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Elementary School News

ES APR 14

Dear Families,

Thank you for the beautiful messages that were sent to all of the Elementary teachers, assistants and support staff. There were tears of joy as our hearts filled with joy. Your children feed our spirit in magical ways.

During the break, the government announced that we will end the school year under the distance learning modality. We are supporting students and community members as they process what it means for each individual. Relief, sadness, anticipation, uncertainty… all feelings are valid. We invite you to open times for dialogue for your children on a regular basis and do turn to our counselors for support at any time.

Yes, the school building is closed, but our minds are engaged, our children are playing and the sound of childhood is a beautiful reminder of continuity. With that in mind, we have revisited our plans to include additional live sessions in all grade levels to include opportunities for social-emotional connections, as well as academic support and time with specials teachers (Spanish, Art, Music, PE). We are polishing those details and your homeroom teachers will send you the schedules in which live sessions will be taking place.

Because of the new elements in our distance learning plan, we will take a week off from sending the parent survey and will do that at the end of week 5.

My appreciation goes out to each of you for your partnership!

We are in this together!
 
Paola de Pereira
Elementary School Principal

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High School News

HS Apr 14

Dear High School Parents and Students,

As we all know, the Ministry announced that we will continue with our distance learning program until the end of the year. That, at least, is sure and we will continue with our program. We understand that the idea of not being back on our campus is tough but this is for a greater cause: supporting Ecuador, our beautiful country, to limit the pandemic and save lives. And our community is up for the challenge and I could not think of a stronger, more compassionate, more committed team to go through this situation with.

Here are a few things that I wanted to highlight this week.

ASB Challenges
Our fantastic ASB is getting ready with some fun challenges that will re-activate our house system. The team is working really hard on those ASB challenges and ASB is going to present them on Wednesday, during our first virtual assembly.

Assessment
Our fantastic team of educators is revisiting ways to assess given our new circumstances and we are confident that we will maintain our 1-7 grade scale

CAS at Home
Mr Shulman and Ms Faidutti have created a google classroom to share ideas of cool CAS experiences that can be done at home. The CAS code is cmtf4ra. Those ideas will contribute to maintaining a healthy and balanced life.

Reminder of Netiquette
It is crucial that, together, we maintain strong and positive ways to interact and to present ourselves online. Please support us so that students respect the following netiquette.

Thank you,
Fred Bordaguibel
High School Principal

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Middle School News

MS APR 14

When I applied for a teaching position at an international school in Pakistan in the early 2000’s, one of the interview questions asked about my “tolerance for ambiguity.” I was reminded of this phrase during a conference call last week. In these times, our collective tolerance for ambiguity and change is being tested each day, and sometimes each hour. Last week brought the confirmation that we will be learning at a distance for the remainder of this school year, this is now no longer ambiguous. What remains ambiguous are curfews, driving restrictions, social restrictions, the world response to COVID-19, etc. This is a lot of ambiguity, and we are all navigating each day and each new reality together. I am grateful to be going through it with you, our wonderful Middle School community.

Thank you to everyone who completed the parent feedback survey. We received our highest survey response in my tenure at AC. Nearly 70% of you specifically commented on your satisfaction with the class schedule and daily structure, and overall the survey results were incredibly positive. Families are overwhelmingly thankful that children are able to learn, safely, at home. The most frequent challenges related to students feeling isolated and disconnected from friends. This is especially difficult for our MS children, given their stage of personal development.

Feedback regarding the amount of homework (many parents say it is acceptable, while some say it is too much, and some say it is not enough), group work (some want more, some want less) and specific, one-time, comments will be addressed with MS faculty.

Parents, and educators, around the world are wondering how the “lost” learning this year will impact students next year. It is a fact that every student in the entire world will be in this situation. This means that you do not need to worry excessively that your child will be “behind,” but rather rest in the knowledge that they are in a school that is exceeding expectations regarding continuity of learning.

MS faculty began the process of reviewing standards and assessments before spring break, and we will continue this work in the weeks to come. We believe that we will be able to address nearly all planned standards. Of course the learning engagements themselves will look different, and they will not be exactly as the teachers would prefer, but we will do our best, given the online platform, to continue to take care of your child’s learning experience. 

