The American International School of Rotterdam
From the Director “When we talk about education, we are not just talking about academic education: schools educate the whole child, which includes the development of social and moral character.” Today I thought I would share with you my personal beliefs about education. I think it’s important for school leaders to communicate what they believe in, so that the school community not only understands the basis for decision making, but also to get a sense of where future school development is likely to go. For me personally, articulating my educational philosophy has provided me with a stronger moral compass that helps guide me through the day-to-day issues in a way that ensures that focus on the big picture is maintained. My views on education have evolved as I’ve grown both personally and professionally. There have been many factors that have influenced and shaped my thinking, stemming from both my desire to advance my own learning and from the experience I have gained over the course of my career. Most of my beliefs about education are founded in three principles: learning theory, the importance of learning processes, and the development of social and moral character. The work of such learning theorists as Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and Albert Bandura has given rise to a number of axioms that have shaped the landscape of education. While different thinkers might debate the merits of different individual theories, I think that certain educational axioms demonstrate that overlapping theories work in unison to varying degrees depending on the situation and the type of learning that is taking place. What this means for schools is that “what works” depends on the type of learner and context of the learning. Consequently, it is important that schools understand the different learning styles of their students, and in this regard, I believe that schools have two main responsibilities: to help students understand themselves as learners so they can work towards taking responsibility for their own learning, and to offer a wide range of learning experiences that provide students with multiple paths for success. Karl Fisch has received a lot of attention via social media for his Shift Happens segments. In these presentations, he makes many statements about the rate of development in information technology and the impact that such developments are making on various aspects of society, particularly in the educational arena. Fisch points out that the current public education system is preparing students for jobs that do not yet exist, and will require technologies that have yet to be invented to solve unknown problems. Both Yong Zhao and Ken Robinson take similar stances and are proponents of schools focusing on developing the capacity of students to learn new skills and information, and solve yet-to-be-discovered problems. I believe that in order to provide students with the best possible future, they need to be equipped with knowledge and skills that can be applied across a wide range of situations, providing them with the capacity to overcome the challenges that the future will bring. In order for schools to develop learner capacity, attention should be focused on developing learning processes over content. This is not to say that content is not important – students do need a solid knowledge base across a spectrum of disciplines, but the purpose of the content in education should not be for its own sake, it should be to provide the platform for the acquisition of skills that will carry students beyond formal schooling. Schools have a responsibility to help students acquire skill sets that will help them when faced with new challenges or when they discover they have a desire, or need, to learn something new. Schools need to provide opportunities that encourage creative and divergent thinking, that help students develop the ability to inquire and evaluate what is important to learn, conduct research and know where they can look to find the information they need, to collaborate with others and work as part of a team, to analyze and think critically, to formulate and test theories, and to communicate effectively. When we talk about education, we are not just talking about academic education: schools educate the whole child, which includes the development of social and moral character. In addition to the responsibility to provide opportunities for academic learning, schools also have an obligation to afford a foundation for social and emotional growth. I believe schools need to provide a safe and orderly environment where students can take pride in their work and feel comfortable taking academic risks. Schools are places where students develop lasting friendships and a sense of community. Schools should facilitate acceptance and understanding – particularly in international schools, where it is important to foster a culture that is welcoming and respects diversity, and for students from abroad, a respect for, and an appreciation of the culture and language of the host country. As I continue to grow and learn, I am sure that my views of education will continue to evolve, and I am excited by this prospect. I look forward to taking on new roles, learning about new cultures, and developing programs for students and broader school communities that help them not only realize their full potential, but provide the kind of community support that ensures a full and rewarding international school experience. Have a great weekend.
Neal Dilk email@example.com 1/4
Elementary Principal’s Message “I would also like like to extend a big welcome to all our new students. I hope they will enjoy their stay at AISR.” On behalf of all the Elementary staff, a very warm welcome back to school! The year has started off well - the students are happy to be back and the teachers are really looking forward to an exciting and successful year. I would also like like to extend a big welcome to all our new students. I hope they will enjoy their stay at AISR. The Elementary Open House will take place on Thursday September 13, starting at 7:00 until approximately 8:45. This is a wonderful opportunity for you as parents to learn about the curriculum, special projects and expectations regarding your child’s behavior and work habits. Further details about this evening will be sent out closer to the time. English as Another Language (EAL) Open House will be on Thursday September 27, starting at 7:00. This is an evening when you will have the opportunity to find out how the EAL staff helps your child to develop English proficiency according to their needs and ability. Several parents have asked about Ballet classes at school. I am presently working with the Dance School here in Rotterdam and hopefully we will be able to offer this program again very soon. I will keep you informed regarding the possibilities. Ms. Lynne Stewart our Grade 5 teacher is off on maternity leave. We wish her all the best with the up-coming birth of her baby and look forward to seeing her back at AISR. I am very pleased to welcome Ms. Yvette Porter, who will be teaching Grade 5. Finally, I leave you with some reading for the weekend. For the first time, the Elementary students will be able to make use of iPads to support classroom instruction. Here is an interesting article about the many possibilities that this will offer to parents, teachers and students. “Back to school apps help with organization, learning across all age” by Kevin C Keller: The Denver Post. The