I sometimes marvel at being here at UWCEA and in Tanzania. One of those times was on Thursday afternoon. I had just finished an online meeting when a flicker of movement caught my eye. Looking up a head had appeared around the corner of my doorway tentatively then the rest of him moved into place. For about 30 seconds the monkey and I looked at each other as if trying to figure out what the other was thinking. It turns out however that I am not interesting enough for a longer stare as he then left the office and headed out for further adventures.
This is by far the largest campus I have ever worked at and the green space is a luxury that I am not sure we appreciate enough day to day. This past week as we have looked at health protocols for the school and what other schools have to deal with, I was reminded how lucky we are to have the space to spread out and the access to fresh air. These two items make schooling in today’s environment a more manageable proposition.
Please see below the information on screening and campus protocols. The links will take you to the documents. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Bob Cofer – Head of Campus
During the online learning period we have updated our health protocols and screening procedures. I would like to thank those in the health profession from our community that shared their insights with us during this process. You can see the student self-screening checklist above and it can be accessed on the website here. In addition to students, all of our staff will be self-screening each day before coming to school.
Our updated health protocols are also listed here on the website and these are protocols we expect to be in place for likely the remainder of the school year. In addition to these we will have weekly campus movement bulletin that will be updated weekly to account quickly for any localized changes. This bulletin will look at the campus access for students, parents, staff and community members. If you have any questions on any of these documents, please email me.
Building work is progressing as you can see. This is the work being completed on the ringbeam and columns and the roof should be started next week. The interior work is also on schedule for this phase and the expectation is these will be ready for students in 5 weeks. The Art room is expected to be completed during the April holiday.
The IB Learner Profile (IBLP) is often referenced in our newsletters. To reiterate, the IBLP represents the Mission of the IB in action, ten valued attributes of “character education” that describe a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success. The IB believes these attributes can “help individuals and groups become responsible members of local, national and global communities.”
The sentiment remains that these are not desired end products of an IB education but something to aspire to each and every day. Of course, simply displaying these in classrooms is not enough to embed them in the culture and pedagogy. Instead, they should be explicitly present in day-to-day life and learning across the school. It is also important to remember that the Learner Profile is also intended as a source of reflection and analysis.
Indeed, I have been reflecting on the notion that character education must remain a partnership between schools, parents and the wider community. Never is this more pertinent than when faced with common challenges and hurdles. At times when emotions run high, preferences, expectations and opinions are spread out across a long continuum and direct and indirect experiences range enormously.
For me, character education will always be an ongoing process as we all strive to understand, care about and act on universal, ethical values, such as respect, civic virtue and collective responsibility. If we remember these core values, keep ourselves as informed as possible and make sure we continue to communicate and collaborate, we can ensure the attributes of the IBLP at UWC East Africa remain more than just wall decorations.
Ben Morley – Deputy Head of Campus
The D2 mock exams take place starting Tuesday February 2nd, the timetable has been shared with students and parents. On Monday February 1st the students have a study day. However, we have an information meeting about the mocks at 10:30 am. This is compulsory for all students.
During the examinations, students will always sit in the same seat and will be asked to wash and/or sanitise their hands before entering the room. If a student is feeling unwell, they must report to the nurse and she will make the decision about if they can take the exam. Any student who misses an exam will be given the chance to take it later. We remind students and parents that the major functions of these tests are to inform teachers and students of their current understanding in the subject, and to prepare them for the exam setting.
Most D2 students submitted their TOK essay draft this week and we have had a big push on getting all other submissions completed.
Margaret Brunt – Diploma Coordinator
From the Counselor
Rise and Shine
We continue to learn ways that life never ceases to surprise us, and yet we also find ways to persevere while we also learn more about ourselves along the way. It is so important that we not only learn how to handle life’s adversities in healthy ways, but also model strategies for our child. Beyond modeling, we can use direct instruction to help create an understanding of mental health and wellbeing for the young people who look to us in tough times. Next week is a special week to delve into this topic as the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is providing a slew of resources for Children’s Mental Health Week 1-6 February. We invite you to explore to learn more about this important awareness week, and ways to provide your child with tools to maintain and enhance their mental health. The theme this year is “Express Yourself,” and there is so much that can be done to help children learn how to do this in creative ways.
Another way to help children discover their ability to express themselves and learn about resiliency is through the biographies of people who have overcome adversity and found success in life. Since February is Black History Month, this is a great time to introduce children to individuals who have risen in spite of their circumstances. A great place to start is with author and educator, Dr. Maya Angelou who has given many people an anthem for resiliency through her poem Still I Rise. Just like the mountains that overlook our campuses, we can all find ways to rise and build upon our inner strength no matter what life throws at us.
There is another poem by Dr. Angelou that is perfect for this time as well, especially when many around the world have been mesmerized by the poetry of US National Youth Poet Laureate and youngest Inaugural Poet in the United States, Ms. Amanda Gorman. In honor of the start of Black History Month on 1 February, we look to Dr. Maya Angelou as someone who had a life full of firsts, including being the first African American woman to recite a poem at the United States Presidential Inauguration. Her poem On the Pulse of Morning laid the foundation for Gorman and others to use their creativity to express themselves and rise to face challenges and opportunities in this thing called life. We hope you continue to find reasons to rise and express yourself in new ways to overcome any obstacles as you find ways to shine in your own special way.
