Corona Virus Update

Letter from June 20, 2020

Dear children, dear students, dear parents, dear members of staff,
shortly before the holidays I would like to get in touch with you again as promised.
This difficult academic year is now coming to an end and has demanded a lot from all
of us.
As already mentioned in my speech on 19.06.20, you and all of us have made a
significant contribution to ensuring that there were not too many impairments.
What my colleagues achieved during this time has gone far beyond the normal level.
This academic year was not a normal academic year, it will probably always go down
in history as the “Corona Year”.
The beginning of the academic year was already very turbulent. Unfortunately, some
pupils had left us over the summer holidays or did not come back to school, which
led to considerable financial and organizational complications.
Thanks to the prudence of the board and the excellent support from the embassy, we
received a one-time special grant of 200,000 euros from the Central Agency for
German Schools Abroad and the German Foreign Office in October. Without this
support, a normal continuation of the academic year would not have been possible.
At this point we would once again like to express our gratitude!
At the end of October, a representative from the Central Agency for German Schools
Abroad came over to inspect the school, with the main focus on the educational work
in the kindergarten and in our school, the work of the school management and the
cooperation with the parents and the board.
In all areas we attained excellent results, of which we can be very proud.
Yes, and then there was the Corona crisis. It presented us all with enormous
challenges for which we were not prepared. We had to quickly rethink our teaching
concepts, introduce new learning platforms and even in kindergarten, the entire
digital process had to be set in motion.
It was not easy and I would like to seize this opportunity to thank my team of
teachers and kindergarten teachers in particular.
It was very impressive to see how creatively they worked and the best thing was that
during the entire time, contact to the children and pupils was never interrupted.
Unfortunately, at the end of each academic year, some pupils, families, teachers and
administrative staff have to leave us.
I would like to thank all of them very much for their cooperation, for their collaboration
and their joint efforts in working together for our GSIS.
I wish everyone, all the best, no matter where they are going to be in the world, good
health and personal well-being.
The following colleagues will be leaving us:
Kindergarten: Anna Fischer-Krayer; Olivia Habtezghi
School: Felicia Schmitt; Jörn Hoffmann, Inga Kyriakoulias; Joelle Nowitzki
Administration: Faustina Evans, Lucy Kugbe.
In the next few weeks I will contact you with more information about the new
academic year.
We still assume that we will be able to start on 17.08.2020 at 8:00 am.
On our homepage you will find the current list of school items for the new academic
year.
Workbooks and text books will be ordered by the school and will be settled with you
later.
One week before the beginning of the academic year, all teachers will meet with me
for a pedagogical retreat.
Topics will be among others:
Preparation for the new academic year
Method training in the first week of school/ contact with each other, dealing with
adults and strangers
Refreshing of already existing concepts such as the all-day concept
Bullying policy, dealing with bullying and other forms of harassment at school/school
policy
Digitilization concept
Experiences during the homeschooling
First aid course

I wish everyone relaxing summer holidays, nice vacation, safe journey and a good
start in the next academic year.
Enjoy the time with your children!

Best regards,
Steffen Nagel
Headmaster

 

Letter from May, 19th, 2020

Dear parents,

here once again is a brief update on the current situation and a short forecast for the coming weeks as well as the end of the academic year.

The Corona virus still keeps us under its spell and we have to live with this extraordinary situation.

As I mentioned in my last letter, I would like to thank you , dear parents, for your constructive cooperation and we very much appreciate what you have had to do over the last few weeks. The conditions are different in every family and therefore my thanks go to all of them.

In the meantime, the e-learning programme at our school and kindergarten is going very well. We thank you for the positive feedback. This is good for us and encourages us to continue to do all we can to ensure that your children are well guided, supported and accompanied by us during these days.

The team of teachers and educators is always trying to improve these forms of cooperation and to respond to the many good suggestions. Of course, we cannot fulfil all the wishes of the parents, but we are still open to all constructive contributions.

