We celebrate the life of Nancy Dickinson

In every way possible, Nancy FS DICKINSON NA 2015-16 (2).jpgDickinson was an inspiration to children, a valued friend and colleague, and an enduring spirit in a foreign land.  The words of those who cherished Nancy are gathering now in our hearts and minds as we received news on the weekend of Nancy’s passing following a year long struggle with cancer.

From Nancy’s family on the weekend:

Nancy left us about 2 pm our time. It was very peaceful. Carl and I were with her. We told her she could go, that she was loved by so many people and we named names and locations! The fight here was done and we reassured her that we would take care of Caroline.

Please take care of yourselves. Tell your loved ones you love and adore them. Hold our beloved Nancy in the light and say a prayer of Thanksgiving for having known this lovely woman. Her suffering is over. She is truly free and having a wonderful reunion with our Grandmother and family.

Yvonne & Carl

While we knew that Nancy was in the final stages of her battle after moving to hospice  care a short time ago, two staff members visiting her and family in Montana found in Nancy the same spirit that likely carried her to her final breath.  Joyce Husick and Tanja Kusanovic represented all of Nancy’s loved ones here in Warsaw by carrying cards, messages, and greetings to Nancy during her final days.  They noted upon their return that Nancy retained “that which was wonderfully Nancy – wit, sense of humor, and keen perceptions all on display.”  She was clearly in the midst of those who loved her dearly, enjoying every minute in a circle of trust and care.

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 8.05.58 AM.pngNancy served the American School of Warsaw from 2002-2015 as a Kindergarten, 3rd, and 1st grade teacher.  All who knew her remembered her warmth and kindness.  Memories of Nancy are being shared via many communication platforms in the coming days in hopes of capturing the thoughts and inspirations of her life and time here in Warsaw and throughout the world.  The shared document can be viewed HERE, our virtual wall of memories that grows with each passing hour.

Counselors have asked the library to gather resources for children and families on the topic of grief and, as always, they stand by for those who need to talk about the loss of Nancy.  Nancy had a positive impact on many young lives and families have already started reaching out to us with memories of their own through expressions of love and sadness for this loss.  I encourage you to engage here as a comment on this blog to share your memories, which we will add to the compiled document of memories.

At the time of writing this message, we had not received word from Montana with regards to plans for services in her home there.  We are asking members of the community interested in attending to join us for a memorial gathering in the Elementary Tower on Monday, October 17th at 3:30 p.m.  Adults and children are both welcome.  We look forward to this opportunity to remember Nancy in the environment where she made her most significant contributions.  Please join us!

With fondest regards,

Jon P. Zurfluh

Accreditation Begins in Earnest

In recent weeks, we began a journey into a process that will carry us until Winter Break of 2017.  The scope of the work has been carefully scheduled out to maximize participation and assure accuracy of our reflection across all aspects of the school’s operations.  Accreditation is a timely and important process deserving of this level of engagement.  As a once in 10-year process, it provides a structure and backdrop to profound school improvement, informing other activities years beyond its generation.  The visiting team that will join us in early 2018 will reflect on the comprehensive product of our work and spend extended time talking to all stakeholders who were responsible for it. This process yields a long term action plan that the entire community embraces for the journey forward, in coordination with strategic planning.

The presentation below is shared for other parents who missed out on the PTO coffee.  Both the Director’s Office and the Office for Teaching and Learning are ready to take your questions and comments as we continue organizing the work that lies ahead.  Look for regular updates in posts that will follow, particularly when we share survey results and post other opportunities for participation.

Parent Accreditation Presentation – September, 2016

With sincere appreciation…

To the Community of ASW:

As you are now aware, I originally arrived in Warsaw with the title of Interim Director. This was appropriate for a variety of reasons, as detailed by the Board Chair in July. I noted at the time that I was only willing to come in an interim role if I would be allowed to further apply for the long term position. After spending a few weeks getting to know you in more depth while leading this wonderful entourage of professionals, I can only reaffirm that intent given the warmth and welcome of the community demonstrated so wonderfully and completely in such a short time. Students, parents, administration, faculty, and staff have all shared open arms and hearts as we have become part of a robust and supportive “village” of teachers and learners.

It is therefore with pleasure and excitement that I accepted the board’s appointment as your Director, sans Interim. With this message, I affirm that I’m ready to let go of that Interim title and look forward to continuing the work I’ve started, knowing that I will usher our collaboration beyond the bounds of a single year. It means that we are embracing this community and, possibly more importantly, that my daughter will graduate as a Warsaw Warrior!!

I can only confirm the tremendous energy and enthusiasm that I’m ready to bring to this role, now and throughout my time here. I look forward to each and every opportunity for earnest conversation and collaboration toward crafting ASW, both for the moment and the future. Together, we will prepare our students and empower them for a life filled with hope and possibility. I look forward to your partnership and friendship in that journey.

Best Regards,

Jon P. Zurfluh

P. S. – See you at the PTO BBQ later today and note that I’ll be perched atop the dunk tank sometime after 3p!!

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