On the college counseling side, we are still inviting parents of M4-D2 students 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, this is a tremendous time to learn more about post-secondary options that exist around the world. It is important to recognize that virtual visits by colleges and universities are not just for students, they are also a time for parents to learn more about the opportunities that exist for their child. Please take a moment to review some of the upcoming events on this link, and sign up to attend one or two that interest you. Then talk with your child about what you learned and how this might apply to their post-secondary plans.
Take care and persevere,
UWCEA School Counseling Team
Dear MYP family, I want to thank you for the efforts of the week of online learning. For the most part kids were switched on and communicative. Needless to say this coming week will be filled with catching up and reconnecting as we filter back in. I want to stress that we choose kindness over criticism and understand that everyone is trying their best. I understand that some students fell behind and will need to do a bit of makeup work. I encourage them and you to communicate with the teachers, so we understand what was missed and see what can be worked out to accommodate everyone’s needs. I think patience is the key here.
In addition, some families are choosing to wait to return and I understand that we all must make the decisions that fit our family’s needs. Please understand that this potentially creates extra work for the teaching staff and therefore additional patience from you is required. I ask that you communicate your intentions with each of our student’s teachers so they can be aware and prepare. I then implore you to access Managebac and Google classroom with your student to help navigate the work and be the first line of help for your child, many questions can be answered if you are there reading the assignments with them and therefore supporting the teacher’s efforts to accommodate everyone.
Jeanne Aman – MYP Coordinator
Residential Life has certainly been a little different to normal as of late as our students adapt to being in isolation, online learning and in close quarters with their peers and staff 24/7. However, our residential students have taken it upon themselves to coordinate activities each afternoon. The range has been extensive and has fostered a new engagement amongst our respective houses. Each afternoon and evening one can see houses involved in basketball, Zumba, Frisbee, Football, Swimming, and Movie Nights – to name but a few.
Online learning posed it challenges, but it also presented itself wonderful opportunities for our students to reconnect with one another. They have demonstrated resilience, perseverance and a true UWCEA community spirit as they help each other through the various challenges that presented itself each day.
I couldn’t be more proud of how our residential students have conducted themselves over the last few weeks and the staff who have been facilitating their learning, activities and extra duties must also be commended. I think Barbara from Kilele house summarised these two weeks wonderfully: “Regardless of all the adversities, we’ve had to adapt ourselves once again. Luckily, this adaptation has been much smoother thanks to our residential parents and the staff members’ enormous support, who have all been tirelessly working trying to keep us safe. In addition to this, we were extremely lucky to have face-to-face classes previously and moving forward, this is a privilege compared to what the rest of the world is experiencing right now. Even now, living in residential bubbles, we have many liberties. These include time to spend with our friends, to continue doing exercise, swimming and going for walks (with all the needed measures). This instance has also allowed us to improve our relationships within each boarding house.”
We have a wonderful community and I thank all the staff and students for their adaption to a complex climate.
Simon Johnston – Head of Residential Life
Many thanks for all of the support you have given to teachers and the children over the last 2 weeks. We are looking forward to seeing the children on campus on Monday. After school clubs will run per normal schedule from Monday. As far as possible they will take place in an outdoors space following all protocols including hand washing at the beginning and end of the activity.
Deborah Mills and Mboka Mwasongwe – PYP Coordinators
We have seen amazing work on Seesaw from you. Thank you for taking time to work with the children and even extending some activities for them as well. You have really taken time to create learning spaces in your homes.
This coming week, we will keep on looking into the properties of water. The clouds seem to be gathering so when the opportunity arises, please don’t forget to talk about rain and where it comes from. You might like to let the children feel the rain and talk about it’s temperature and so on.
Please don’t forget to send in all completed work on Monday. We will change reading books as well as library books as we were not able to on Friday.
We’re looking forward to having students back in class next week! If your child will not be attending school next week, please let me know so I can prepare packages for them that they can complete while at home. Swimming will continue as per normal on Monday. Please bring in homework folders with all the work completed over the last 10 days. I am excited to see everyone!
Last Friday, Christian celebrated his 8th birthday, and we got to sing to him over Zoom, albeit very off-tune Happy belated birthday Christian!!
Despite the distance from one another, P4 managed to connect well this week with our Zoom meetings. It was especially fun to meet some family pets on our Friday Zoom! It seems that students are progressing well with their summative projects. Anyone who needs more support or supplies for these will receive it at school next week. I’m proud of the class for keeping up with the work packets that were sent home. Please turn in your completed work on Monday. I look forward to returning to the classroom on Monday. Don’t forget your swimsuits!
Congratulations to the P5 class on their superb online learning performance. Next week in the classroom we will carry out some investigations about caring for our body systems, continue with our work on data representation and complete a Keith Haring based art activity.
The P6 did a fabulous job this week with their online learning. Please remind them to bring everything that was sent home back to school on Monday. Even if it is not complete, it should still come back. We have pushed the presentations for their summatives to Thursday the 4th of February.
We have asked the class to remove any memberships to platforms that are not used for school purposes by Monday to conform with school use procedures. They have been asked to create a separate email account with your permission for this purpose. Thank you for your support on this matter.