Greetings to all our partners at the American School of Warsaw! Now that we’ve all settled into our stride after the holidays, it’s time to embrace the season and recognize the emerging march toward Spring. As we head off into vacation, we are adding more daylight with each morning sunrise, a welcome progression after the sometimes daunting darkness of Winter. Like you, I’m embracing the ever earlier appearance of Mr. Sun each morning!
In the international school world our experience tells us that we are also emerging from a potentially difficult phase for the newest members of our community. Whether teacher, parent, or child, there is a common occurrence in the January/February time frame just after the school’s winter vacation. In various places around the world we refer to this as the “Winter doldrums,” the “post-holiday attitude adjustment,” or simply “homesickness.” It’s understandable given the circumstances of leaving a place of comfort and familiarity and finding your new routines in and facing the challenges of a new environment. Our counselors have been interacting with students and families on this in recent weeks and we continue to monitor and provide support where needed. For those of us who have been in the international world for awhile, and for those in particular who have been in Warsaw for an extended time, it’s important to reach out to those in their first year and check in with them to make sure that their transition is going smoothly and that they are finding opportunities for connecting and deepening their relationship with the community. It’s a great time of year for taking someone new out to lunch or finding a time to have coffee with a new face in the morning cafeteria gathering.
As everyone is also now considering their enrollment for next year, we hope that you have been able to access our Powerschool interface for this. We have another reminder going out to get more of you to declare your intentions as we move into the important admissions season. We hope that you will be able to remain with us next year, but we are also aware that some will leave, as is always the case in international education, to move into your next adventure. Phone calls begin after the break to catch up with those who have not yet declared their intent electronically. If you have any questions about this, please give Admissions a call.
New and Aspiring Board Training
The American School of Warsaw has scheduled a unique training session for new and aspiring board members on March 1, 2017 at the school. Individuals interested in potentially serving on a school board, whether here in Warsaw or at other international schools around the world, should plan to attend for a comprehensive overview of governance practices in international schools with additional insight into the current governance model at our own school here in Warsaw. Topics will include best practices in governance, board policy and its role/function, the role of board members in development of policy and strategy, and overall best practices in school governance. Yours truly is providing the training based on over 20 years of experience as an administrator, union negotiator, and in strategic planning, both internationally and in Washington State.
Date: March 1, 2017
Location: MPR at the American School of Warsaw campus
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:
In order to monitor this node, you’ll need to setup an account on AirVisual. Then point your browser here:
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.
As spring emerges, it’s a great time to remind us all of our parking rules and agreements. We published these earlier this year and want to make sure we remind everyone of our collective responsibility for making the parking lot safe and comfortable for all. Please review the simple expectations and thank you in advance for helping in this regard.
New Hiring and a Late Announcement
We have posted for your review the list of new hires for the 2017-2018 school year. It is linked to this blog and we’ll update it soon with pictures to go with the simple biographies that are now available. Here’s the list:
In addition, we have a late decision that we must sadly announce. After extended consideration, Constance McGuire submitted her resignation this week and informed us that she would not be returning for the 2017-2018 school year due to extenuating circumstances. Mrs. McGuire has been a strong contributor to the school over 9 years and we thank her for her service and the continued contributions that she will make until her departure in June. We have initiated the search for her replacement and you can find the job posting information here: http://www.aswarsaw.org/about-us/careers/middle-school-vice-principal
I’ve been delayed in my blog entry that was originally planned a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t want that delay to eliminate the opportunity to showcase the Seniors’ Studniówka Dance that took place on January 21st. It was an amazing showcase of talent and grace as our seniors took to the gym floor (with a few extra partners) to share a wonderful tradition that crossed cultural boundaries while be rooted in Polish Tradition. This traditional dance comes 100 days before Senior exams and is an important waypoint in the lives of our prospective graduates.
It’s important to embrace traditions in a school. We live by these events and practices that are embodiments of our beliefs and heritage. When we share these with others across nationality and cultural lines, we encourage and defend tolerance and diversity. I applaud the parents, PTO, high school administration, faculty, and students for their commitment to this event, there amazing dance skills and their wonderful presentations to all who have helped nurture them. Let’s now offer them our unending support as they prepare for the pending exams, encouraging them to a strong completion of their preparatory education. Let the dance of accomplishment now take center stage!