Updates and Big Day Tomorrow!!

A few quick updates in this edition…

UN Day tomorrow!!
Setup has begun and we are getting ready for a busy and wonderful day!  Assembly begins at 9:00 a.m. – seating (and standing room) will be available at 8:45a. Livestream is here:

https://livestream.com/accounts/15498644/events/7790464

To all the parents and particularly to the coordination under PTO and the capable leadership of Jessica Sirotin, we all thank you in advance for everything that will be on display tomorrow for all of our community, celebrating our diversity in wonderfully special ways.  Students will remember these experiences for many years to come and your sharing of time and talents is an important part of the Warrior spirit!!  Thank you, one and all!!

Admissions Survey
We still need your input on our Admissions Survey.  If you haven’t done so already, please head to this link and complete it if you will be leaving mid-year or if you plan to enroll additional siblings next year.  That survey is here:

https://goo.gl/forms/HWUEtDqJ4mlJ2dKz1

Safety and Security
We have had recent reports confirmed by police of home invasion robbery in the local area.  This is a general security reminder to all with regards to personal safety and security in your homes.  You should:

  • Lock doors at all times, even if at home (this includes vehicles)
  • Use your alarm (if one is installed)
  • Ensure that items that could be used to force entry into a home are not left unsecured on your property.
  • Report all suspicious activity to local law enforcement (Dial 112)

In regards to personal safety, it is always good to refresh your practices and make sure you have emergency contact numbers handy and report anything out of the ordinary to the local authorities.

And, Finally…
Wishing all a wonderful Fall Break next week!!  Whether you are traveling to a new adventure or staying in our own neighborhood, we wish you a nice mid-semester rest with renewed energy and enthusiasm for the Winter season that approaches.

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Already thinking about next year…

At the administrative level and during this first part of the current school year, we often start thinking ahead to next school year and beyond.  It is our strategic nature to reflect on the results of our initiatives and programs during this first part of the year and think about the next year and how we will improve or otherwise sustain our work going forward.  While many professions experience this cyclical aspect to their work, education is particularly suited to an annual “do over” that allows us to get better and better with each iteration.

Our work in strategic planning is a key example.  While we work toward implementing our new core values, we are already considering the gaps that are being identified between what we are, and what we want to become.  The next phase of strategic planning is to translate these experiences into tactics that accomplish the aspirational work represented by our 5 values.  The results of Accreditation Self-Study will also inform this work.

But, we are also planning for the more operational aspects of school growth and assessing our overall school population in the face of growing demand.  At our most recent board meeting, we reported the lowest turnover rate on record for ASW and how this increased pressure has created waiting list at most grade levels.  To that end and in order to more effectively gauge our response to the upcoming registration season and the potential for turnover during the winter holidays, we would like you to take our annual survey from admissions.  In this survey, we want to know about the potential for mid-year departure and your early notification to us will help us place some of the students currently on our waiting lists.  But, we also want to know about younger siblings that will be applying for next year and with this message we want to inform you that current families of ASW are now allowed to apply early for admission of younger siblings for the 2018-2019 school year.  If you are planning to apply for next year, please fill out our survey and we will contact you with more details.  Thank you in advance for filling out our survey.  We want to hear from everyone in order to plan effectively for the remainder of this year and for next year.  Click here to complete the survey.  It will only take one minute of your time.

https://goo.gl/forms/HWUEtDqJ4mlJ2dKz1

Finally, looking forward to seeing you at United Nations Day which is fast approaching.  We are working out final details and a seperate message about our event will be coming shortly.  Very excited to see our diversity on display in all its pageantry!!

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When the worst happens…

This week it is time to pause and reflect in the aftermath of a horrible tragedy in Las Vegas and contemplate our response to this and other tragedies around the world.  We’ve just emerged from multiple storms and significant human suffering in the United States, the crisis with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the multiple war and conflict fronts around the world, and now the worst mass shooting in US modern history.

First and foremost, we reach out our thoughts and prayers to all who may have been impacted by this string of misfortune.  We know that often members of our own community are connected through family and acquaintance with those who have been harmed by these events.  Our hearts reach out to those who are impacted by violence, no matter where or how.  Our most important human quality is our compassion for those in need and for those we have lost.

Please know that conversations at school often try to help students, in age appropriate ways, understand the bombardment of media and gossip.  We create open forums for expressing ideas and reflections on feelings that emerge in the shadow of significant events.  We will always try to make sure that this dialog is respectful and open to different points of view, valuing all in a comfortable and academic dialog.

Because we value diversity, I would also suggest that ASW, like schools of our nature around the world, aspire to values that seek to resolve conflict through peaceful means.  One of our most important values, and one that will be on display in all pageantry on United Nations Day, is the message of inclusiveness.  The idea that we can all sit together, seek redress to our concerns and not be excluded because our ideas or backgrounds are different than those across the table.  In fact, we not only embrace that diversity, we depend upon it to help us see things in ways we might not have considered – ways that can help us solve the problems that future generations must tackle.

Please join me in encouraging in our children, the ones we raise together as a village, to keep open minds and engaged hearts in all their encounters in life.  We are hopeful that the children we prepare today will find ways to eliminate the tools of violence in favor of ensuring that solutions to world problems are inclusive and empowering to all.

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Attendance Policy Thoughts

We are working with the Board of Trustees with various governance items starting from last year that includes updates to all of our policies.  This is also linked to our ongoing accreditation work and standards in the accreditation protocol suggest that policy is well written and effectively followed.  Our current policy manual with edits that were completed last year is available for review on the school website at the following link:

Board Policy 2017-2018

One such policy that underwent review last year is our attendance policy.  While we have always had language in our admissions and re-enrollment policy that speaks to attendance being a factor in consideration of students, the policy manual lacked clearer guidelines for attendance and the school’s expectations.  At the core, the overall effectiveness of school programs requires generally regular attendance.  The current attendance policy is here for your reference:

Policy 8.10 from Board Policy 2017-2018

This policy establishes standards that are incrementally more rigorous based on the age of the child and the growing importance of full engagement in increasingly rigorous content. But, the policy is clear that it can also be responsive to unforeseen circumstances of illness or family emergency and we encourage parents to approach principals when this is likely as soon as known.

We are still aligning our systems to report effectively relative to the policy.  For example, there is no more need for differentiating between excused and unexcused absences.  As stated in the policy, all absences are treated equally with regards to the limits established in the policy.  This encourages parent and student conversations that plan ahead for absences associated with activities and athletics to assure that potential total absences are considered.  As a school, we want to be thoughtful in the implementation of this policy and we do encourage parents to contact us early when mitigating circumstances force a conversation about student attendance.  We are always happy to discuss this with you at your discretion and as an important part of our partnership.

 

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