As the world continues to experience the life-changing events of COVID-19, here at NIS we have had our own journey through the crisis, which provided us all with an opportunity to reflect upon what is important to each of us, our communities and to advancing learning in these places we call ‘schools’.
While taking the NIS community into this completely virtual space was nothing we ever intended, there were some very real positives and benefits to learn from being outside of the physical boundaries of campus. The loosening of barriers and newly discovered personal space within the online environment helped our students and teachers engage with learning that was sometimes deeper, more authentic and possibly even more creative. This unique personalization of the learning journey allowed for more equity among our students, and a deeper connection with our parents.
Paradoxically, this is also the summer in which we finish our new ‘East Building’ – a timely reminder of the crucial importance of the physical space we call school. This exciting new building, and the potential it releases for our students, is the ultimate symbol of why the physical place of school is actually so very important. How ironic it is, that in this same year our school has had such a juxtaposition, celebrating not only our online learning environment, but the physical one as well.
I think this year we have learned that the ultimate truth is that no matter how good the online experience can be, there can be no replacement for the human connections that are fundamental to holistic learning yet we have also learned of the immense creative and empowering potential of technology to connect children to their learning and to their word. This deeper understanding will have a long-lasting impact on the way we ‘do school’ in the future.
The years ahead will surely be defined by uncertainty as the world finds balance in new ways of doing things. Here at NIS we are now – thanks to the support of our community - better positioned more than ever to respond to the challenges of our times and to move forward together – whether through our computer screens or face-to-face – to deliver our mission for the next generation of NIS students.
Inquire, Inspire and Impact – online or on site; it is the connection of learners to each other and to their world that defines what effective learning really can and should be.