Dear AAS Community,
I genuinely hope that you are each feeling safe, healthy, and supported. We recognize the stress and possible feelings of being overwhelmed by the overabundance of information about the coronavirus outbreak. Keeping informed is important, but I also encourage you to stay connected (digitally) with your friends, family, and the AAS learning community during these challenging times. The safety and wellbeing of those in our AAS community are a priority, so please remember to take care of yourself and of one another and practice kindness and patience, presuming positive intent when engaging with others. AAS is a strong learning community, and I have no doubt that we will persevere through this global crisis together, becoming stronger from our experiences, just as has been the case when facing significant challenges in the past.
Week 2 of Distance Learning brought another new reality for those in Moscow with the “shelter in place” and the shutdown of the city. We recognize that this is another challenge that your family has to face and manage if you are still in Moscow. If you are in other parts of the world, you are likely facing your own local challenges that are similar. Continued engagement and learning for our students is important; however, we also understand that “life” as we know it today can be unpredictable and demanding. Please keep your child’s teacher and/or the division leadership up-to-date on anything unique that is directly impacting your family so we can support you and know that we encourage you to balance the learning with the emotional support for your family. AAS school counselors and our psychologist, as well as leadership, are also here to support students and families, please reach out if we can help.
The AAS leadership team have been enjoying observing and participating in the distance learning shared by students, teachers, and parents throughout the divisions. Please continue to stay connected by sharing how things are going with your child(rens) teacher, divisional leader, and AAS communications, or share directly with the AAS Community at Padlet.com/AASMoscow/DL.
The welfare and safety of our community during this time is our primary concern. AAS leadership learned yesterday, March 31, 2020, that an AAS teacher who is now in the U.S. has tested positive for the Coronavirus. This teacher was last in contact with students on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, which is 14 days ago. All AAS staff have been notified of this situation, and AAS is ensuring the appropriate response in compliance with public health officials.
There have been follow-up questions and requests from parents in regards to the financial concession being provided by the AAS to parents. As per the Board letter dated the 20th of March, AAS operates in a not-for-profit environment. The school’s financial commitments for the school year have almost entirely been set with any potentially available, uncommitted funds already reflected in the financial concessions communicated to parents. Also, AAS has not received a favorable response from our insurance company in regards to our claim under our business interruption policy. In addition, as previously communicated by the Board, with the change in the spring break from April to May and the realignment of our learning time, given that some of the enrichments and extensions of learning are not possible through Distance Learning, our educators are confident that our students will be prepared for the next level of their education.
We encourage you to stay updated through community updates on the coronavirus resources page, as well as the distance learning page. Stay connected via our newsletter and through leadership videos, and share your own experiences with our learning community.
Thank you for your continued engagement and support during these unprecedented and challenging times.
Dear Elementary Families,
We are hopeful that your family is doing well in these interesting times. It would seem that Winter was not quite finished with us this year giving us what will hopefully be the last snow day of the year yesterday.
For some of you today is April Fool’s Day. This is a day where harmless tricks can be played, with the shenanigans ending at noon.
Spirit Days: Over the coming weeks, the ES will sponsor Spirit Days, once a week on Friday. These are in addition to any grade level or class sponsored activities. Here is the schedule for ES Spirit Days until the end of the year.
- April 3rd Spring colors
- April 10th Sports Jersey Day.
- April 17th Earth Day colors (Brown, green, blue). Take a picture in front of the plant as a bonus!
- April 24th Hawaiian day
- May 1st, last day of school, is Penguin Spirit Day (black and white)
Distance Learning: Thank you to all of the families that have given us feedback on Distance Learning. We have been using this information to inform the next four weeks.
Enjoy the rest of your week, take care and stay healthy,
Jeff, Eric and Julie
Click here to like AAS MS on Facebook!
Here is a LINK to the week two distance learning video for families.
