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La Lettre

Winter 2012

French American International School | International High School | LycĂŠe International Franco-AmĂŠricain

A look to the future as French American and International celebrate 50 years.

Celebrating 50 Years of International Education





IN THIS ISSUE From The Head | 4 Board’s Eye View | 20 50th Anniversary | 25 21st Century Classroom | 30 The Middle School iPad Project High School: The Flipped Classroom

Soirée des Arts et des Vins | 38 College Bound | 42 Globally Engaged | 46 “Up On The Roof”: Haiti

Service Learning | 50 Project Senegal

Exchange Program | 64 Israel and Jordan

Performing Arts | 78

The Fall Play: “The Unheard of World”

La Lettre Winter 2012

La Lettre

is a publication of French American International School and International High School | Contents © 2011 | Rick Gydesen, Editor 150 Oak Street. San Francisco, CA 94102 | (415) 558-2000 French translations by Mireille Gaonac’h

Above: Louis Descause on the 6th Grade Retreat to Marin Headlands. Photo by Julien Levy

Head of School Mission Guided by the principles of academic rigor and diversity, the French American International School offers programs of study in French and English to prepare its graduates for a world in which the ability to think critically and to communicate across cultures is of paramount importance. Guidé par des principes de rigueur académique et de diversité, le Lycée International Franco-Américain propose des programmes en français et en anglais, pour assurer la réussite de ses diplômés dans un monde dans lequel la pensée critique et la communication interculturelle seront déterminantes.

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The 21st Century Classroom by jane camblin Extracts from Head of School Jane Camblin’s address to the faculty at the 2011 Rentrée.


n a graduation speech to seniors a few years ago, I referred to Peter Ackroyd’s novel, The Plato Papers, a prophecy of the world in 3700 AD, in which the United States has become a vast desert with very few archeological, cultural or literary remains. In Ackroyd’s bleak futuristic landscape, cultural history is so impoverished, so fully forgotten, that people believe that Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin are actually the same person – Charles D – so the writer of Great Expectations is believed to be the author of The Origin of the Species, the latter assumed to be his comic masterpiece. A post-apocalypse world with an artificial sun and no longer two separate sexes: depending on your perspective, there is either one gender, or an endless variety. My daughter claims that we are already there, in what she and her contemporaries call a “Post-Hetero Society”. There are, of course, no schools. Whatever it is that schools had intended to impart about culture and civilization has been lost, with disastrous results. Like most futurist novels, Ackroyd’s is a cautionary tale designed to illustrate how human foibles and excesses, when left unchecked, can lead to a future none of us intends. Perhaps his biggest error was in expecting this outcome in the year 3700, as we may feel much closer to it right now, right here, in the August of 2011. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the official founding of the French American International School on Valentine’s Day, 1962, my message

to you is about celebrating the many aspects of our community: a community that has survived and thrived through a number of economic downturns and political challenges; a professional learning community that is not afraid to take chances, to take risks; a highly diverse community that, for all its flaws and imperfections, strives for continual improvement; an international community that knows what it stands for, knows what is important; and a strong local community which pulls together in times of adversity, in firm support of the core values which bind us together. It is a message about the tremendous contemporary significance of good schools in general, and about our own dynamic and unique school in particular as, to paraphrase Nelson Mandela, as a “powerful cell of innovation and a catalyst for change”. In particular, it is a message about the enormous importance of our profession of teaching in the face of the overwhelming banality of mass culture and the ravages of a chaotic world that has been turned upside down in oh-so-many ways over the last decade. I’ve been welcoming you back to school since 1994, 15 years ago, when I first became your Head of School, back in another building which seems a lifetime away. But while the world has become increasingly complex, and the school’s short and long term goals have become increasingly ambitious, the school’s original core values of critical thinking, diversity, internationalism and bilingualism have remained constant, as Dan Harder’s remarkable history of the school will attest. However, since winter 2012

