Alfonso's News- Oct 5th

Dear Friends,

First, a reminder: After school each day, the school does not provide supervision for the playground nor does it assume any liability for looking after children. If you bring your children to the playground after school, please watch them carefully for safety and for appropriate behavior. Please do not let children, especially smaller ones, leave the playground unsupervised.

Next, as you know, assembly for grades 3-5 will begin this Thursday, October 8. It is important for students in those grades to be in their classrooms by 8:10 a.m. so that assembly can start in the gym at 8:15. Also, on October 16th we will have a special assembly with a visiting Olympic athlete.

In the academic life of TIS we are making forward strides in the journey toward being a true PYP school. Any progress we make is due to the amazing efforts of the teachers and assistants and also to the guidance of the PYP coordinator Teresa Wirsching and Principal, Maria Abad. Being a PYP school means that we try to minimize our reliance on textbooks. In the classic system, a teacher’s weekly lesson plans meant coverage- determining what pages in the various texts would be completed by the end of each day and what information would be poured into the receptacles known as students with the hope that it does not soon leak out. A PYP weekly planner means not only reference to text book pages but also many references to what students will DO in class to build upon the knowledge they already have. PYP planning takes a lot more work and creativity for teachers, and I am truly grateful for their hard work and their openness to change. This school has an amazing group of teachers and administrators.

If I wanted to measure the success of a school, I would include scores on tests, such as those our students take to measure their language ability in fifth grade. But I would also look at the work students produced, at their ability to reflect on their own work, and at the action that arises from their studies. A huge measure of success for me is how often each day a school sparks our students’ capacity for wonder, how often it leaves them transfixed in trying to understand just how words travel from one place to another through a telephone or computer wire, and even more amazingly how they travel without a wire. I know students, and all of us, have to work through practice and facts to reach conclusions. But my goal is that a visitor going through this building will often encounter students engaged in trying to understand, in trying to solve problems individually or collaboratively, in trying to create something. I see that happening each day as I visit classes.

Have a fulfilling week,
Alfonso