As you may be aware, the school has a full robotics programme from Pre-reception to Year 6 in the primary school. In the high school we teach more advanced and age-appropriate planning for robotics, computer science etc.
You are not required to purchase Apple devices to accommodate this programme as the school provides this to the students on campus. Unfortunately, when a student is in quarantine, or at home for any reason, they will not have access to the school’s Apple devices. Under these circumstances, the teacher will provide alternative work for the student to complete at home.
Unfortunately, we had to quarantine a class this week as a teacher’s assistant tested positive for Covid-19. The staff followed all prescribed protocols and to date, none of our students have contracted the virus after being at school. Rest assured that we accommodate students under quarantine and ensure that no student is left behind.
Our school counsellor, Mrs Cindy Arenstein, has tended her resignation as she and her family are moving to KwaZulu Natal. Cindy has been with us for more than two years and has been instrumental in establishing support systems for students, parents, and teachers. We will miss her but wish her, and her family, all the best in their new adventure.
We have appointed a Mrs Kayla Smith who will join us in the 2nd term. This position is now a full-time one and Kayla will spend two days a week at Helderberg International School and three days a week at Blouberg International School.
As we are at the end of week seven it is almost unbelievable that the end of the term is in sight. Verbal report meetings are scheduled to take place in week 10 and the staff will communicate with you regarding the procedure.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
It is hard to believe that we are already halfway through Term 1, with only five weeks till the holidays. This week we were able to reintroduce sporting codes after new regulations regarding sport at school were gazetted. Sport and physical activity play an integral role in a child`s development, health, and wellbeing. We therefore ask parents to encourage their children to participate in the sports offered at school.
Last year we all became overly familiar with the word ‘online’, using it in almost every sentence. The ability to do things online has it’s benefits, but it also has it`s dangers. We tend to leave our children to their own devices when they tell us they are busy online with schoolwork or the class WhatsApp group. The school has recently become aware of some of the conversations that take place on these social media platforms and we therefore urge parents to monitor their children`s devices.
Things we can do to keep our children safe online:
- Know what social media platforms your child is on.
- Be aware of age restrictions and read the T & Cs of each social media platform.
- Ensure privacy settings are secure on each platform they are on.
- Install parental control software on their devices. These apps are free.
- Ensure that screen time is limited.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Mr J Harrison
Head of Academics High School
Despite the challenges we continue to face, the threat of schools closing, we have thrived this week at Blouberg International. It is heartwarming to see how happy our children are to be back at school. A right that should not be taken away from them.
I am sure the recent upheavals are causing anxiety in terms of your planning, but at Blouberg International we are set on giving our students the absolute best of service despite these challenges.
We received our November 2020 IGCSE (International General Certificate of Senior Education) results for our Year 10’s this week. It was a proud moment for every teacher in the High School as we celebrated the phenomenal marks achieved in all areas, but particularly Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Computer Science. Our cohort of 20 students achieved 30 A* (90% and above) 24 A’s (80% and above) and 22 B’s (70% and above).
Our top student, Rifqah Price, wrote a total of 9 subjects and received an A* for every one of them. Well done Rifqah, we celebrate your achievements with you.
Our children are experiencing this pandemic in such a different way to us adults and it is therefore important that we encourage them and ensure they are emotionally equipped to handle each day.
They might experience the feelings like:
I won’t do it.
I can’t do it.
I want to do it.
How do I do it?
I will try to do it.
I can do it.
I did it!
Each one of the above is a step as well as a choice. Let us continue to encourage them through each one and ensure they not only endure but also thrive during this time.
I wish you a wonderful weekend of quality family time.
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
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.
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 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.
As we come to the end of this term, it is with much gratitude in my heart that I write this week’s newsletter. This has not been an easy term for anyone, parents, students and teachers alike. We have all had to adapt to a new type of “normal”, adjust our thinking and challenge ourselves in everything we attempted.
I hope you now understand what we mean when we say that ‘teaching is a calling’. I do not think there is any teacher who is in this profession for anything other than the love of children. After all, our children are our future. We nurture them so they may create a better tomorrow.
I salute every one of you parents. You have been challenged in this storm and have endured. At times you might have felt fearful of the unknown, yet every day brings new hope.
I am reminded of a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:
“I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.”
To every student, I wish you a wonderful time of rest during this holiday. May the time spent with family be one of joy and laughter.
To my staff, I wish a time of rest and refreshment. We will start the new term with renewed vigour and strength.
Stay safe and keep warm.
We celebrated our teachers this week and a big thank you to everyone who left them a special message on our Facebook page. It was wonderfully encouraging to see how much they are valued and appreciated.
This week we sent out a second letter explaining the plans and proposals that management are considering should school re-open in June. The measures which need to be in place require careful thought regarding planning and implementation and unfortunately, no simple solutions exist yet. For public schools, Years 7 and 12 students are critical for academic advancement but for us, the focus is on Years 10 and 12 as these two grades write their external Cambridge examinations in October.
There is also the reality that even if the government allows schools to re-open soon, some parents might not feel comfortable sending their children back to school. Our management team are therefore working on plans for hybrid-teaching. Similarly, we might have staff members who cannot return to work just yet as they are high risk individuals and this needs to be accounted for in our planning. These are just a couple of the issues that we are considering.
We will be prepared, with policies in place, to ensure the safety of staff and students when we return to campus. As per the letter I sent out earlier this week, we have already begun purchasing the necessary supplies (hand sanitizers, face masks, thermometers etc.) and have begun drafting a Covid 19 Policy Document.
During this difficult time, let us remember to be kind and encouraging to one another. We all need a bit of motivation in our lives and hopefully the later start to the school day, and the opportunity to exercise, will give us the boost we all need.
I would like to wish all the mothers a happy Mother’s Day this Sunday. I hope you will be spoiled and feel appreciated for all you do!