The unexpected early closure of school, was expected to cause much disruption to the teaching and learning in schools. This was, however, not the case for Gateway College, the only Microsoft Showcase School in Sri Lanka and one among only 241 in the world. Through the commitment of the dedicated teachers and the perseverance of the parents and students, the school was able to conclude the term with minimal disturbance.
Online examinations for Years 10 to 13
No sooner the announcement was made on the 19 th of March to close schools, the teachers of Gateway got their act together to conduct the mock examinations online. Prior to that several webinars and practice mocks were held to familiarize the students with the new arrangements. The mocks conducted were timed according to usual exam conditions, with a start time, end time and an extra 15 minutes for uploading if needed. The teachers are currently marking the scripts, mostly online and during the upcoming days, discussion of papers too will be carried out online and the marks will be delivered to the students on the 10 th of April. The success of the online mocks can be seen on the following graph:
Play Group to Year 9
Study packs were made available separately by all Gateway schools on the common school website for the younger age groups. This provided children with the opportunity of engaging in additional assignments, as they were free to use the study packs of the other Gateway schools. Since all Gateway schools are on a common work plan, students find assignments of all Gateway schools very relevant to them. The number of hits on the website during the period in which the study packs were made available show that parents were actively facilitating the process of having their children use the study packs at home.
Considering the prevailing situation, Gateway is making necessary preparations to conduct lessons online for these students too in case the situation does not improve. The delivery of lessons with the support of the parents is expected to commence from the 20 th of April, with the initial few days as a pilot that will lead to the complete delivery from May.
In this, necessary arrangements are being made this week for Key Stage 2 (Years 3 to 6) and Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9) to receive Microsoft 365 accounts in order to create the necessary Microsoft Teams. The school will provide all children with original MS 365 licenses with no cost to the parents. Various tool/s are being researched on to find the best solution for students of Play Group to Year 2.
The focus on ICT at Gateway
In developing the ICT capability of the school, Gateway’s focus has been mainly on the professional development of teachers. Having a Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow, 12 Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and 323 Microsoft Innovative Educators within the Gateway network of schools (Colombo, Kandy, Negombo, Dehiwala and Ratmalana) has contributed much towards the transformation of Gateway to the current level of expertise. Two of the Gateway teachers were selected by Microsoft to represent Sri Lanka at their annual Education Summit – Education Exchange, held in Singapore and France.
Gateway’s Team Leader in Change Management, Surani Maithripala says, “Microsoft Showcase Schools are premier schools where the school leader has a strong vision for change”. She says that the members of the Showcase School program are very diverse and what they have in common is a commitment to school-wide transformation. The school has had immense benefit through tools such as Microsoft Teams, OneNote, Sway, Kahoot, Forms, Augmented Reality Apps like Merge and Assembler and FlipGrid.
Gateway uses technology to communicate effectively with parents through the newly developed Parent Communication App, through email and numerous social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter. Gateway’s in-house school management system, ‘School Online’ which has evolved over the years, is one of the most powerful tools that the schools has to monitor student progress and attendance and to generate academic and administrative reports.
The Educational Collaborative for International Schools - ECIS that is headquartered in London, recently recognized Gateway College as one of its member schools. The vibrant network of ECIS consist of international and internationally-minded schools spanning the world, teaching multiple curricula in English and other languages. As a proud member of the ECIS community, Gateway now represents the thoughtful doers and change-makers of 425+ schools, 35,000+ passionate educators and leaders in over 75 countries in six continents.
Gateway is also a recognised centre of the College Board that connects students to Universities and Colleges in the United States, Canada and many other popular destinations. With its membership association made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions, College Board is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success including the SATs.
This is the week where all our children would have celebrated the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in school. Therefore, the school has come up with an initiative for children to stay happy and positive during these dark days and for them to appreciate the rich culture of our country.
Gateway College launched the virtual celebration of Avurudu in collaboration with The Soul Sounds Academy, Workshop Players and Channa Upuli Performing Arts Foundation. Children in three age groups are able to take part in Music, Theatre, Dance and Games and upload their performances onto an Educational App from home. There are also competitions for Avurudu Kumariya and Kumara, the Funniest Laugh and Fancy Dress. Considering the plight of all children, Gateway has opened the competition to all children residing in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan children living the world over.