The American School of Milan (ASM) is a non profit organization with over 840 students ranging from age 3-18 and representing over 50 nationalities from around the world with diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences.
ASM met one of the greatest educational challenges for International schools and implemented a fully online platform within 24 hours for all of its students after the first wave of Covid19 closures in February 2020. ASM’s highly qualified and dedicated IT team developed a robust distance learning program which was implemented during the 2nd half of the school year during Lockdown.
On September 1st, The American School of Milan was the first school to reopen in Italy and since then has successfully pivoted between on campus learning and distance learning in accordance with government edicts. More challenging has been hybrid learning where teachers create lessons for students who are both at home or at school in real time. Thanks to planning and investments in technology, our faculty has been able to meet the needs of all our students.
As of this week, our Middle School students will return on campus. The Elementary School has been fortunate to remain open since the start of the school year and with robust safety protocols, effective contact tracing and significant social distancing, has continued to offer on campus learning. “We are fortunate to be on a 35,000 sq meter campus which has allowed us to remain more spread out and in a sense isolated within our class ‘pods’. Students stay with their classmates throughout the day, during recess and for the duration of all activities. Even our youngest students have been incredibly responsible about wearing masks and respecting all of our protocols. They are just so happy to be in school with their friends and teachers”, comments Dr. Denise Buren who is the Elementary School Principal.
For many international families, school is an extension of home in a foreign land. Maintaining a close knit school community while socially (and physically) distanced has helped to keep us all together. Our students and families have engaged in virtual celebrations, parent online workshops, virtual assemblies and most recently a live streaming of our Elementary School Musical, Shrek, Jr. performed for an online audience from all corners of the globe. At ASM the parent community is supportive and educators truly care about learning and the well being of every student.
Online learning and on campus learning at the American School of Milan continues to be effective in preparing our students for the world of tomorrow. Jane Segre, Director of Teaching Learning comments that “standardized tests at the start of this year were not only on par with last years’ results, but in some cases even higher than our previous year scores”. Our rigorous academic programs, core values and internationally minded community have all contributed to supporting our students as they navigate their first (and hopefully their last) world pandemic.
The Show Must Go On; How the American School of Milan met Covid regulations and put on the performance of a lifetime during lockdown
If you asked any of the 4th and 5th graders that had been preparing for the last 9 weeks for their Elementary Musical production of Shrek Jr, they would tell you “ The cast of 30 students and their 3 musical directors were determined that the show must go on.” Their performance of Shrek Jr. was not only outstanding, but also a testament to the perseverance of the students and their teachers, against the odds, to make it a reality. Students zoomed in to rehearse their lines while on quarantine and developed socially distanced dance routines that required occupying a large portion of our 500 seat auditorium. They sang and danced on stage while socially distanced, and wore face masks during all rehearsal and for the final performance. Their masks were designed to match their costumes or used as props and their mics were carefully placed to help project their voices which came through loud and clear.
The performance was live streamed with over 200 people streaming in from different parts of the world; from the US, to Argentina and Australia. Parents, grandparents, and relatives watched their children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren and the handful who were able to attend made much noise through cheering.
The show was spectacular and gave the entire community a burst of joy that anything IS possible, even in the middle of a world pandemic and even when the odds may be stacked against you. One of the musical directors, Ms. Annaleigh Kress commented that “This cast had so much heart and so much resilience. Because of the current situation, we had to raise the bar of expectations and these students far surpassed them all with enthusiasm. We are incredibly proud!”
We cannot wait to see the next performance at the American School of Milan which will be the Upper School production of The Sound of Music in March.