2020 has undoubtedly been challenging, but we have also definitely emerged on a high. The small victories we counted were not just our own, but yours, too. With this, we wish all of you a very Happy New Year, with many more exciting learning adventures to look forward to!
Before we bid adieu to 2020, we want to appreciate a year like no other. Let us take you on a quick walk down the major watershed moments of this year. Which is also to say: no matter what 2021 brings us, trust that we will provide the utmost continuity for your child through thick and thin!
The initial outbreak
Both MOE and MOH were releasing statements almost weekly. We monitored them closely to ensure our centre complied fully with these health and safety measures accordingly. At the same time, we wanted to make sure our students were not affected. It was important to us to come up with alternative arrangements for those who had to serve their SHN or showed respiratory symptoms.
We immediately transitioned to fully online classes so that our students would gain continuity and exceptional advantages during a period when many might be thrown into chaos. We believe that many of our students not only survived but also flourished.
All class materials typically distributed during lessons were packed and couriered to each and every student so lessons could go on without a hitch. As might be expected, there were hiccups along the way, but with dedication and the trust of our clients, we kept the lessons going. We are proud that our students pulled through the historically unprecedented but necessary Circuit Breaker.
In Singapore, a sombering 3771 businesses shut their doors in April alone, and we saw more falter in the months to come. Many centres were on hold or had other crises. We are grateful that we were able to continue serving our clients.
The continuity of the Academia learning environment would not have been possible without the dedication of our team, as well as your continued trust and support. Your support motivated us to push through immediate obstacles and create more optimal outcomes.
While we were happy to step out of our homes without profound guilt, there were also strict measures to adhere to. These regulations were evolving in real-time almost as quickly as the virus spread. We reacted in as timely a manner as possible, keeping a constant eye on the news to make the best decisions possible for our clients and also the team.
Regulatory compliance meant that while we could come back on campus, we were unable to return to the old norms. To be fair to everyone, we gave every student the option of selection either online or on-campus experiences. We did not want to do an alternating half-in, half-out experience that would have been absolutely confusing for you and for us.
By doing this, we were able to create the Masterclass structure that is resilient to any external shocks and provides the best learning experience no matter which option you choose — Masterclass Online (MO) or Masterclass Campus (MC)!
For on-campus students, we pulled together a plan that helped us serve our clients while ensuring all safety protocols were strictly enforced. We understood the need to keep both students and teachers safe and, on principle, did not ever allow this to be compromised.
PSLE, O Levels and General Paper A Levels
Although the Olympics were cancelled, there was little chance of these milestone national examinations coming to the same fate (even though students might secretly wish otherwise). We are glad that no major compromises had to be made to our students' learning experience. At the same time, we understood the heightened anxiety our clients felt in light of the unusual times.
Academia made sure that the quality of our lessons matched both the physical and emotional needs of our students, on top of the academic value we promise. We are extremely proud of our 2020 batch of PSLE, O Level, and General Paper graduates for passing this milestone in their lives.
Awards and Results
While we do not wish to overly focus on results, we do want to celebrate where affirmations are due:
For the 2020 Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition candidates:
- 2 Bronze awards
- 1 Gold award
- And the first time, 2 of our students attained the Gold Finalist awards
For our 2020 PSLE graduates:
- 52% of students achieved A*
- 95% of students achieved A or A*
No matter the result, we want to celebrate the personal growth our students experienced with us. We celebrate their own individual achievements in their own ways which extend far beyond an aggregate on paper. This is especially so in a year when many students had to undergo such extreme fluctuations with curriculum and structural adjustments.
Therefore: our sincerest congratulations to all of our graduates and students for completing 2020. Together, we transformed significant inconveniences into opportunities for growth.
Our digitalisation project: Cogito
Transitioning to Zoom lessons might have been a blessing in disguise. It certainly accelerated our advances into digital education. It helped to expedite our plans for Cogito, as we better understand the logistics and systems required to create effective and productive digital experiences. Although we had originally planned for a later launch, we had the courage and readiness to launch earlier this month because of this year’s events.
① Communication Channels
First, we addressed the set-up of various communication channels during Circuit Breaker that allowed us to remain digitally connected with you. We want to allay any concerns or issues you may encounter along the way. Often times, our team worked beyond their hours, going above and beyond to ensure each day ended on a positive note. This has also propelled us to move toward a more streamlined communications system that while retaining the personal touch and client-centric model we pride ourselves on, also capitalises on digital advancements so that we are able to manage communications efficiently without the risk of burning out.
We have identified the most frequent and convenient channels you use to contact our team and have retained them as our main communication channels today:
❶ WhatsApp: +65 9777 3532
❷ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the same time, we have retained the WhatsApp group chats despite the manual tracking this requires, as we recognise the assuredness it provides our clients with. However, we hope you understand that monitoring our main communication channels is always a priority. as such, group chats may not be as actively monitored, and response time may take slightly longer.
② Cogito Accounts
Second, we have launched Cogito on Brightspace, to move toward an amped-up digital learning journey not just benefitting online students but also vastly improving our on-campus students’ learning environment! All Learner and Parent accounts have been created. You should already be enrolled in your courses for next year.
Thus far, we have designed two Cogito-exclusive courses for all registered clients. L012 students will be enrolled in Foundation PSLE Prep 101; L345 students will be enrolled in Advanced Global Vocabulary 101. Both courses are equipped with quizzes for you to test your understanding. We invite you to log in to Cogito now to explore.
③ Virtual Classrooms for Masterclass Online courses
Finally, we are transitioning away from Zoom to Virtual Classrooms on Cogito. This change will primarily affect all Masterclass Online students. Our Virtual Classrooms will replace Zoom, which we used as an intermediate measure this year. Virtual Classrooms allow for a much more seamless learning experience, with a system designed precisely for educational purposes.
Most of you will have already had the chance to experience entering a Virtual Classroom session sometime during the three Digital Matriculation sessions held on 28, 29 and 30 December.
If you were unable to join us, do not fret! We will be uploading a guide on how to use Virtual Classrooms on Cogito if you need a handy reference guide.
To access this guide, enter the general course you have been enrolled in (Foundation PSLE Prep 101 for L012 students and Advanced Global Vocabulary 101 for L345 students). In the course home page, scroll down till you see the Content Widget on the left main column. Click on Virtual Classroom Guide and happy reading!
Holiday Programmes and Academia Webinars
Exiting the term did not mean a close for us at all. We are committed to creating opportunities to expand our students' interest and general knowledge.
Holiday programmes are a poignant way for us to inject a little more fun while providing a little head start for the next term.
Academia Webinars are designed with curated content that is globally relevant and of-the-moment. Importantly, they bring with them real academic insights and impact.
If you missed out on our webinars, no worries! We are in the midst of creating a repository on Cogito, so all of our clients will be able to revisit these enriching and engaging sessions anytime. These invigorating and frankly hot topics are discussed at length in these sessions, often with interesting insights and angles with the aim of broadening perspectives. So feel free to watch our webinars online any time and gain a new perspective on global issues.
See you in 2021
Let's go on new learning adventures together next year!