As parents, you can help us in the journey by ensuring that your child is on time for and attends all morning classes, and all individual afternoon meetings. We are not in the school building anymore and cannot physically remind your child. We need your assistance in this aspect. To date, we have had our best attendance and on-time record ever, and we hope it stays this way!

Counselor’s Corner - Aubrey Jordan
During these ever-changing and uncertain times, a lot of emotions may arise in your children and in yourselves. This is a normal response, and learning effective ways to cope with stress can benefit you and your family. In this brief animation, FACE COVID, Dr Russ Harris, author of the international best-seller “The Happiness Trap”, illustrates how to effectively respond to the Corona crisis and the fear, anxiety and worry that goes with it. If you are noticing significant changes in your child’s behavior in response to this situation and are concerned, please contact me at ajordan@cotopaxi.k12.ec for a parent consultation. I am here to help provide support. 

Service Learning
Some of you have asked about Service Learning. We will share more about that in the weeks to come, and for now, please take a look at the Service Learning: In the Middle newsletter for April.

With kind regards,
Sheryl

Sheryl Gruber
Middle School Principal
sgruber@cotpaxi.k12.ec
(593-2) 382-3270 ext. 2001
"We are responsible for being informed global citizens who understand and affect positive change."

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Director Message

dir apr 2020

Dear Academia Cotopaxi Community Members,

The number of families affected by the coronavirus around the world continues to grow. We work closely with our sister schools in Ecuador and around the world, including Guayaquil and feel for them in these difficult times. All other things, grades, jobs, vacations, are secondary to health. I would like to commend all of you, children, parents and colleagues for taking to heart this international effort to safeguard each and everyone of the beautiful people who live on this amazing planet, regardless of race, gender, wealth, religion or age. We are all one family. 

There is no doubt that members of our community are experiencing vastly different levels of stress and anxiety. That includes staff members with family members both here in Ecuador or overseas who have been directly impacted. Our hearts go out to all these families. Enduring such difficult times in isolation adds significantly to the tragedy of our collective experience. Please remember you are not alone. If you need to reach out to anyone from our school, teachers, counselors, administrators or myself we are here for you just as you are here for us.

Semana Santa is a Break

Some of our community may not feel like a break is necessary given all that has happened and is happening. But we need to step back. We need to unplug and focus on what really matters. There is a possibility that the current conditions could continue for weeks, perhaps months. We need to be prepared for the long-haul. Like distance runners, slowing down and catching one’s breath can help us all reach the finish line. 

This is not the vacation any of us planned. No one is going anywhere. But it also affords us a wonderful opportunity to dedicate time to family and to care for one another. A few parents have asked about work for the week of the break. We do not believe this is healthy for students or teachers. The strain our faculty is under and the extra hours they have dedicated have been overwhelming and their response has been amazing. They need a break. Your children need a break. You need a break. Build a puzzle. Read aloud. Plant seeds. Play an instrument. Sing together. Enjoy the opportunity to spend uninterrupted time with your children. Bake cookies and watch a series. As a grandfather I can tell you they grow up way too quickly. Years from now there will be elements of this situation that you will sincerely miss. But take a break. You, we, all of us have earned it and all of us will need every reserve and all our strength in the weeks to come. If you need ideas for resources and activities, make use of the resources on the AC Distance Learning website. I would recommend checking out the Additional Learning Resources page for fun and engaging activities for your children. The other day I visited both the San Diego and Chicago zoos’ webcams and enjoyed watching beautiful animals in action, a reminder of all the great experiences with nature and the outdoors we all look forward to experiencing again, hopefully soon. 

All of us here at AC and IMAGINE plan to return, rested and invigorated;  we need your children rested and ready also.

A Personal Story 

Like some of our parents, I grew up before the internet, cable TV and on-demand movies. We lived in the country with two, three if we were lucky, TV channels that often were foggy to watch. I would spend my summers on my grandparents’ farm where we had to go out to a well and hand pump water to drink and use an outhouse. Try that in the Canadian winter! That may give an idea of how quickly life has changed in so much of the world - for the better. 

