Dear Parents, Carers  and Staff

 

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend.

 

We are about to go into week six of term 3. Thank you to students, parents and staff, for maintaining the rhythm of the remote learning program so far this term.

 

This week, our Year 9 students are taking IGCSE trial examinations from home. This is a lead up to next year, when at around this time of the last term, they will be doing their final examinations before moving up to their A levels in years 11 and 12.

Although it is a unique situation for them to be doing these examinations at home, they will also have more practice examinations under school exam conditions in term 1 next school year.

I am sure all of our school community will join with me in wishing our Year 9s all the very best for these trial examinations.

 

It’s great to see the Readathon get underway. It is very different this year but as a key element of the culture of AISB, it’s very important that we maintain this part of our school’s tradition. In this Readathon, we will see staff participation in Poetry Slam 2, a new and important element of the Readathon.

I thank Ms. Gail for leading the organisation of this important event in the school calendar.

 

School Reopening

 

I realise that many of you are waiting to hear an announcement about the school re opening, our staff are also looking forward to this announcement.

Some people have written to me mentioning what other schools are doing about the students coming back. Our position is that we will not reopen the school until we get official permission from the Ministry of Education granting us approval to reopen.

 

How we will let you know once permission to reopen is granted.

 

We have no idea when that permission will come, but when it does, we will send all parents an SMS message on our bulk messaging ap. This will ask you to read your email which will have been sent before the SMS, the email will provide details about the opening.

 

Operational changes

 

I would like to inform parents that we have been working on the health and safety protocols and operational changes that will have to be in place when we do open the school.

These changes will have an impact on many of the way things are done.

Drop off and pick up will be different, social distancing measures, personal hygiene, school cleaning systems, playground practices, school transport loadings, catering arrangements and so on, will be quite different from the way things used to be.

We will provide details of these arrangements as we finalize them, they should be available by Thursday this week.

 

Medical Declaration

 

We will also send home a family medical declaration form that we will need to receive before your child can return to school.

Many parents may be undecided about sending their children back to school. In the end, this is your decision, but please wait until you receive our new operating details before you make your final decision.

 

I trust this update helps you understand that we are getting ready to reopen, while at the same time, there has been no deviation from our focus on remote learning which will continue this week and for as long as it is required.

 

I wish all families and our staff a great week ahead.

 

Kindest regards

 

Greg Cairnduff

Dear Parents and Carers

 

I am sorry that it has been  a while since I wrote to you, from today the updates will become regular again.

I trust you and your family are all well and coping with these unusual conditions, although the conditions  feel a little less unusual now,  as we have been living our lives very differently since March 17th.

 

It has been a long time for families to have their children out of school, but like many other countries, Thailand’s policies the strategic actions are working well.

I am sure you are waiting to hear that there will soon be good news that that the school will be reopening again soon.

I am not able to give you that news tonight. When we do hear that we can open again, you will receive an SMS from the school asking you to read your email, as we will let you know as quickly as we can.

 

When do we expect to know about the reopening of the school?

I have to be very careful not to create the impression that we know when international schools will reopen. As of today, we have no knowledge of when that might be. What we do know is that the Minister of Education will make a public statement tomorrow which will address various matters in relation to schools and the COVID strategy.

That is all we know.

 

Preparing the school for reopening

We are already preparing for the reopening. We are currently putting practical plans into place which include many operational changes such as:

      Arranging class rooms to enable physical distancing od students and staff;

      Modifying catering arrangements;

      Providing entry and exit points for drop off and pick up that do not cause congestion;

      Timetabling staggered start and finish of the school day

      Using face masks, face shields and protective clothing;

      Increased cleaning and personal hygiene practices;

      New transport schedules that take account of reduced loadings on vans;

      Changes to playground arrangements

 

These are just a few of the things that will be different from the way we used to operate. Our goal is to get the children back to school and keep the children, all staff, parents and carers safe at school.

I mention these things to let you know that we will be ready to open as soon as we get approval to do so.

When we do open the school there will be differences from the daily rhythm of school before the start of term 2.  

