Teachers on the Move

Commitment to professional development for our teachers is just one aspect that sets Uhuru Academy apart. We believe that excellent student achievement begins with excellent teaching practices. In our efforts to continually develop as educators, we have established a relationship with Rosslyn Academy, an international Christian school that uses the North American curriculum. Although our systems vary significantly, this relationship cultivates an ongoing dedication to growth as educators. This growth will come to fruition as Uhuru teachers observe classes at Rosslyn, receive mentorship from seasoned teachers, and share resources and practical advice.

Recently, the teachers of Uhuru Academy made the first of many visits to Rosslyn Academy during the mid-term break. Over the course of three days, they got the opportunity to observe 2-3 classes of their equivalent subject. Teachers returned to Uhuru Academy with new strategies to differentiate instruction, establish positive student-teacher rapport, and integrate technology in their own classrooms. Across the board, teachers agreed unanimously that the experience was both beneficial and enlightening.

Teacher Agnes of Uhuru noted that “although the system was very different, the way the teachers engaged the students is one thing that I can take away”. This comment touches on the cusp of the tension that Uhuru Academy embraces as we continue to merge the Kenyan 8.44 system and curriculum with a dedication to Learner-Centered Methodology. Uhuru Academy is attempting to maximize student performance on the KCSE by focusing on student engagement in the classroom. Collectively, the teachers at Uhuru Academy have set standards for student engagement activities that will challenge students to think critically which will in return impact long-term memory as they prepare for their exams months. These standards include how to efficiently maximize instructional time to cover the syllabus as well as purposefully measure student progress towards their performance on the KCSE. Our teachers are surely on the move! To achieve goals, teach with excellence, and improve our students day by day.

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Student Council Leadership Training

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Article written by Asifa Daisy, Form 1, 28th of May, 2016

The student council leadership training was awesome.  The students who left the school for the training really enjoyed the event.  The teachers who took us there were Tr. Taylor, Tr. Kerby and Tr. Nelson, and they had a lot to tell us about spiritual and physical leadership skills.  Every prefect learnt a lot from their words of wisdom.  We were taught about leadership in relation to Christ, which I think was everyone’s favorite part.  Different characteristics of a Christian leader that were taught were as follows:

  • A leader influences
  • A leader loves
  • A leader is faithful to Christ
  • A leader is worth imitating
  • A leader has integrity

The prefects were also taught about how to lead the entire school and the rest of the world.  Everyone shared their role model, including the teachers.

Apart from learning, enjoyment activities were carried out such as boat riding,  visiting the caves and enjoying the beautiful snacks brought by the teachers.  Different groups also helped them identify the roles, that is, the president, the deputy president, the dining hall captain, the dorm captains and class representatives.  The students also made their strategies and promises on how they will be positive leaders of the entire school.

If everything that was taught will be put into practice, I believe Uhuru Girls Academy will be a changed school.

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Growth Mindset

Every term, our teachers participate in professional development days, which we call Champion Days.  Champion Days are meant to give our champion teachers more skills and tools to use in their classrooms.  This week, we studied the research about growth versus fixed mindsets.  Watch this video to learn about the importance of having a growth mindset and its incredible impact on academic success.

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Why Girls?

Many have asked, “Why do you have a girls school?”

In honor of International Women’s Day, we decided to repost an article from Relevant Magazine sharing 10 facts about global gender inequality.  Click here to read the full original article.   Enjoy!

Continue reading

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A Parent’s Report

Everybody who knows anything about Kenyan secondary education knows that Alliance Boys School is the place to be.  In fact, I recently met someone who graduated from Alliance ten years ago and he attended Princeton University in the United States.  He spoke with absolute eloquence in a variety of topics ranging from technology to politics to religion.

This past weekend, some of our swimming students had a meet at Alliance Boys.  One of our form one students attended and her parents were screaming and shouting on the sidelines, confident that she could hear their muffled cries from under the water.  Her name is Precious, and that is what she is.

When the students reported, the father said that he really enjoyed the opportunity to watch his daughter compete and to cheer for her.  He leaned a little closer and said quietly, “Even if I had a son, I would send him to Uhuru over Alliance.”

His daughter has been at Uhuru Girls Academy a total of three weeks and he is already convinced that it is the best – correction: better than the best – school in Kenya.  Why?  What makes Uhuru Girls Academy so great?

According to Teacher Catherine, Uhuru Academy is great because, first and foremost, the people at Uhuru care about the students.  “We love the students.  You can never get too much of love.”

Freedom is another thing that makes Uhuru Academy so great.  “Girls are free to become who they will one day be.  As a form four class teacher, I have seen them grow.  When they were first here, they couldn’t even look you in the eye.  They were so afraid of making mistakes.”  Uhuru teachers are trained in a technique called Normalize Error.   A great way to learn is through making mistakes – and at Uhuru, they are free and safe to make mistakes, and it makes all the difference.

If you want to learn more about Uhuru Girls Academy, call 0792003607 to sign up for a tour and inquire about our school fees.

