Time is slipping away…and other matters

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend and enjoyed all that was possible with family at a time that we gather for important renewal.  I had a chance to visit Gdansk over the weekend and happened into St. Mary’s Basilica as I explored the town.  Inside, we found this marvelous astronomical clock that was showing the time and date, phases of the moon, the position of the moon and sun in relation to the zodiac signs, and the calendar of saints.  The lower panel rotates so slowly, that there is no way to actually perceive its movement with the human eye.  A true marvel dating back to 1470.

Unlike the nature of this clock, our year at ASW seems to be streaming by at an uncontrollable pace.  Hard to imagine that, in just a few short days, Seniors will complete their formal studies and move into final preparation in advance of imminent exams. Before you know it, they will be crossing the stage, accepting their diploma, and off to their next adventure while we rush to take a breath and voice our farewells.  For all of our students, the end of the year approaches with culminating projects and special events, all meant to capture community, spirit, and demonstrations of accomplishment at all levels and ages.  Here’s to the strong finish for all that lies ahead!!

Strategic Planning

The ASW Design Team met for the first time with our consultant Ewan McIntosh from NoTosh, Inc. to begin our board empowered strategic planning process. As mentioned in previous articles, this is a process, with the remainder of the current school year, that is focused on understanding and defining ASW Core Values.  To that end, the process begins now to get all of you involved. With that thought in mind, we are pleased to announce the opening of the ASW Project Nest. The following is a message from the team:

Open the door on the ASW Values Project Nest…

This room’s door is open so that you can come in. We want every student, parent, teacher, leader and staff member of the school to come in here, have a read of what values people think we live by already, and which values we might live by in the future.

Join us now. Pick up a post-it and a pen. Make your mark.

We’ve been working to define who we are at ASW. We want to establish a common language and understanding of what guides us as a school – what’s our behavioural compass?

We hope that later in 2017, as we set about writing our strategy, this compass will help us define the best things we want to achieve as a school, and give us some hints as to how we do that.

Collectively we have been challenging our assumptions surrounding our school values and mission to begin to establish a common thread across the whole school community about who we are.

Points to keep in mind:

  • There is no right or wrong answer
  • A core value might be obvious, or it might not exist as yet.
  • This is YOUR opportunity to share your voice. Use it.

Board Elections – Meet the Candidates

We are pleased to remind you that three ASW community members presented themselves as candidates for the 2017-2018 Board of Trustees election. The first Meet the Candidates session took place last week. You are warmly invited to attend the second meeting TODAY,  Thursday, April 20, at 5:30pm in the Multipurpose Room (Arts and Athletics Building) right before the ES Family Reading Night.  At this meeting, you will be given the opportunity not only to listen to the three BoT candidates’ perspectives on the current school climate, but also to ask them questions about their vision for ASW in the future. The electronic voting for ASW’s Board of Trustees will open on Friday April 21.  Candidate information is available as follows:

HS Parent Meeting – Information for All, But Prudence Required

Last Friday the Upper School team (HS and MS) held a parent forum in response to concerns raised about a recent disciplinary investigation.  This emerged from the HS notification of decisions reached in this investigation, sent in order to inform a community that was already receiving mixed messages through rumor and misinformation.  Mr. Sheehan’s original message is included here as reference to the public communication sent earlier in April to HS parents.

HS Parent Letter

While this was considered primarily a High School issue at the time, inquiries from parents started to cross into Middle School as student awareness of the issues crossed divisional boundaries.  In response, the parent meeting and messages in both HS and MS E-Notes clarified and helped respond to remaining questions.  It’s important to thank the Middle School and High School administration for their diligence in addressing these concerns in a timely fashion!

In all of our communication, we have been careful to describe a process  that follows very clear policy and handbook guidelines relative to the school’s practices associated with discipline.  We uncovered through a due diligent investigation the involvement of a few students in the use of and sharing of illegal drugs with others, as stipulated by Polish law and school rules.  We made disciplinary decisions based on the results of our investigation.

During the entire investigation, we involved local law enforcement where and when appropriate.  We also consulted with our sources of advice at the US Embassy to assure that we were compliant with both host country and international requirements.

