Counting the hours until your return!

Everything’s coming together well after our opening with staff this week.  We all gathered on Monday, then took a break for the Polish national holiday on Tuesday, and settled back into our preparatory work today, getting ready for student arrival next week.  It’s been wonderful catching up with everyone as they return, hearing about summer adventures, new learnings from conferences and classes, and generally getting reconnected on the coming academic year.  I’m sure we’ll experience similar with families upon arrival.

Our focus this year revolves around our Board adopted Core Values that we presented to staff in June as culmination of a broad team of community designers who met over many weeks toward the end of last school year.  My thanks to those participants and especially to all of you who contributed to the Project Nest in our main entry area.  We have a new mission to share some of our developing plans and success stories as they develop in the first part of this year.  You are welcome to join in that conversation of how we start to live our values, telling the stories of your experience, both youth and adult, in aspiring to the tennets of our values.

So that you can start becoming familiar with them and begin crafting your own stories to give these values depth and insight, they are posted here for your review:

https://goo.gl/HSPWm1

I’ll have them out for vibrant conversation at our welcome coffee next week on Tuesday.  Looking forward to seeing all of you.  Enjoy your final weekend!

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Welcome to 2017-2018!

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year, everyone!!  We hope the summer break was refreshing and fulfilling for all of you and that your travels are bringing you safely to our midst for school opening. For those newly joining us, welcome to the family and we hope our earlier message reached you without difficulty.

It’s an exciting year for the American School of Warsaw, building on the success of last year as we refined our programs and brought stability to our range of options and services.  We welcome a recently adopted and ready to launch set of Core Values that will guide our work this year and beyond, the aspirational qualities of ASW and what we hope to become as the future unfolds.  Core Values form the important foundation of the strategic work that will follow.  We are very excited about sharing this work as part of the opening of the school year in the coming days.  So, stay tuned and look for some exciting details on the near horizon.

This newsletter will come each week to your mailbox.  This is a combined newsletter that works in conjunction with our website and PowerSchool interface.  Please click on the buttons to get to important sections, but be sure to scroll through the information provided each week to make sure you have all of the important information from each of our divisions and departments.

We have a wonderful team of educators and leaders ready to greet your children on the first day, assuring a unique experience in the early days of the school year.  We open with an enrolment of 997 and are finishing our welcome of 10 new faculty and 2 new administrators, who will be joining returning faculty next week for our annual preparation activities.

As usual, all of our summer teams have worked hard to assure that the facility has been prepared for your arrival and you will see a small number of changes in rooms and common spaces as you explore the building.

One important note:  Please be sure to become an active PTO member and look for welcome meetings to attend and committees where you can make a contribution of your time and talent toward enhancing our sense of community.  PTO is, by board policy, empowered to assure that we have a wonderful set of events and activities throughout the year to reinforce and enhance our strong sense of community.  This is an important time of year to build new relationships, renew collaborations, and enhance what we do to make ASW such a special place for all of us.

Here’s a summary of the key events in the first week:

  • First Day of School, August 22, 8:30 am
  • New Family & Student Orientation, Monday, August 21, 9:00a, Cafeteria
  • Director’s Welcome Back Coffee, Tuesday, August 22, 8:45a, Cafeteria
  • PTO Kickoff General Meeting, Thursday, August 24, 8:45a, Multi-Purpose Room

Also, remember that the school start and end times have been adjusted for this year, and are summarized below.  Wednesday morning late start begins with the first week of school:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday
Student arrival – no earlier than 8:00 am
School starts for Grades 11-12 at 8:20 am
School starts for PK-10 at 8:30 am
School ends for Grades 11-12 at 3:20 pm
School ends for PK-10 at 3:30 pm

Wednesday (Late Start for students)
Student arrival – no earlier than 8:45 am
School starts for all at 9:30 am
School ends for all at 3:30 pm

I encourage all families to subscribe and participate in the Director’s blog – Zimplicity! Please join the conversation here:  https://zimplicity.org  You have opportunities to add your comments and responses to my ongoing dialog with the community.  Each week’s newsletter will include the link so that you can easily join.  All of the history of last year’s entries is there as well.

