From Board Chair Scott Kerman - 6/14

Seven years ago, when my oldest child was about halfway through kindergarten, I remember feeling so proud of him.  I thought then and I continue to think now that it is a remarkable thing that our children achieve so much in classrooms where the instruction is in a new language. Although learning in a new language becomes old hat for TIS students in what seems like no time at all, I never stop feeling a sense of amazement at the courage and determination our students possess.  It's with this thought that I offer hearty congratulations to the graduating fifth graders. They have achieved something unique and wonderful, and we should not underestimate what a gift they have now in their abilities to communicate so confidently with a broader, diverse world.

Of course, TIS graduates don't earn this gift on their own.  Congratulations are due equally to their parents, not just for making this experience financially possible, but also for the patience, persistence, and support they gave our graduates along the way.   Indeed, all of our students and parents should be congratulated together with the Class of 2010 for everything they have achieved this year.

As a teacher I know that students achieve at high levels when given the opportunities to do so by teachers.  Children do amazing things when expectations are high.  So, congratulations are owed to our amazing homeroom teachers and aides who educated and supported our graduates during their six to eight year journey at TIS.  Imagine the challenges that come with teaching a classroom of three to ten year olds; now imagine what it must be to teach and motivate students in a non-native language.  Our teachers truly are special.

Of course, our entire faculty—including art, music, PE, library and language arts--have earned our gratitude and respect, as well.  They, too, do so much to enrich our children's lives.  Because of the excellent work of our faculty, I'm proud that the Board voted to increase tuition so as to improve compensation next year for our faculty, and I'm even more proud of our community for reacting so positively to this increase in these difficult economic times. We know our teachers deserve it.

Congratulations and thank yous are owed to many more at TIS.  First, to our principal Maria Abad and the rest of the administrative team— Rob, Jan, Kelsey, Linda, Frank and Teresa --who not only do the work of a much larger staff but do it with excellence and enthusiasm.  Second, to our administrative staff and specialists--Jhoanna, Lauren, Ellen, Shelley, Michael, and Lupe--who provide valuable service and tremendous kindness to the entire TIS community, particularly our students.  Third, to our PTO officers and parent volunteers, who tirelessly give so much to our school, students, and community.  Fourth, to everyone who donated to TIS this year—at the auction, to the special appeal, to Run for the Arts, to the Wine Tasting, and to the Annual Fund.  Your generosity is very valuable to the growth and success of our community.  Finally, to my fellow trustees--I know first-hand the hours they devote to the school, most of it behind the scenes. Thank you for the work you’ve done and the work that’s coming.

Like a Hollywood epic, it takes an enormous staff to put together a successful school year.  We are fortunate to have teachers, staff, and parents at our school worthy of Academy Awards--and in a way they each won an Oscar this year when they helped TIS receive IB accreditation, a remarkable achievement that should not be underestimated. Of course, every Hollywood epic needs a talented director.  We have one of the best in Dr. Orsini--I was about to say he’s a Spielberg but I think he would prefer Fellini.   Dr. Orsini has been not a breath but a gust of fresh air.  We are incredibly fortunate to have his experience, wisdom, and sense of humor guiding TIS to an increasingly brighter future. When one stops to consider all he has achieved in what was supposed to be a transition year for a new Head of School, we should be very excited for year number two with Dr. Orsini as our Head.

Speaking of next year, I want to end this final ITK article looking forward.  TIS students aren't the only ones with summer homework.  The Board has homework, too.  We will spend this summer on a number of projects, including phase one of the campus master plan project. Throughout the summer, the alternative site search task force will consider potential alternative sites and exhaustively review the present site.  We hope to have resolution of this issue in September so we can move forward to phase two.

Other projects will focus on the Principles of Good Practice of Board Governance provided by NAIS, the National Association of Independent Schools.  These principles--many of which I will discuss in ITK articles next year--provide an excellent framework for how independent school boards operate, enhancing their ability to serve their respective schools.  And, of course, we will be available this summer to assist Dr. Orsini and the admin. team with whatever they need.

I wish all of you a terrific summer.  I look forward to seeing many of you at your class picnics this summer, and all of you in September.

Scott Kerman, Board Chair, board@intlschool.org