simple to follow and challenging enough to do. I’m available for support and questions whenever you need. French and Swahili will have a Zoom class this week. Please let me know if you do not get notifications from those teachers. I miss seeing everyone in class but the week ahead will be fine.
The P5 class completed their wonderful symmetry art and it is on display in our classroom (see photo). The children have been researching their chosen body systems. They are learning to take notes from a text and write the ideas in their own words, rather than copying out chunks of someone else’s writing. This is a skill that will serve them well as they move up through the school. Our learning online has got off to a good start. The children should log into Seesaw using the special code in the Learning From Home packet and check the posted slides before they start the day’s activities.
The P6 is off to a terrific start for online learning. Today we had a successful Friday meeting with everyone present. I am thankful and impressed. Thank you for helping them get onto the computer, and any reminders that went on behind the scenes. We talked about choosing math and reading groups for next week, the changes to their partner presentations, unfinished work (WIP), and gave one another compliments.
They all need to have completed their planner, so they can be successful next week and limit stress. Please check to see if they have their planner done. If so, they can show it to me on See Saw. Please remind them to check their emails and SeeSaw daily for announcements and assistance. I have posted a planner example on SeeSaw. I will post something every morning to remind them what they need to be working on, and of the zooms for that day. Thank you for your support.