I am sure that even after Corona this important time will give us many good impulses for the progress with digitalisation at our school.

I am in constant contact with my colleagues and during our meetings together, we consider how we can master this time well.

Project week

So I would like to inform you that we want to carry out an online project week in the week from 26.05.2020- 29.05.2020.

The 25th of May, 2020 is a public holiday and there will be no school on that day.

The topic will be “30 years of reunification” of Germany.  We have consulted with each other as colleagues and the class teachers will be informing you about the course of the project week for the individual classes. This project work will be different in each class; depending on the age group.

The project work will be completed during a second project week in September.

During that week, the kindergarten and nursery will continue working on the topics chosen by the children themselves.

Grades/ report cards/ assessments

Based on our performance and assessment concept, we have agreed on the following principles among the colleagues:

The basis for the assessment of performance in a subject is all the work done by the pupil in connection with the lessons (written, oral and practical work). This is follows the circular on performance assessment. During the homeschooling phase there will be no normal award of grades for the performance of the pupils. On the other hand, substitutes for assessments, such as presentations or homework, are included in the assessment. There are therefore taken into consideration only to a limited extent for grading during the homeschooling phases. However, it is expressly desired and required that learning materials are made available and that homework and learning tasks are also provided, so that on returning to school learning can proceed as successfully as possible with the least delay.

Since the conditions for home learning vary greatly, the school does not check and grade the knowledge and skills which the  pupils have acquired during the home learning period. In view of the very different IT equipment available to the pupils and the differences in home support, a performance assessment would contradict the priciple of equal opportunities . However, it cannot be ruled out that this knowledge will be handled again during the lessons and then become the subject of class tests or written revision work. Our fundamental aim is that all pupils receive fair conditions and are not disadvantaged by the current situation.

Accordingly, there will be reports for all grades at the end of the academic year (26.06.2020). All achievements up to 13.03.2020 will be taken into account.

The first graders will receive a written assessment and all other classes  will receive a graded report card.

At the moment  we cannot say how the handing over of the reports will take place, as this will depend on whether the school is open by then or not.

If this is not the case, we have a plan B which we will inform you of in good time.

Farewell

Of course we would like to say goodbye personally to all children, pupils, adults, educators, teachers and administrative staff.

Baesd on the current plan, we will probably organize small group or online farewells.

You will also receive more information on this in due course.

Zoom-Meetings

The parents’ desire for zoom meetings is very great.

Initially we started with one zoom meeting per week with the respective class teacher. This has now been extended by several meetings, especially in the subjects for language acquisition.

From time to time, when it is didactically and methodically useful, we will add more meetings.

This is not so easy logistically, since often several children and the adults in a household have to share one computer.

The teacher decides on all additional meetings.

The following still applies: If you or your child(ren) cannot cope with an assignment, please contact the subject teacher first, even if you think there are discrepancies in the assignment. We are all willing to help and support your children.

Stay healthy and in good spirits!!

Steffen Nagel,

Headmaster

 

 