marketing dictates that what is constant must also seem to be contemporary and even “edgy”– our PR man Robert says that without an “edge” you don’t have a “point” – this year I had a chat with an Episcopal priest who writes sermons for a living. So I asked him how he managed to keep his message fresh and alive, authentic and current, relevant and meaningful, week after week, month after month, year after year, often at crack of dawn on a Sunday morning when most of the rest of us are asleep in our beds. After all, the core values of his organization probably haven’t changed much either. “Ha!” he replied proudly, “not a problem at all! In 30 years in the priesthood I have only ever written twenty sermons!” How can this be, I asked? Do the math! 20 sermons isn’t even enough for 6 months at one a week, let alone 30 years?! It’s just not possible! Though I initially had images of some closeted plagiarizing virtual clerical online black-market, after a glass of wine or three, the truth came out. With judicious swapping of biblical texts and the switching and shaking up of paragraphs to make what he irreverently calls “Sermon Cocktails”, he claims that no one in his congregation has ever noticed. Perhaps they were asleep, or don’t care. I do know that approach would never work for you, our intellectually alive, brilliant and rather critical faculty and staff at French American. You all have memories like elephants. However, I confess I did take a look at my address to you on August 29, 2001, just days before an incident on 9/11 changed our lives, a time, arguably, of innocence, a time which may never exist again. I suppose all of us must remember where we were on September 11, 2001, almost exactly 10 years ago, especially those of us in the US. Some of you were in New York or DC, I know, and I hope you will be able to share your stories with us, given the distance of time. Here in San Francisco, those of us in our makeshift emergency response room on the 5th floor found ourselves responding to false news reports of planes headed in this direction, and complying with the Mayor’s instruchiver 2012

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tions to evacuate everyone from Civic Center. I remember being struck by the calm collaboration of our faculty and staff as we sent children home and by the overwhelming numbers of you who volunteered to stay on campus until everyone had gone home. For myself, stuck in my post, I will remember the kindness of Katia Aouat, who was Dean of Students at the time, who somehow connected my 12th grade daughter with my very young son, and sent them home. Their long, somewhat surreal journey on foot… the sights and sounds of an early morning on Valencia Street, the smell of good coffee and poor sanitation, the numbness on peoples’ faces as they gathered in the streets seeking solace, news and company, the uncertainty of the day and of the future. All this became, later that year, under Kate’s wise guidance, the subject of my daughter’s college entrance essay for Columbia University in New York. In the fall of 2001, when college applications from students around the country to Washington DC and New York were at an all-time low, we had more students apply to and accept places at New York universities than ever before. You see, at French American International School we teach our students to look life in the eye, to be risk takers, to be brave, to want to take a stand for something. That’s the important work that we do. Earlier on that year, during the summer of 2001, Cheryl Labreque and I were in San Jose, Costa Rica. Cheryl was IB Coordinator at the time, and we were privileged to witness together the opening remarks of the IB World Conference delivered by Oscar Arias, the former President. Oscar’s son had been an IB student, and he complained that the only thing his son had learned at the British School of Costa Rica was that “ the world’s best eating is in Paris, the world’s best shopping is in New York, and the world’s best partying is

in Rio”. That’s multiculturalism for you. Of course, he was merely pointing out that our types of schools, private and international, must be ever vigilant not to encourage values which broaden the gap between the haves and have nots, but, au contraire, to insist on the promotion of the notion of “ethical leadership”, the development of young people who will go on to serve society, build bridges across the socioeconomic divide, and stem the tide of what he then called “corrupt political subserviency on the part of many recent world leaders”. “Where are our Ghandis?” he asked us. “Why, on the continuum of governance, is there an enormous divide between our philosophers, academics and theorists on the one hand, and our activists, fanatics and fundamentalists on the other, with our political leaders posing mutely for photographs somewhere in the middle?” Re-reading the text of his speech, I am struck by how relevant it still is in the broader context of our post 9/11 world on the one hand, and of our most volatile of years, 2011, on the other. As London was burned and looted this summer largely by children no older than our own middle and high school students, largely disenfranchised youth from depressed neighborhoods, our Eton and Oxford-educated Prime Minister David Cameron and the entire British political class came together to denounce the rioters. Frankly, there was something horrendously phoney and hypocritical about all the shock and outrage expressed in Parliament, decrying the blood-lust of looters clambering for consumer goods. The loudest outcries were from outraged politicians who themselves last year, you may remember, claimed millions of pounds in fake expense receipts for luxury vacations, second homes, the cleaning of family moats, and laptops.

