Returning from AAIE and Reminders!

Last week I was privileged to attend the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) conference in San Francisco.  This is an annual gathering of Heads of School from around the world and it was a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues and hear from key speakers and leaders sharing insights into the challenges we all face around the world.  Many of my dearest friends took to the stage to share successes in their leadership journey including Charles (Chip) Barder, past head of school here at ASW from 2002 to 2008.  The leadership conversations were rich and inspiring as we all continue to refresh our approaches and improve our skills to match the growing challenges of education in an ever-evolving global dynamic.  We connected with key supporters and researchers.  I particularly enjoyed the current work of Will Richardson, who was a key mentor when he joined a conference I organized in Shanghai back in 2007.  His work with key principles for schools in the current age helped me assess our work in Core Values and confirmed that we have captured the right framework for our strategic work going forward.  He inspired us to consider the key drivers of education in the information age and challenged us to focus on self-determination and engagement as key factors in meaningful education that is enduring.  To quote him from his website:

It’s an absolutely amazing time to be a learner.

But what we know about how kids learn most powerfully and deeply isn’t what we practice in our schools.  Today, more than ever, that has to change.

Reminder

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Remember to always be wearing your parent badge at school at all times.I reminded everyone back in November and need to remind you again. Thanks for the fun interactions in the cafeteria when I remind you.  Appreciation to all our parents who are remembering to wear their badges at all times.  Don’t leave them in your cars.  Please make sure they are visible.  Always good to refresh our practice occasionally!!

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Earnest Planning for 2019-2020

In recent weeks and days, we have started our annual process in earnest preparing for the next school year.  You received via email a message from our distinguished board chair, Ray Banks, regarding our decisions on fees for the coming year and our work to set fees and structures.  With many grade levels full and waiting lists beginning to form, we must first and foremost prepare the path for our returning students through our normal process.

This year, we’ve changed this process to make it more efficient for all and will forgo the usual pre-survey process in favor of a simple one-step invoicing process.  All families should receive notification of and directions for accessing your invoices via PowerSchool.  Your one and only task this year is to submit your seat deposit before the due date of Friday, March 1, 2019.  This will confirm your intention to return next year and hold your seat during the upcoming admissions process.  Please notify the Business Office at +48 (22) 702 8596 or businessoffice@aswarsaw.org if you have any needs or concerns relative to this process and we’ll happily assist you.

Later in March, we will be confirming the first round of new admissions from our extensive pre-registration list, so we appreciate your confirmation of continuing with us next year at the earliest opportunity.

One additional item: Grounds – Landscaping and Maintenance

ASW is always seeking to improve and update our services and one area that was identified in our recent accreditation for review was a refresh of our grounds and landscaping services.  Our longstanding company has done well, but certain areas identified for improvement have suggested we look for other potential partners in providing grounds maintenance services to keep our facilities prepared for the robust range of activities on campus throughout the year.  If there are parents in the ASW Community have insight into potential companies who would be interested in providing these services, our request for proposals is available from our Business Office.  Thanks in advance for your consideration and for passing along this message to potential providers!

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Making Learning Relevant and Meaningful

Since there was such a wonderful display of learning through Personal Projects last night culminating a key component of the Middle Years Programme (MYP), it’s a good time to remind us of some of the key reasons why we affirmed our commitment to the International Baccalaureate by adding both the PYP and MYP to our continuum of study.  In a nutshell, education in IB schools focuses on some key tenets (from the IB website):

  •  centres on learners
  • develops effective approaches to teaching and learning
  • works within global contexts, helping students understand different languages and cultures
  • explores significant content, developing a disciplinary and interdisciplinary understanding that meets rigorous international standards.

In essence, the integration of content through dynamic cycles of inquiry, action, and reflection serves to develop approaches to and disciplines of learning.  Think about how this matches our core values of Bounce Back (self-reliance) and Step Forward (Agency and Action).  Our other values are seen as well through collaboration, relevance, and an international perspective.  Truly, the programme matches both our qualities and our aspirations.

IB programmes are about working closely with students to empower them to construct meaning from their learning and, in the process, build skills of independence in both learning and doing that will last a lifetime.

Much applause to the mentorship of teachers and the capability of our 10th graders in their presentations last night.  For our first iteration of the capstone event, we can all be proud of the accomplishment!

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A few things to think about…

Studniowka

First,  a great thank you to all of our parents on the organizing committee for Studniowka. It was a brilliant event that was enjoyed by all of our families, staff, and administration in attendance.  The students thrilled us with their nimble talents on the dance floor with the Polonaise and a wonderful waltz!  What a wonderful way to capture some host country culture in a splendid traditional event that is an important waypoint for your seniors, just 100 days before their exams.  Many thanks to all involved for making it a special night!

Raising Your Awareness

Please be advised that we have seen an uptick in the presence of vaping amongst students including a few recent disciplinary events related to this new trend.  To be clear, vaping is an alternative form of smoking using a small electronic device to create the smoke that is inhaled.

Vaping monikers include: vape pens, pod mods, tanks, electronic nicotine delivery devices (ENDS), e-hookahs, e-cigarettes

There are many articles on this new trend and around the world health professionals and educators are trying to help students see this new trend as equivalent to tobacco products and the associated health risks for young and growing students are profound. The unfortunate result of the quick marketing of these products is that most students believe that this new form of smoking is safe and this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Please see the following articles for help in understanding the risks:

Our policy is clear on the matter and we have included vaping in our handbooks as not allowed on campus, by students nor adults.  We continue to be a smoke-free campus in all forms including both tobacco products and vaping.  Please talk with your children about the health consequences of vaping and let’s work together to try and steer them away from this habit in all its forms.

PTO Quiz Night

Please join your fellow community members for our annual Quiz Night, this year at the Sheraton Hotel (The Olive Restaurant) on Saturday, January 26, starting at 7:00p.   Tickets are on sale at the PTO Store for this adults-only event and the price is 75 PLN per person with finger foods and beverages provided.  Come and join!!  Fun for all!!

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