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The American International School of Rotterdam

1 959 - 2009



February 2010


From the Director

Graham Gamble

From the Director

Graham Gamble

Dear Parents, Now that the chills and snow of an extraordinary Winter vacation are behind us and that we have been back at school for four swiftly moving weeks, we hope you enjoy the new monthly edition of The Shark. We intend that the magazine will give us the chance to deal in more depth with what is going on in our school and, increasingly, to reflect more broadly on the educational ideas and trends in the world that influence what we do. This monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edition has a special focus on Early Childhood Education. This is particularly appropriate as we are holding our first Open Days for families interested in this provision on February 4th and 10th. Mrs. Blitz and I have written two perspectives on this topic which appear elsewhere in this issue. This column, then, just allows me to say thank you to all those who have made good things happen here in the days leading up to today and to wish well to all the things which are about to happen. In particular, our appreciation goes to Mrs. Boot, who has organized a range of efforts to express our response to the appalling disaster in Haiti and to Mr. Zeilstra and his Health Class, whose smoothies were a delicious part of that initiative. Finally, a very big thank you to Mrs. Blitz and others who looked after the school so well whilst I was under the care of the nonnetjes van Vught last week. And if you have no idea what Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m talking about, why not stop me in the halls and ask? All the best for a great February,

Graham Gamble AISR Director

“... This information evening is a must for all parents ...” I know it might seem a little late, but on behalf of all the Elementary staff and students, I would like to wish you and your families A Very Happy New Year. There is great excitement among the students in grades 3, 4 and 5, about the upcoming performance of “Romeo and Juliet” scheduled for March 31st. Rehearsals are in full swing and Mr. Dailly and Mrs. Rimbach are very pleased with how the students are performing so far. Please mark your calendar for this very special event. Further details regarding the schedule for the evening will be sent out closer to the time. You may recall a couple of months ago, we had to cancel the presentation for “Online Safety for Children” because of illness. I am very happy to be able to tell you that we have rescheduled the presentation and the new date is Thursday, February 11th, starting at 7:00 p.m. in the library. This information evening is a must for all parents who are concerned about what is available on the internet for children, regardless of how careful you try to be. Parent Teacher Conferences will take place on Wednesday, February 17th and Thursday, February 18th. These conferences are Teacher or Parent “Request” conferences only, so please do call the school if you would like to make an appointment with your child’s teacher. This week, all the students at AISR have been very busy raising funds to help the many families who have been affected by the dreadful earthquake in Haiti. Mr. Zeilstra’s Health class made Smoothies and both Elementary and Secondary students had an opportunity to purchase these delicious drinks on Tuesday and Thursday. Their generosity has been very touching and they will be sending 1000 euro to Haiti. Our thoughts and our prayers are with all those families who have lost loved ones. The DVD of the Seasonal Program will be ready on Wednesday, February 10th. I apologize for the delay but there were some technical problems involving one of the cameras and this has caused some minor hiccups in putting it together. Once again we are going through a very cold spell of weather and it looks as if it will continue. Please make sure that your child wraps up warmly. Have an enjoyable weekend, Sincerely,

