Parent Survey

Later this week, you will be receiving and important email from the American School of Warsaw inviting you to participate in a schoolwide survey.  Similar to our last survey of this type conducted back in 2016, we begin an annual process for gathering regular and consistent data from parents and students about our programs and services.

In his book Visible Learning, John Hattie confirmed that data and research is one of our best tools for continuous school improvement.  One of the most important tools we have is our own action towards gathering feedback and developing action plans around these measured results.  The survey you are being asked to complete will be used annually at the end of each school year and progress will be monitored over time.  Only about 10-15% of the survey will change each year, such that we maintain a solid core of data that can be compared year after year.

Note that each parent will receive a seperate email for EACH student in the family.  Invitations include a personalized link to the survey that is associated with a specific child and parent.  Each survey is somewhat customized based on the grade level of the child, but many of the questions will be the same for each child in a given family.  Anonymity is protected in the application since responses are recorded in a database that is seperate and unlinked to our invitation list.

All parents are invited to interpret their child’s experience and their own understanding of that experience to contribute to the survey, potentially differently for each child.  In some cases, one parent or the other may choose not to participate.  A seperate link in the email will allow a parent to opt out of the survey.   If you do not participate and use the link provided, you will continue to receive email reminders from us until the survey closes on July 1, 2018.

We will compile the results and start sharing the findings in the fall shortly after the opening of school.  Thank you in advance for your kind attention to this important task!!

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Graduation Speech 2018

To all of our special guests, faculty, administration, parents, friends, and family members – we thank you for your pride and presence as we celebrate this, our 25th commencement exercises for the class of 2018.

First, my sincere gratitude to Rob Batchelder for your words and your friendship in our graduation ceremony today.  It is a testament to the longstanding relationship between the American School and the US Embassy in Warsaw.  But, more importantly, it will be my fondest memory of our time on this path together.

Mr. Sheehan, thank you again for confirming your deep bond to the students you serve along with your brilliant team.  As always, you are proud of them and, in return, they honor you with their trust and admiration.

Christina and Sara, thank you for representing your classmates so eloquently.  You both captured the experience brilliantly, each in your own special way.

Dr. Taylor, I thank you for your inspiration and wisdom.  As promised in our assembly yesterday you effectively juggled  your words, bringing a message filled with heart and promise.

Students, your teachers know you as engaged learners, empowered by your passion, caring of each other, and motivated to accomplish big goals. Faculty, counselors, and administrators seated before you are beaming with pride.  And they are a talented group who do not consider their work to be the filling of a vessel, but more the launching of a ship.  Their nurturing spirit has prepared you for your voyage and the many challenges on the horizon.

We know as an international community that many here on this stage have had other schooling experiences before joining us in Warsaw. Also, some stay with us for a time, leave for a bit, and then return. It is part of being an international school that we embrace this constant flux of change and transition.  But, as has been my tradition in many schools over a number of years, I’d like to recognize some special Warriors on this stage, nurtured from the beginning of their schooling experience entirely to graduation at the American School. As I call these names, please stand and remain standing so that we can recognize all of you as a group:

10​ Students have been identified as having been here since either Pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten:

Kindergarten:

  • Alexander C.
  • Matthew M.
  • Maximilian O.
  • Chan Woo P.
  • Oskar P.
  • Sarah H.

Pre-Kindergarten:

  • Kashish K.
  • Michal K.
  • Iga L.
  • Sara M.

Please recognize these students and their families as our Warriors of longest standing.

525,600 minutes – No that is not how long my speech is going to be.

525,600 minutes How do you measure, Measure a year – these are lyrics from a song entitled Seasons of Love from the Broadway Musical Rent.  It’s a powerful song that filled my ears recently and I’m always caught by how it’s one of those tunes that seems to bridge generations.

But, in particular, a key lyric buried in the song goes like this:

It’s time now to sing out,
Though the story never ends.
Let’s celebrate, remember, a year in a life of friends.

525,600 minutes.  A metaphor for our celebration today.

But I thought I would do a little math of my own…

Let’s see – 13 years of school times180 school days, 6 hours per day, 60 minutes per hour:  I know there is a math whiz on this stage that already knows the answer…

842,400 minutes – That’s the journey of your education.

Oh – but wait.  If you add a couple of years of pre-school, it sizes up to over 950,000 minutes.  Then, I started thinking, maybe there was also a bit of summer school and maybe some after school activities, homework time, extended essay research, a few weekend trips for school related sports or academics, some service time on the weekends at animal shelters, and possibly a lesson or two from a piano teacher.  So, since we are all friends here, let’s just round it up to a nice even one million minutes.  1 million minutes invested in your education so far.

Much of life is about perspective and there is a truth about this perspective.  Here it is:  You will never go to school as much after this day as you have already completed.  Even if you go on to complete a MA and PhD investing about 8 years’ of time, it will still pale by comparison to what you have already invested between the time you started walking and talking, and TODAY.  1 million minutes.  Job well done!  Putting it in perspective, the next learning journey should be a piece of cake!

I value that this last year, your 64,800 minutes, will be many of the most remembered.  As noted in our proceedings, you have been a powerful and capable class.  We watched you listen, learn, study, struggle, and dance.  I hope that the entire experience of your education has given you perspective that you too can take into life.  Value each other always, gather family and friends close at every opportunity and cherish the precious moments past, present, and future.