Bienvenue! New Faculty and Staff 2011-2012

Virginia Barrett

Upper School Visual Art 6 | La Lettre

Jakkie Boka-Timmerberg Assistant Athletic Director

Stéphane Briand

Maternelle Rouge Français winter 2012

The Prime Minister spoke of morality, but only as something that applies to the very poor: “We will instill a stronger sense of responsibility,” he pronounced with the dulcet, pompous tones of the Eton graduate, trying to echo Churchill. “We will instill a greater sense of responsibility, in every town, in every street, and in every housing estate.” He appeared not to grasp that this should apply to the rich and powerful as well. As we prepare to welcome back our 1,010 students this year, we have to be aware that we live in an era of D-list celebrities, where Andy Warhol’s prediction of everyone being world-famous for 15 minutes has become almost an obsession, where sadly it seems that one’s worth as a human may be defined by one’s number of Twitter followers and the banality of one’s daily tweets. A world where talentless, brainless, shameless individuals cavort on reality shows and are lionized for doing so, where Paris Hilton-esque public exposure of any kind, no matter how embarrassing or humiliating or degrading, is deemed to be the sure-fire way to success. Being low-key, being authentic, being discreet, being oneself, has lost its cachet. What we need to do as educators, of course, is to impart to our students that genuine achievement and pride has precious little to do with the external validations of rewards and acclaim, and virtually everything to do with how we behave, and how we motivate ourselves, intrinsically. Daniel Pink in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us provides a contemporary example: “Imagine it’s 1995. You sit down with an economist, an accomplished professor with a PhD in economics. You say to her (her!), “I’ve got a crystal ball here that can peer 15 years into the future. I’d like to test your forecasting powers”. She’s skeptical, but she decides to humour you.

Ellen Burdge

LS English Coordinator hiver 2012

“I’m going to describe two encyclopaedias: one just out, the other to be launched in a couple of years. You have to predict which one will be more successful in 2011.” “Bring it on,” she says. “The first encyclopaedia comes from Microsoft. As you know, Microsoft is already a large and powerful company, and with this year’s introduction of Windows 95, it’s about to become an era-defying colossus. Microsoft will fund this encyclopaedia. It will pay professional writers and editors to craft articles on thousands of topics. Well-compensated managers will oversee the project to ensure it’s completed on time and on budget. Then Microsoft will sell the encyclopaedia on CD Rom and online. “The second encyclopaedia won’t come from a company. It will be written by tens of thousands of people who write and edit articles for fun. They won’t need any special qualifications to participate, and nobody will be paid a dime or a yen. Participants will have to contribute their labour for free, sometimes twenty or thirty hours a week. The encyclopaedia itself, which will exist online, will be free to anyone, anywhere, who wants to use it. “Now, you say to the economist, think forward 15 years. One of these encyclopaedias will be the largest and the most popular in the world, and the other will be defunct. Which is which?” Back in 1995, I doubt one could have found a single sober economist on the planet who would not have picked the first Microsoft model. Sure, they might have acknowledged that a band of loose-knit volunteers could have produced something. But there is no way its product could compete in popularity with an offering from a powerful, wage-paying, for-profit company.