Without the internet and video games etc. I spent a lot of time with my two grandfathers. They had both lived through the First World War, the Spanish Flu Pandemic, the Great Depression and the Second World War. I listened to their stories, again and again, year after year. I noticed something about their stories and the way they told them. They laughed. They remembered how such hard times brought people together. They remembered having a clear purpose. They remembered supporting others in their families and communities. 

One of my fondest memories was when the two old guys would get together. My Dutch grandpa would always brag about how great Holland was. He left Europe at the end of World War I so he did not experience the devastation of the Nazi invasion firsthand. My other grandpa was one of those brave souls who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day as part of the Canadian forces that liberated Holland. Grandpa van der Eyken would go on and on about how great Holland was. Grandpa Stephens just shook his head, chuckled and said, “I don’t know, it was all shot up to hell when I was there.” They both ended the conversation with smiles and fond memories from their struggles. 

Our grandparents saw difficult times, they fought and struggled and prevailed and to a large measure the rich lives we have all enjoyed is the product of their determination, they chose to come out better at the end.

We all have that power and that choice. The “way things were” is not something we can get back. It is our task to make “where we are” all it can be so that when we tell the tales, we can do so with laughter and memories of caring and support. This is the lesson for each and every one of us. 

What we are experiencing today is the most powerful learning this generation of students, our children, will experience. It is our job to ensure that it is learned well and learned with joy. It is our job that out of this historic period of turmoil and disruption a new foundation can emerge, and a new way of being for and with each other can become a shared reality. Please watch this video for some inspiration.

One other opportunity during this time is to discover our children’s music and sharing our own. Here is a beautiful song by Bob Marley that I share with you today. Please feel welcome to share back any music you draw strength and hope from, in any language or genre. 

It is up to us to prevail.

Sincerely,

Robert van der Eyken
Director

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Director Message

DIR MAR 31

Dear Parents,
 
Welcome to our third week of this new reality we are all confronting around the world. We are all facing new challenges but also opportunities, particularly with respect to how we collectively move forward to make this a better world for our children, now, next school year, and beyond. Over two thousand years ago Aristotle said that “education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.” Our teachers and all the people here at AC and IMAGINE who support them, continue to be committed to providing a refuge of learning to your sons and daughters at this time. 
 
As has been communicated previously, Academia Cotopaxi, along with our sister private schools in Ecuador has received authorization from the Ministry of Education to continue learning from a distance through education and information technology as appropriate for different grade levels. This is recognition of all the shared effort put into distance learning from school and homes. Once again thank you for your support in this effort as this is truly a home-school partnership for the benefit of our students, your sons and daughters.
 
Our IT Department and I would like to invite you to a symposium to assist with general questions regarding online learning. The first symposium will be a “coffee talk” this Thursday, April 2 at 3:30 p.m. If you would like to participate, please fill in this quick registration form. Further details will be sent to you prior to the symposium.
 
In recognition of all the distance learning and time being committed to this, we will continue with what was programmed for this school year according to our existing curriculum program and calendar, including the scheduled break of April 6-10.
 
Although learning is continuing and keeping both teachers and students engaged, we recognize that certain services are suspended at this time.

  • Bus Service

There will be no charges for bus services for April. The school will credit the monthly fee, accordingly for both city routes and valley routes and for the days without transport in March.

  • Cafeteria

Families will receive a credit for the April portion for pre-paid plans as well as the days without food service in March. For families in PK and Kinder, the snack fee will be credited as well.
 
These above mentioned credits will be reflected on April invoices. If the current situation continues, the same process will be applicable for May.
 
In the case of no outstanding fees, credits will be applied towards April and May tuition or upon request towards Registration or Tuition for next school year. Refunds are only for families with no pending fees who will not be enrolling for next year.  

  • Other Questions or Clarifications

Parents with particular questions may contact our Business Manager, Mauricio Mera mmera@cotopaxi.k12.ec or myself at rvandereyken@cotopaxi.k12.ec.
 
Thank you for your understanding and continued support. 
 