Thank you so much for all of your feedback that you submitted. That feedback along with feedback we’ve gathered from students and faculty has helped us as we continue to strive to make this Distance Learning experience the best possible experience we can offer. The concerns that we are seeing are largely related to students feeling disconnected from classmates. This feeling is normal. We all feel this way. We did not get into teaching to be working virtually from our kitchen table. The human interaction is the bit we are working hardest to recreate and we welcome your encouragement for your kids to check in with their teachers and join in collaborative opportunities, especially with their Advisory. Students who have been regularly connecting with their teachers and classmates are not only feeling better but they have been enjoying more success with their Distance Learning.
Spirit Day: Next Tuesday, we will have the first of our Spirit Days. Hat day. We are encouraging everyone to wear hats to all of their meetings. The crazier the better! Every Tuesday we will have a spirit day but we are seeking feedback from the students for what they’d like to see. Crazy socks might not work…
Tips for families: Based on feedback from teachers, here are some tips to help your children have more success:
Students need to check their Outlook email. Twice per day. Respond to emails.
Please create a space for your MS student to do their work. Some of our students are being asked to take on major responsibilities looking after their younger siblings. While we appreciate that helping in your family is important, if your children do not have a small fortress of solitude, their work will suffer.
Wifi is very important! Bolshoi important! Please make sure that your children have some times in the day when they get bandwidth priority for their studies.
Read instructions. Our students are used to having a very structured, engaging teacher walking them through instructions for learning engagements. We have been seeing issues, particularly with our younger MS students of not reading directions or instructions for their learning engagements and as a result struggling to manage or find success in their assignments.
AAS Distance Learning Page: Here is a LINK to our AAS Distance Learning page. Be sure to check out the Padlet view where you can see many examples of AAS MS students engaging successfully with their work.Gratitude: Once again, we would like to thank all of the parents for your efforts to encourage and support student learning during this difficult time. Several parents have reached out to us and your enthusiasm, understanding and support has meant the world to us. As Friday marks the end of the second week, our goal is to not only sustain the momentum and the learning but to improve. Your partnership is helping to make that happen.
With the speed at which local and global news is developing, it seems that one of the only things we can be sure of is that we can’t be fully certain about what might happen next. Such a thought can cause undue stress, so it’s worth remembering that we have both internal and external resources with which to manage this uncertainty. The following is a compilation of various online resources related to this topic.
Take care of yourself: This refers to the same sort of practical, proactive self-care we should all be practicing all the time, but which takes on an even greater importance in times like these. Sleep enough. Eat well. Exercise. Stick to scheduled routines, and include in that schedule some time for ourselves and for our families.
Be kind with and supportive of yourself: You deserve the same patience with this situation that you’re probably showing others. Be confident in your own ability to adapt. Take your own advice: If someone came to you with this problem, what would you tell them?
Take control: Focus on the parts of your situation within your control; let go of the parts that you have no control over. Avoid falling into bad habits as a way to handle the stress (watch out for negative coping strategies).
Be self-aware: Recognize your thoughts and feelings; name them. Challenge any stress-causing thoughts you may be having (Ask yourself, “Am I being realistic about this?”). Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Avoid catastrophic or extreme thinking (be on the lookout for words like “never” and “always”).
Seek support from those you trust: Reach out to family and friends, near or far. Reach out to school; get in touch with teachers if you have a concern about your child. But you can also reach out to principals, or the counselor or school psychologist for yourself, as well. And school can even point you towards professional help, if needed.
The Wellness section of the school’s Distance Learning page has links to a variety of resources to help you manage the altered demands of work and school.
Please reach out if you have concerns or want to share information. You can email me, or, to schedule an online appointment, use this: https://calendly.com/james-villers If you send me a meeting request, I will reply with a Google Meet link.