Meredith Charpantier 1st Grade White

Perrine Dekeirle Mathematics

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But you all know how things turned out. On October 31, 2009, Microsoft pulled the plug on MSN Encarta, its disc and online Encyclopaedia, which had been on the market for 16 years. Meanwhile, Wikipedia, the second, volunteer-based, model, just eight years after its inception, with 13 million articles in 260 languages, became the largest and most popular encyclopaedia in the world. So what happened? Whatever we may think about its quality and reliability, how on earth did it get produced? What on earth motivates the contributors? The conventional 20th century theory of extrinsic human motivation has a very hard time explaining this result. Subsequently, a team of MIT professors surveyed 684 people as to why they participated in this and other opensource projects, all on a volunteer basis. What they found was a range of motives, but that “enjoyment-based intrinsic motivation, namely how creative and engaged a person feels when working on a project, is the strongest and most persuasive driver of success”. The study participants described (and I quote) “the pleasure of reaching the state of optimal challenge”, “the fun and the flow of mastering something difficult”, and even “a desire to give a gift to the community”. So, how do we develop that intrinsic desire to do well in our students? How do we bring them to “the pleasure of reaching the state of optimal challenge?” I know that everyone here would acknowledge the indictment if International Schools were churning out graduating class after graduating class of money-grabbing Gordon Gekkos. And so, we can and should be proud of the 100% success of our 72 students at the Brevet and the French Bac this year, collecting a whopping 59 mentions between them. We can and should be thrilled at this year’s terrific IB pass-rate which climbed to 90% from 78% , way above the

Mary Ebringer

3rd Grade Blue English 8 | La Lettre

Hayley Haglund English 2nd Grade

international average of 75%. We can and should be proud of the superlative report from the French “Inspection Generale” praising the outstanding work of the lower school faculty and administration. We can and should be proud of the personal letter I received from our Consul General congratulating us on all the above and stating that these quantifiable results are merely a supplementary proof “s’il en fallait une”, (if one is necessary), of the overall excellence of our establishment and of the quality of the teaching to be found here. And while we should shout out loud the wonderful list of prestigious college acceptances, we nevertheless must never forget that what continues to be of paramount importance is that our students are, overwhelmingly, good people as well as good scholars... good people who are self-motivated, self-directed, independent thinkers with a strong sense of empathy and compassion. Let me give you a concrete example. A week or so ago, I gave a job reference for a former student, Hewette Moore, whom many of you I am sure may remember. Hewette graduated as a lifer in 2004 and subsequently qualified with a degree in Sociology from Boston College in 2008. Hewette’s family did not have an easy time of it, but they all banded together with strong support from the community, and a good deal of optimism. Hewette wrote back to me on Facebook yesterday to thank me for the reference and said: “I actually wanted to tell you that two friends and I have founded a non-profit group in New York called SWAG: Serving While Achieving Greatness. It’s going really well and you can find more on our website or on our Facebook page. So much of what I’m doing now stems from the education I received at French American. I owe everything I have, everything I am, to that school, and

Maaike Kaandorp

HOD Humanities | IB History/Geography winter 2012

have no idea where I would be today without the guidance over the years from the administration, the teachers and the community. Please thank them all for all the hard work and efforts to further your students’ academic progress and achievements – everything you have dedicated yourselves to has made such a difference in my life.” When you open the webpage you see the tag line: Serving While Achieving Greatness: Opening Minds. Inspiring Action. Empowering Communities. Mission Statement: SWAG is a non profit organization in New York focused on maximizing the potential of talented youths. We work to foster leadership in young men and women and to imbue them with the knowledge and skills to make permanent, lasting changes in the community at both the local and global level.” That’s Hewette Moore. One of ours. Changing the lives of at-risk students in New York, 10 years after 9/11. That’s the important work that we do. There’s an inscription in the front of EM Forster’s novel, Howard’s End, two words, “Only Connect”. That’s all. That’s the leitmotif of Forster’s book and indeed of all of his writing, the same two simple words that characterize so much of what we do in the rarefied world of international education. When I talk informally to graduates like Hewette, young adults now in their twenties, it isn’t grades and report cards or Bac results or even the specific knowledge they acquired that they remember. I doubt that surprises anyone here. What they talk about when they discuss their school days is the life-changing impact of learning alongside students from 50 different countries; the carpools and Kindergarten sleepovers; the chance encounters with “otherness”, in all its forms, in the classrooms and hallways; the very “normalness” of an