We also sought to protect identities while proceeding with the investigation, owing to our policy requirements for confidentiality in matters of this nature.  No disciplinary action should be shared broadly, nor should it be a topic of public scrutiny.  Relative to due process, all individuals have the right to appeal and this process is well articulated and effective in assuring fair and balanced decision making with appropriate checks and balances.  While I understand the desire that some may have for more details in the matter, the school must temper those desires with the appropriate rights of the individuals involved in the inquiry.

If, however, there had been a perceived ongoing safety issue relative to the matters being addressed, we would have communicate this threat broadly and helped parents address this in a more comprehensive way.  While this was not the case, we have already shared some details of our plans to address the broader ramifications of these issues at the MS and HS level. Some activities are already happening including increased awareness, staff dialog, and informational presentations to students.

Schools should always be responsive to these kinds of issues, looking primarily for proactive steps to address them and also looking for ways to keep the school safe and supportive of the learning environment we all cherish.  Your trust and partnership in this regard is both expected and appreciated.

Maker Faire

Maker Faire is coming on April 27, 9:00a to 3:00p.  Based on a previous plea, we have had about 30 parent volunteers so far. We are asking for just a few more motivated individuals to express your interest on our  Volunteer Sign-Up. If we can pull 6-7 more we will have at least one parent in the morning and one in the afternoon to assist each maker at the more complicated stations. If you haven’t had a chance yet, please do consider helping out on this one-of-a-kind event.

Announcing ASW Board of Trustee Elections!

We had a wonderful Aspiring Board member session last night.  With two sessions now complete, we are ready to open nominations for the two elected positions to the Board of Trustees.

Serving on the Board of Trustees is one of the most important roles in the school. Governance is a valued opportunity to bring your voice to the collaboration that oversees the ongoing growth and development of ASW as we all work toward realizing the mission of the school.  Whether you have attended the trainings or not, if you think you have knowledge and insight that will help the school along its journey, we encourage you to consider placing your name in nomination for the open positions that are elected by the members of the School Association, also known as the parents of students attending the American School of Warsaw.

If you are interested in standing for election to the Board or Trustees, two positions are open.  According to the bylaws of the board, one elected position is a U.S. citizen and the other position as a non-U.S. citizen.  Details regarding citizenship requirements can be found in the Board Policy Manual, Section 1.04f.  Two documents are available to guide you.  Click on these links for more information and for the forms required to establish your candidacy:

The election process will proceed according to the follow general calendar with some dates still to be confirmed.

Deadline for Nominations, April 7, 4:00 p.m.
Governance Committee Meet the Candidates, April 12, 8:30 a.m.
Governance Committee Meet the Candidates, April 20, 5:30p
Voting Begins, April 21, 8:00 a.m.
Voting Closes, April 27, 4:00 p.m.
Announce Election Results, April 28

If you have any questions about the process, please contact any of the current board members, the Board Chair, or the Director.

Errata

Finally, a correction from the last Zimplicity post.  I accidentally had incorrect dates for upcoming board meetings.  The correct dates, which are accurate on your printed calendars, have now been corrected in the prior post and are also included here:

April 3, 6:00 p.m.
May 22, 6:00 p.m.
June 19, 6:00 p.m.

Please join us for the board meeting on Monday night!  Agenda is here.

Have a great weekend!!

A moment to pause, plan, and celebrate!

My thoughts for those in strife

One word as an opener for this Zimplicity post.  We have seen over the last few weeks a set of incidents that have shaken us yet again with regards to personal safety and the impact of terror in our lives, and particularly in the lives of international travelers.  We saw an attack in France that reminded us of incidents in recent years that shook us terribly.  The recent attack in London has also reminded us that even the most iconic and traveled locations are potential scenes for making statements through harm and injury to others.  Given our diversity, it’s important to take pause and reach across national boundaries to offer the message of condolence, offering the hand of peace in the midst of adverse circumstance.  So, I offer a moment to our nationalities affected by terror in recent weeks, a moment of pause to consider how you feel and an offer of my deepest condolences for those injured or killed in these horrendous incidents.  Whether American or British, French or Polish, Chinese or Korean, or the other 50+ nationalities at ASW, we are all bound by our humanity and concern for each other.  When any one of us is harmed by hatred, we all feel the pain of intolerance.  Let’s find others in person this week across all nationality lines and reach out the hand of common purpose, filled with empathy and the pursuit of peace and dignity for all.

