Christmas Message and Calendar Survey

Ho Ho Ho!!

And what a joyous holiday it has become!  Voices were raised in song yesterday at the Grade 2, 3, and 4 Holiday concert.  Tremendous praise to our elementary team for their work in helping the kids raise their voices in harmony, a wonderful reflection on the spirit of the season.  Ms. Andrews and Mr. Minasz – thank you for framing the season!!

We have but a few hours remaining before we head off into an extended break.  When we return it will be 2019, the last year for a very long time that will have -teen on the end.  I have to pause and wonder what things may look like in 2113, when the -tweens return.  It brings back memories of the turn of the century in Y2k when we all concocted our predictions of what this century would hold for us.  And, flash forward, almost 20% of the century is gone.  How are your predictions going?

It is hard sometimes to find ourselves trapped in the current moment, and we should live in the moment when spending time with family and friends.  But, with much acrimony around us, it can be challenging and stressful at times.  I hope that this holiday season brings you two unique opportunities.

First, I hope for you time to pause in the moment with loved ones all around.  May your days of celebration and cultural connection bring you joy and renewal.

Second, I wish for you some time to dream, stepping out of the moment as the new year approaches and wonder with intention about what might be made of the year ahead.  This is not the fodder of resolutions, but more the territory of what could be possible if we take the love and kindness of the moment and use it to craft our way forward.  The most important thing we do in school is to ask students to be mindful of their intentions before taking on a challenge.  I wish for all of us, and particularly our students, and opportunity to make these dreams come true.

Whether traveling or relaxing into home here in Warsaw, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Calendar Business

One bit of business and I’ll remind you in January as well.  We are taking input on the school calendar for 2020-2021, consistent with our current methodology of planning out two years in advance.  Board will make their final adoption in January, but you have a chance now to give us feedback.  Other adopted calendars are viewable on our website at http://www.aswarsaw.org/

Here’s the link to our survey.  We encourage all staff, students, and parents of ASW to join us in giving your input to this process.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6V5SRW2

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Cups, Cars, and Air Quality

Cups

Pleased to announce today that a change is coming in January to address a longstanding concern about plastics in the school environment.  Many projects are under consideration, but the HS Environmental Club has made a case for taking one bold step after the holidays that is now fully supported by the school.  Please see their message:

ASW will take till take a step forward in an effort to reduce waste! To combat single-use plastic waste, ASW will no longer buy white plastic cups used at water dispensers. This means that plastic cups will no longer be available at any water dispensers starting from January 7, 2019. It is important as a school to make environmentally-conscious choices and to teach students to take charge of their futures. Therefore, please remind your children to bring reusable water bottles to school to stay hydrated, as many are doing in elementary classrooms. We would love it if students continued to use water dispensers (or water fountains) rather than resorting to buying plastic bottles in the cafeteria.

Please note that plastic cups will not be purchased through the school for school-sponsored events. As well, our next steps will be to work closely with students and other vendors to limit plastic usage.

We all know that plastic of all kinds pollutes our oceans and landfills, and we recover only 5% of the plastic we produce in the world. In 2017, 96,000 cups were bought, and then thrown out at ASW. By making a change that reduces that number to 0, ASW is showing their commitment to taking steps to improve our commitment to the environment.

If you have any questions or concerns,
please email 19borisaite_i@aswarsaw.org

HS Environmental Club thanks you.

We’ll continue looking at other areas of plastic reduction throughout the school in the form of packing materials, cafeteria usage, etc.  Incremental steps is the best way to achieve sustainable action and I applaud the HS Environmental Club for helping us take this important step.

Cars

Just a reminder, again on the environmental front, to turn engines off when waiting for students at the end of the day. Doesn’t matter whether in winter cold or summer heat, you engine must be turned off when waiting for more than a minute.  Guards will remind you.  There are NO excuses.  I’ll be back out today and the rest of this week to help monitor and remind.