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Celebrating a Milestone

form 4sOn the fifth of November, 2015, Uhuru Girls Academy celebrated the completion of our first national exam. Our inaugural class of twelve students worked tirelessly alongside their teachers to prepare for this grueling exam, and we feel confident they were well-prepared for anything the test might throw at them.

As we survey this group of twelve exceptional students, our hearts are bursting with pride. They have grown so much as critically thinkers, believers in Christ and strong women of integrity over the last few years. The completion of their high school career is a group accomplishment. Some of our students were the first in their family to finish high school, and they are the sign of hope for their communities. We have also helped our pioneer graduates to apply for universities. It was so exciting to fill out the forms for Psychology, Community Development, Criminology and Engineering knowing that our students are going to do so many great things in this country and the world!

When you send your student to Uhuru Academy, you not only rest assured that they are receiving a top notch education with qualified, passionate teachers and rigorous classes, you also can know that they are joining a family of love, support and faith to help each and every student become the very best they can be. Anne Wangui, one of our graduating students, noted that no one, not even herself thought she would graduate high school. Yet, since coming to Uhuru Academy, she has worked tirelessly to improve her English and Mathematics skills. She has sought extra work and support from her teachers. She has found her passion for conflict resolution and community development, and very soon her dream with be a reality because of the education and experience she has had at Uhuru Girls Academy.

We can’t wait to see all that our students will do in the world, and we will be praying for them as they begin the next chapter.

 

Sign up for your spot today or contact us for more information at uhuruacademykenya@gmail.com

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Life Skills: Conflict Resolution

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When you put 73 high school girls together 24/7 there is bound to be some conflict. In a lot of ways conflict feels somewhat unavoidable so as a school we have worked toward finding healthy and constructive ways to resolve conflict. Through research and trial and error, Uhuru Academy has found some steps we encourage students to take when they find themselves in the middle of a conflict.

First, we encourage them to feel what they are feeling and feel it in full. It is so, so important to first take yourself out of the situation and go to a place where you can recognize and reflect on your feelings. Some students find themselves wanting to stuff their feelings down, but it truly just creates more tension- internally and externally. It is important for one to understand that they, and no one else, are in control of their own emotions. After taking that ownership the student should take the time to find the cause of what they’re feeling and decide how they want to respond to their emotions, thinking of a rational decision.

Secondly, it is important to adequately express your feelings. Using the formula “When you _________ + I feel _________” gives the other person insight into what exactly they did and how it made you feel, and it helps you own your own feelings. Being able to express what you are feeling calmly and articulately will allow the person time to process and hear what you’re saying without triggering their defenses with harsh or blaming words. Probably the most important part of having a conversation with the person is allowing them to communicate their side of the story. So many times things are miscommunicated or misinterpreted, so listening to the other side can clear up preconceived notions. Having a two-sided conversation is essential to solving conflict.

After having a conversation and believing that your feelings were heard, it is time to move on. The ability to accept responsibility for your mistakes and accept that the other person is human and will make mistakes is a part of growing up and maturing. Once you have come to that acceptance, you need to decide not to hold the conflict against that person (even if they never gave you an apology or owned up to their mistakes). Forgiveness and not holding on to bitterness will ease one’s internal tension. Walking away from a conflict knowing you have adequately expressed your emotions and tried, to the best of your ability, to resolve the conflict, should create space for you to be able to move on and let it go.

There are many different ineffective methods of conflict resolution commonly used by students. Let’s look at why they don’t work. One of these is “sleeping it off.” Many students deal with conflict by going to sleep. This may help you cool down and allow you to follow the next steps in resolution, but it is not a reset button or an end solution. You may forget about the situation while asleep, but once you wake up it still needs to be dealt with. Another ineffective strategy commonly used is “keeping quiet.” It is important not to react with anger or abusive language in the face of conflict, but keeping quiet and never discussing the problem is not a virtue, instead it just creates more tension in the future. DSC_0098DSC_0099Many times people, in general, will try to mind read or tell themselves a story. If you have not attempted to clarify why the person did the thing they did, said the thing they said, or reacted in the way they reacted- do not play a guessing game. This only leads to you believing something that may not even be true or labeling someone inaccurately. This “keeping quiet” also creates tension and leads to more conflict in the future. Lastly, make sure you don’t give your feelings or emotions power over you. When people act out of pure and irrational emotion that only leads to an irrational dispute. Remember you are always in control of your feelings, they do not control you.

Ultimately, resolving conflict comes down to respect. You need to respect others, acknowledging that they are human and have and will continue to make mistakes. Respect that they have feelings too and that their feelings are valid. Give others the benefit of the doubt and listen to their side of the story. Also, it is important to respect yourself. Respect that your feelings are valid too and deserve to be heard and recognized. Respect yourself enough to desire to not live in conflict with others but strive, to the best of your ability, to live in peace with everyone.

Conflicts are a part of life, but you can decide how you respond to and deal with conflict.

Written By Guest Blogger: Emma Griffith, Counseling Intern Extraordinaire.

If you are interested in an internship with Uhuru Girls Academy, contact taylor@uchild.com and check out our website to learn more about opportunities available to you!

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