Anne Marie Blitz

From the Elementary Principal

Anne - Marie Blitz

Anne - Marie Blitz

From the Elementary Principal

School Counseling

From the School Counselor

Kate Driver

The Guidance and Counseling Office has been very busy over the past few months! In January, I had the pleasure of teaching lessons on Appreciation to grades PreK through 5. I’m looking forward to talking about Tolerance with all of the elementary students in February. In addition to teaching COR lessons to the elementary students, I’ve been able to work with Ms. Sudzina and the 7th grade Health and Study Skills Exploratory. We’ve been discussing topics related to human development and adolescence. We recently discussed relationships, friendships, and family connections, as well as role models and the media. We will be continuing to develop effective communication and decision-making skills throughout the rest of the trimester. Many of our 12th grade students have been hard at work applying to colleges and universities. Most US universities have deadlines in December, January, and February, so some of our students have finished this process already. Students applying to Dutch universities are gearing up to begin the process, with many May deadlines for English-taught programs. Any 12th grade students that are US citizens need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible to be eligible for many federal and institutional grants, loans, and scholarships. More information is available at . I will be working intensively with students in 11th grade from now until the end of the school year to continue their post-secondary planning. I will be organizing individual conferences with 11th grade students and their parents in the coming months. Students are encouraged to begin their research now! Finally, I have been working with many students individually. It is my belief that a contented, well-adjusted student has the best chance to learn, and so I support students’ personal, social, and emotional needs to help them achieve their academic goals. I am always open to new referrals from teachers, parents, and students themselves. Feel free to contact me. Kate Driver

Nurse’s Update

Laurence Chambers

I am very pleased to confirm that the Mexican flu is not considered as an epidemic any more; the Dutch Health Authorities have announced that the threat is considerably lower but have added that we do need to remain cautious. Diligent hand-washing, cough etiquette, staying home when sick and getting vaccinated when vaccines exist have proved to be effective measures. So please don’t forget these simple steps that help to reduce the risk of contracting and passing on viruses: • Frequent hand washing with soap and water or use of hand gel disinfectant • Coughing in a tissue and disposing of it after use or coughing in sleeve if no tissue is available • Avoiding hand contact with eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible • Ventilating rooms • Daily cleaning of surfaces • Staying at home if sick (including vomiting, diarrhea, cough, chills,…) • Any member of the community (students, parents, child-minders, staff ) showing a fever of 38°C (100.4°F) or above MUST be kept at home and is not allowed at AISR for a minimum of 24 hours after the fever stopped. Your cooperation is most valuable and really makes a difference! If you have any concerns or questions regarding this matter or any health issues, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Laurence ChambersSchool Infirmière Diplomée D’Etat (French Nursing Diploma) recognized by the Swiss Red Cross

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events... AISR Evening Presentation “ONLINE SAFETY FOR MY CHILD”


Thursday, February 11th, 2010


7.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.


A.I.S.R. Library


Pauline Maas

This evening is for all parents of students in the Elementary and Secondary school.

Valentine’s Day Rose Sales Feburary 12th High School Student Council

Student Council Valentine’s Day Rose Sales have begun.

Order forms are available from the office. Please return with the correct money marked with your child’s full name and the number of roses required.

Prices in February will be: €1.50 a rose, € 6.50 for 5 roses and €12.00 for 10 roses. ORDER DEADLINE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9th a.m. New orders can not be taken after this date, but Valentine Cookies will be available. Lynda Boot

Grade 3 Coin Drive

Benefitting Play Pumps International

Please support our Grade 3 class as they earn money for Play Pumps International, part of the “Water for People” Campaign. Donate your extra euro coins March 8th through 12th and buy cupcakes on Friday, March 12th during lunch. Nicole Yamamoto

Do you have an article or event to put in the Shark? The deadline for submissions for the next edition is:


Anne - Marie Blitz

Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education.

Anne - Marie Blitz

“The Early Childhood program at AISR aims to educate the ‘whole child’...” We are very proud of the Early Childhood Department at AISR. I would like to share our Philosophy of Education with you:

literacy, play and the arts. Emphasis is placed on independent and guided problem solving, to help our students become more independent.

“The Early Childhood program at AISR aims to educate the ‘whole child’ by focusing on intellectual, social, emotional, physical and creative growth. This approach lends value to the rich diversity of culture that children bring to the classroom. We strive to provide a stimulating environment in which learning is spontaneous, children learn from each other, and teachers act as facilitators in the learning process.

Recent studies of Early Childhood Education have shown that early childhood interventions of high quality have lasting effects on learning and motivation. At AISR, we strive to provide an environment where young learners are emotionally, intellectually and aesthetically engaged in solving problems, making meaningful discoveries and where learning is fun.

