Friday October 16 2020

Newsletter 7 – From the Head’s Desk

Dear MCC Family,

I trust that you are all well and enjoying the much warmer weather and heavy rains parts of Southern Africa have been blessed enough to experience. We are now well into the examination season and the students are studying earnestly. I wish all our Eagles candidates well as they are in the middle of the examinations. To those who are soon to leave the College I say make the most of the short time you have left. Your exams should be the focus of your decision making in terms of allocating your time. As for the future, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil 4:6. 

Our focus this term has been in trying to get all examination candidates ready. This has not been easy for students and teachers due to the need to adhere to COVID-19 protocols. The restrictions on numbers have meant that we can only fit 20 students per classroom so we opted to keep boarders and day scholars separate. We are now through about 30% of the examinations and I would like to commend our Academics and Examinations departments for their tireless efforts in ensuring that our core business remains the focus for the students as well as staff. 

The COVID-19 protocols have stretched everyone’s patience to the limit. We appreciate that the discipline requirements are much more stringent than before. This is due to the pandemic season we are in and is for the health and safety of all students and staff. Students are urged to adhere to the new rules. Rules such as those pertaining to physical distancing, sanitising, wearing of masks and separation of boarders from day scholars are still very much in place and should be followed by all students with no exceptions.

The lack of discipline that has been exhibited by some students will not be tolerated. Our responsibility as educators is to ensure that each student is educated as a complete person. This involves an acceptable level of behaviour. We have an obligation to turn out students who will be able to adapt to the numerous workplace rules and regulations when they eventually enter the job market or business world. In this world there is no place for indiscipline and so we will ensure that they acquire the necessary and acceptable behavioural traits. In order to achieve this objective we will continue enforcing a culture of discipline through our leadership structures and this will be done without compromising our stance against bullying and unfair treatment of students.

We would also urge the boarder parents to respect our rules and regulations regarding dropping off of parcels and visiting. These rules were agreed upon after listening to advise from our health advisers and observing the trends elsewhere. We ask parents to bear with us as we create a safe environment for the students. We have communicated these expectations before and hope parents understand the objectives.

Academics

Our Eagles had the opportunity to write “Mock Examinations” from 31 August to 11 September 2020 under the watchful eye of you, their parents and guardians. We appreciate this ’smart partnership’ which enabled us to administer these examinations. We thank all parents and guardians who facilitated these exams with us.

Below is a summary of results and information on the subsequent strategies. 

Whilst this was our first time to conduct these examinations in this virtual manner, the results helped us and the students to see where the gaps were. Some students indicated that this season has been a challenging one, a view that we know to be a reality. Teachers used these results to guide their focal point as final preparations were engaged in for public examination candidates. Contact time with teachers included both the physical and virtual component (for examination candidates) and resulted in two points of contact with their teachers on their timetabled days (whether physical or virtual). In cases where connectivity was a challenge, work was prepared and posted into Google Classrooms for pupils to work through and get feedback and assistance with from their teachers. 

No formal report comments have been written for these examinations, but comments have been written for all candidates who got a ‘U’ for these examinations. These comments are accessible in Senatical under the marks book comments section. Full reports will be done for the end of the year. We did this to allow teachers to focus on corrective action before the public examinations.

We remain committed to our academic goals and to specifically working to assist those who are not yet registering five passes at the Form 1 – 4 level and 2 passes at the 6th Form Level. We also remain open to ongoing engagement and will attend to any current queries or concerns. 

Sports

Through ATS we have been granted Sports & Recreation Commission (SRC) permission to reintroduce sports in a phased manner.  The phased approach will be based on a document submitted to the SRC by ATS schools and will ensure that the safety and health of students is a key focus in all engagements. As a school we believe in the education of the whole child. Sport and exercise play a big role in the education process and during this COVID – 19 era it plays an important part in ensuring that all students remain fit and healthy. 

Prayer Points

During this examination period it is very important that we pray for our students.  During our staff briefings we have been praying for the students this week and I would like to encourage parents to pray for the children as well.  Below are some key prayer points with corresponding verses that we are focusing on as we pray for the students. 

1.   Strength

Pray that God gives them the strength to do what they need to do each day. 

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

2.   Courage

Pray that they will be brave as they face the challenges that are before them.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9

3.   Peace

Ask that their hearts will be calm and peaceful as they write the exams. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ~ Philippians 4:6

4.   Direction

Pray that the Lord will lead them as they begin to make decisions on what to do after the end of the exam period.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

5.   Protection

Ask that God keeps them safe in this increasingly unsafe world. That He will protect them from harm and negative influences.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Psalm 91:1-2

Parent Engagement

My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting some of the boarder parents recently when they came to drop off the students in the hostel recently. It was a pleasure meeting those we managed to meet and I hope that over the next few months I will have the privilege to meet those we did not meet.  We value the parent school engagement process as this is the key partnership in the education of every student. We are also working on the next round of virtual and physical parent engagements the details of which will be made available in the next week or so.

My wish is that we build an institution where parents, the College and alumni work together as a team to build an institution that is one of the best not only in Zimbabwe but globally. This can only happen in an atmosphere of open engagement facilitated through virtual meetings, formal meetings, informal gatherings, one-on-one consultations and participation in sporting and cultural events.

Key Dates

Today the Form 2 students finish their check point examinations and return to physical school on 9 November (8 November for boarders) along with Form 1 students and will enjoy a short break in between as previously communicated. Most Form 3 students are busy writing Mathematics and English exams and will finish on 22 October returning to physical school on 26 October (25 October for boarders) in line with Ministry guidelines. From 9 November the College will be in full session with the exception of Form 4 and Upper 6 students who will leave after completion of their individual examinations. Lower 6 students will be guided by previous communication regarding continuation of their studies. 

Physical school will then continue until end of term which at this stage is in line with the published date of 18 December.  Should there be a change of dates we will communicate accordingly. 

Thank you

I would like to thank parents who have managed to keep up with their fee payments as this is the only way we can keep offering the standard of all round education we do. May I encourage those who are behind in fee payments to do so as per the agreed dates. Our doors are always open to those who wish to discuss alternative plans particularly during these difficult times. 

In conclusion, I would like to encourage us all with the comforting words from Psalm 27 v 1. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” May we keep our eyes on the Lord and not on the troubled times we live in.  Whatever difficulties we may be facing we should take heart in that we know God is still God, never changing and He is still very much in control.  May the Lord bless you all.

Kind regards

T L Mkhosana 

Headmaster