I trust this gives you an idea of what we are doing in preparation for the much hoped for return to school.

There will be another update on Sunday 17th May.

 

Kindest regards

 

Greg Cairnduff

Dear Parents and Carers

 

I trust this update finds all families safe and happy after the break between terms 2 and 3.

We are excited by the thought of the start of the new term. Although the shortest of our terms, Term 3 is always the busiest one, as it is the culmination of the academic year.

The holiday is now behind us. Teachers and executive staff have worked tirelessly during this time, to make the changes to our remote learning program. Heads of School and our teachers have recently written to all families outlining the changes.

 

School Culture: Sense of Community

Schools, like all organisations have their own organisational culture.

The culture of AISB is based on a sense of community, this is underpinned by the events we hold such as assemblies; mid-year and end of year concerts; student show case performances; the House System; our developing sports teams, and many other things that contribute to the sense of community.

We come to term 3 with a determination to continue as many of those elements of school culture that we can. Although the format will be different, due to social distancing and school facilities not being available to meet as a community, many of our events will still go on. For example, Ms. Lori will run Chess Player of the Month; assemblies and Bounce Back awards will continue and next Saturday, April 25th we will hold our annual ANZAC commemoration.

 

These activities will be adapted to our current operating conditions. Details to be announced soon.

 

Update: Reopening the school

This the question that we, the staff and you, the parents, are keen to know about.

 

As of today, we have no further information on an opening date. The Minister of Education’s directive of April 9th keeping the school closed, is still in operation.

I have attached the English translation of that directive, see the reference to International Schools in the final paragraph, quoted below:

 

Furthermore, international private schools with different school term dates are permitted to start the school semester immediately, providing that they are able to offer instructional models and methodologies in line with the State of Emergency as declared in the area where each school is located.

 

We remain hopeful that we will be permitted to open the school as soon as the COVID 19 strategy enables safe conditions for the Governor of Bangkok or the Ministry of Education to permit schools to reopen.

I assure all members of our community that you will be officially notified as soon as possible after we receive permission to re-open.

 

Appreciation:

I want to thank our teachers, our administration staff and our Heads of School, for their dedication and commitment to enhancing the remote learning program. They have worked though this holiday to ensure we all give our best to the students and their families as always.

 

Parents, please allow our staff time to implement the new aspects of the remote learning programs.

 

Following this update there will be a short letter sent to all parents in 5 languages this is to inform all parents, but particularly non – native English speakers, what steps they can take to obtain additional assistance in understanding lesson and technology requirements.

 

I trust that you and your children will have a wonderful term ahead.

 

Kindest regards

Greg Cairnduff

Dear Parents and Carers

 

I hope you are all well.

 

You will find attached an update regarding a number of matters about Term 3. Click Here!

 

I hope this update may resolve some of your concerns about the coming term . I realise also that you may have other questions, please address any fees related questions to Ms Malini or Ms Shailly.

 

For any of our families who would like a short version of the letter translated into your own language, we will try to have translations done for you. Please let me know.

 

Kind regards

Greg Cairnduff

Dear Parents, Carers and Staff

 

I hope your week is going well.

 

This is a short update, as I will send another one tomorrow afternoon.

Today is the second last day of term 2 in School Year 2019 – 2020, AISB’s 17th year of operation.

We have come a long way in those 17 years and we are still on our journey to Years 12 and 13.

The current difficulties will not deter us from moving forward.

This week, I have had the opportunity to see some of the wonderful work of our students, also, the Heads of School have shared many warm, appreciative and supportive messages from our parents. I would love to share some of these, but our privacy protocols prevent me doing this .

 

Thank you for your support of our teaching teams.

 

I want to remind you of some key dates.

1 End of term 2 holiday

April 4th to April 19th

2 Term 3  – Start and End

First Day: Monday 20th April 2, 2020

Last Day: Friday 19th June

3 Current last day of school being closed to students

May 4th [State of Emergency Order] Please note, we anticipate this date will be extended.

4 Online Learning will continue from opening of Term 3

Until the school opens to students. There will be enhancements to Seesaw, also use of Zoom and Google Meets, a new Literacy program will be implemented for

Foundation to Year 8.

