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AIS-Salzburg Newsletter

Dear AIS-Salzburg Community,

Well, the last of the students resident on campus will be leaving tomorrow and, unfortunately, we will be contacting them only from a distance as online learning completely replaces classroom instruction.  This is a challenge for everyone and, ultimately, one that cannot give satisfaction no matter how conscientiously it is approached from either side.  Nothing can replace the interaction and immediate communication that takes place when a teacher is working with students in a classroom and much is lost in terms of motivation and direction.  Still, we will be working hard to make the best of this situation and provide as sufficient a college-preparatory education as possible during this time period—hoping as well that it is short-lived...

We hope you enjoy this week's newsletter.  

Headmaster McLean

Return to Online Education at AIS-Salzburg

Since October 18th, there has been a gradual transition to online education as the Corona Virus situation in Austria continued to worsen. Teachers of AIS-Salzburg have had the challenging task of balancing weekly in-class and online instruction as more and more students return home in preparation for when the school goes 100% online as of November 16th. It has been evident that this has taken a toll on the teaching faculty over the past three weeks, with nearly double the workload and provides plenty of technological hurdles as well.

"Getting used to using the technology efficiently is a challenge at first: the document reader, setting up Google Meet meetings at the right time, learning how to record and upload, etc.", said Mrs. Fratianni, an English teacher who has been working at the school since 1999.

Photo: Mr. Lichty in the spring during the first lockdown and subsequent online schooling.

Many teachers have chosen to live-stream lessons during this period, while others chose to record and upload to Google Classroom. Students at home have been able to ask their questions either during the live-streamed lesson, during live Q&A via Google Meets and through a Whatsapp group created by the teacher. Local Salzburg students have also had the option to meet with teachers in person after school from 4pm to 5pm to ask questions and receive extra help.

"I have a scheduled Google Meet during each class period, at the scheduled class time.  This has worked very well for the kids who are physically present in the class, as well as those who are at home online.  During the live meet, I project my computer screen, with all the online students on it, onto the classroom whiteboard via the beamer, so those students still in the classroom feel a sense of inclusion with their departed classmates. We interact in a way that is very close to when we were all sitting together in the same room: questions, answers, discussions all take place in a very inclusive way," said Mr. Suttmann, a Social Studies teacher at the school since 2009.

Photo: Mr. Leicher in a recent YouTube live stream of an AP Chemistry lecture

Consistency with how we communicate with students at home has been the biggest key to making this transition as smooth as possible. With all teachers utilizing Google Classroom as the tool for communicating and exchanging assignments, everyone involved –both teachers and students– have only one platform to get used to. 

"In Junior High Nonfiction we were about to make 'How To' presentations, where students teach the class how to do something.  Those will now be 'How To' videos," said Ms. Cerone when asked about an example of how she has adapted to online education.

Photo: Mrs. Fratianni explains an assignment to students in Google Meets

Ensuring academic honesty is another challenge teachers face with online schooling.

"Last Spring during our previous lockdown, I switched my entire testing system over to a subject method, whereby the students have a day or two to write a 5-paragraph essay in response to a thesis statement I give them.  I find it useful in securing individual work and effort," replied Suttmann when asked about how he tests students at home.

Without a doubt, managing a classroom that is partially virtual has not been an easy task. Although teachers of AIS-Salzburg love to interact with their students in person, there will be a collective sigh of relief on Monday when they can focus all of their attention toward online instruction as they anxiously anticipate a return of students in the new year.

Alumna Interview: Diana Hoover (1978 - 1979)

When did you attend Salzburg International Preparatory School (SIPS)? (changed to AIS-Salzburg in the 1990’s)

My brother, Mark, and I attended SIPS beginning in January of 1978. I graduated in 1979.

What made you decide to study in a private school in Austria? How did you find out about the school? 

My Dad took a position in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. There were several families we met through his work. The Aanestads were our first contact. Their daughter, Krysti, was attending SIPS and they recommended the school. There were several other students from Riyadh attending that year.

What did you enjoy about going to such a small, international high school? 

I had never been away from home and I was excited to explore the world. I felt a lot more secure doing so with a little supervision and a group of friends. I made friendships that have lasted a lifetime. It was my first exposure to people from other countries and the experience has made a huge difference in my life.

How many excursions did you go on in a year and to where? 

We had frequent skiing trips to places like Innsbruck, Kitzbuhel, and Tyrol. We took many trips to Berchtesgaden for movies and concerts. We toured several castles and sites around Austria and went to Munich several times. We travelled to Switzerland and visited Luzern and Zurich. My favorite excursion was a tour through Italy. We spent time in Verona, Florence, Venice, and Pisa (photo above). The bus rides were exceptional in that the views from the windows were spectacular and we enjoyed a playlist provided by our resident DJ, Tim Cusac.

What aspects of your education at SIPS best assisted you in further academics, your professional life, and life in general? 

SIPS taught me to be self-reliant. I am definitely a more confident person now thanks to my experience there. That has helped me throughout my life. I don’t fear what’s coming next and have learned to roll with the punches.

To read more, including her great advice to current students, click the button below. 

Read More

VIDEO: Salzburger 25km Trail Run 

AIS-Salzburg students and Resident Assistant Nick DeWitt participate in a Salzburg 25k trail run up Kapunzinerberg, across Kühberg to the Gaisberg and then back through the city.

Up-to-Date Corona Virus Information in Austria

Ampelsystem - ‘Traffic Light System’
Current Level in Salzburg: Red

As of 12:00 pm, November 13th, 2020

Notable Corona Virus news in Austria in the past week via
  • More than 9,100 new infections were reported on November 12th in Austria, an all-time record. 
  • Across Austria, almost half of all available intensive care beds are occupied.
  • The Kepler University Hospital in Linz, Austria’s second-biggest hospital, reported that it is close to capacity. 
For more information in English on the latest Corona Virus news across Austria, click here

News & Upcoming Events

November 13th: End of Trimester 1. In-class instruction ends and all educational activity goes online for all students. All boarding students must depart immediately.

November 16th: Trimester 2 begins. Start of online education from home. 
Previous Newsletters
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