Air Quality

Again, on the environmental front, we have added an additional air quality sensor to the building in the internal area of the library entrance.  Below is a reprint of an article from last year with regards to air quality, edited for the added sensor:

To help in monitoring air quality, we have installed two small monitoring devices just inside the building at our front entrance and outside the library.  These units are now sharing data through the AirVisual interface.  You can now monitor the school’s devices on your own applications via the sharing tool that this online system provides.  The “Node” for the school has the following sharing code:

FBZFKATE
-and-
SB5URGSA

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

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.

Happy to have you monitor and know that we have policy and procedures in place to address reduced activity when air quality is challenging in the local area.  Our Health Office actively monitors this and assures good practice in protecting the health of our students.

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We announced today…

I’m happy to announce that we have received our final authorization to offer three key programs of the International Baccalaureate (IB).  We’ll be having celebrations and a more fundamental launch of this achievement in short order, but it was nice to have a mini-celebration this morning and thank our two key coordinators, Miranda Rose and Elizabeth Swanson, for their efforts driving this change, along with their administrators and amazing faculty, to add the Primary Years Programme and the Middle Years Programme to our existing Diploma Programme.  Details about schools that offer at least three out of the four available IB programs can be found by clicking on the new logo below that will appear soon on our website:IB as a framework will now be our structure for learning and pedagogy going forward.  It’s legitimately already in place and providing for wonderful learning experiences for our students of all ages.  While we will update and refine our standards and curriculum, the framework through which instruction is delivered is now guided by the practices we have adopted.  This is exciting for the students of ASW, because the scaffolding of learning will build with each successive program around key goals, linked in powerful ways to our own adopted Core Values.  Many thanks to all who have helped us this far and who continue to participate in this journey each day!!

A Sad Note

Please see the message below from Upper School Principal, Mr. Sheehan, regarding the loss of a past student who was at ASW from 2010 to 2017.  I know you join me in keeping the Seidel family in your thoughts and prayers.

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Thankful!

For this Thanksgiving (and I know not all will celebrate this, or some may have already celebrated this), may I offer a poem of my own hand, inspired by the brilliant voices on stage and the memories of our music and themes from both our band and choir concerts recently:

Blue skies, crumpled leaves, and blustery winds
Wrapped around the cobbled bricks of buildings intertwined.

Voices fill the spaces with earnest thought
And wide eyed curiosity hanging from the moments
Strung together through themes and provocations
Day upon day, minute upon minute.

But, on this day, voices can be heard in the heart of the connected spaces drawing us to a crowded gathering.
A unison of message and mind
Reflections on a bygone era
Cautious…
Respectful…
Earnest…
A chorus that captures ten decades
In the smiling faces of musical accomplishment.

For one evening we are a single voice of memory,
Performers and Audience together.
Let the song have no ending.
Look back to look forward,
As a mirror embraces the eye.
Never forget!
Love, Learn, Live, Life
Let us be thankful and embrace our becoming!

Thanks for your indulgence and thanks to all the students and staff responsible for these concerts and their inspiration.  Wishing blessings to all of you and my thanks for all that you do each day to embrace our partnership in service to the students we share.

Additional details on Measles case:

  • Some erroneously thought the affected staff member was still at school.  Of course not…
  • Some thought that we had policy that requires immunization – no.  While immunizations are encouraged and recorded as part of the admissions process, parents can choose not to vaccinate on the basis of personal/religious objections.  This is consistent with law and the law in most countries.  This also applies to staff.
  • We do require that all new staff present health certificates that qualify them for employment.  This is standard practice under labor law.  That same law does not allow restricting employment on the basis of vaccination, nor does it allow us to require immunization.
  • Our records show only a small number of students currently lack the MMR vaccine – less than 10.  They have been contacted.
  • There is much press and government advice on the recent regional Measles outbreak.  Suggest you click HERE for the recent government information on the topic.

Hope that helps!

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