Letter from April 16th, 2020

Dear parents,
The Easter holidays are almost over and I would like to get in touch with you once
again.
It can be assumed that the closure of the school will continue.
Even though we are a German private school, we are subject to the regulations and
laws of the host country. This practically means that we too can only reopen the
kindergarten and the school once the President of Ghana has stated that schools
should be opened again. This can also be read on the website of the Central Agency
for German Schools Abroad under the keyword Covid 19. What will happen after the
Easter holidays?
The teachers will continue to keep in touch with the children and pupils through the
proven and tested communication channels. These are work in the workbooks,
photocopied materials, WhatsApp communication; google classroom, e-mail and
phone calls.
Starting next week, the class teachers will connect with the pupils once a week via a
zoom meeting to maintain social contact in the classes.
For this purpose, the pupils will be invited by the class teachers via e-mail. Please
download the zoom program beforehand. ( www.Zoom.us) Participation in the zoom
meeting is voluntary.
Please do not hesitate to contact the class teachers or subject teachers if you have
any questions or special requests. We are also happy to advise you on questions
related to the structuring of learning.
In the appendix I have compiled a few important steps for successful home learning.
From Monday, 20.04.2020 we will also start with the parent-teacher meetings for
Classes 1 and 2 and the learning progress discussions meetings from class 3 and
above. The respective class teacher will therefore contact you to arrange an
appointment.
The focus of the discussions will be on the learning progress of your child in the past
academic year.
The discussions in the kindergarten and the nursery will be taking place later.
Despite the very difficult situation, we are still planning the new academic year and
would like to remind you that the deadline for terminating your contract for the new
academic year is the 30th of April, 2020. You will find the termination form on our
homepage under the keyword ” Registration and termination”. If nothing has been the
received by 1st of May, 2020, we will assume that your child(ren) will continue to be
with us in the next academic year, which would of course make us very happy.
If you do not terminate the contract on time (date of receipt of e-mail is decisive), we
will charge school fees for the months August and September 2020.
Now we are all hoping that the situation will normalize quickly and we will hopefully
see each other again this academic year.
Hold on, stay healthy and please do contact us if you have any questions.
With best regards
Steffen Nagel
Headmaster

 

Letter from April 3rd, 2020:

Dear children, pupils and parents,

With the Easter holidays just around the corner, I would like to get in touch with you. I

am also doing so on behalf of my colleagues.

First of all, we would like to thank all the children very much for the great work they

have done over the past three weeks. We would also like to express our sincere

thanks to you dear parents. We know that this is a difficult time for you, when you are

confronted with many challenges. Many thanks for the enormous support.

Further thanks are also due, of course, to my colleagues, who have quickly

familiarized themselves with the new modes of working and have not given up

despite some technical hurdles which we were confronted with. This is a new

situation for us too and we are faced with new challenges as well. All the teaching

colleagues now communicate with the children via WhatsApp, via googleClassroom

or E-mail, or the children work diligently on their workbooks and photocopied materials.

I can assure you and you that we would all much rather be with you in school and we

hope that this will be possible again soon.

As we have to assume that the school will remain closed after the Easter holidays,

we will work on further communication possibilities and on the expansion of already

existing digital teaching/learning tools.

As before, each teacher is responsible for his/her subject and follows the existing

curriculum. The teacher decides from a pedagogical point of view which

communication channels are suitable for the pupils.

Since our learning strategies and methods are highly individualized, homogeneous

learning is difficult to achieve, especially at the primary level. The children work

according to their own learning pace and learning progress. If a pupil is still working

on the basics of reading and writing, e- learning is not the appropriate

approach. For another pupil in the same grade level, however, it could be useful.

Please trust our teachers, because they know the right approach and are the experts in

this field.

During this period, there will be no class exams and tests. Teachers could request

that the pupils do some assignments to substitute these. The respective teachers will

contact you for further information on that.

As already announced, the learning progress reports will be taking place after the

Easter holidays. Depending on the situation, these will be held online or at school.

In summary, this implies that:

-after the Easter holidays, assignments will be added for the subjects that are still

missing,

-the communication channels will be maintained and further improved,

-please continue to discuss special needs of individual children with the class

teachers or with the subject teachers.

There will be no assignments during the Easter holidays. Of course, the children can

work on the tasks they have already been given or practice using the learning apps in

the Time for talents course on google Classroom.

When we get any further information with regards to how the government of Ghana

will proceed with the school closures, we will inform you.

I would like to wish everyone a relaxing holiday. Above all, stay healthy.

Best regards,

Head of school

 

 

Letter from March 22nd, 2020:

 

Dear parents,

As promised, I am addressing you with a few explanations for further learning for your children in this difficult time. In our team we have discussed on how to proceed, also under the point of view that the school closure will last longer (expected start of school on Monday, 20.4.2020).