5 A reminder – Due date for Term 3 Fees

Please note: Due dates for Term 3 tuition fees payment are Friday 17th April and Saturday 18th April.

 

Final Note:

Tomorrow, Friday 3rd April there will be an update with some more details about Term 3.  This will be sent in the afternoon.

 

Thank you for your attention to this message

 

On behalf of our staff, I wish all families good health and happiness.

 

Kindest Regards

Greg Cairnduff

Dear Teachers, Teaching Assistants and Admin Staff

 

It’s been a week since I wrote to you.  I set out this week to ring a few of you each day, but I have not kept up with that goal.  I miss my interaction with each of you in whatever division of our school you are working.

As human beings we love routine and certainty in our lives. For me, this revolves around the school calendar [I have 6 laminated copies scattered throughout my daily life!!] We are trying to develop some certainty about term 3 for our staff and our families.

In this unprecedented time in history, certainty is a bit elusive. It will come back, I am positive about that. We are working on providing families and you, our staff teams, with a view of what Term 3 will look like. Within the next few days I will be able to give you an idea about that.

You sometimes have to deal with parents’ questions and concerns about our planning. You are dealing with stressed parents who also have no “calendar certainty” about their family’s direction in the immediate future. Pass their questions on to Gail, Mark, Sue or me.

It hurts when you get a critical message from a parent. Try not to take it personally, please remember that the positive feedback we are receiving far outweighs the negative; it delights us to hear about the creative things you do each day.

The leadership team is very happy with what you are doing, we understand and know how hard you are working, you are valued and deeply appreciated for this.

You have all stepped up to the on line learning and teaching plate. For this, we are proud of each one of you.

Those of us who are lucky enough to work in schools, are part of a world – wide “tribe”. When we meet others who work in schools, no matter where, we connect easily. I am sure many of you have had this experience. Members of the world wide “school tribe” are experiencing what you are experiencing right now the highs and lows as in a normal week, but we are in new waters and doing our very best for the students and their families and at times it takes bit longer to get where you want go. Don’t worry about this

 

Let me turn to what we know.

 

What we know today, April 1st

1 There is State of Emergency in force.

All schools in Bangkok will be closed until May 4th

2 We will be teaching off-site on return from Term 2 break.

3 It is highly likely a longer period of off-site learning will happen, we need are preparing for such an extension.

 

For our school, we know:

1 In just two weeks, you have demonstrated that you can deliver quality learning engagements using Seesaw; Google Classroom; Google Meet and Google Hangouts. We will continue to enhance delivery, given time, practice and collaboration.

2 This is demanding, intensive work for all teachers around the world who are working this way. After two weeks you understand and know this.

3 The longer you continue in this mode, the better you are it.  In two weeks of this new world you have you have learned and gained confidence in new ways of teaching, this confidence will grow as you learn more about the mode of teaching.

4 Enhancements to what doing are being sought all the time. For example, Seesaw will be upgraded; the use of Google Meet will be extended; we will trial the use of Zoom with small group; we are looking at range of Learning   Management Systems.

We will also introduce Literacy Planet (F to 8) as soon as possible.

5 We are very happy with the creative ways you are handling the learning engagements.

 

Let me bring you up to date with a few other things:

1 The trip to Nishaville

Two weeks ago, we began organising to give you a break from the city. The State of Emergency has put

a stop to this. All hotels and resorts are closed. We cannot go at this time but the trip will be offered later in the year.

At this time we must stay at home and fight the virus. It is a postponement.

2 Work Permits and Passports

Suzete and Joy have sent staff a scanned copy of individual Work Permits, in anticipation of all expats being required to carry a copy of the WP, Passport and      evidence of place of residence.

3 Immigration Issues

If you have any Immigration issues contact Yui. She is still working as normal.

4 Extra insurance

The policy and card should soon be with all who took up one of these policies recently

5 Term 3

Look out for the T 3 plan later this week

 

Music for You: From the Lion King Circle of Life, Elton John

https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=fUf2W1uQwuY&list=RDAMVMfUf2W1uQwuY

 

Thank you for your great effort for our students and your support of the school’s work with it’s community.