Mafe Pulido-Duarte Español

hiver 2012

Donna Rabin English

Arab and an Israeli student co-chairing the same soccer team; the group belly button piercings; the strangely unique phenomenon of thinking about physics in French and biology in English; the courage of the homeless student in their class who lived in a car; the smell of jasmine on a trip to Tahiti; their first school play; yes, the tattoos; yes, their first cigarette in Paris; their not-so-first first beer in Berlin. And yet, they remember with awe the professional qualities and dedication and the personalities of their teachers and the high standards that they were pushed to reach, and they remember the profound surprise they had, when they reached university, that not only did they know more than their monolingual, monocultural contemporaries, but that they knew better how to think critically, how to question, how to analyse, skills that are apparently not universal, even among college students. They learned they were unique, special. That is the great work we all do, and that is the very essence of the achievements we will be celebrating as a community as our 50th anniversary rolls around in February, 2012. So much for the past. We may like to think, that having paid huge sums of money in tuition fees, we shall send our offspring into the world equipped to cope with whatever challenges they may confront. The irony of course may be that given the terrifying acceleration of change, we have no idea what the world may look like. One of the fascinating aspects of the current wave of citizen revolts that are toppling, challenging or reforming regimes across the Arab world is the number of different terms used to describe the phenomenon. We don’t really know what we’re describing. The term that has gained the most currency is “Arab Spring”. Many Arab journalists, however, seem to find this term totally inappropriate. Rami Khouri, who writes for the Financial

Anne-Charlotte Sanquer MS Maternelle Blanc

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Times and the Jordan Times, says “every time I run into a Tunisian, Egyptian, Libyan, Syrian, Bahraini or Yemeni, I asked how they refer to the political actions of the people. In almost every case the answer is ‘revolution” (“thawra” or in plural “thawrat” in Arabic). Also used are descriptor nouns such as “uprising” (“intifada”), “awakening” (“sahwa”) or renaissance (“nahda”), the latter mirroring the initial Arab awakening against Ottoman and European domination in the early years of the 20th century. According to Khouri, the terms most Arabs use to describe these past months are far stronger and more substantive than “Arab Spring”, the idea mirroring the brief Prague Spring of Czechoslovakia in 1968, quickly halted by the Russians. Without belaboring the point, we as international educators, in a bilingual environment which emphasizes the power of language and the importance of a well-chosen phrase, perhaps we should avoid the pitfall of “ Spring”, commonly perceived as fleeting or passive, despite David’s magnificent attempts to show us otherwise last semester, and employ instead, when we speak with our students, terms that express the epitome of activism, will, empowerment, determination and agency that we have witnessed – examples of citizens who have sought the power to change their world through courage and perseverance, the very qualities we seek to instill in our own graduates. That is the important work that we do. As a forward-looking and dynamic institution, we are very much in the front lines of discussions about what we are calling “Schools of the 21st Century” with, of course, an emphasis on what “21st century learning” looks like. Even though jobs out there are scarce, the new knowledge economies are going to be driven by intrinsically motivated people who are intellectually agile, people who are extremely flexible,

Etienne Simonet Histoire/Géographie 10 | La Lettre

Amanda Tharayil Kindergarten English

people who are highly creative problem solvers who can work productively as a member of a team. Individuals will need to be able to master rapidly changing technologies, make sense of enormous amounts of often unreliable information, and cope with the challenges thrust on them by society, such as balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability, and prosperity with social equity. How do we ensure that our students can do all these things? How can we be sure that when we assess our students’ learning, we are actually assessing their progress to these most essential of skills, and that we are not holding them hostage to some archaic model of education, a hangover from the first part of the 20th century? Are we sure that, when we are assessing our own teaching performance, that we are actively providing for students to be learning 21st century -relevant skills? The last decade has seen war, the ugliness of ethnic cleansing, the exploitation of natural resources, the extinctions of flora, fauna, cultures and languages, uncontrolled population growth, drought, starvation, ozone holes, and global warming, not to mention the exciting yet ethically complicated Brave New Worlds of stem cell research, cloning, artificial hearts and revolution via virtual communications in cyberspace. The ultimate question, then, to guide our discussions this year, is how can we prepare our students, whether they be in Kindergarten, 6th grade or High School, for the world that will be theirs? This year we will introduce FLIP pedagogies and pilot an iPad initiative in the Upper School, while embarking on a pretty ambitious undertaking involving podcast collaborations with International Schools around the world. As French American is now a fully registered member of the ECIS I-Tunes university, I will hope to see more and more of your

