What is the Story About U-Can International School?
The Kind of School We Wanted
In 2013 Beat Odermatt was looking for an international education for his young children in Entebbe. He had two very important criteria that the school had to meet.
The school should have a fun hands-on program that inspired his children to become creative thinkers and problem solvers.
The school had to be affordable with small classes and well-trained teachers.
He couldn’t find the school he was looking for in or around Entebbe. There were some very good schools in Kampala but they were expensive and required that his children make a long bus ride every day.
One day Odermatt was speaking with some of his friends. As they were talking, the idea of setting up an international school based on Canadian standards of education took shape. Soon a small team of people were laying out plans to start a K-6 program using a curriculum developed in Ontario, Canada. About this time the name U-Can was born. The name appealed for two reasons.
Firstly, this was a Ugandan-Canadian venture. The school would hire Ugandan as well as expat teachers. The curriculum would include Ugandan culture, history and geography.
Secondly, U-Can reflected the belief in our students that each one of them is very capable of doing many different things. One of the slogans our students often repeat is “Yes We Can”. A key part of the U-Can culture is that each student is unique and special, each one has a contribution to make. Students are motivated by self-belief and confidence in their abilities. U-Can seeks to inspire students to build on their strengths and overcome the challenges that they face.
Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Science and Character Development (ethical behavior) are the building blocks of effective learning and the key to understanding.
Mastery of basic skills builds confidence and provides tools to communicate effectively.
Focusing on the fundamentals builds a foundation where self-confidence and the willingness to explore new ideas will become second nature.
Mastery of the basics instills the ability to think systematically and figure out things logically.
Learning the principles of ethical behaviour enables children to control themselves and live in harmony with others. There are five basic principles each child should master.
Do no harm
Make things better
Be caring and loving
U-Can Teaching Philosophy
We believe that students will excel at learning when they are held to high, yet achievable expectations, are active participants in the learning process, and feel as if they are part of a learning community.
Students are able to learn most effectively when:
they master the fundamentals
the material is interesting and challenging
they are taught to think critically and analytically
the classroom becomes a community of learners
At U-Can we use many approaches to engage a variety of different learning styles. This can include everything from lectures, film clips, in-class readings, journals, impromptu essays, group activities, class discussions, debates, etc. There are plenty of hands on learning activities. These activities encourage a feeling of community among the learners which really makes learning much more enjoyable.
“Yesterday my son woke me up at 5:00 am and asked if it was time to go to school. When I told him it was too early he was so disappointed. He said he wanted to work on his Social Studies project.”
Which are the Top 10 Countries in the World of Education?
Canada – Singapore – Japan – Estonia – Chinese Taipei – Finland – Macao (China) – Vietnam – Hong Kong – BSJG (China)
The triennial Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows Canada’s education system consistently beats the competition in science, reading, math and on equity issues like gender balance.
Compared to the United Kingdom and the United States, which came 15th and 25th overall respectively Canada is doing particularly well. Canadian curriculum education sets a world standard.
International Assessment Standards used at U-Can
We administer 2 different Canadian Education Standards Assessments to determine if students are meeting theexpected learning outcomes.
1. (EQAO) Education Quality and Accountability Office which assesses reading, writing, and math skills. Province of Ontario – Ministry of Ed. – administered in Grades 3 & 6
2. (FSA) Foundation Skills Assessment in which students are tested on their reading, writing, and numeracy skills. Province of British Columbia Ministry of Ed. – administered in Grades 4 & 7
Detailed Explanation of our curriculum
We use the International SMART Curriculum which incorporates the Understanding by Design® (UbD™) philosophy. UbD focuses on ‘understanding’ rather than ‘memorizing’ information. The curriculum focuses on interactive learning and understanding content; rather than sitting still at a desk and memorizing whatever the teacher says.
This curriculum was developed by leading Canadian educators. Canada is recognized as a world leader in primary and secondary school education.
The Following 17 Countries use the International SMART Curriculum
Canada, United States, England, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Italy, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jordan, the Czech Republic, Papua New Guinea, and Mexico.
