We have come to the end of term 3 and are looking forward to our holiday. On Wednesday, we had a great time having dinner with our Year 12 students. It was a privilege to end the term off celebrating them this week, with a Valedictory service as well as treating them to a dinner at the Gorgeous George hotel in the City Centre.
We finished our term having some fun recording the Jerusalema dance and what great fun we had, from the youngest year group to the teachers joining in.
I realized again how wonderful it is to be part of the Blouberg International family. As we prepare to take a break, I wish you all a wonderful time spent with family. May all the staff enjoy their break and come back refreshed and ready to finish the last term well.
Thank you for all your hard work and support throughout term 3. We look forward to welcoming you back next term.
Bringing Back The Normal.
The most important year for any student is their matric year. Not just academically, but it is also the last time they will participate in school sporting events, productions, prize-giving and most importantly, the Matric dance.
Due to the pandemic our Year 12’s have missed out on so many of these traditions. However, as soon as we were moved to level 2 we began planning for a few important events this term. We are holding our Valedictory service next week and although parents cannot join us they will be able to stream the event online. We have also organised a Matric farewell dinner and the Year 12 students are extremely excited to dress-up for the occasion.
Although there were a lot of setbacks for schools all over the country and the world, it also opened doors of “first time ever”. For the first time ever, we held our Student Representative Council (SRC) voting online. Our IT department created a platform where the High School students were able to view prospective SRC candidates’ videos and then cast their votes on an online ballot. The new SRC will be announced at the Valedictory service.
In the Primary School we had our verbal feedback meetings and we trust it went well for all parents. The Primary students are also practicing hard their Jerusalema dance. Keep an eye out for this exciting video
Wishing all our families a restful weekend.
Head of Academics High SchoolRead More
If like me you were expectantly waiting for spring to arrive, you must be sharing my disappointment at being stuck in a winter wardrobe. We have much to be grateful for and, despite the bitter cold of the past few days, it is still wonderful to hear the voices and laughter of our children back at school.
This week we opened our Aftercare facility again and I wish to thank you for adhering to the protocols so diligently. Your conscientiousness makes the work of the teachers and aftercare staff much easier and we appreciate your cooperation with collection times. We have also reintroduced the holiday care program as we are acutely aware of the need for such a facility.
Next week our staff will be doing verbal feedback meetings. I trust you have managed to schedule some time with your children’s teachers as the feedback from these meetings is crucial for both parties.
We are celebrating Mrs. Avril Lai Wing this week and wish to honor her for the daily tasks she is doing so gracefully. She is always available to our students and receives them with a big heart. Secretaries are the first face you see as you enter the building and the welcoming smiles to our children. We are blessed to have her as part of our team.
“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”- Doug Larson
I wish you a happy weekend and may it be filled with sunshine and no rain!
It is unbelievable to think that we are at the end of August! We have three weeks left till the end of term and our year 10 and 12 students are finishing their pre-lim examinations this week. On Monday, 07 September our year 7,8,9, 11 and 13 students will start test week. We are confident that our students are adequately prepared to write their tests and that all their hard work during lockdown will see them succeed.
This week we communicated about the commencement of our aftercare programme on 01 September and holiday care programme on 17 September 2020. I am sure many of you have returned to work and hopefully working from home is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past.
This afternoon Ms. Kiley shared with me one of the topics from her PSHE classes with the Year 2’s. The topic was about ‘worrying’, and the students were encouraged to identify some of their own worrying thoughts. It was heartwarming when a parent shared with us that her daughter taught her some of the lessons she had learnt in class. It turns out that this inquisitive mind encouraged mom at home about not worrying and shared what she had been taught in class!
This is the opportunity we as educators have daily. We can share our experiences with the young minds in our care and teach them important skills which they can apply even at this young age. The responsibility we have is great and not to be taken lightly. We educators need to ensure we are adequately prepared to take care of every student in our care.
As we begin a new phase in our aftercare classrooms next week, we hope that you will share your thoughts and suggestions with us as we strive to make your return to work smoother. We are in this together and together we are better.