Dominique Theulier

Assistant Maternelle Jaune winter 2012

great work appended to this new virtual library. And because physical space matters, in keeping with our pedagogical goals, new furniture has been ordered that is more modular and therefore more conducive to collaborative learning. On the 4th floor, walls have been brought down and light has been brought in so that Middle School students can sit and discuss in pleasant surroundings in informal groups. The Hickory Yard has a new explosion of color and special spaces reserved for special activities such as reflection and dialogue. This year we will work with the Lower School faculty not only on our Early Childhood Learning Center project but also on restacking the first three floors and deciding what the optimal 21st Century elementary school classroom will look like and how best to integrate the new technologies into the lower grades. We’ll continue to work with all teachers to ensure that the curriculum is consistently relevant, not ponderous; challenging, not arduous; stimulating, not stultifying, and we’ll work across all three school sections as we attempt to assess and to address the mental, physical and emotional needs of the whole student as the world becomes more, and not less, stressful. We’ll approach all the above while acknowledging that our children who live an increasingly online recreational life will need balance: in their increasingly online learning life, they will need, more than ever, your guidance, and the social and moral context of a school to learn about sharing and celebrating and commiserating together. Humans are, after all, social animals, who respond to affection and warmth and care. And in that context, I will look forward with great enthusiasm to our two new spring in-service days, during which lower school teachers will visit upper school teachers, and vice versa. There is such an enormous amount we can

Lisa Shaner

High School Library Assistant hiver 2012

Sabra Stoner

share and learn from one another, in person. In closing, I’d like to share a letter about community from the Director of the International School of Stavanger, Norway: “On July 22, the unimaginable happened here in this beautiful land. Over the past several weeks, we have been hearing from friends all over the world sending their condolences. Norway, long seen as one of the most peaceful places in the world, is well and truly in shock and will be for a long time. But as we have learned over the years, the Norwegians are an amazingly resilient people and in the midst of deep grief we are seeing many amazing actions of love and unification. “Last week, I joined in with a crowd estimated at 100,000 people for a torchlight parade in downtown Stavanger demonstrating love, support, and a feisty refusal to allow a murderer to dissuade people from their pride in their democracy. When you consider that Stavanger’s population is only 126,000 people, you will appreciate the depth of the support people are extending toward the victims and their families, the government, and each other. Throughout the country that night, similar processions were taking place in large and small towns... funerals are taking place all over the country and so the sadness continues. “While we did not lose any students, parents or staff, this is a country with less than five million people and we know our school community feels the impact through cousins, friends, colleagues. Jens Stoltenberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister, has quoted a young survivor in a memorial speech, “If one man can show this much hate, think how much love we can show together.” So this is my wish to each of you. As school people, we are ordained to optimists. Our school communities and our

Director of Advancement

Christine Tamez

Special Events and Volunteers La Lettre | 11

students need us to play that role. Who knows what will be around the next bend, another 9/11, another July 22, but I know that we will all stand together and react in the best way possible. The community of international schools around the world is stronger and more important than ever, and we are all so lucky to be a part of it”. Thank you all for being a part of our French American International School Community. I am proud to work with you to achieve our goals as we celebrate our 50th year.


jane camblin

et été, les gros titres des journaux nous ont joué toute la gamme, du sublime au ridicule : Un jour c’est « Kadhafi, c’est fini ! » (sublime)… et le suivant (ridicule), « La conférence de presse de Dominique Strauss-Kahn à NYC interrompue par un tremblement de terre en Virginie ». Cela devient difficile de trouver de la cohérence, où qu’on regarde. Lors d’un discours de cérémonie de fin d’études, il y a quelques années, je me référai au roman de Peter Ackroyd : « Les Ecrits de Platon », une sorte de prophétie sur l’état du monde en 3700 après JC, dans lequel les USA sont devenus un vaste désert où ne subsistent que de rares vestiges archéologiques, culturels ou littéraires. En y réfléchissant, je devais être folle, parce que c’était un bien sombre message, pas du tout enthousiasmant, mais bon, c’est ce que j’ai dit.

