Welcome back!!

Mr. Zurfluh is currently out of country recruiting at the Search Associates Fair in Bangkok, Thailand.  He will return to ASW on Friday.  In the meantime, the following is a repeat of an earlier message on Air Quality published last year – reprinted here as a reminder:

Air Quality Follow-Up

As a follow-up to our increased diligence on air quality, I wanted to inform you of some deeper insight into our understanding of the issue and additional steps we are taking.  As you already know, we are making decisions on a daily basis with regards to recess and outdoor play decisions.  It’s important to note that this decision is not about suggesting that air quality, under these circumstances, is better indoors.  Instead, it is meant to implement the recommendations of our medical experts that exertion or physical activity be minimized when air quality is bad.  While this doesn’t limit exposure, it mediates the potential impact of air quality issues.  In the general sense, there is only so much you can do in a large building with many doors opening and closing all day.  While our systems have filters and do circulate air, they were not built for a high level of filtration and will not mediate the current concern in the PM2.5 range that is driving the primary air quality indicators.  We are regularly and rigorously evaluating our systems and continuously upgrading them where possible and appropriate.

To help in monitoring this, we have installed a small monitoring device just inside the building at our front entrance.  This unit is now sharing it’s data through the AirVisual interface that I previously shared in our first post on air quality issues.  You can now monitor the school’s device on your own applications via the sharing tool that this online system provides.  The “Node” for the school has the following sharing code:

FBZFKATE

In order to monitor this node, you’ll need to setup an account on AirVisual.  Then point your browser here:

https://www.airvisual.com/app

And, then follow the instructions for adding a node, entering the share code above.  The instructions may be slightly different online vs. the mobile applications.  You can then follow the school’s sensor and compare with the monitoring points in nearby Konstancin or in the city center of Warsaw.

We’ll keep monitoring and reflecting on our practices in this area.  Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.

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Happy Holidays!!

Climbing on the Shoulders of Success

In the coming days, we will be sending reports to you regarding student progress.  It’s an important juncture in the year and provides a wonderful platform for conversations with your children about goals and aspirations for when we all return to greet a new calendar year.  MYP and DP reports in particular will have a significant refresh with the implementation of methodologies aligned to our overall journey toward becoming a “continuum” school.  While new for ASW, these reports have been modeled from the best and most successful International Baccalaureate  schools around the world, tested for structure and content, and reliable in providing actionable feedback to students and parents.

We would like to believe that this first iteration of a new style of reporting will go without difficulties.  But, we are mindful that the first time with anything of this magnitude is likely to be tested by unforeseen challenges and we are fully ready to address these as they emerge, improving our practice with each iteration.  Here are some things to be thinking about:

  1. With this report, we reaffirm again our commitment to PowerSchool.  We’ve tried to make this easy and seamless, but access challenges are still likely to emerge.  If you are not yet a regular user logging in to PowerSchool, sort this out earlier rather than later.  It is our primary platform and you should be a regular at this doorstep.  Your upcoming report will require this level of access.
  2. It’s not just grading anymore.  As was shared in the parent meeting recently, you need to think differently about the numbers attached to each course.  They are markers that have criteria associated with them and cannot be averaged or summarized in simple ways.  Click on the links that are provided and dig deeper into what the number represents from the criteria for each performance level.
  3. It’s in the comments!  Teachers put tremendous effort into capturing your student’s journey through their learning.  It isn’t going to be perfect, but it should open the doorway to additional conversations if you don’t understand.  Reach out to teachers as necessary to get clarification.  We’ll have conferences very shortly after this in January.  Come prepared with insights and in search of deeper understanding where necessary.

There are more changes coming to reports in the future.  More adjustments to MYP/DP (MS/HS) and some more distinctive changes to the PYP (ES).  The board received reports on this during their Monday meeting and will receive regular reports with other changes as they are implemented.  You will also have opportunity to provide additional feedback in the spring.

Calendars

We received approval for our calendars, both 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, at the board meeting on Monday night.  They have been posted on our website and mark the first time that we have more than one year ahead planned.  In the future, we will assure that two years of future calendars are always generally available for the school community.

Calendars 2018-2020

Happy Holidays!

My best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!  May joy and blessings be with you all!  From the Zurfluh family to all Warriors — students, parents, staff — our best wishes for a Happy New Year!! See you all in 2018!

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School to Re-open on Thursday, December 7 – Day C

We’ve had an interesting week here at the American School.   On Monday, we had an inadvertent sounding of the fire alarm due to a false reading on a sensor, but performed brilliantly through our evacuation of the building and return to classrooms in quick order.  Today, we had failure of the water supply, which has now been rectified after being down for some hours. In the midst of staff work this morning, we also had a brief power failure due to an errant transformer.  Seems we were being tested from multiple directions!

Mainly, we will return to school on Thursday, December 7 as a normal school day.  For Upper School, this will be a Day C schedule.

Our thanks to all for your acknowledgement of our systems.  We have not initiated the phone tree today, but have updated via these E-Notes, our SMS system, and our website.  If you are not yet receiving SMS messages, please enter your information into our problem log located here:  https://goo.gl/forms/AQp4DSPIXRclMhS03

In the case of all emergencies, we rely on the information you provide through the PowerSchool interface and we use phone numbers and email addresses you have registered with us to populate our systems for contacting you in the case of an emergency.  Emergencies can arise at any time of the day or night, so it is important that we have all critical contact information in order to assure student safety.  With only a few exceptions, our use of these systems last night were highly effective.  Thank you, as always, for your partnership in this regard.

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Calendars for 2018-2020

It’s time for some community input on future calendars.  Now that we are completing accreditation, we are moving to more stable calendars in the future and hope to finalize them at the upcoming board meeting in December.  In order to get ready for this, would love to have your input on the draft calendars for both 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.  Administration has already done their work and they are now ready for your input before final decision.  Please follow the link below to participate.  Responses need to be submitted by Monday, December 4th.

Calendar survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N6JXRHN

Thank in advance for your input!

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