The American International School of Rotterdam is committed to providing a caring, secure, positive and respectful environment in which students can learn and develop as individuals and where adults can help them to do so. AISR’s Community of Respect (COR) actively supports behaviors that enhance learning and support the development of healthy interpersonal relationships”. The Early Childhood Department for students from 3 – 5 years follows a curriculum that prepares children for the expectations in higher grades while instilling a love for learning. The curriculum that is followed is a combination of the IPC (International Primary Curriculum), a world class, brain-friendly, comprehensive and practical curriculum, delivering subject, personal and international knowledge, skills and understanding where learning is active and engaging and above all meaningful for children and the Creative Curriculum, known for it’s forward-thinking, comprehensive and rigorously researched model, which helps the teachers to plan and implement a content-rich, developmentally appropriate program that supports active learning and promotes children’s progress in all developmental areas. As educators of young children, the teachers in the Early Childhood Department acknowledge and value the differences in their students. Although many children follow a general pattern of development, the teachers recognize that each child is unique. Providing a warm and inviting atmosphere to learn is vital for learning to take place and where children can be encouraged to express themselves through verbal communication, language,

I would like to leave you with a poem, from an anonymous author, which I have shared with parents at the Kindergarten Graduation: Anne-Marie Blitz

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Graham Gamble I was in a Pre-Kindergarten classroom this week, working on triangles and squares. So I found myself reflecting on what we teach this age group in the context of two stories I read recently. The first was a BBC program on the history of The Family (I must confess to a swell of patriotic pride at the quality of our national broadcaster’s products!). Although the program’s focus was on the ways in which our ideas and expectations of the family have shifted during the last fifty years in the United Kingdom, the trends noted are in evidence around the world. My wife Sue and I have reflected often on the ways in which the family life our children experience differs from what we knew as younger people. I am sure we are not alone in this. Between 1950 and today, we have seen a movement away from expectations of stability in marriage and traditional gender roles through an increase in the primacy of work and career. Do you remember when The Pet Shop Boys sang: “You’ve got the brains, I’ve got the looks – let’s make lots of money” ? A dramatic increase in rates of divorce has also created (and been accompanied by) new family structures– those women or men who choose to have children without partners, for instance. The BBC presenter concluded that in the second decade of the twenty-first century, what seems to unite adults around the world is a shared belief in the centrality of our children in our lives. So what is new, you might think? Well, it was not so long ago that many societies accepted the practice of child labor in factories and chimneys. Sweatshops and the urchins of Mumbai or Sao Paulo are still with us but at

least films like “Slumdog Millionaire” keep our outrage alive. The other news item that caught my eye was about economic growth. Although we are all wanting this to start again in earnest, you are probably also familiar with the idea that our present rate of growth is unsustainable: in short, not all the billions of people in the world who want a car, a washing machine, or an IPad can have one. There just isn’t enough stuff in the world with which to make such luxuries. As a matter of fact, I think our school teaches this idea rather well, through its Global Issues Network. But that is not the point here. As your three year olds helped me with my scissors, I thought not just about how important these young learners are but about how we are going to prepare them for their citizenship of tomorrow. We are all going to have to teach our children not to want and have more and more (as we baby-boomers do, I’m afraid) but to cherish and relish the quality of what they do have: their lives, their families, their relationships with each other. This will be quite a lesson to learn, and it may take the whole of these young people’s lives. So we had better start as soon as possible. This is why our Early Childhood Program is so important. Graham Gamble

Early Childhood Education Graham Gamble

“Give me the child…”

Erin Sherrit

Grade 2

From Grade 2

Erin Sherritt

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Lynda Boot

The AISR Community has once again rallied to offer help in a global emergency. Our students have become used to thinking about others less fortunate than themselves through programs such as the IB CAS Program and the Global Issues Network Curriculum. The COR Program has also had a marvelous effect on the way that all the students perceive each other and a framework is well in place within AISR to promote respect and caring for others, both nearby and far away. Fundraising activities to date:

Upcoming Actions for Haiti Walkathon for Haiti Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 from 3.30-5.00p.m. at the school gym Everyone is welcome, come and join us. Sponsor Forms available in the classrooms or in the office. Each lap will be the perimeter of the whole gym. (Possibility of the bus leaving at 5:30, if enough participants sign up in advance.) Middle School Soccer Tournament, organized by the High School Student Council Tuesday, February 16th 2010, 3.30-5.00 p.m. The winners will go on to battle against a team of High School students and some teachers. (There is the possibility of the bus leaving at 5:30, if enough participants sign up in advance.) Feijenoord Shirt for Auction (signed by the Team) Mr. Roy Makaay has very kindly donated and organized

Buy a Smoothie for Haiti and stay healthy January 26th & 28th, 2010 Mr. Zeilstra’s Health class was the first to take up the baton to raise money for Haiti. After two mornings of hard work, good sales skills and indeed cleaning up, the Grade 9 and 10 health classes raised €1,000 with their smoothie action and almost half as much has been put into the donations box. As Mr Zeilstra reports: “....the Smoothies For Haiti project was a great success. Six students from my hardworking Health class earned €1,000. What started out as a lesson in nutrition, ended up benefitting a very worthy cause.” The 9th and 10th graders Yinka, Jyona, Elif, Nadine, Klaus and Nikita must be congratulated for their hard work and enthusiasm. Also thanks to Nadine's mom for shopping and especially to the Chambers family for donating fruit, and of course to everyone who bought a smoothie or even paid €20 for one, as Mr. Shipman did. Collecting the money for Haiti, with our smoothies, made everyone feel good ‘inside and out’. Concert for Haiti February 3rd, 2010 An early evening concert featuring musical acts such as Anit, poetry reading, an art and a writing display, and a robot demonstration by Ms. LeMieux’s triumphant robotics team. This was an example of the whole school working together to join in a common, humanitarian cause.

the signing of a Feijenoord Shirt. You will be able to bid online but watch out, so will everyone else so get in with your bid and keep watching. Online bidding details will be available at Visit a Feijenoord Game this Season Buy your raffle tickets for €5 each at any of the events and you may be the lucky person to win 2 tickets to any of the Feijenoord games this season. Our local Rotterdam footballers have been more than generous. Let's put their generosity to good use and raise some serious funds for Haiti. Please do come and join us for the remaining activities and show your support for Haiti.

Action For Haiti

AISR Actions for Haiti - Help Us to Help Haiti



Annual Dinner Dance

PTSA is proud to announce that the annual dinner dance will be held on March 27 at Zalmhuis in Rotterdam. This spacious restaurant offers a beautiful location along the Nieuwe Maas River. Dinner dance attendees will enjoy a 50th anniversary cocktail reception at 7:30, followed by a 3-course dinner at 8:30. Of special note, this year there will be an open bar as well. Let’s not forget that there will also be music and dancing. New this year will be a live auction which will take place during the dinner dance. This will be an exciting opportunity to join in on the fun and bid on some great items. PTSA will also have silent auction baskets on display for bidding, and the winners will be announced during the dinner dance. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase both before and during the dinner dance; winners need not be present to win.

All of the money raised during this wonderful event goes directly back to the AISR students. Scholarships will be awarded to graduating high school seniors, programs will be funded throughout the school year, and teachers and staff have been asked for their wish lists.

PTSA strives to provide a fun, entertaining evening while raising money at the same time. The annual dinner dance is PTSA’s largest fundraiser of the year. Tickets are €40 per person and may be purchased at the school office or, preferably, by bank transfer. Online payment may be made to ABN Amro AISR PTSA. Tickets will be available until March 8.

March 27th at Zalmhuis in Rotterdam.

Pam Farrell

Tickets are €40 per person available until March 8th.