Dans le sombre tableau peint par Ackroyd, la culture historique s’est tellement émoussée, tout est tellement oublié que les gens pensent que Charles Dickens et Charles Darwin ne font qu’une seule et même personne, Charles D. Ainsi l’auteur de « Grandes Espérances » est également l’auteur supposé « De l’origine des espèces », ce dernier ouvrage étant bien sur son plus comique. Un monde post-apocalyptique, où le soleil est artificiel et les sexes ne sont plus distincts. En fonction du point de vue, il n’y a plus qu’un sexe, ou bien toute une variété. D’après ma fille d’ailleurs, nous y sommes déjà, dans ce que ses contemporains et elle appellent désormais une société post-hétéro. Et bien sûr, plus d’écoles…Quel que soit ce que les écoles ont cherché à inculquer de culture et de civilisation, tout cela est perdu à jamais, entraînant de désastreuses conséquences. Comme tous les romans futuristes, celui d’Ackroyd se veut une mise en garde contre les effets inattendus des faiblesses et des excès des actions humaines incontrôlées. Sa plus grande erreur pourtant est de ne prédire cela qu’en l’an 3700... car nous nous en sentons déjà tout proches en cet été 2011. Au moment de célébrer le 50e anniversaire de la fondation du Lycée International Franco-Américain, le jour de la St Valentin 1962, je vous invite à célébrer en vérité toutes les facettes de notre communauté : une communauté qui a surmonté bravement de nombreuses crises économiques et politiques, une communauté qui n’a pas peur des défis, ni de prendre des risques, une communauté d’une incroyable, bien qu’imparfaite, variété, toujours à la recherche du mieux, qui connaît ses valeurs, connaît ses priorités, une communauté

African Delegation Visits International High School.

In September, International High School had the honor of welcoming twenty international leaders currently participating in a Department of State program, who met with our Grade 10 students to talk about public health, and infectious disease education and prevention. Students heard about areas of strength and of challenge in Benin, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia-USAU, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Our partnership with the Institute of International Education has created numerous opportunities for unique student/visitor discussions with dignitaries from around the world.

12 | La Lettre

winter 2012

internationale capable de se resserrer face à l’adversité, forte des valeurs qui la fondent et la soudent. C’est un message d’espoir en l’immense valeur de l’école en général, et en ce que la nôtre a d’unique et de dynamique…Pour paraphraser Nelson Mandela, « une cellule aux remarquables pouvoirs d’innovation et de changement ». C’est aussi tout particulièrement un message sur l’importance essentielle du métier d’enseignant confronté à l’écrasante banalité de la culture de masse et aux ravages d’un monde chaotique où tout a été chamboulé de mille manières dans les dernières années. Je vous accueille depuis 1994 dans cette école, en tant que Proviseur depuis 15 ans, autrefois dans un bâtiment différent qui semble maintenant si loin de nous. Mais tandis que le monde est devenu plus complexe et que nos objectifs à court et long termes se sont faits plus ambitieux, les valeurs essentielles de notre école demeurent intactes : pensée critique, internationalisme et bilinguisme, comme en atteste la remarquable histoire de l’école écrite par Dan Harder, tant il est vrai que ce qui est constant doit également se montrer contemporain. Comme dit Robert notre expert ès Relations Publiques, si on n’a pas une « botte secrète», alors on n’a « rien »…J’ai eu cette année l’occasion de m’entretenir régulièrement avec un certain prêtre épiscopalien, notre voisin et mon compatriote britannique, avec qui je travaille à certain projet de construction commune pour la Maternelle. Il écrit des sermons, de son métier…Je lui ai donc demandé comment il faisait pour garder à son message toute sa fraîcheur et sa vitalité, son authenticité, sa pertinence et son sens dans le monde contemporain, semaine après semaine, mois après mois, année après année, souvent au lever du jour le Dimanche, quand nous autres sommes encore endormis sous nos couettes. Après tout, les valeurs essentielles de SON organisation n’ont guère changé non plus. « Ah ! répondit-il avec une pointe de fierté, aucun problème ! Durant mes 30 années de prêtrise, je n’ai pas dû écrire plus de 20 sermons ! » Comment cela se peut-il, pensais-je ? Si je calcule, à raison d’un par semaine, ce n’est même pas assez pour 6 mois ! Alors 20 sermons en 30 ans, ce n’est tout simplement pas possible ! J’imaginai bien un instant quelque cyber-marché noir souterrain du sermon dominical sur internet, mais après un verre de vin, ou plutôt trois, la vérité se fit jour : avec quelques habiles interversions de textes bibliques, de légers remaniements de paragraphes, il avait trouvé la recette de ce qu’il appelle, non sans irrévérence, le “sermon-cocktail”. Et il se vante que pas une de ses ouailles n’y aient vu que du feu. Sans doute étaient-elles endormies ou droguées, ou n’écoutaient pas. Pour moi, je savais que cela ne marcherait jamais avec l’équipe de brillants cerveaux toujours à l’affût du personnel du Lycée International Franco-Américain. Vous avez tous des mémoires d’éléphants ! Pourtant je reconnais que je jetai un oeil à mon discours d’août 2001, prononcé quelques jours seulement avant que le 11 Septembre ne vienne à jamais changer nos vies, le temps de l’innocence perdue, dit-on, un temps qui ne reviendra sans doute plus. Je suppose que nous nous souvenons tous exactement d’où nous étions ce matin du 11 Septembre 2001, il y a dix hiver 2012