iPad has been around for only two years, but the tablet computer and its many competitors are already starting to change the way both parents and teachers approach education. Though experts remain divided on the benefits of exposing children — particularly very young ones — to tablets, smartphones and even computers, applications that aim to teach children have proliferated. The Apple App Store, for example, has more than 65,000 active education apps available to students, teachers, and parents getting ready for back to school. App metric website148apps.biz says educational apps trail only games in total numbers. "Teachers are open, receptive and excited," said New York state middle school teacher Jayne Clare, co-owner of teacherswithapps.com. "We sorely need a revolution in the education system, and the iPad will really help with that." Clare added educational apps are beneficial to students of all ages when used right. The iPad is flexible and helps from college organization to special education differentiation. The Denver Post examined a variety of educational apps, along with expert reviews. Here we highlight the way educators and parents are using apps, along with examples of some helpful apps for each age group. EARLY SCHOOLING (preschool though elementary) With this group, parents use apps with their children to interact instead of the child owning their own device, most of the time. "The benefit is learning," said early childhood app developer Nancee Busse. "There is tremendous value to parent involvement when they are engaged with their child." Busse, of Grand Junction, works with developer Good Neighborhood Press. She said apps for this age group focus on teaching and reinforcing basic core curriculum skills. Two apps we found to be helpful for this age group are LetterSchool by Boreaal and iTooch Elementary (free) by eduPad Inc. LetterSchool helps younger kids learn about letters and numbers through a game interface that requires tracing and counting. iTooch Elementary provides lessons in math, English, and science through 18,000 exercises. MIDDLE SCHOOL Middle school kids are more likely to use the tablets without complete parental guidance. They also use the device to interact with each other, so many apps help with the social part of school, app developers Annie and David Fox said. "We wanted to bring them something helpful on the same device they bash each other on," Fox said. "It's an attractive medium and kids need a more creative way to learn." Annie Fox who also does a "Dear Abby" style column for middle- schoolers, and developed the Middle School Confidential apps, said tablets are valuable and engage kids far more than a lecture does. Two apps that will help middle schoolers this season include: Stack the Countries by Dan Russell-Pinson and Fractions. Smart Pirate by Virtualnye Prostranstva LLC. Stack the Countries is a Tetris-geography hybrid that makes kids answer the country names in order to get the shape of that country as a game piece. Fractions. Smart Pirate helps students learn fractions by making them answer fraction questions with pirates in order to advance. Cont.
HIGH SCHOOL The iPad can become a personal assistant in the final years of school. Organization, connectivity and research are big benefits. Keith Entzeroth, co-founder of the myHomework app, said the iPad brings a nice, clean interface to organization."Students want to use them to become better students," Entzeroth said. "When we first got started, phones were banned. That tide has completely changed." Entzeroth said the median age for users of his app is 18, and apps in the planning category really help with organization and portability when you have multiple classes. Two apps useful for high school and college students include WolframAlpha by Wolfram Alpha LLC, a homework helper that has quick access to information ranging from time zones to engineering formulas. Also, Brightstorm ACT Prep (free) by Brightstorm, is a free test prep app that has over 6.5 hours of instruction for those getting ready for the college entrance exam.” Have a lovely weekend. Sincerely,
Anne-Marie Blitz firstname.lastname@example.org
Secondary Principal’s Message “We want to make strong connections with students, offer them an engaging curriculum, and help them develop and grow into responsible and respectful human beings.” Dear Seconday Parents and Students, Welcome back from a great summer! Hopefully you found plenty of time to enjoy some unstructured time. This summer the International Baccalaureate examinations results came back, all our students passed and are now starting up a new phase in their study life somewhere else in the world. Congratulations to all of them! Many teachers worked on curriculum and attended workshops this summer to better prepare for the year ahead. We are looking forward to a fantastic school year with our returning Middle- and High School students and new students. The Secondary handbook has been sent to each home address. This handbook provides important information about our school's philosophy, procedures, policies, curriculum, and schedules. It is a guide to the way we operate as a school. Also included in the handbook are behavioral expectations and guidelines for students, often the most referred to pages in the book. There have been some changes since last year, so everyone should read the handbook carefully, especially the discipline section, and use it as a reference throughout the year. May I please ask you to spend some time reading the Handbook and forms with your child/children so that they understand the IT procedure and guidelines of AISR. Once this has been completed please return the Verification Document, Laptop Agreement and Technological Resource Agreement to the Front Office at AISR. Please note that all Forms must be returned before Laptops are issued to the students. Consistent and clear communication with parents is essential to student success at AISR. Parents may also communicate with the school and individual staff through e-mail or on the telephone. We have an Open House in September and parent conferences in October. Both of those are great opportunities to become more involved in your child’s education. This year in Middle- and High School, we welcome Brad Masoni, our new English teacher. We are excited to have him join the AISR community and look forward to having him on board. Cont.
Know that staff at AISR will work very hard, every day, to create a positive and welcoming school climate for students. We want to make strong connections with students, offer them an engaging curriculum, and help them develop and grow into responsible and respectful human beings. Not a day goes by when we are not reflecting on how we can improve as a school. I consider it a great honor and privilege to be able to serve as your interim-principal, thanks for your trust and support. I look forward to a wonderful year. Sincerely,
Marga Akerboom email@example.com
http://www.facebook.com/TheAISR “If you have not done so yet - please come to the page...” We hope you have been enjoying our greater use of our school Facebook page. In using this social media we hope to keep you up to date with day to day life at AISR and share our community spirit with others. If you have not done so yet - please come to the page by reading the QR code on the right with you smart phone or visit; http://www.facebook.com/TheAISR Please let us know you care by clicking on our main page “Like” button - and get friends and family to do the same. Your votes really count!