Sources for the above information: American Psychological Association, “The Great Unknown: Ten Tips for Dealing with the Stress of Uncertainty”; Dealing with Uncertainty, a guide for UN staff members; Talentsmart (blog), “11 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Overcome Anxiety”; Tiny Buddha (blog), “7 Ways to Deal with Uncertainty…”
HS Associate Principal, Matthew Groves firstname.lastname@example.org
In fact, an inability to cope with a looser structure and increased personal responsibility is often a reason students struggle or even drop out of university. Rarely is it that the work at university is too difficult, especially for an AAS graduate. Instead, it is the ability to set goals, be organized, and focus on achievement that often separates university students who thrive from those who struggle.
Our current high school students are now gaining important experience in distance learning that will prepare them for their academic future. Around the world, people are trying their best to make it through our current situation. We didn’t ask for this pandemic, but we have found a way for learning to be productive and for students to gain relevant skills outside of the norm. This is yet another reason we should be proud of our children.
Sean Sonderman email@example.com
Grade 12 IB Exam Information
As previously shared with Grade 12 students and parents in recent weeks, the IBO has cancelled the IBDP exams. AAS continues to work with IBO, teachers, and students to clarify the new “grading” process to meet the revised requirements and deadlines as recently shared by IBO. If you or your child has questions, please reach out to your child’s teacher, to myself as DP Coordinator, or the High School leadership team.
Below is their explanation of how Results will be determined. We have, as have most schools I assume, asked for specifics on how grades will be formulated, but as of now this is what we have.
Here are IBO’s responses (from the IBO’s website)
How will the results be calculated?
- We will be using vast historical assessment data to ensure that we follow a rigorous process of due diligence in what is a truly unprecedented situation. We will be undertaking significant data analysis from previous exam sessions, individual school data, subject data as well as comparative data of schools who have already completed uploading requirements and those who have not.
- We will require schools to submit the coursework for all candidates. We will externally mark work that is usually marked by teachers, instead of taking samples and applying moderation.
How will a student be awarded an IB Diploma or Certificate?
- Using the information above the IB will be able to provide official documentation of the students diploma or certification. We will require schools to submit the coursework for all candidates. We will externally mark work that is usually marked by teachers, instead of taking samples and applying moderation.
When will results be released?
- The IB intends to release results to universities/institutions and schools as planned on 5 July 2020.
- All student coursework and associated predicted grades will need to be uploaded by 20 April, if not sooner, in order to guarantee delivery of results by 5 July.
Some students perform better in exam conditions than coursework, can we be sure they are not being disadvantaged?
- We will use a calculation that is based on the relationship between coursework marks, predicted grades and subject grades to estimate the subject grades candidates would have received if the exams had gone ahead. If the relationship between these elements shows that in previous sessions candidates globally tended to achieve higher outcomes on their exams than their coursework, the calculation used this session will reflect that.
From Mr. Sonderman:
Please do NOT request changes in PGs or ask for IA re-submissions. This is not an ethical practice. Most teachers previously entered their Predicted Grades, while some are in the process of doing so. The majority of Internal Assessments were uploaded previously. Grades cannot be changed by teachers for already submitted material.
Hang in there with all of this. I know it is an uncomfortable situation for many of you. Keep in contact with questions via my school email. I hope all of you are safe and well.
Grade 11 Extended Essays
For Grade 11 students and parents, please note that teachers and students continue to work together through the normal coursework ensuring progress to meet the expectations for IBDP. If you or your child has questions, please reach out to your child’s teacher, to myself as DP Coordinator, or the High School leadership team.
The next EE deadline is May 13. This deadline is in relation to the 3,000 word essay expectation. This may seem like a long way off, but it will arrive quickly. To help gauge whether students are where they need to be, please ensure that students are approaching 2,000 words by mid-April to be on track for the expected target for the 3,000 word deadline by mid-May. Specific to the EE, grade 11 students should:
- continue to refine their research
- solidify arguments
- refine structure via an outline
- continue writing and developing
- recording sources
- sending supervisor drafts for directional comments
Meeting the 3,000 word deadline in May with the above focus areas means students are going to be very close to finishing!
