Year in Review

The Graded community faced the 2020-21 academic year with great determination. As the global COVID-19 pandemic persisted, the school drew upon its previous experience to successfully navigate the challenges at hand. Graded’s ability to thrive during such volatile times speaks volumes about the community’s spirit and resilience. 

Due to continued pandemic restrictions, the Graded campus remained closed until September 2020. Despite those limitations, our community continued to develop and reinvent ways to engage.

Graded took its first steps toward reopening in October 2020 after implementing extensive safety measures and health monitoring protocols. Graded’s comprehensive Eagles Reunite Plan, which served as a model for international schools throughout the world, ensured a smooth transition from distance learning into the post-pandemic “new normal.”

Middle School Connection Events

In September 2020, Middle School ambassadors hosted grade-level “connection events” for their incoming peers. Students engaged in meaningful conversations and discussed ways to connect with and support one another outside of online classes.

Eagle Flight Testing 

Graded reopened its doors in October 2020, eager to welcome students back to campus. The first stage in reopening was Eagle Flight Testing, which consisted of two day-long sessions of activities focused on team building, health and safety training, social-emotional wellbeing, and fun.


The traditional Graded Halloween was a resounding success, and included costumes, decorations, and safe practices to boot!

Eagles Reunite

In November 2020, Graded’s Eagles Reunite Plan, a thorough guide to reopening the school campus while adhering to governmental regulations, allowed students to safely and successfully return to in-person classes. Academics resumed for all students. Lower and Middle School students participated in social-emotional and team-building activities while High School students prioritized academic coursework.

Athletics and Activities

Eagles Flight Testing allowed for the careful reintroduction of in-person on-campus activities and athletics, including volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis, swimming, track and field, badminton, cheerleading, beach tennis, and activities such as the STEM/Engineering and Pastry Clubs.

Despite meeting virtually, High School clubs thrived with record numbers of student participants. For the third year in a row, Graded was represented in the Wharton Investment Competition Global Finals. Model United Nations (MUN) participants attended more conferences than ever before, including High School & Middle School Union and Peace Conference, Association of Alaska School Boards Model United Nations (AASB MUN), Online Student-Led Model United Nations (OSL MUN), Brazil Model United Nations (BRAMUN), and Belgrade International Model United Nations (BIMUN).

Read more about Graded clubs in the Graded Gazette:

2021 IB Visual Arts Senior Exhibition

Graded’s IB Visual Arts Senior Exhibition is traditionally held each March in the Lemann-Tully Arts Center. To ensure that the entire Graded community had access to the 2020-21 IB Visual Arts Senior Exhibit, the final projects were showcased online via a virtual reality experience. The dynamic website features video interviews with each IB Visual Arts candidate as well as 3D representations of their provocative art pieces. Constructed to look like an actual museum, the digital platform allows viewers to move through the virtual gallery space and pause to view works of art and exhibition labels.

Deeper Learning Pilot

In March 2021, the Graded Learning Lab launched an innovative faculty learning experience. A 10-week Deeper Learning Foundations Pilot provided twenty faculty members the opportunity to draw upon science of learning research and reexamine curricula, student learning experiences, professional approaches, and best practices. 

The school’s four deeper learning coaches, two curriculum coordinators, director of analytics, innovation, and research, and director of teaching and learning developed and delivered the course, with the support of partners Dr. Kevin Mattingly (Columbia University,) the Stanford d.Lab, Explo Elevate, and COGx, an R&D in applied cognitive science ( The Deeper Learning Foundations Pilot utilized inquiry, design thinking processes, and coaching to help teachers plan challenging and engaging lessons and facilitate deep and enduring student learning.

Eligible Faculty and Staff Receive First COVID-19 Vaccine

In April 2021, Graded’s eligible employees received their first COVID-19 vaccine. The prioritization of educational employees in São Paulo was a positive step for our entire community’s safety and well-being!

Annie Goes Online

Last year, the Upper School musical Annie was postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-10 pandemic. Nonetheless, the cast, crew, and directors, Mr. Cabrera and Ms. Campos, took on the task of producing Graded’s first online theatrical production. Since January 2020, they rehearsed, performed, recorded, and edited their show, and on Friday, May 28,  2021 – one year, three months, 29 days, and more than 200 recordings later – Annie premiered online via YouTube.

Senior Week and Graduation

To the joy of our entire community, the 2021 Senior Week, Senior Bell Ceremony, Senior Awards Ceremony, and Commencement Ceremony were held on campus this year. They were filmed and broadcast to family members worldwide. After weeks of effort, planning, and careful coordination, the beautifully decorated Student Center welcomed elated students who celebrated their well-earned success while maintaining social distance.