 

Warm regards

Greg

Dear Parents and carers

 

I hope you had a lovely weekend and that you and your family are in good health.

 

We are about to go into our 9th day of off-site delivery of learning engagements.

 

Our teachers and executive staff have been learning to operate in this mode at rapid rate. From my connections with other international schools, both here in Thailand and in other countries, this is their experience too.

We truly understand the stress that the changes of routines, additional demands on time and different ways of doing things, have on parents who already have so much on their minds at this time, especially as many of you are now working from home.

At the school we are maintaining a positive mind set, we look forward to getting back to what it was like before. We miss the children, we miss meeting and talking with you. Our staff members, Teachers Teaching Assistants, Administration team, nannies, drivers and others, miss working in a school buzzing with purpose.

The sound of laughter and explanations of learning may be coming to us in new and different ways, but the sense of educational purpose and determination to do the best for the children from Nursery to Year 9 IGCSE is as strong as ever.

 

I thank our teams of staff for all they are doing, n so many creative ways, to maintain the learning rhythm of their students. A great example of this occurred when Year 2 Bettongs and Year 5 Brolgas at Soi 31, hosted a ‘virtual’ assembly last Friday and it was a great success. Congratulations to all involved.

Now for the update, starting with the hardest to provide piece of information:

 

1 Reopening the school to our students

Since the last update on 26th March, the State of Emergency has come into operation. In regard to the school being open to students, we are still uncertain, as the State of Emergency has all schools closed until May 4th.

We cannot be certain if that date will be extended.

Up to now we have been working on fairly short time lines for the reopening, so we are working on a series of possible dates for the opening including May 4th.

I will provide more information after the available options have been discussed by the Board and the executive staff.

I hope to be able to tell you more by Tuesday 31st March. Please be assured that we are working on this.

2 End of Term 2 Break [Formerly called Songkran break]

Remains at the previously advertised dates: Saturday April 4th to Sunday April 19th. No learning engagements will be sent during this time.

3 Start of Term 3

Term 3 will open on Monday 20th April. The off- site learning will begin on this date

More details of term 3 dates will be announced in the next few days.

4 Enhancements to the off- site learning platforms

Seesaw is being used Nursery to Year 3 teachers and will be upgraded as soon as possible, this should be sometime this week. ‘

Google Classroom is a very popular online learning system, being used by Years 4, 5,6,7,8 and 9. I was in webinar last week where we were provided with data that indicated this platform is one of the most popular around the world in the current situation.

We will continue to use it, but we are also looking at a number of very good Learning Management Systems which will add to what we are already using Year 4 to Year 9.

5 School Photos

They have arrived from U Smile and are being carefully stored. It’s not easy to distribute them, but we would like to do so as soon as possible. I will let you know this week if It is possible to do that.

6 NAPLAN tests cancelled

NAPLAN is the acronym for National Assessment Program in Literacy and Numeracy – this is the Australian benchmarking system in Literacy and Numeracy which our students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 do each year.

These tests are held in May, but they have been cancelled throughout Australia and internationally.

Parents may already know that the IB Diploma and the Cambridge IGCSE examinations have been cancelled. Our secondary school students will not do IGCSE until next year in Year 10, so they are affected by this cancellation.

7 Immigration

Expatriate parents might not know that the Ministry of Immigration has set up service desks in a large exhibition hall at Muang Thong Thani. This is to allow for social distancing. Please let me know if you would like further information.

 

There will be another update on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thank you for your time,

On behalf of all our staff, I hope all families stay healthy and happy.

 

Kindest regards

Greg Cairnduff

Dear Parents and Carers

 

I hope this update finds you well

 

It seems a long time since we saw our students and you, their parents and carers.

Yesterday, we all completed the first week of operating in the off-site mode. All of our staff are working very hard on the learning engagements and from what we have learned, enhancements have been made to the systems we are using.

