What's coming up for '08-'09!

July 17, 2008

Dear Parents,

TIS students are going to benefit from more unique advantages this coming school year than ever before. I am writing to share exciting news about the many TIS programs that will benefit every child in every classroom: 

  • Our '07-‘08 fiscal year ended on June 30, and the school's financial picture is strong and stable. TIS continues to operate solidly in the black, with the resources to gradually make investments in facilities, program and staff.


 

  • The most important of these investments is in our teachers. The '08-'09 teacher contracts reflect the phasing in of our new compensation plan. The plan ensures that teacher compensation is fair, predictable, and more generous than ever. Among other benefits of the plan, the teachers now know that they can increase their compensation by getting more education in the teaching field. Already, we have spoken with several teachers who have signed up for classes and are excited and motivated to increase their teaching skills.


 

  • The breadth of our three-language, multicultural school has always been one of the major benefits for TIS students. This coming year, every child will benefit more than ever from the other two school cultures. This effort began in earnest last spring, when the Chinese, Japanese and Spanish teachers worked together on lesson plans for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). The children will be learning in their target language, with lessons guided by best practices from around the world. The teachers of different languages will continue to visit with each others' classes - perhaps a bit more than in the past.


 

  •  In addition, every TIS student will get to experience all the TIS cultures during our December Winter Festival. This year for the first time, we will enjoy Winter Festival in the Reed College Auditorium. PreK, LowK & K will celebrate in the morning, and grades 1-5 will celebrate in the evening. We are looking for appropriate venues and programs so that children from all tracks can celebrate Chinese New Year, Sakura Matsuri, and Latino Festival.


 

  • Our Multicultural Library Media Center is another way in which our students experience the breadth of TIS languages and cultures. The library resources are catalogued by subject rather than by language, and children are often found studying a book in a different track's language. The librarian will continue to grow our collection and evolve the library curriculum, focused on having our students meet or beat library knowledge benchmarks.


 

  • After several years of planning, administrative preparation, and teacher training, this is the year that the IB PYP will become more than just a name. Teachers will start teaching from their PYP planners, PYP values will be present around the buildings, new teachers will be trained, and returning teachers will get more training. We will have a dedicated half-time IB coordinator to work with the faculty and to keep us in synch with the IB organization. The children will quickly understand that their work will challenge them as much as ever, that their inquiries matter more than ever, and that the search for answers will guide and enrich their lessons. (For more information about the IB at TIS, visit www.intlschool.org/about-tis/curriculum.)


 

  • The Lead Teachers and I are starting a thorough textbook review process to make sure we're using the very best textbooks for all subjects, languages, and grades. This process will include the class teachers, and will streamline textbook choices from one grade to the next to ensure continuity and stimulation for our students. We will not be making changes for the '08-'09 school year, but rather will take this year to make even better choices for the following years.


 

  • The TIS Garden continues to be a core part of the science curriculum for our kindergarten and first grade classes. Our garden curriculum is well established, and teaches plant biology, nutrition, and connection to the soil. So many children look forward to their time planting, maintaining, and harvesting from the garden.


 

  • This fall, thanks to the community's generosity at last year's auction, every teacher will find a brand new Apple iMac computer on his or her desk. The teachers will get training to use their iMacs along with access to a whole suite of programs and tools specifically designed for prek-5 education. The older students will have access iMacs in our multicultural library, with their teachers and/or through the library curriculum.


 

  • This year our English department will continue to grow and build on its successful '07-'08. We are adding one teacher to our strong English staff to keep classes small and to give our teachers more planning time. Students from different tracks will continue to be mixed in English classes to ensure that every student gets what he or she needs to excel.


 

  • Trisha Tallman and Carol Olson are returning as our art and music specialists respectively. So many parents comment regularly about how their children are benefiting from the depth of the TIS art and music programs. Our students are learning the fundamentals of art and music - how to view and listen, how to appreciate and critique, how to use the building blocks for artistic and musical creation, and how to use art and music to express what's inside.


 

  • Coaches Robert Briglia and David Platt are also returning as PE specialists for the older and younger children respectively. The TIS PE program strives to instill a lifelong love of fitness in every child through personal and group achievement, sportsmanship, and skill development. This year we will be developing additional outdoor PE space for the older students on the site purchased last year adjacent to the main campus.


 

  • We are making many other facilities investments this summer. Some security improvements have already been completed, such as a new gate on the playground and new security keypads. Main building construction is beginning next week: the top floor is getting new classrooms with real walls, and the reception area is moving downstairs for easier and more obvious access. In addition, we are joining the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Program for schools. We will be investing in equipment and training to improve the indoor air quality for our community.


I hope this helps give you a sense for the energy and excitement that will be with TIS students in the coming school year. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions, comments, or concerns.

 

Sincerely,

Maria Abad                                                      

Principal, MAbad@intlschool.org, 503-226-2496 x122