Exams, Projects, and a sad note…

IB Exams

This is the time of year for our IB students in 12th grade to take their final examinations, the culmination of two years of work in the Diploma Programme.  It’s a testament to their studies and integration of the material to answer both knowledge and process questions in their six subject areas.  My youngest has been diligently studying (well, most of the time) since the last day of classes for seniors and the exam experience has been a complex mix of stress, sleepless, studious, and Starbucks.  It is challenging to prepare and perform in a challenging high stakes exam of this nature and I feel for the kids each day.  But, the life lesson of surmounting challenges is critical to our learning process and the precept behind summative experiences of all kinds.  The sense of accomplishment can be profound and celebratory, while defeat can give us insight into how to prepare more effectively in the future.  Experiences like these carry well to the college level in preparing students for even higher stakes, and life in general.  While I struggle with watching the suffering of preparation (not for all), I also enjoy seeing how the kids prepare.  My favorite was the “wall of knowledge” I saw one student preparing, copying notes onto a large piece of butcher paper in order to uncover the connections over two years of material. I know they emptied highlighters in recent weeks from all the colors of the rainbow!

As testing comes to a close, students deserve a break while they prepare for graduation.  The test results are on the horizon in July, so all eyes can focus on celebrating the accomplishment of earning a diploma.  In my heart I know all have done well and I look forward to wishing them well from the stage in a few short weeks!


Our next major project is coming to a close and our 5th graders take the stage on Friday, May 17, with their culminating project.  Not unlike our seniors above and our MYP students in their Personal Project, they are experiencing what it feels like to bring a project to completion and experiencing agency and action in the context of their integrated learning.  More below in the Elementary bulletin, but please join us starting in the theater at 8:45 a.m.

A Sad Note

The ASW community has experienced a sad loss of our former ASW employee Stanisław Stępień, lovingly known as Stan, who passed away on May 10th at his home in Warsaw.

Stan worked at ASW for nine years (1998-2007) in the capacity of Maintenance Director. Stan was the one to first create and then supervise the security and facility maintenance departments.  He was the one to oversee the construction process of the new ASW campus (where the school is currently located) and was also in charge of organizing the move to this location.

Stan will be remembered as a very warm and friendly person, a highly motivated, hard-working, and dedicated employee who was always ready to help everyone in need.  Please share your memories of Stan in the comments of this post on Zimplicity and we will share them with the family.

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PTO Tomorrow – Please Come!

Please join us for PTO tomorrow, Thursday, at 8:45a in the Cafeteria for a wonderful agenda that will consider the future, both for the PTO and the school.  After the introduction of the new PTO Executive Board and their annual election, they have kindly given me a spot to introduce work that has been progressing since January on the school’s new mission and vision, which will formally launch in the 2019-2020 school year.  We will enjoy a highly collaborative process and engaging around our hopes and aspiration, all gleaned from the work we have been doing together over the last two years.  This is one of many opportunities for community input and engagement.

Please come and join us!

Board Election Update

You should have received your election ballot and many of you have voted – Thank you!  Your last day to vote is this coming Friday.  We will send two more reminders only to those who have not yet voted.  We ask you to kindly check your Junk Mail folder to make sure the ballot did not accidentally get there.  If you did not receive a folder and would still like one, please contact the election address at aswtrustees@aswarsaw.org !  Results of the election will be shared after they are reviewed and certified by the Board Governance Committee.

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Board Elections Begins Tomorrow & Maker Faire

Maker – def. – From Wikipedia:

Maker culture emphasizes learning-through-doing (active learning) in a social environment. Maker culture emphasizes informal, networked, peer-led, and shared learning motivated by fun and self-fulfillment. Maker culture encourages novel applications of technologies, and the exploration of intersections between traditionally separate domains and ways of working including metal-working, calligraphy, film making, and computer programming. Community interaction and knowledge sharing are often mediated through networked technologies, with websites and social media tools forming the basis of knowledge repositories and a central channel for information sharing and exchange of ideas, and focused through social meetings in shared spaces such as hackspaces. Maker culture has attracted the interest of educators concerned about students’ STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in formal educational settings. Maker culture is seen as having the potential to contribute to a more participatory approach and create new pathways into topics that will make them more alive and relevant to learners.

Bottom line:  Come and have some amazing fun tomorrow in our latest iteration of the ASW Maker Faire!!  The fun kicks off at 9:00 a. m. tomorrow!!

Board Elections

Tomorrow (Thursday) you will receive your personalized ballot for ASW Board of Trustee Elections.  As a reminder, here are our candidates:

Ms. van Heel Merdanovic will be running unopposed, whereas Ms. Hutten-Czapska and Ms. Esra Yavuz will compete for the available non-US citizen seat.  Your ballot will include a personalized link that can only be used by you.  An invite will be sent to all parents registered in our system at your registered email.  Please contact us at director@aswarsaw.org if you do not receive your ballot by the end of the day on Thursday.  You will receive reminders until you cast your ballot and click on submit.  The voting closes on May 10 and the results will be certified by the board at their regular meeting on May 27.

FCD  – A data point…

Our survey data is starting to return from our time with FCD, but the pre and post data for the presentations were reviewed today and this one result demonstrated a strong validation of the sessions and the visit of our specialist John Tummon:

One of the key protective factors for our students is having the knowledge to help a friend.  This tremendous growth in student reported reflections on their overall experience speaks volumes about the importance of open dialog and factual information so that students can make healthy choices confidently on their own, and help their friends in doing the same.  More survey data from the core instrument will be shared shortly after the break.

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FCD and other important items…

Last week, we had a wonderfully informative parent meeting with John Tummon, our representative from FCD (Freedom from Chemical Dependency).  It is important that all parents get the important messages from this meeting and that you should look to talk to parents who were in attendance as well as reviewing the contents of the slides that John graciously shared with us:

ASW FCD Parent April 10 2019

Some of the key myth-busting facts that are important to note:

  • Myth: students learning to drink alcohol in the home at earlier ages protect them later in life.  WRONG!  All research supports the opposite for adolescents – the earlier an adolescent drinks, the greater the risk for later problems.
  • Myth: Cigarette alternatives (vaping, chewing, etc.) are better for your health than smoking – WRONG! There are a number of slides in the presentation that dispel this myth and confirm that marketing campaigns are trying to sell this message in order to market newer products to adolescents, who are more likely to develop lifelong habits and negative health impacts when starting during adolescence.  You should be VERY concerned about the ease of access to vaping products in our general area!

An important book reference for the above and consistent with much of the presentation can be found here:  Age of Possibility by Dr. Laurence Steinberg.

There is much more to continue to discuss and we are awaiting our compiled survey results in the coming days that will help us understand the challenges we face here at ASW.  We are fully prepared to continue this conversation and make plans to address any concerns as warranted.  We are not done with this topic and are already planning for the enhancements to our health curriculum and policies as we identify areas of needed impact.  If you have any questions, please reach out to us!

Maker Faire

Maker Faire is still looking for adult helpers.  We need everyone to help make it a great success for our students!  Signup is here:

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