Let music fill the air!!

Pic from HS Band and Choir Concert

We had a wonderful Band and Choir Concert on Tuesday night, with our students providing us with instrumental and vocal bliss, regaling the seasons through song and dance (loved the Rumanja shuffle)!  Rock and Rota last weekend was also a wonderful success with guitar festival following that had melodic harmonies wafting through the rafters throughout the school. Thanks go to the entire Performing arts teams, but especially to our directors: Ms. Bechdoldt, Mr. Armstrong, and Mr. Celinski.

So, I’m shouting out a challenge to all to help us fill the theater for one more performance coming on Thursday night for the Middle School Band and Choir, 6:00 p.m.  Please think about joining us and applauding for our kids to honor their preparation and commitment.  Will be an engaging night of song, all as we also prepare for our 130+ guests coming to the CEESA Band and Choir Festival the weekend of April 18-22.  Book now for Saturday night, April 21st, to join us in the Theater for the finale of the festival, which always promises to thrill and impress!

Finally, a note of encouragement:  In the spring time, we all beginning to focus on thinking ahead to next school year.  In that regard, it is time for returning parents to start considering their role in partnering with the school beyond just being a parent.  ASW has always placed a high value on our parent partnership.  Many roles for next year are beginning to emerge that are seeking your time and talent.  In the early stages, we earnestly ask you to consider taking on roles in PTO as they start to finalize their leadership team for 2018-2019.  Whether as committee chair or on the board, they need leadership that will continue to build and inspire everything possible to extend and enrich the school experience for all of our students and families.  Scroll down to the PTO section to find out more and please contact PTO leaders quickly to get involved!!

 

 

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Spring – Finally!!

What a beautiful day today!!  I hope you all enjoyed the wonderful spring weather and basked in the sunshine.

It was great to also get our traffic back to normal with the re-opening of our back entrance.  With the traffic now rebalanced back to our regular flow, the lines and wait times disappeared.    You may now readjust your departure times accordingly so that all are arriving at their usual time.

As noted in my message, we are thankful that the Hinckfuss family allowed us to return to access of our road while negotiations continue.  We are hopeful of a positive outcome, but we should caution that legal matters can sometime be unpredictable as we work towards longer term solutions.  To that end, we have backup plans now in place should they be required.

We want to thank the many members of the community that stepped forward with ideas and suggestions.  We gleaned many suggestions from others and appreciate tremendously your contributions.  In particular, the support of the Real2B developers and their willingness to work with us on alternative plans was very helpful and much appreciated, setting the stage for a wonderful partnership in the future.  But, particularly want to mention Mr. Peter Wasserman for his support in recent days.  Thank you so much for your help!!

Also, thanks go out to everyone for pulling together during our entrance challenge.  We all appreciate how all demonstrated tremendous flexibility and patience during our traffic lines.  Still smiling as you entered the front gate each day, despite the long wait, was a wonderful testament to our sense of community and the partnership we all enjoy!!

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Accreditation Achieved!!

Last Friday, ASW received word that our re-accreditation process was successful and we were awarded full accreditation by the Council of International Schools (CIS).  Ray Davis, Director of School Support and Evaluation was particularly thoughtful in his commendations:

In reaching their decision, CIS took into account the Evaluation Team’s commendations which were based on evidence of effective alignment with the standards for CIS International Accreditation. In granting the award of accreditation, CIS felt that the commendations – or strengths of the school – far outweigh any areas in which the school was deficient. Of particular note are the following:

  • the thorough, inclusive, reflective manner with which the American School of Warsaw Self-Study Report was generated
  • the identification and implementation of core values as the touchstone for strategic planning and all decision-making (Sections A and C)
  • the creation of student-centred teaching and learning policies to guide instruction and assessment (Sections B, E, and F)
  • the development of service learning as one means of engaging students as global citizens (Sections A and F)
  • the concerted effort on the part of the Board of Trustees and Director to develop a ‘robust’ Board Manual establishing clear roles and responsibilities as well as policies guiding school operations (Section C)
  • the positive school culture evident through respectful and supportive interactions among all stakeholders (Sections D and F)
  • the strong financial health of American School of Warsaw (Section G)

These strengths and others should be celebrated by the school community.

As with all schools around the world, our job of continuous improvement is never complete.  The action plan in the final report, largely authored by our team, has carefully articulated our path forward.    With the additional insight and recommendations of the visiting team, we’ll set about that work in the immediate months and years ahead.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) performed a joint accreditation with CIS and we expect that their findings will be largely aligned.  Our next report of progress on their recommendations will be compiled in the Spring of 2020.  The full report will eventually be posted for all to review after these results have been presented to the board at our April meeting.

A quick note with regards to the board.  Aspiring Board Member training is next week and there are still spots available for your participation.  The link for signing up and details can be found here:  https://goo.gl/forms/HuxZ5JGk0bO5lO9z2

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Oh, the weather…

Seems we should be well into the signs of Spring with today being the first of a new season, but, alas, the latest snowfall seems to be sticking around for a bit longer.  We want to thank everyone for keeping the winter coats in play under the current circumstances while we await the warmer rays of the sun that certainly must be on the horizon.

My time in Prague this last weekend at the CEESA 2018 conference was productive and enjoyable.  We connected with our counterparts from dozens of international schools scattered across Eastern Europe and around the world to network and consider new ideas.  One highlight was the presentation by Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of Malala, who was shot by the Taliban in 2012.  It was a wonderful story of family legacy, of a father taught by his father to embrace respect and equality.  His simple quote in answer to the question of why his daughter turned out so strong – “Because I didn’t clip her wings.”  I value this story of empowerment between parents and children knowing myself the challenges of, particularly, the growth through adolescence.  It can be daunting at times.  May we always be reminded of the freedom we must grant children to test their assumptions and find their path through adversity.   Our core value of “Bounce back when things don’t go your way” is a testament to the importance of giving permission to fail.  It is only through this process that children find both resilience and an understanding of the growth mindset – the consummate ability to learn from our mistakes.  This is Ziauddin’s message.  Don’t clip their wings in order to keep them safe in the nest.  Instead, let’s all work together to prepare them for the wonders of flight!!

Enjoy the first weekend of Spring!!

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