Welcome back…

It’s always a wild ride between February break and the end of school and this year will be no different despite our circumstances. With the announcement of vaccination for teachers yesterday, we are thinking cautiously about our plans for what comes next.

For the moment, do not expect much change in our practices or protocols. But, last Fall I predicted that the introduction of protections for staff would allow us to focus even more on student health and safety given a layer of protection for staff. Protection from a vaccine is not quick, so we have weeks ahead of us with continued diligence, but we are in a flow now.

We will continue looking at the calendar issues for the remainder of this year that have been raised and assess the data from all stakeholder groups that we are still gathering. It’s a challenging issue with diverse opinions, but I trust the administration and ultimately the board to give it due diligence.

We are enjoying some better weather after our snowfall before the break, but I hasten to warn that Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow on February 2nd and thus, we should expect additional weeks of winter. I’m sure some other almanacs and prognosticators might refute his prediction, but my Kindergarteners from decades past would have happily debated that with you. Their belief in Phil was unshakeable. Dress warm and keep the hot chocolate handy!

Looking forward to seeing everyone tonight at the Town Hall. Not too many questions, but happy to have everyone with us for this time together.

Follow-up from before break…

Before the break, I announced that our long-time maintenance staff member, Grzegorz Oleksiak, passed after a long-fought illness. The services for him took place on Monday and a contingent of ASW staff, friends, and family attended. The school sent flowers on behalf of the entire ASW community. A memory book is still being prepared. If you have a contribution you would like us to add, please direct it to my office at director@aswarsaw.org.

The family has asked that we direct all donations to the Mazovian Oncological Hospital in Wieliszew that provided care to Grzegorz during his final days.  In order to facilitate a school-based donation, you may make contributions to a fund by using the following transfer information. Once all donations are collected the school will forward it to the Hospital in his name from the ASW Community. We will accept donations until March 20.

Please put in detail of the payment – “DONATION – GRZEGORZ” :

To: American School of Warsaw
SANTANDER Bank Polska S.A.
Al. Jana Pawla II 17, 00-854 Warszawa

Account #: PL55 1090 1056 0000 0001 4267 6549

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A terrible loss and the plan for next week…

Grzegorz Oleksiak

I regret to inform you that we received word this morning that we lost Grzegorz Oleksiak (Maintenance frontman since 1998) to a long-term illness that started last February.  Grzegorz, who had continued working until school opening in the Fall was recently moved to hospice care and passed peacefully this morning.  Staff members had been in touch with him yesterday and a care package was being gathered as a Valentine’s Day gift.  It had not yet been delivered.

Grzegorz has been ill for a long period of time and medical treatment was elusive during the last year because of the pandemic. He was a kind and gentle man, dedicated to the school, visible in many activities, and a keen supporter behind the scenes of all aspects of our facility and systems.  He cared about all of us, serving our needs, and was the cornerstone of the maintenance team over his 20+ years of service.

Grzegorz is survived by a daughter, two grandchildren, a brother, and his father.  We will inform the community regarding the final arrangements when we know more.  Please join me in keeping family, co-workers, and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this time of significant loss.

The Plan for Next Week

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The plans for re-entry drive-through testing are completed for next week and the system is ready in PowerSchool to take your appointment scheduling starting at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow. Please log in to Power School and look for the usual icon. Schedule ONE appointment for the family when we will only test your children at that appointment. You will not need to wait for results, so with the wait time, we expect it will take each family about 5 minutes. Testing as follows:

  • Testing is available on Saturday the 27th of February, Sunday the 28th of February, and Monday the 1st of March
  • Please Note on Saturday and Sunday there is only one testing station available and on Monday there are 3 testing stations available.

For instructions on how to make an appointment here is a short Video.

Following the re-entry testing, we will return to the schedule with a slightly modified approach. Elementary will change to a Tuesday/Thursday, Wednesday/Friday schedule. The only exception is that students scheduled on Tuesday who tested on Monday will be excused. We’ll provide lists for teachers to manage this. For Upper School, students who test on Monday with their families will be excused from testing on Tuesday. The rest of the Upper School cohort will test on Tuesday. Upper School will return to its regular schedule on Thursday and Friday. By the end of the week, we’ll be back on a regular schedule.

Remember that travel exclusion is 7-days from the date you return home. You may still come in for testing while on this 7-day exclusion. Answer “Yes” to question #5 and enter the date you returned. The app will inform you of the date to return to school (with re-entry testing).

A reminder that students on hybrid or returning from travel may still follow their testing protocol during their exclusion. Just write to aswhealth@aswarsaw.org to notify us if you are coming for testing under these circumstances. Epixpert will be here all week during the break for staff and special needs on Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Staff may also come at any time on Monday.

Have a wonderful break and use this time to renew and rejuvenate before we enter into the Spring stretch!


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Board of Trustees – Open for Nominations

The Board of Trustees (BoT) has been busy and many items of both operational and strategic work are in progress as we prepare for our next meeting on the coming Monday. More details on the meeting will come out on Friday as usual, but please reserve 6:00p on Monday, February 15 for the next virtual meeting. It has been both a challenging and rewarding year as they have taken on the challenges of a global pandemic and the school’s aggressive posture to keep school open under the most difficult of circumstances. But, opportunity now exists for you to potentially participate in this noble work on behalf of all the students we protect and serve.

Similar to last year, the BoT is seeking candidates for Trustees (U.S. citizens and Non-U.S. citizens) who are willing to begin serving in the 2021-2022 school year. This process, overseen by the BoT Governance Committee, begins now with a call for both applications for appointment and nominations for election through a unified form. The link to our form is here:


You can find more information about the BoT, including the composition of the board and qualifications at the following link:


New and Aspiring Board Member Training

A reminder to mark your calendars for the second session this year of the New and Aspiring Board Member training.  Like last year, I’ll be leading session on School and non-profit board membership. If you have an interest in a position on the ASW board, as a leader in PTO, or if you are looking to serve on other boards in the future, this training will help provide some of the key understandings associated with good governance in a non-profit setting.  The content of this training has been expanded to also include insights into ASW specifically.  We’ll explore selected ASW Board documents and will give some insight into ASW structures and policy.  Our first session will take place as follows:

Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.

If you would like to participate, you can sign up by clicking here:  https://goo.gl/forms/cfjli5MvNnwzNiNs2

Culture of Giving Project

To further develop our school and our community, and in keeping with what other international educational institutions are doing around the world, we are embarking on a Culture of Giving Project that was first adopted by the board last spring.  The plan for this initiative was developed as a strategic project for our school.  Due to its importance, regardless of the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic, we have decided to proceed with launching this Culture of Giving Project, albeit on a smaller scale this year than originally envisioned.

ASW has a long tradition of giving and supporting those less fortunate through our various Service Learning initiatives and PTO events.  Our Culture of Giving will build on this tradition and assist us in firmly embedding various avenues of giving and receiving within the whole of the ASW community.  As part of the Culture of Giving, we will be focusing on strengthening the relationship with our Alumni, building partnerships with the wider business community, establishing scholarships and grants, organising fundraising events, and actively promoting our Service Learning activities. Before the end of this school year, the full breath of the Culture of Giving initiatives will be included on our renovated website. And as we move along, I will be providing you with regular updates on how we are progressing with establishing a Culture of Giving at ASW.

We are certain that by actively supporting the Culture of Giving at ASW, we will help to grow and develop our current students, and create a stable foundation for our school to thrive financially and academically in the years to come.

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