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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Many things…

Thankful

I thought I would offer a note to share my thoughts on this day that we keep in our holiday mix to support those cultures that have a day of Thanksgiving incorporated into their culture and traditions.  While other countries may celebrate this on other dates, the idea behind an annual opportunity to offer thanks is very embedded in the American home and family.  As was shared at a recent PTO meeting, there are many things associated with this holiday beyond the turkey and trimmings.  For Americans, it is a time to cherish family and offer thanks for all the gifts that have been given to us throughout the year.  It is a celebration of half full rather than half empty, a time when even those in the most difficult of circumstances find the silver lining of life and offer mind and heart to things like health, safety, sustenance.  For myself, I’m thankful for so many things that it is hard to identify any one thing.  I’m thankful for my school, thankful for the families and friends borne over a year of embracing a new home, thankful for the many wonderful things that Warsaw and Poland treat me with each day, and thankful for the colleagues and partners across the entire staff of ASW, connected together through commitment and common purpose.  I’m thankful for the blue skies and the falling rain.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to improve the lives of others.  I’m thankful for the special moments with family, sipping the nectar of a child’s accomplishment or the lovingkindness of a doting spouse.

I hope you find the many things that inspire you this weekend.  Whether traveling or enjoying time at home together, may this weekend give you opportunity to reflect on the way that your life is filled with the important things life offers!

Parking Lot – Car Idling

A quick environmental note.  It has been brought to my attention that there are laws in play in Poland that restrict the idling of occupied and stationary vehicles.  According to the regulation, vehicles are only allowed to sit in one place idling for a couple of minutes before drivers should turn their engines off if they intend to wait for a longer period.  Fines for breaking this regulation vary, but it is clear that police will give tickets associated with this offense.

There are environmental reasons for this and we would ask parents who are waiting to pick up students after school to please comply with Polish law on this matter and turn off engines if sitting stationary for more than a minute.  You’ll be doing us a favor in both following the law and protecting our precious air quality.  Thank you in advance for your attention to this.

New and Aspiring Board Member Training

A reminder to mark your calendars for the first session this year of the New and Aspiring Board Member training.  There are still a few spots available.  Like last year, I’ll be leading session on School and non-profit board membership. If you have an interest in a position on the ASW board, as a leader in PTO, or if you are looking to serve on other boards in the future, this training will help provide some of the key understandings associated with good governance in a non-profit setting.  The content of this training has been expanded to also include insights into ASW specifically.  We’ll explore selected ASW Board documents and will give some insight into ASW structures and policy.  Our first session will take place as follows:

Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.

If you would like to participate, you can sign up by clicking here:  https://goo.gl/forms/cfjli5MvNnwzNiNs2

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