From the School Director
Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year at the American International School of Johannesburg! If you are new to AISJ, we are delighted that you have decided to partner with us in our learning journey; and I am excited about connecting on a deeper level with all who are returning to AISJ this year.
I am excited about the upcoming year and the opportunity it provides for us to begin anew and move forward with a fresh start. As a school we have experienced notable challenges in recent times, and while it is important for us to heal and remember and honor the past, perhaps now more than ever it is imperative for us to begin traveling down a new pathway with a mindset of unity, positivity and perpetual optimism. Each of us is an integral force in making this happen, and I look forward to our journey together.
The ‘AISJ Journey’ provides clarity of purpose and direction, and it is the foundation of our parent-school partnership moving forward. The purpose of the AISJ Journey is to provide everyone with an understanding of the identity and beliefs of AISJ and to share the distinct path of our organization, our strategic direction, and the core foundations that guide our way forward. Numerous values and principles that we hold dear are articulated and explained as we create common language and illustrate our culture and priorities. The philosophies and approaches herein did not appear overnight; this document is a reflection of conversations that have been occurring at AISJ for an extended period of time, evolving as we grow, and it is a catalyst for encouraging further dialogue and deliberate action to continuously advance our organization.
An enormous expression of gratitude goes out to the students, staff and parents who contributed to the development of the AISJ Journey. The Strategic Planning Task Force was a key group that guided the creation of the Compass, AISJ’s guiding statements, and strategic priorities, and the Board and Leadership Team engaged in multiple activities to shape important language. Hundreds of school stakeholders took part in the Voices to Vision and Dream Summit events, ensuring that the principles and priorities articulated in the AISJ Journey were generated through an extremely inclusive process. Ultimately, The AISJ Journey is a culmination of the ideas and aspirations of the school community. It provides clarity of purpose and direction, and it is a foundation for our school community moving forward.
Ngiyabonga, Enkosi, Ke a leboga, Dankie, Thank you! We are grateful to our operational teams who are busy preparing our campuses. There are many things still happening at AISJ during the winter holiday, including some necessary renovation projects, and I hope you will join me in explicitly thanking those who have worked diligently in June and July. These teams are absolutely essential to launching the school year and we appreciate all of their hard work.
We have a wonderful, diverse group of new educators joining AISJ! (Note that there are additional new faculty who were hired more recently, after the completion of the bios.) One of the first challenges this school year relates to their arrival and work visas. The Department of Home Affairs in South Africa is experiencing extremely unusual difficulties in visa processing for all expatriate work visas in all industries, not only AISJ. We understand that some families are also being impacted by these visa challenges. While new overseas faculty visas are beginning to be processed, multiple new teachers will be working remotely as we begin the school year. We have plans in place to adapt to the circumstances, and we look forward to having our full complement of staffing in the coming weeks. We are better when we act together, and we will support one another as our new faculty join the AISJ family.
We enter 2022-2023 with a newly formed Leadership Team, including Dan Machacek, our new Middle School Principal, and Melissa Paolini Kay, our new Interim Elementary Principal. We are delighted to have them join the AISJ family. They are on campus visiting and getting settled; please take a moment to give them a warm South African welcome! Roz Whaley is taking on a new role as our Head of Teaching and Learning, and she will be working with teachers and teams across both campuses. Colin Crumpton is our new Activities Director who also serves the whole school. In addition to school faculty, we have several new Board members who will be guiding AISJ’s path as we begin the year.
Currently in South Africa there are no COVID protocols required in schools, and AISJ currently does not require mask wearing or other COVID protocols at this time. Those who wish to wear a mask are encouraged to do so, and it is important that we all respect the voices and perspectives of one another. Most importantly we remind everyone to refrain from entering campuses with contagious illnesses or symptoms. AISJ will continue to maintain the approach that our COVID protocols may adapt and change as new developments occur.
As we come together for the 2022-23 school year, the AISJ calendar indicates the school commencement day and many important dates throughout the year. This letter is an introductory message with some key updates; there will be additional information and details regarding operational procedures and other items in regular, on-going communications, including the Izindaba, as we approach the new year. Letters from division Principals will be sent out on 8 August.
We are very fortunate to be together as a school community in a wonderful place, spending time with one another, building our better world. I am delighted to join you on our journey together this school year.