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#StandWithUkraine: An Update from PSI, Kyiv

Rachel Caldwell
#StandWithUkraine: An Update from PSI, Kyiv

In the midst of the horror that Ukraine continues to be subjected to, Perchersk School International (PSI) shares its sincerest gratitude with the community of international schools which has responded with an outpouring of supportive messages and concrete offers of help.

PSI continues to offer a robust remote learning program in all grade levels and will do so until June, without doubt. Colleagues from around the world have stepped in to help teach some of these classes, and to offer additional extra-curricular and specially designed activities. 

Over forty schools, to date, have granted scholarships to PSI students, allowing them to complete the school year in face-to-face learning in the locations they have relocated to. One school has offered 18-month scholarships for all the school-age children in our PSI community, whether enrolled in PSI or not. In addition, this same school has offered free accommodation to the families of those students. 

Whilst everyone simply wants the assault to end so that we can all go home, this assistance is significant; in fact, it’s invaluable.

Since my previous message, many more colleagues and their families have left Kyiv. As time went by these departures became more stressful and more dangerous. With the help of humanitarian groups, PSI parents and staff members, almost 40 individuals made their way to western Ukraine with many of them crossing the borders into Poland, Romania, and Hungary. Again, we are fortunate to have received a remarkable level of assistance from the Central & Eastern European Schools Association (CEESA) schools on these borders. The American International School of Bucharest, the American International School of Budapest, and the American School of Warsaw have gone way beyond the call of duty. The latter, led by Jon Zurfluh, provided transport, meals, and accommodation for 29 PSI community members who arrived by bus after a tough three-day journey. 

So, whilst the main enduring message is a call for peace, the other is a celebration of kindness, empathy, and generosity.

To end this update, I must mention PSI’s incredible faculty members. Like teachers in schools the world over, they have had to adapt endlessly to the shifting circumstances created by the pandemic and now this. They have provided psychological safety for our learners while struggling to ensure their own. They have lived with uncertainty, and the anxiety it provokes, for far too long. As such, it was with a heavy heart that we shared the news that they could, if they so wished, be released from their 2022-23 contracts with our full support. Once again, I was impressed by their empathetic and supportive response. If you hear from a PSI faculty member seeking employment, please consider them with particular attention. I am ready to support their applications and to speak to the very special stuff that they are made of. Hoping, and hoping always for decency and humanity to prevail in this vicious assault and looking forward to sharing more positive news in the near future.

Rachel is the School Director at Perchersk School International (PSI) in Kyiv, Ukraine. 

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