Canadian Curriculum Schools Abroad
There are more than 130 schools worldwide that use a Canadian Curriculum. These schools are widely recognized for the high standard of education they provide.
Canada, due to a wide series of reforms in the past two decades, has emerged as a educational leader in international assessment rankings.
Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions.
Creativity is an important life skill that enables us to perceive the world in different ways and be open towards unconventional views.
Creative activities are especially beneficial for students who are less academically inclined.
Creativity makes us who we are, helps us to enjoy the educational journey and be innovative.
Creativity opens the mind and allows our imagination to create a new reality.
An Adventure in Creativity and Discovery
Learning must be fun. It must be exciting to come to school.
The U-Can International Smart Curriculum has the following elements to ensure that your child will enjoy his/her learning experience.
1. It is interesting and enjoyable.
Class materials are designed to create and maintain interest. A wide variety of subject matter is presented in ways that stimulate curiosity and the desire to understand.
2. There are lots of hands-on activities.
We have many hands-on teaching aids that help the child grasp new concepts through practical experimentation.
3. Artistic expression is encouraged.
Music – Art – Drama – Skits – Science Experiments – Various Sports – TaeKwanDo – Swimming These activities encourage creativity and individual expression.
4. Role Playing and Discovery
Children can enter the realm of fantasy and make-believe where they can be anyone or anything they want. This gives them the opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them.
Our students love the opportunity to role play. It lets them step out and explore new ideas and feelings. Role playing gives them the freedom to express themselves without being self-conscious. One of our students describes it this way.
“You get to act like someone you admire and you can feel like a different person for a while.”
U-Can will ensure that your child is safe and secure while in our care by: a. Controlling who enters and exits the school grounds. b. Not allowing bullying or other destructive behaviour. c. Controlling who picks up your child from school.
d. Carrying out fire safety training, ensuring adequate exits from the building and having regular fire drills. e. Ensuring we have a fully stocked medical kit as well as trained first aid staff. f. Having a procedure in place for what to do if emergency care is required. g. Making safety training on subjects such as health safety, road safety, hazardous chemicals, and sanitation concerns part of our curriculum. h. Inviting police and fire officials to explain safety and security issues to the children. i. Inviting health professionals to visit the school to educate children on public health issues.
What We Are Doing
U-Can International School will provide the highest level of quality by:
a. Hiring the best teachers possible
b. Ensuring the ongoing training of our teachers
c. Using up-to-date teaching methods d. Keeping class sizes small with a maximum of 20 students per class, ensuring that the teacher can individualize attention and get to know each of his/her students. e. Providing learning material that is of the highest quality by utilizing internationally recognized curriculum materials. f. Remembering that not all individuals learn in the same way and thus teachers will use a variety of methods in the classroom that will target all learning types. We will particularly engage children in hands-on and interactive learning wherever possible. g. Teaching children to use modern electronic devices as tools to further their education while focusing on using the internet in a safe and healthy fashion h. Providing a welcoming, brightly lit, and cheerfully decorated classroom atmosphere. i. Focusing on the extracurricular and sport as well as the academic to provide your child with a well rounded education. j. Providing an emotionally safe environment for your child k. Ensuring our discipline encourages good behaviour by focusing on the positive self-esteem of the child. l. And, finally, remembering that learning needs to be enjoyable, we will do our best to makes sure that UCIL is a place that your child will look forward to attending.
U-Can will ensure long-term sustainability by: a. Sound investment decisions b. Wise financial management c. Strong marketing programs d. Ongoing development of physical plant e. Hiring qualified teaching and managerial staff f. Working in conjunction with civil authorities and the Uganda Department of Education
The school provides purified drinking water – we encourage students to drink plenty of water.
Each student will bring a snack for our morning break. This is a fun time for the children to sit together and learn more about each others’ food culture and to share with each other. Please make sure you provide snacks that are low in sugar and highly processed foods.
