We have come to the end of our first full week of online learning. We have received a range of feedback. Some students are enjoying it; other students are having a hard time staying engaged. Many teachers and counselors are meeting in small groups with students throughout the day. Children as young as kindergarten are having Zoom calls with their classmates. Many say it is the best part of the day.
It has not been perfect. It would be unrealistic to expect it to be. Early next week, we will be surveying the students and parents to gather feedback on what is working and how we can improve. We will continue to get better each week.
I am so very proud of our teachers, teaching assistants, counselors, and administrators. They have worked incredibly hard to prepare engaging online material, connecting with students through virtual conversations, and meeting with colleagues and administrators. They basically had a week or less to transform how they deliver their content. Their jobs changed practically overnight.
Many of the ISD parents are struggling to balance work, supporting their children with online learning, and dealing with the uncertainty of the situation. It is hard particularly for those with younger children who cannot be as independent with the demands of their school work.
I clearly understand that some parents are upset with the announcement that on-campus classes would not resume this school year. The decision was based on the best information we had from a variety of sources, which indicated that Senegalese schools would be closed for an extended period of time.
But, the decision does not mean the ISD campus will be closed for the rest of the year. My hope is that we can revisit allowing small groups of students and parents back on campus soon. This will be dependent, of course, on how the situation in Dakar continues to evolve.
If the Senegalese government reopens schools later in May, we can start programs to bring more students to campus.
The important thing to realize is everyone, students, teachers, parents, administrators, and Board Members are doing their best. The last few weeks have been unlike anything anyone of us has ever experienced. We are all trying to adjust to an ambiguous and ever-changing situation.
We need to rely on the strength of our community, focus on the positive, continue to provide suggestions, and support each other.
Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
International School of Dakar