Teachers are being very creative in planning and following up the work of their students. An example this creativity will be the primary and middle school virtual assembly on tomorrow.

I hope parents also becoming used to the process. You are our partners in helping the children with the activities and tasks being provided by teaches. I thank you for the feedback you send, we will always reply to your suggestions and comments, but we cannot guarantee that we can always implement you suggestions.

 

Some key aspects of what is ahead for school operations:

At this point we can only have certainty for about two weeks ahead. Although we have longer term contingency plans.

1 The Current situation – school closed to students:

Most of you would know that on Wednesday, a State of Emergency was declared by the Prime Minister, this will be in place until the end of April.

Many restrictions are in place and a further restrictions will be introduced in the coming days.

The State of Emergency also indicated that the provisions introduced by the Governor of Bangkok last week, are still in place.

The Bangkok Governor’s special directive issued late last week that international schools are to remain closed to students, up to April 12th. As this is in the middle of our school holidays and we will not be able to reopen until April 20th at the earliest.

2 End of Term Holidays

There is no change to the holiday dates, the last day of term 2 is April 3rd.

Unless there is an extension of the closure of schools to students, the first day of term 3 will be April 20th.

We are hopeful this will remain at that date, but like so many of the uncertainties of the times, we are also preparing for offsite learning to continue if the opening date changes..

 

3 Term 3

Start Date:

We are planning to open on April 20th please note the proviso in point 1 above.

 

Tuition Fees Term 3

New Due Date

The due date for the fees has been moved to Friday 17th.and Saturday 18th April.

Offices on each campus will be open on those days.

Please make payment by bank transfer or if paying by cash or credit card you can come to the campus office to pay. We will limit the number of people coming into the office in order to maintain social distancing.

4 Afternoon Activities

Based on the assumption that the school will start on 20th April, arrangements are being made for missed Afternoon Activities to be made up in term 3. This may have an impact on the start date of Afternoon Activities for Term 3.

We will have a better idea of the plan for this within the next two weeks.

5 Lunch Fees

Lunch fees for thirteen days will be credited to term 3

In conclusion today, I want to thank all parents, carers, the staff and our students, for the very significant contributions you are all making the continuing learning and protection of our students.

These are testing times as our families know only too well, we will do all we can to work in partnership with our parent community to get through this difficult time

 

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

 

On behalf of all us at AISB,

I wish you good health and happiness

 

Greg Cairnduff

Dear Parents, Carers and Staff

 

This is an update on changes that have been made in school operations since Wednesday 11th March.

 

Admissions inquiries

 

Throughout a school year, the admissions staff on each campus have almost daily appointments with parents inquiring about enrolling their son or daughter in our school.

Some of these appointments are online with people outside Thailand, but most are with people seeking to visit the school for a meeting with the admissions staff and a tour of the facilities.

As these visits are usually in groups of two or three, we are continuing them, but as from Thursday 12th March, if the visit cannot be postponed, the following conditions are applied to each visit:

1 If possible, appointments are made for times when the students are not present, either on Saturday or late in the school day when most of the students have departed the school.

When appointments are held during the school day, the duration of the visit is reduced to 45 minutes and the tour of facilities is kept brief.

Classrooms and other teaching spaces are not entered.

2 The visitors are required to present their passports to ensure they have not visited any of the countries on the current hotspot list.

 

So far, these arrangements have worked well.

 

Short Term Enrolments:

At this time of the year we have students from Thai schools on short stay enrolments, many of them come back each year.

We will not be taking any more short term enrolments as of 12th March, but those already enrolled for a few weeks will remain with us and we are pleased to have them in the school.

 

School Closure

We have no news about any directive to close international schools and we are still hoping this will not happen.

Our teachers are well prepared to provide learning engagement for their classes if that should occur.

We will supply details at the appropriate time, parents will not need to purchase any additional equipment for

These learning activities.

 

Cleaning Supplies

We have plenty of cleaning supplies on hand for both campuses.

That is the update for now, there will be another one on Sunday evening.

On behalf of our staff, I wish all families a very relaxing and happy weekend.

 

Kind regards,

Greg Cairnduff