This Monday and Tuesday, all teachers will receive further training in Google Classroom Management.

Here is the procedure for the next two weeks:

Kindergarten:

Kindergarten teachers will send materials, ideas and video messages via the existing Whats App groups. Every teacher can be reached by phone. Consultation hours can be arranged.

Primary School:

Additional materials will be provided for the children to pick up at the school.

Class teachers will communicate with parents and students via a WhatsApp group and Email. Consultation hours can be arranged with the class teacher.

From Class 3 onwards Google Classroom will also be used.

In Primary school, it is very important that students have access to their usual working materials, books. These are structured in a sensible and continuous way.

Communication takes place via the class teacher, the subject teachers send notes, working materials, etc. to the class teacher for forwarding.

Class 5-9

From class 5 onwards, communication will be mainly via Google Classroom.

The subject teachers will also place working materials for their subject on the platform.

The class teachers can also communicate with parents and students via Whats App groups and Email.

Consultation hours can be arranged.

 

During the Easter holidays no tasks are given to the students.

We will start with the learning development meetings / parent meetings in the week after the Easter holidays (online or in person).

All our colleagues will be open to the different ways of communication.

Please do not hesitate to ask the respective class or subject teacher if you have further needs.

We are convinced that together with you we will master this task in these uncertain times and wish everyone good luck.

Stay healthy!

Head of school

 

Letter from March 18th, 2020:

 

Dear GSIS school community,

Due to the Ghanaian government’s request to close schools in Ghana until further notice and the simultaneous closure of schools and kindergartens in Germany until mid-April 2020, we see ourselves obliged, in consultation with the ZfA, to extend the GSIS school closure accordingly until April 19th, 2020.

The first day of school will then be Monday, April 20th,  2020.

We would like to draw the attention of all families who will be travelling in the coming weeks to the corresponding regulations of a 14-day quarantine after returning from risk areas.

I think the last few days have shown that today it is not yet clear what tomorrow will be.

We will keep you informed about all further developments and inform you in time about what will happen after the Easter holidays.
We ask for your understanding.

Stay healthy, everybody. We are looking forward to seeing you all again soon.

Your Board

 

Letter from March 13th, 2020:

Dear GSIS school community,

After Friday everything went very fast and the news of the temporary closure of the school was certainly surprising to many of you, we would like to go into some details again to hopefully provide more clarity.

First of all, we would like to inform you that the school closure is not related to people already infected or having contact to such – within the GSIS school community.

As already mentioned, our decision was taken as a purely precautionary measure and was implemented in consultation with and on the recommendation of the German Embassy. We have been as surprised as you by the speed of the closure. However, the circumstances here on site made it necessary to act quickly and decisively. What had led to days of discussion and deliberation in Germany had to be implemented more quickly in Ghana in order to contain a rapid spread. Since both confirmed cases come from expatriate circles, the closure of the international institutions in the country was the obvious choice. As I am sure you know, many of the large international schools in Accra have by now been closed.

Many of the news that have been circulating on the social media since yesterday in this connection are false and without any foundation. Especially the news of a user unknown to us, who spread fake news about parents of GSIS, who allegedly were at a party of the Norwegian Ambassador, are wrong.

The user claims to be an employee of the school, but she is not known at our school.

We know that this or similar false reports are very disturbing and annoying for you and others.

We would like to ask you to help us to stop such false reports and put them right. Especially in these difficult times, please let us act calmly and trust each other in such stressful situations.

We, the board and the school management, will do everything possible to master this difficult situation unscathed. We need your support in this. If you read such messages and are surprised by their content, please ask us before sharing them. Thank you very much for this.

By now all students should have received assignments from the teachers.

If you have any questions about individual tasks or need further materials, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We also refer again to good learning apps that can be used depending on the age group. We will send you a list of these in the next few days.

We will keep you up to date and send you all further information as soon as possible.

 

Stay healthy!!

With kind regards

Board and school management

Corona Virus Update_EN