Two years ago was a special graduation for me, owing to my first born son crossing a stage very similar to this one, and I am now contemplating a similar moment for my daughter just one year from now.  My closing and traditional message is gleaned from my perspective as a father, privileged to have led the schools where my two children have studied and will have graduated.  This traditional message, I will note, is particularly poignant on Mother’s Day.

In these final words, I speak for the parents in the audience and I know this will resonate in their hearts as it does in mine:

To the children in the Class of 2018 — when we say we love you, as we often do, it is not because of habit or routine. It is because of how we really feel deep inside each time we utter the words.  The following has been and always will be true:

  • you inspire us
  • you complete us
  • you give our lives meaning

While we will feel lost without you during the times we are apart, we are so proud of your launching, warmed by the anticipation of all that we know you are yet to become.

We love you so much!!

Go forth all of you — embrace your family and then life!!

At this time, I ask Principal Michael Sheehan and Chair of the ASW Board of Trustees, Mr. Rob Batchelder to please join me on stage for the conferring of diplomas…

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General Data Protection Regulation

A short note to herald the work being done by staff throughout the school in regards to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that is coming into effect this month.  We are working diligently to implement all of the components of the new regulation and part of the process has been incremental changes to some of our agreements and systems that help us manage information that is processed on a daily basis.  We’ve done extensive data mapping and continue to work with an international working group on the topic.  Many of the systems at ASW were already compliant with the upcoming regulation and we are moving quickly to assure that all systems will be fully compliant in the coming months.  While we plan to have a more comprehensive campaign regarding this important new regulation, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the regulation and the stipulations therein.  You are likely already receiving notices from various online companies about your  participation in their systems and we will have similar as we return to school in August, if not earlier, via our PowerSchool system.  We presented our comprehensive audit on the topic to the board on Monday and clarified next steps in our process.  Policy was presented for first reading and we are well on our way to the next steps.  If you want to learn more about GDPR, you can go to the EU website on the topic at https://www.eugdpr.org

Other items of attention:

  • Please come and join us on Saturday for the Warsaw Spring Cup, our first annual invitational track meet.  Along with visiting schools from Krakow, we’ll have guests from multiple schools here in Warsaw to join us for an event co-sponsored with local track club RK Athletics and our honored guest, Robert Korzeniowski, Poland’s Olympic Gold medalist race walker.  The opening presentation begins on Saturday at 9:00a in the Annex Gym.  Also on hand to help us in opening the ceremony will be John Armstrong, the US Embassy Economics Counselor and himself a former high school track participant.  Please join us!
  • There will no longer be a printed version of the calendar. All events can be found at the online calendar on the ASW website https://www.aswarsaw.org/about-us/calendar. The Academic Calendars for next school years are listed on the websites as well. They can be downloaded and printed.
  • This is a reminder for all interested ASW families to sign up for the ASW Summer Camp 2018. There are still some spaces available and we are going to open it to a wider Warsaw Community on June 4th.  The details are below under School Wide section of this eNotes.
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Accreditation and Strategic Work

Accreditation

It’s important to gather our key documents together and you can now access the entire accreditation report via the link below.  We’re happy to share this compiled version that includes the letters of accreditation from both CIS and NEASC along with the entire self-study and the visiting team’s comments.

http://bit.do/aswaccreditation

ASW Robotics Team

The ASW robotics team returns from the FTC World Championship in Detroit where the world was most definitely their classroom.  Out of 134 competing teams from all over the world, our team ended up 55th in their division. Bouncing back after numerous challenges, each of the member of the team pulled together and never gave up. The students had examples and were helped by many teams from all over the globe.  Friends were made and collaborations happened on many levels. Tips and technology that were shared helped us to get on our feet. Felix Morenc stepped up and became an FTC student ambassador from our team.  Shevy Gupts and Jack Kolenbrander spearheaded efforts for the tasks in the Fed Ex challenges. Juwon Park and Max Turner tirelessly coded and tweaked the mechanics of the robot during every minute of the pit time.  On a terrific side note, the boys had accommodations in the center between the home stadiums of the Detroit Lions, Tigers, Pistons, and Redwings. The team comes back in good spirits, more skilled, more knowledgeable, and eager to share and continue to develop the robotics program at the American School of Warsaw.

Campus Safety

A big thank you again to many of our community who assisted in arranging for the installation of our new road in back of the school.  We are still fine tuning this entry, but have a wonderful access for our families that depend on this entrance.  Thank you again for improvement in following all of our on campus rules and please note the new painting of lines and signage that should help you make the parking area safer for all of us.  A reminder that there is no parking in yellow areas and please also check your speeds on campus. We need to be going very slowly at all times and we appreciate your compliance with this important safety expectation.

High School Play

Students have worked very hard getting our last dramatic production ready for you this week.  It is a wonderful family friendly play that will offer both an evening and matinee performance.  Please join us for one or both:

The HS production of You Can’t Take it With You  is THIS Friday at 6pm and Saturday at 2 pm. Tickets for this hilarious, family-friendly comedy are 10 zloty, and will be on sale this every day this week outside the cafeteria, from 12:30 -1:50 or at the reception desk at other times. Some tickets may also be available at the door.

These students deserve a full house!!  Please join us!!

And, by the way, you can also cheer on our lady Warriors at the CEESA MS Girl’s Softball tournament before and after the play on both Friday and Saturday!

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