Robert van der Eyken
Director

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High School News

HS MAR 31

Dear High School Parents and Students,

As I already wrote to the High Schools student body and faculty, I am very proud of everyone’s effort to make this work. As outlined by you, parents, in the survey last week, distance learning is working pretty well (details below). Attendance is top notch and it appears that our adjusted schedule is much better. I have reminded students not to miss out on the opportunity to connect with their teachers one on one in the afternoons.

Time with Mentors
With this new adjusted schedule, students now meet with their mentors on Wednesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Attendance is required, like for another class.

Report Cards 
They will be available on Wednesday April 1, on Skyward. Here are the instructions. Please review teachers’ comments, not just grades. Your teachers took time to write meaningful comments with tips and ideas to improve your semester 2 grades, especially given our new circumstances of the distance learning.

For Seniors, about IB
Please find here the latest communication we sent to all seniors and their parents on Monday.

Feedback on Survey
Thank you for providing feedback  on our distance learning experience. Here is a snapshot of the trends that we have found.

What is going well?

  • Online interaction: Seeing teachers and peers. Zoom works well for most.
  • Learning continues.
  • Schedule with a fixed routine.
  • Student engagement for many students.
  • Teacher dedication.

What are our challenges?

  • Some internet issues.
  • Some students find it hard to remain engaged.
  • Managing screen time for children.
  • Lack of social interactions.
  • Adapting to distance learning from a teaching perspective.

Other questions

  • Regarding assessment and exams.
  • Regarding IB students (year 1 and 2).
  • Regarding when students are meeting with their teachers.

We are working really hard to learn with you to get better and we will address those. As always, do not hesitate to contact your teachers if you have any doubt.

We miss every single one of our students and we can’t wait to see them. In the meantime, please know that we are only an email or a zoom meeting away. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here for our students.

Have a great week.

Warmly,

Fred Bordaguibel
High School Principal

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Middle School News

MS MAR 31

Thank you once again for your role during this time of distance learning. We are so proud of the independence demonstrated by our students, and we understand how much support is required by parents to help ensure student success! I would also like to publicly thank our phenomenal Middle School faculty. The team has quickly adjusted to a new online learning platform, and is continually striving to ensure continuity of student learning. I am thankful to be part of the AC Middle School Community.
 
Counselor’s Corner - Aubrey Jordan
To honor and maintain consistency and connection in the Middle School, we are continuing with a once a week Cougar Time session for mentor groups to come together and share. Last week, with the help of the House Leaders, we held our first virtual MS Assembly after this check-in we provided during Cougar Time. At this time, it is important to recognize that every person will be going through their own experience, both emotionally and mentally, in response to the transition to distance learning and navigating through this “new normal” we face. These experiences will be as diverse as our community, and there is no right or wrong response. Take a look at the prompts and sentence starters in the slideshow to help foster conversations and connections about your experiences at home. I’ll be sharing new sentence starters every week. 
 
Progress Reports 
Quarter 3 ends on Wednesday, and Progress Reports will be shared with families on Friday,  April 3.
 
You are welcome to contact your child’s teacher(s) at any time to schedule an individual meeting. In the MS, we have built this time into our daily schedule, from 1:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. This is the time for student/teacher, parent/teacher, student/parent/teacher, or other needed meetings. You are also always welcome to send emails with questions, or a word of gratitude. 
 
Academia Cotopaxi will maintain our scheduled Spring Break, the week of April 6 -10. We will resume class meetings at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, April 13, a Distance Learning Day B. We encourage families to use this week off creatively, with as much “non-screen time” for students as possible.

With kind regards,
Sheryl

Sheryl Gruber
Middle School Principal
sgruber@cotpaxi.k12.ec
(593-2) 382-3270 ext. 2001
"We are responsible for being informed global citizens who understand and affect positive change."

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Elementary School News

ES MAR 31

Dear Families,

Thank you for your continued partnership and feedback. For last week we received 113 responses and are grateful to have your participation which helps us understand the home perspective and continue to reflect on our practices. Your teachers will have sent out communications regarding how our distance learning structure is continuing and also about added elements that include more opportunities for community building sessions and meetings with groups. Thank you for being ready to support your children so that they can join Zoom meetings with teachers, assistants and classmates.