“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it takes away today’s peace.”- Unknown
I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
As I was looking back through the school calendar for 2020, I was reminded of all the events we have missed over the past few months. We missed the Interactive Curriculum Morning in April, a bi-annual event where parents participate in an interactive learning experience in the classroom. This was also the first year we did not have our Grandparents/Someone Special Day. No school photos were taken in July and the SRC of 2020 had little chance to enact any of the plans they campaigned for.
However, do not despair! We are not going to let the rest of the year pass by without enjoying some of our annual celebrations. Planning is underway for a special Valedictory service for our matric students and even though the matric dance cannot follow the traditional format, that does not mean we don’t have something exciting up our sleeves! We also launched our first Virtual Open Day last week and this week, our very first Virtual Talent Show! We look forward to many entries for this competition as we know how creative and talented our students are.
There is always something to be grateful for and always something to look forward to! Where there is no vision, people perish. Blouberg International staff, students and parents are not without hope, vision, or innovation.
To our matric and year 10 students who started their prelim examinations this week, we wish you all the best and success ahead.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend filled with family time and much laughter.
This Friday, the 14th of August, we are launching our new Virtual Open Days. We are fast approaching the end of the 2020 academic year and are thus in the process of finalizing plans for 2021’s academic year. I am sure many of you are also planning as the current uncertainties have an influence on all the plans we make in our personal and professional lives.
School tours are different than they were before. Open Days are now virtual and the interaction minimal. We are also having an Assessment Day on Friday, 14 August, for prospective students. We are looking forward to welcoming them to our school.
I found myself in a very frustrating place this week. I thrive when I can plan, identify potential pitfalls and plan accordingly. Over the past few months, I have had to change many of my planning strategies, leaving room for possible changes. Change is good, but the unknown can leave one with a sense of uncertainty. It is the role of management to ensure that any change has a positive impact.
The following are steps in change management:
- Awareness and the time frame or urgency of change
- There needs to be a desire for change
- Change should be enabling
- There should be a driving as well as sustaining of change
- Evaluation and reinforcement
We have all been challenged with sudden change and yet we persevere. Take some time today or over the weekend to reflect on how you have coped with the changes of the past few months. Embrace every victory and give yourself a pat on the back for surviving. Then decide that no matter what change is yet to come, that too will be a steppingstone and not a stumbling block.
“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”- C.S. Lewis
Have a great weekend.
We may all feel overwhelmed at times and begin to second guess our decisions and the value and purpose of our actions.
Ms. Kiley and I met this week to discuss the challenges, and possible solutions, faced by our teachers and students. As a school we are blessed to have a counselor who can offer guidance to students and staff alike. It is important that although times are not easy, we focus on the positive aspects and not the negative.
On Wednesday afternoon the primary school teachers met for a workshop lead by Ms. Kiley and facilitated by Mrs. Cindy Arenstein. Teachers were given the opportunity to raise concerns and offer solutions to the challenges of dual teaching. After a productive discussion, each staff member was given a stone and encouraged to write on it a message of positivity and give it to another staff member. This was an awesome way of encouraging each other and strengthening the bond amongst staff members. We should all be looking for ways to encourage one another, to engender trust and build a sense of community. For children, this comes naturally, but as adults it is often a skill which must be remembered and developed.
Our staff are committed to ensuring the safety of our students and maintaining the protocols we have in place. We remind our students continuously about social distancing during break and in class and we ask that you remind them at home as well. This is all very unfamiliar to them and constant reminders are necessary until social distancing becomes habitual.
Our year 10 and year 12 students are starting their mock exams in a week. We are confident that they will be ready to write their final examinations in the October/November Cambridge sitting.
As we are preparing for a much-needed long weekend, I would like to encourage you with the following quote from Anne Frank.
“Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish and what your potential is!”
Have a wonderful long weekend with your family.
It is the end of the third week of term 3 and all our year groups have been phased in as per our return to school plan. Although all students are not at campus, we are well on our way to running at full capacity again.
There have been quite a few changes this term: from the morning routine and the way classes are conducted, to the collection of students in the afternoon. Despite the changes, disruptions, and uncertainties, we remain positive and in good spirits.