We serve healthy lunches based on a three week rotation. We do not serve pork products and will cater to those students who have special dietary needs. See one of our lunch menus below.
School Arrival Time
Being on time is important. Classes begin at 8:00 am. The first 1/2 hour of school sets the tone for the day. Give your child the sense of being responsible and dependable by keeping her appointment to the class.
The student journal is the link between your child and the school on a daily basis. It provides you with ongoing information and allows the school to communicate with you about items concerning your child. Homework assignments are recorded in the journal. It is important that you read the journal every day and sign it once you have read it.
Uniforms and Dress Code
Students are expected to were their uniforms once a week on the designated uniform day. Uniforms will also be worn on school outings. The rest of the time children are free to choose what they will wear. This will give children the opportunity to learn about dressing nicely and choosing clothes appropriate for the school environment.
Sports and Swimming Attire
Proper sports attire and shoes should be worn for PE. Skirts are not appropriate for PE. Girls should wear a one piece bathing suit.
The Sun Can Damage Your Child’s Skin
Make sure you provide your child with a good sunscreen. Light skin can burn in as little as 15 minutes. Lets ensure that our young children maintain a healthy skin and prevent melanoma in later years.
If your child has the flu or is feverish do not send your child to school. If you suspect your child has contracted an infectious childhood disease please take him/her to the doctor. Let the doctor determine if the child should attend school.
At U-Can we have school families. Older and younger students are grouped together. The older students help the younger ones at lunch time and on the playground. It is special to watch how the older children look after the little ones.
As every child is different, it is important to think about, plan for, and interact with the individual, as well as the group as a whole. As well as being academically well qualified teachers must have a heart for each child and his/her uniqueness in order to help the child grow into a well-functioning autonomous adult.
Children will feel valued and appreciated – better self-esteem.
Understanding the child as an individual will help to tailor teaching to aspirations and needs of the child.
Behavioral and discipline issues will be lessened and more easily dealt with.
Teacher becomes a mentor rather than just a source of knowledge
Students will progress at a speed they can manage and control rather than being part of a cookie cutter type of teaching.
Children will learn to have respect for others and the world around them.
Teacher Development Strategies
-provide on-going classroom-embedded support for the teaching of specific courses
-create a space where teachers can safely take risks and experiment with new or innovative teaching strategies
-explore, question, and critique their own teaching practice
-improve understanding and capacity with computer science content
-receive feedback from peers as a part of the shared inquiry process
Just as professionals in medicine, architecture, and law have opportunities to learn through participating in intern ships and learning best practices, exemplary teacher-preparation programs allow teacher candidates the time to spend in classrooms with experienced mentors. At U-Can we have teachers with many years of experience who develop and mentor our teaching staff. We want to develop teachers that can inspire our students to soar to great heights.
Students deserve the best. Teacher-preparation programs provide educators with the tools, mentors, and hands-on experience they need to create a good teaching environment.
Teacher Development and Leadership
The human touch is the most valuable element in education. Teachers, administrators, and parents play critical roles in coaching and guiding students through the learning process, nurturing students’ interest and confidence as learners.
We believe that professional development should focus on:
providing opportunities for teachers to practice the art and science of teaching
developing teachers’ understanding of how to use specific curriculum in the classroom
facilitating teachers’ reflection on their past teaching practices and set goals for the future
providing concrete experience with hands-on, inquiry-based teaching practices
focusing on the conceptual foundations of topics covered in the curriculum
Introducing and promoting a wide range of teaching strategies and classroom practices.
encouraging student ownership of the learning process as a key to knowledge building
allowing students to experience failure and equip them to handle frustration.
Canada has one of the best education systems in the world.
Canada comes seventh in a major ranking of education performance.
The Canadian education system is ranked among the best in the world, with our nation’s students coming seventh overall in a new international study of school systems — The OECD survey of 72 member and non-member nations ranks countries based on their education performance. Here are the top 10:
The triennial Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows Canada’s education system consistently beats the competition in science, reading and on equity issues like gender balance. Compared to the United Kingdom and the United States, which came 15th and 25th overall respectively we’re doing particularly well. Canada was second in the world in reading, behind only Singapore, and our nation was 10th in math.