Athletes of Merit


Rob Zeilstra Elif


Elif is member of this year’s JV Girls’ Basketball

John is captain of the Under 12 Boys’ Basketball

team. Although she has never played before,

Team and has emerged as the team leader on

Elif is ready to give 100% at every practice and

and off the court. He continuously encourages


his teammates during practice and games and is

In fact, at a recent game the referee pointed

always is doing his best to improve his skills on

out her outstanding fighting spirit.

both ends of the floor. In the recent game

Not only does Elif push herself hard, she also make a conscious effort

against Antwerp, he led the team with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 5

to cheer up the team all the time. Her eagerness and desire to learn

very reputable blocks. He also managed to score the game-tying

are helping her become a strong player at the forward position. Keep

basket with one-second left in the game. Keep up the great effort,

up the hard work.


EXPLANATION OF THE RECOGNITION: Each week AISR coaches select a student/athlete that has shown outstanding achievement in one or more of the following: Leadership, Sportsmanship, Skill Improvement, Outstanding Play at Games, Excellence in Practice, Concern for Fellow Teammates, Encouraging Others, and other efforts deserving recognition. This person can be chosen from any of the SHARK Teams.

Rob Zeilstra BASKETBALL: U12 Boys and JV Girls The 2009-2010 basketball season has been in full swing since November. Coach Robert George-Kelso and the Under 12 boys, Daniel, Tae Gun, Mario, Goohyun, Kaan, Hyeong-Gyun. Kunyao, Alexander, John, and Seonggyun are looking forward to finishing the season strong and having a great NECIS tournament in March. This year we have 10 talented boys each with something different to bring to the table. We are focusing on our fitness, defensive awareness and scoring.  Come out and support your Under 12 Boys at our games.  Go Sharks! To read Coaches reports from our games, go to the team website at

This season for the JV Girls Basketball Team is proving to be a very special and exciting one. ‘Special’ because Coach Martine Meyers is having a wonderful assistant on her side, Mrs. Lisa Tobin. Also special because this team will be covering ages from 12 up to 18 and will play at JV level ! We are playing at the JV level because the average age of our girls is under 15. With Annelieke and Veronica as 12th graders, we look to them for leadership. The rest of the team are in grades 7, 8, and 9. It will be an ‘exciting’ season because the players are showing a great team spirit and are ready to give their best all the time. Our focus will be on improving our fundamentals like dribbling, passing and shooting and our main goal will be to play aggressive team defense. Marianne, Issy, Maria, Emma, Glara, Anna, Elif , Veronica and Annelieke would like to see you all at our games. Go Sharks! To read Coaches reports from our games go to the team website at

The 2010 AISR Sharks Swimming Team have taken to the pool. All the swimmers are showing great commitment and dedication and should be commended on the hard work they are doing in the pool. The team this year is made up of a large range of ages with our youngest swimmers coming from 3rd grade and our oldest coming from 11th grade. The team includes a number of swimmers from the team last year, as well as a mix of new swimmers. All of the swimmers will be heading to Antwerp on Feb. 6 for their first meet and then to Sweden in March for the muchanticipated NECIS Swim Meet. Mr. Wah, along with parents Mr Maddock and Mr. Fulton will be coaching the team this year, and all the coaches can see the young potential among the sharks. We hope for another successful swim season and look forward to all team members posting their personal best times this season. Your AISR Sharks swim team are as follows: Skyler, Barbara, Luca, Oliver, Felix, Gema, Ji won, Ji soo, Mariah, Kaan, Isobel, Nikita, and Ralph. Good luck SHARKS! More about the SWIMMING SHARKS at the team website page

Sporting News

Sporting News

Community Announcements And Classifieds

If you have an article you would like to publish in the Shark, please send it to David Blackburn via:

To Advertise here contact: or Tel + 31 (0)10 422 5351

The next Shark will come out on March 5th. All submissions are due by: FRIDAY 19th FEBRUARY by 5.00 PM.


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The Shark - February  

The latest edition of the American International School of Rotterdam's magazine