Week two is distance learning is allowing us all to settle into our new routines but is also a time for the reality of this "new normal" to settle in. Please look at our wellness resources posted on our AAS website for a variety of tips and ideas about fostering your family’s well-being. It is located in the Wellness section of the AAS Distance Learning page. Counselors will update the information there regularly.
We are always happy to hear from you, so please reach out as you need to.
Grade 12 Meetings
All grade 12 students need to schedule a short meeting with their counselor no later than April 15 to review their university plans and to discuss changes that may be arising due to the recent IB developments.
Your HS Counselors have established a google classroom called AAS Connects, where we are sharing daily quotes as well as a weekly activity/assignment to help keep students and teachers engaged and connected with each other during distance learning. Ask your child about the latest activity.
The virtual visit with the University of British Columbia still scheduled for April 1. Students can still sign-up using Maia Learning. See you there.
We are here to support your child and you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Lauren Zimmerman (firstname.lastname@example.org): Last names beginning with A-K
Bryn Will (email@example.com): Last names beginning with L-Z
What can we do for you these days? Please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org if there’s anything you need. The library wants to make sure that you have books available to you!
- Check out the AAS Library Padlet (below) with daily updates, useful links, and great resources for Distance Learning.
- Make sure your students are on Sora/Overdrive and able to get books. We’ve made a helpful video in case you are struggling to log in.
- Celebrate Children's Book Week with us!
Digital Office Hours:
- Visit K’s Office from 12-13:30 Moscow time: https://meet.google.com/rmh-xequ-zuy
- Visit Kris’ Office from 13:30-15:00 Moscow time: https://meet.google.com/gwx-oeea-ogo
We have a book and media lovers’ Facebook group that we will be adding to throughout the quarantine: https://www.facebook.com/groups/684252415322282/ Have a look and feel free to join for recs of our books and enjoyment.
Here are some authors who are putting up new materials every day:
- Kate Dicamillo
- Mo Willems Drawing Tips
- Carson Ellis Drawing
- Elise Gravel drawing challenges
- Dan Santat quarantine challenges
- Peter H Reynolds Daily Live Stream
- Kate Messner Reads Her Books
PTO Divisional Updates
ES: Grade 5 Hoodies
Due to the quarantine situation in Moscow, the timeline to pick up 5th-grade hoodies has been extended. You may collect your child’s hoodie through April 30 in Pokrovsky Hills, Moscow regulations permitting. Please email PTO.email@example.com to arrange a pick-up time.
Any hoodies not picked up by April 30 will be returned to school to be distributed in the fall.
MS: Grade 8 Hoodies
Grade 8 graduation hoodies are also ready to be picked up from PH after 3.30 pm on weekdays or anytime on weekends Please email Marjo at PTO.MS@aas.ru or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a pick-up time.
HS: Graduation Blankets
12th-grade graduation blankets can be picked up in Pokrovsky Hills until May 1. Contact email@example.com to arrange a pick-up time. If you cannot pick up the blankets before May 1, distribution will be handled by the HS office at a later date.
Reminder! PTO Elections
In order to get off to a quick start in the next school year, the PTO needs to elect next year’s PTO Executive Committee. Keep an eye out for an electronic vote election email in the coming days.
We have one candidate per position, but per our by-laws we need to hold an election to ratify the candidates. The candidates’ statements of interest are attached here. We kindly ask you to take a few minutes to review the statements.
The email with a link to e-ballot will be sent out after April 1st with instructions to submit your vote.
Finally, a big thank you to all the parents, Class/Grade Reps, Event Coordinators and volunteers for making AAS PTO a community to be proud of during these extraordinary times.
And, before ending let me take this opportunity to express gratitude and appreciation to all the doctors, nurses, other health care workers and essential services providers who are carrying on their work under very difficult circumstances, along with those working in the media and communication, everywhere across the world.