As I had written a couple of weeks ago, our children will remember our actions during these days, more than they will remember what they learned in any subject. Teachers are working very hard to provide personal feedback to students and are being rewarded with beautiful expressions from their students who are proud to post what they can do at home, what they do with parents, what they do with their siblings and what they are learning. I am sure that you are also creating experiences at home that your children will remember with fondness, with laughter, and with gratitude.

As the weeks go by, our minds and hearts are invaded with feelings and thoughts.  We go through feelings of wonder, of fear… we experience anxiety and sadness.  Yet, we turn to our children, and see them continuing to smile, to play, to learn and to love. More than ever, their expressions of childhood are our inspiration.

As educators, we know that this experience is like no other experience, and we think of the time when we will open our doors at school and how ready we will be to receive each of the children who walk in. There will be children who spent a lot of time reading, others who did a ton of science experiments, others who built fortress after fortress, others who danced a lot, others who learned how to cook meals, others who found a love for mathematics, others who discovered a new passion, others who reconnected with their siblings… We will be ready to embrace children wherever they are in their learning and wherever they are in their emotions. That is our commitment to them.  

How you interact with your child, how you cuddle together, how you dance and sing together, and how you admire their discoveries and creations may be what they remember most. Thank you for creating those memories for them to hold dearly!

FEEDBACK
Below is a summary of the findings (trends only) from your feedback this week for the division. We look at the different grade levels and share information with teachers to continue to improve the experience for all families.

What’s Working

  • Many comments about positive impact of live conferences with teachers, counselors, and classmates.
  • Schedule posted by teachers.
  • Flexibility in the schedule.
  • Mini-lessons.
  • Getting lessons on Monday.
  • Several comments about content that was interesting.
  • Work from specialists seen as engaging.
  • Communication between home and school was noted many times.
  • Increased student motivation this week.

Challenges

  • Live connection is a priority (with classmates and with teachers).
  • challenges with technology related to links not working or videos not loading.
  • Not following a daily schedule or routine.
  • Difficulty with balancing home and work commitments although this was significantly lower than Week 1. 
  • Keeping children motivated and concentrating especially with 2+ children at home was also noted.
  • A significant number of parents noted there was too much work or screen time, while a few felt the opposite that there was not enough. 

On Friday, we will send out suggestions for Spring break for your family during a continued time of quarantine. 

With appreciation,
 
Paola de Pereira
Elementary School Principal

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Director Message

DIR MAR 24

Dear Academia Cotopaxi Community Members,

I hope you had a chance to listen to my message sent to you yesterday. In addition to those words of encouragement, I just want to reassure you that everyone at Academia Cotopaxi and IMAGINE is thinking of every member of our community and their loved ones. Learning will continue, we are committed to this, it is our promise to you. At the same time, the most important thing is that we are all safe and healthy. This is a global community effort. It is sadly ironic that it takes a microscopic threat to remind us all of what is most important and our common humanity. 

As I mentioned in the video, not only your children’s teachers and administrators are here for you, I am too. If you have any questions or needs, please count on all of us as part of your extended family. I can be contacted by email at: director@cotopaxi.k12.ec.

Peace to all. 

Sincerely,

Robert van der Eyken
Director

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Elementary School News

ES MA 24

Dear Families,

Around the world, educators and parents are joining together to help all of us navigate these new waters while we all become agents of change. Thank you for the actions that you are taking with your families and your community to care for humanity.

I invite you to read through this distance learning post which has wonderful invitations for families during this lock-down time. Enjoy!
 
I am also including a link to our latest parent communication sent via email on March 22 for your reference. This week, you will receive the parent survey on Thursday and we will continue to use your feedback as we reflect on our distance learning practices.
 
We are all in this together!

With appreciation,
Paola de Pereira
Elementary School Principal

 

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Academia Cotopaxi is engaged in re-defining a contemporary approach to education. Find out more about our whole child approach that attends to the multiple needs of our students.

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Academia Cotopaxi is accredited by various organizations including the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education, the New England Association of Schools & Colleges and the International Baccalaureate Organization.

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Find out what’s being served up in our cafeterias! Find healthy and balanced meals every day!

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