I hope this letter finds you healthy and safe during this unprecedented time in recent history. As the suspension of classes continues here in Macau, I am optimistic that we will see a resumption of classes in the next few weeks. There are signs that things are getting back to normal and I am hopeful we will see students in our classrooms in May. In the meantime, I would like to update you on a few items:
1. Admissions and Registrations
Thank-you to all parents for being so diligent in completing the “Notice of Intention” survey that was sent out at the end of March. We have more than 97% of our current student population indicating they will return next year, and we are very grateful for your commitment to the school and our programs. For the families that will be leaving us, we wish you the very best and have really valued having you as members of the TIS community; you will be missed.
New student registrations will officially begin May 2nd. Our admissions team, administrators and teaching staff are ready to work hard with the smaller window this year to get new students screened, tested and accepted by the end of May. We expect to welcome 100 new PK students to the school for next year, as well as an increased number of students at each grade level.
2. Academic Counselling and Student Services Support
Our Academic Counsellors have been kept very busy assisting students with their scheduling and academic plans for next year. Our grade 12’s, in particular, are receiving their acceptances to universities around the world and the counselling team is helping them prepare and plan. In addition, the course selection process, along with timetabling classes for next year, is well underway. We expect to have all classes scheduled by mid-May for the 2020/2021 school year.
Student Services has been working diligently behind the scenes to support our students and families in a variety of ways. During difficult times like these, the pressure of academics and learning are not the only issues facing some students and families. There are also mental and emotional challenges that require support and assistance. We are fortunate to have such an excellent team of professionals at our school who look after the diverse needs of our school community on a daily basis.
3. Survey Results About the Online Teaching & Learning
We greatly appreciate the ongoing feedback from our students, staff and parents about the programming at the school. It helps us to make improvements where necessary and to celebrate when we are doing a good job. Most recently, many of you completed the online teaching surveys that were sent out at the end of March. This feedback led to the recent enhancements and adjustments to online teaching.
We are putting the finishing touches on the reports and then will post “What We Heard” on the website. A notification will be sent out to parents via email when the results are posted.
4. Protocols and Procedures for When Classes Resume
We are finalizing our procedures and protocols for when classes resume. We will be doing our very best to ensure the health and safety of all of our students, staff and parents when the campus is opened again. The protocols will be posted on the website next week for parents to see what we have planned. In addition, a letter will be sent out with the guidelines and expectations for students and families once we receive notice that classes are to resume. This will help with a smoother start back to classes and establish clear expectations for all of us to follow.
5. Grade Promotion and Final Exams
As the suspension of classes continues, I want to remind parents that the online teaching and learning will not impact grade promotion for next year. Of course, we expect all students to be doing their very best with online learning, but both the government and the accreditation organizations for our school have reinforced that students will not be held back. Students have a real opportunity to finish the year strong with the end so close in sight and set a positive tone for next year.
In terms of final exams, we are monitoring the situation closely and will adjust the exam schedules accordingly. Courses and classes that have final exams may see adjustments made as the suspension of classes continues. A reminder to parents and students that the Alberta grade 12 Diploma Exams and the grades 6 and 9 Provincial Achievement Tests have been cancelled for this year. Included in the cancelation are the IB exams that were scheduled to start at the beginning of May.
I hope that my future updates will include a class resumption date and plans to go along with it. Until then, may your family continue to be safe and well.
Head of School