Best wishes to all for a wonderful first week and a successful new year!

Mr. Z

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The Year Comes to a Close

It is important and appropriate to take this final newsletter opportunity to share my thanks and appreciation for a wonderful year, my first in Warsaw.  While my arrival was a bit of a whirlwind, I can now count myself as comfortable and settled in my new home.  I have a wonderful team of professionals at this school, administrative, faculty and staff, who make my job easy, each and every day!  We have a wonderful cadre of supportive parents that embrace and enhance the experiences of our children every day.  My warmest regards to all of you for a job well done this year!

Please take the time to watch our LiveStream of the closing ceremony if you were not able to attend!  The link is provided below:

https://livestream.com/accounts/15498644/events/7433986/videos/158559008/player?width=640&height=360&enableInfo=true&defaultDrawer=&autoPlay=false&mute=false

To  all of our families who are returning next year, I wish you a wonderful summer of rest, relaxation and fulfilling adventure!

To our families who are departing, we wish you the same, but also a smooth transition to your next new home, whether it be back to your home country or another place that further expands your horizon.  Always remember – once a Warrior, always a Warrior!

Looking forward to continuing the work that we all love and embrace.  Next year is shaping up to keep us engaged on this path of accomplishment.  I look forward to our continued partnership in this regard!

Mr. Z

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Coming to a Close

This week, as we head into the final week of the school year, I’m repeating a section from last week to make sure that you review this information in preparation for next year.  Please take a moment to look at it in depth.  Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible next week at our closing ceremony.  If you are unable to attend, you’ll be able to watch via livestream at the following link:

https://www.aswarsaw.org/livestream/ceremonies

From last week’s newsletter:

Schedule and Tweaks for Next Year

After significant work on the part of the leadership team, we are moving forward to now implement and inform the community of our work on scheduling for next year.  This primarily applies to Upper School at both the middle and high level, but also have positive implications for Elementary scheduling.  One core component of these changes is better alignment with the IB philosophy that we are currently implementing, and particularly the alignment between the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP).

But, this has been a broad based effort and we also intend to capitalize on this opportunity to improve other overall aspects of our daily schedule that in many ways have been carried forward year-on-year with little consideration for the inconveniences nor the opportunities that might exist.  With much research and with increasing competition for time and space, we have undertaken some key decisions that we are implementing next year:

  1. We are making slight changes to our start and end of school times.  Starting next year, the school hours will be aligned and affirmed with school beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the end of school at 3:30 p.m.  Based on a number of scheduling requirements, this is a modest change that solves many problems.
  2. The more significant change, introduced at a recent PTO meeting, is the change to the Wednesday schedule for next year.  The need for teacher work time continues and the small carve out that we have secured for a number of years is critical for ongoing curricular, planning, and accreditation work.  But, the administrative team and teachers have been considering all year the implications of the current structure, particularly in regards to after school programs and the availability of teachers to support and muster the important and growing array of activities and athletics.  After research involving review of other international schools, both in the region and around the world, we have decided to move to a late start rather than early dismissal on Wednesdays.  This means that the Wednesday school day for 2017-2018 will change to a 9:30 a.m. start and a 3:30 p.m. dismissal.
  3. There will be a slight difference to the above schedule for our DP students in grades 11 and 12 that will have them starting at slightly adjusted times from the above.  This difference is small and should be easily managed, providing them with necessary alignment and offering them the additional minutes needed to their upper level studies.  More on this in August.

We will be working during the summer to prepare for a smooth transition to this model, including necessary morning supervision in our cafeteria and additional options for student support in the morning before school, while teachers are engaged in their work with colleagues.  We’ll be correcting our website and literature to align with this as well and will send reminders in August as families prepare for their return to a new school year.

Thanks in advance for your insight and partnership in adjusting to these changes.

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