As of today at 3:30pm, Johns Hopkins listed the number of cases in the USA at 452,582. Cases in Georgia had risen to 10,850 with the state’s number of coronavirus-related deaths now at 412. 1,276 of those cases are in Fulton County.
On a more positive note, people all over the world have been coming together to celebrate and thank our health care professionals, to share stories of people helping those in need, of sharing life and love even in the face of social distancing and the restrictions imposed on so many by the COVID-19 outbreak. John Krasinski has started a YouTube Channel Some Good News
to share examples of good news stories from across the US and from around the world. There are many more examples out there which I encourage us all to share widely.
Conversations about gradual and planned easing of restrictions in some cities, regions and countries, including the US are underway, although most agree we have many more weeks of restrictions to go.More research and scientific guidance is needed before any easing of restrictions begins. Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, stated in an interview on the BBC earlier today that the national lockdown, imposed on 9 March, could only be eased gradually. He went on to state, "We need to pick sectors that can restart their activity. If scientists confirm it, we might begin to relax some measures already by the end of this month."
At time of writing we will maintain our provisional reopening date of Monday, May 4. Our task force will meet again next week to review this date and we will communicate any changes to you as soon as we have made that decision.
In the McKinsey & Company March 30th update for the business community, there is a section by Kevin Sneader
and Shubham Singhal
entitled, Beyond Coronavirus: The path to the next normal
in which the authors share a “call to action across five stages, leading from the crisis of today to the next normal that will emerge after the battle against coronavirus has been won: Resolve, Resilience, Return, Reimagination, and Reform.” There is much agreement that the world after COVID-19 will be different from the world before COVID-19.
AIS is actively participating in such conversations with hundreds of schools across the South East and many hundreds more internationally. We are learning so much about learning in a virtual environment--what works and what we can bring back into our physical campus and classrooms once restrictions have been eased in Atlanta.
Our virtual learning is designed to get at the core concepts, skills and knowledge across our IB Continuum from 3K through to Grade 12. As we continue to evolve this experience based upon student, teacher and parent feedback--we will continue to emphasize student inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving--hallmarks of an IB education. This will, of course, look somewhat different depending upon the age of our students!
Fostering flexible learners who are able to support each other while taking charge of their own learning is what our school is all about. I want to give you a quick look at what some of our students and teachers have been up to.
There have been many examples in Secondary of students consolidating their learning by partnering with younger students. Mark's Wisniewski's Grade 12 students have been investigating the wider concept of intersectionality throughout their studies of Civil Rights in America, Apartheid in South Africa, the Cold War, and the Authoritarian States. They independently facilitated conversations about race, injustice and activism with Tripti's Kumars' Grade 8 students, who are currently reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
Here is a link
to a video about motion by a 10th-grader, Capuccine Faessler who created it for 6th-grade students.
In Primary Science we have a nature lesson from first grade teacher Ms. Haike in German
. And for a look at how our teachers in Primary are organizing class information to be more accessible to students and parents, here are the class pages from second grade English.
Assessment in the virtual learning environment is primarily formative. Teachers will give students feedback through 1:1 meetings, small group discussions and through comments on some of their uploaded work. Some summative assessments will be tasks rather than tests but others may use specialized platforms to ensure test validity, depending upon the student’s age. Students will be expected to complete these tests independently in a quiet space. In some cases, students will carry out a complex task which requires them to apply the recent multi-disciplinary learning and keep a process journal (written or audio/video) to document the thinking and effort behind the task, or upload a presentation, or performance. No standardized tests (MAP, ERB/WRAP, SOPA/ELLOPA, SAT, ACT etc.) will be given during the virtual learning period. The May IB Diploma Examinations have also been cancelled.
Teachers will continue to design learning experiences that are: engaging, inquiry-based, collaborative, project and performance based and, where feasible, also have a real world connection. The final report card will be a summary of the progress from the beginning of the year to the end as it would have been had we been in session on our campus.
Yes, we are an IB continuum school--one that is deeply international, intercultural and multilingual. We also passionately believe that our students will be able to shape their world for the better and have the courage and the convictions to do so. The mission and core values
of Atlanta International School are not dependent on buildings. We are working to ensure what we believe to be true comes across every day.
It was wonderful for me to join our Parent Organization (PO) Council virtual meeting this morning. It was great to see everyone and I was reminded of something we all know. Our incredible multi-cultural community is unique and we are our own greatest strength. I know our PO is working hard to maintain connections and build community virtually across the school--for our families, teachers and students. They have my sincere thanks and appreciation for their work on our behalf.
As we head into the long weekend, often referred to as Spring Break II, we wanted to share some ideas and activities for Virtual Spring Break
--activities you can do and virtual expeditions you can take as a family together. Please do take some time off as a family this long weekend.
Below you will find some parent feedback that I have received re: virtual learning. I want to let you know how much I appreciate the constructively critical comments and the supportive words as we continue to work to refine how we learn, teach and live in this current reality.
All my best,
Excerpts from Parent Feedback Emails
I have complete confidence in you and your staff to get our children through this with grace and without dent to their academic career.
I realize there may be some glitches and hiccups going forward, as there always are when doing something new, but so far I’ve been extremely impressed and felt I needed to let you know. Please feel free to share my email with whomever you feel should see it.
Today’s experience was exemplary of the highest standards of virtual learning.
Dear grade 11th teachers,
We really would like to THANK YOU all for the great support you are giving to all the AIS students to end successfully this year.
This is really a great example of everyone doing what needs to be done and responding to what is a less than optimal time in history. Thank you for supporting our kids and our staff. Feel free to share this.
THANK YOU ALL for your tireless efforts and sleepless nights to pull all of this off! It does not go without notice. Again, we know MANY people were involved in this initiative so please do share this with the appropriate people!
I think AIS is one of the few pockets of sanity right now, and we are grateful for that.
As parents, it provides great reassurance to see the level of planning and preparation the school is going through to address this unthinkable situation.
AIS has gone above and beyond during this unknown time. This means so much to our family.
I just want to say how unbelievably impressed we are with the launch of virtual schooling. For a mostly untested solution, it is going so well and we are really thankful to have AIS in our lives, especially at this trying time.
None of us in our wildest dreams could have predicted the scenario we all find ourselves in, but AIS has risen to the occasion and succeeded. The extra hours ALL of you have put in is commendable and GREATLY appreciated so our children can continue to have an education.
Our teachers are so inspiring and we are so grateful for them. We appreciate so much that even though they have their own anxieties about the current times, their kids out of school, making sure that they have everything to get through the social distancing times, they manage to calmly and confidently lead our students down the path of knowledge and curiosity.