When there are debates about the world’s top performing education systems, the names that usually get mentioned are the Asian powerhouses such as Singapore and South Korea or the Nordic know-alls, such as Finland or Norway.
But with much less recognition, Canada has climbed into the top tier of international rankings.
In the most recent round of international Pisa tests, Canada was one of a handful of countries to appear in the top 10 for maths, science and reading.
The tests, run by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), are a major study of educational performance and show Canada’s teenagers as among the best educated in the world.
They are far ahead of geographical neighbours such as the US and European countries with strong cultural ties like the UK and France.
At university level, Canada has the world’s highest proportion of working-age adults who have been through higher education – 55% compared with an average in OECD countries of 35%.
Canada’s success in school tests is also very unusual compared with other international trends.
The top performers are often cohesive, compact societies and the current highest achiever, Singapore, has been seen as a model of systematic progress, with each part of the education system integrated into an overarching national strategy.
Canada does not even really have a national education system, it is based on autonomous provinces and it is hard to think of a bigger contrast between a city state such as Singapore and a sprawling land mass such as Canada.
The OECD, trying to understand Canada’s success in education, described the role of the federal government as “limited and sometimes non-existent”.
Also not widely recognised is that Canada has a high level of migrants in its school population.
More than a third of young adults in Canada are from families where both parents are from another country.
But the children of newly-arrived, migrant families seem to integrate rapidly enough to perform at the same high level as their classmates.
When the most recent Pisa rankings are looked at more closely, at regional rather than national level, the results for Canada are even more remarkable.
If Canadian provinces entered Pisa tests as separate countries, three of them, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, would be in the top five places for science in the world, alongside Singapore and Japan and above the likes of Finland and Hong Kong.
So how has Canada overtaken so many other countries in education?
Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s education director, says Canada’s “big uniting theme is equity”.
Despite the different policies in individual provinces, there is a common commitment to an equal chance in school.
He says there is a strong sense of fairness and equal access – and this is seen in the high academic performance of migrant children.
Migrants do very well in Canadian Schools
Within three years of arriving, the Pisa tests show the children of new migrants have scores as high as the rest of their schoolmates.
It makes Canada one of the few countries where migrant children achieve at a level similar to their non-migrant counterparts.
Another distinguishing feature is that Canada’s teachers are well paid by international standards – and entry into teaching is highly selective.
Prof David Booth, from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, highlights Canada’s “strong base in literacy”.
There have been systematic efforts to improve literacy, with well-trained staff, resources such as school libraries and testing and assessment to identify schools or individuals who are struggling.
Prof John Jerrim, of the UCL Institute of Education in London, says that Canada’s high league table ranking reflects the narrow socio-economic gap in school results.
Rather than a country of extremes, Canada’s results show a very high average, with relatively little difference between advantaged and disadvantaged students.
In the most recent Pisa results for science, the variation in scores in Canada caused by socio-economic differences was 9%, compared with 20% in France and 17% in Singapore.
The equitable outcome goes a long way to explaining why Canada is doing so well in international tests. It does not have a tail of underachievement, often related to poverty.
It is a remarkably consistent system. As well as little variation between rich and poor students, there is very little variation in results between schools, compared with the average for developed countries.
Rather than high levels of immigration being seen as a potential drag on results, Prof Jerrim says in Canada’s case, this is likely to be part of its success story.
Migrants coming to Canada, many from countries such as China, India and Pakistan, are often relatively well-educated and ambitious to see their children get into professional careers.
Prof Jerrim says these families have an immigrant “hunger” to succeed, and their high expectations are likely to boost school results for their children.
Prof Booth from the University of Toronto also points to the high expectations of these migrant families.
“Many families new to Canada want their children to excel at school, and the students are motivated to learn,” he said.
This has been a bumper year for education in Canada.