Three months into the new Decade of the 2020s and we are part of a world which almost no-one could have dreamed possible. The Government is acting very promptly and sensibly in their prime function: protecting the people of this country. And this has inevitably left schools like ours with choices and decisions to make. Please, though, do not for a moment think that we are unaware of or not sensitive to the big challenges that all Mongolian families are facing in terms of living and living space, business, travel, economics and the general worries posed by the Emergency.
I wanted to bring to your attention some of the ideas coming out of ESM to help resist these problems. The Academic and Tuition Fees issues I have addressed in other notices to you. Our online programme has been relaunched, including live online lessons and continues across the school (there is certainly no Spring Break here!). Some of the videos are now appearing on our website (www.esm.edu.mn) and Facebook pages (www.fb.com/esmsocials). The Academic Coordinator’s piece Writing a Personal Statement, for example, almost went viral within hours. We are looking at ways of ensuring that we patch up the Class of 2020 (a year 12 with plenty of promise in its membership) over the months to provide some form of fitting climax to their school careers.
We have formed a Looking Forward Committee comprising some of our young and talented teachers. Looking Forward in both senses, they have produced the details of the New-Look Scholarship Tests to take place this month. The Middle school has embarked on compiling a collection of creative works, as has the Junior School and details of both are on the website. Some Junior Schools in the UK are proposing to parents this idea: modelling complete school days at home. Once a week, for example, you might instruct your son or daughter to dress in school uniform and enact a whole school day in the ESM timetable: Lessons-Break-Lessons-Lunch-Clubs-Reading.
Thinking of Reading, these long days do provide great opportunities for reading (off-line and from books!) and Internom has a wide range of suitable fiction titles. And writing about these books (or equally numerous films just watched!) gives children opportunities for written expression in a Notebook or Diary throughout these months, for example. Reading and writing are skills we all have to an extent and need no Technology. For anyone interested, I have produced two Workshops on Story Writing: Beginnings and Endings.
There are some fun Videos online about exercising in confined apartment space and our P.E Department has now produced one. The Pre-School has a most entertaining Video with some unlikely guest appearances. We are planning other events and celebrations for when we gather again as a School and in the meantime, ESM has sent a message about the Emergency and our Response addressed to the ESM Community, fellow Schools, Colleagues, and friends in Ulaanbaatar and across the World. All of these are findable on Facebook and our website.
A large team continues to work hard to keep alive the vital spirit of ESM until School re-opens. Our teachers and TAs have been resourceful and incentive and on the Admin side we have considerable depth of experience (the 6 of us forming the Senior Admin Team have between us over 50 years working on the ESM Project and for the School!) to keep things steady.
Thank you as always for providing the support that keeps ESM strong, in good heart and optimistic.