I wish to thank all our parents for adhering to our Covid protocols when dropping and collecting students. Please remember that if you wish to meet with a staff member, you need to book an appointment beforehand and go directly to the front office for the screening process. This is for your own protection as well as the health and safety of our staff.
To ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, we conduct risk assessments and screening throughout the day. The questions that arose this week, regarding quarantine procedures and contact with possible cases, led me to address the following in this week’s editorial.
Direct contact and casual contact
The issue of direct contact and casual contact is important to understand. Any direct contact with a positive case will result in such a person being isolated for a period of 14 days and possibly even tested, should he/she experience any symptoms of Covid-19. Direct contact in this case would mean physical contact with a positively tested person or someone sharing an immediate space (within 1,5m without wearing a mask) or shared such a person’s belongings. By merely sharing a classroom or workspace does not constitute direct contact. Such a situation is regarded as casual contact, without any risk as all the necessary health and safety precautions are strictly observed regarding social distancing, the wearing of masks and the washing and sanitizing of hands.
I wish to re-iterate that there is no shame in contracting the virus as it can happen to anyone and no stigmatization will be tolerated at our school. We all need to continue exercising the necessary health and safety measures such as the wearing of masks, proper social distancing, regular sanitizing, and thorough washing of hands. The school is sanitized regularly according to all protocols.
Let us be mindful that we are in this together and it is only through understanding and cooperation that we will endure this time of hardship.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
We are in the final stage of phasing in students and look forward to welcoming back nursery, year 5 and year 6 students on Monday, 27 July 2020.
It is such a joy to hear the voices of children in the school building again. We are very aware of the necessity in ensuring protocols are strictly adhered to and wish to ensure you that students are in good spirits and taken care of at school.
The obvious joy the students feel being back at school far outweighs all the new responsibilities that comes with it. We are teachers by heart and having children in our classes is what makes the job worthwhile.
Further to the announcement our President, Cyril Ramaphosa made last night, I wish to confirm that we will remain open even if public schools are closed. No mention was made about independent schools and unless we receive a mandate, we will continue to be at your service both at school as well as online.
We are dealing with new mandates and changes continually and our staff are required to adapt daily. As parents, I am sure you are experiencing a similar rollercoaster of emotions. Given how surreal and scary these circumstances are, we need to ask ourselves continuously how we are coping. Our emotional wellbeing is crucial in making our children feel safe. This is important for you as a parent, for our educators and our children. In such difficult times, we must remember to cut ourselves a little slack. Nobody is perfect and we can all only do our best.
As the weekend is ahead of us, I wish to remind you to take care of yourselves, your emotions, your health, and most of all your family bond.
Welcome to the 3rd Term of 2020! I salute every one of you for staying strong and keeping faith. It has not been easy planning the re-opening of the school with so much contradictory information, safety precautions and family matters to consider. Planning the way forward has been stressful for us all, particularly for the teachers. They are the unsung heroes. We cannot overlook the fact that they have their health, and that of their family, to consider whilst juggling teaching in the classroom and online.
This is a time for kindness, empathy, and unity. Every precaution is being taken to ensure the health and safety of our students, but this term is unlike any we have experienced before and we therefore ask your patience should changes take place to accommodate changing circumstances or to improve the current systems in place. During this time, we ask for your patience; it is not a time to be critical and judgmental, but rather of encouragement and support.
We are looking forward to welcoming back our next phase of students on Monday, 20th July. Please remember the following:
- High school students are to be dropped of at the gravel parking area and screened at the double doors of the main building. (Should it rain, they may be dropped off at the drop and go area and proceed straight to the reception area for screening.)
- Parents, please do not proceed passed the demarcated area at the drop of and go. We need to be respectful of our own health as well as each other’s.
- When students are collected, teachers will be at the drop and go area to assist students to get into your vehicles to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.
To every parent who sent us messages of encouragement and who understands that these are unprecedented times, I thank you for your support.
I am exceptionally proud of the spirit of Ubuntu amongst my staff. These difficult times have proven their endurance, character and most of all, the heart of a true teacher.
May you have a wonderful weekend, remain strong in spirit and physically healthy.