Governance & Elections

If you missed it previously, we are fully engaged in many items in the governance arena.  The Board of Trustees is fully engaged on work that has been progressing all year and was captured in the recent letter from your Board Chair, Mr. Rob Batchelder.  The board continues there work with meetings in April, May, and June.  We would hope you could join us for the public comments section of the meeting that is now a key fixture of the regular professional meetings.  One and all are invited and encouraged to join us on these dates.  Your printed school calendars are already marked and you are welcome to each of these remaining meetings, all to be held in the MPR.

April 3, 6:00 p.m.
May 22, 6:00 p.m.
June 19, 6:00 p.m.

New and Aspiring Trustee Training – Reprise

For those who may have missed it the first time, back by popular demand is the New and Aspiring Board trustee training.  We’ve pulled together another session to give you insight into the workings of school governance and prepare you for aspirations to become a board member, either here or at other international schools around the world.  This session provides good insight into what it means to be a member of the primary governance body of an international school.  Topics covered include the dynamics of board functions, responsibilities of a board member, and best practices as described by leading publications associated with non-profit governance.  With elections for the ASW board coming soon, this is a perfect opportunity to gain insight into your interests in becoming a part of guiding this school into the future.  If you would like to join us, please click on the links below to RSVP and join us Thursday for this informative session.

Thursday, March 30, 2017
6:00 p.m.
Multi-Purpose Room
American School of Warsaw
Light refreshments provided.

RSVP!

NoTosh!

NEWS RELEASE –  The American School of Warsaw is proud to announce its partnership with NoTosh Ltd. (EMEA) to complete Phase I of our strategic planning efforts that will span over the next 18-24 months.  One of seven proposals that were gleaned from an international search for potential consultants, Ewan McIntosh, Founder and CEO, will lead the efforts of the American School of Warsaw as we architect our plans for the next 5-7 years built on a foundation of first articulating our core values and frame our next adventure as a school, based in part on work already progressing towards re-accreditation with NEASC and CIS.

NoTosh Ltd. is based in Scotland, Australia, and the USA and they work with clients across the globe in sectors ranging from education and healthcare to industry, enterprise and heritage. Learning, and learning to think differently, sits at the heart of everything they do.  We welcome their collaboration in seeking the next phase of growth and development at the American School of Warsaw. Find out more about NoTosh at http://www.notosh.com/

In the coming days, we will be inviting members of the community that have been identified by the board and administration to take part in some Design and Investigation committees.  We look forward to positive responses to these invitations and look forward to immersing ourselves in this work in the coming weeks.  Ewan and his team will be with us during the week of April 17th.

Introducing Bart Kryger – Middle School Vice Principal

A wonderful welcome to Mr. Bart Kryger, our new Vice Principal for the Middle School.  Mr. Kryger was announced recently to the Faculty and Board of Trustees as our selection for Middle School Vice Principal starting in August.  Mr. Kryger comes originally from Washington State, having his BA from Washington State University in music education.  His background is in choral music, including time as a teacher in Eastern Washington and then in Shanghai, China.  He completed his Masters Degree at University of Phoenix and his administrative program through the University of Washington, Tacoma.  He has been the Assistant Principal at Narrows View Intermediate School since 2013 in the prestigious University Place School District in Tacoma, Washington.  Bart also has credentials in the International Baccalaureate in both the PYP and MYP programmes.  He is accompanied by his wife Lucia and their two elementary aged children.

I know you will all join me in welcoming Mr. Kryger to ASW.   You’ll get an opportunity to meet him during his upcoming transitional visit.  Mr. Kryger will be with us during the week of April 10-14.  More details on his visit coming soon.

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