ans presque jour pour jour, en particulier ceux d’entre nous qui étions aux USA. Certains de vous étaient à New York ou à Washington, je le sais, et j’espère que vous voudrez bien partager avec nous vos souvenirs, maintenant que le temps a passé... Ici, à San Francisco, dans notre PC de campagne improvisé au 5e, nous nous vîmes contraints de répondre à de fausses rumeurs d’avions se dirigeant vers ici, et d’obéir aux ordres du Maire qui exigeait l’évacuation du Civic Center. Je garde en mémoire le calme et l’esprit de coopération qui régnaient tandis que professeurs et employés joignaient leurs efforts pour assurer un prompt retour des enfants chez eux, et aussi combien vous fûtes nombreux à vous porter volontaires pour rester sur le campus jusqu’au départ du dernier enfant. Quant à moi, clouée par mes fonctions, je me souviens de la gentillesse de Katia Aouat, alors Surveillante Générale, qui s’était débrouillée pour réunir ma grande fille de Terminale et mon tout jeune fils et les renvoyer à la maison. Leur longue marche, presqu’irréelle... sons et images d’un petit matin sur Valencia Street, les odeurs mélangées de bon café et de mauvaises latrines, les visages atterrés des gens qui se massaient dans les rues à la recherche d’information, de compagnie et de réconfort... l’incertitude du jour et plus encore celle du lendemain...Tout cela, un peu plus tard se retrouvait sous la plume de ma fille qui, remarquablement guidée par Kate Goldberg, en fit le sujet de sa dissertation d’admission à Columbia University à New York. A l’automne 2011, alors même que le nombre de demandes d’entrée dans les universités de NYC et de DC étaient au plus bas, nos élèves, plus que jamais auparavant, étaient candidats et prêts à accepter les offres des universités de New-York. Voyez-vous, au Lycée International Franco-Américain, nous apprenons à nos jeunes à regarder la vie en face, à prendre des risques, à être courageux et prêts à relever les défis. Voila l’importante tâche qui nous incombe. Un peu plus tôt cette année-là, Cheryl LaBrecque, alors coordinatrice IB, et moi-même nous trouvions à San Jose du Costa Rica pour l’ouverture de la conférence annuelle du Baccalauréat International. Nous assistions au discours d’ouverture prononcé par l’ancien président Oscar Arias dont le fils avait suivi le cursus IB. Il se plaignait que tout ce que son fils avait retenu de ses études était que « les meilleurs restaurants étaient à Paris, les meilleures boutiques à New York et les meilleures boîtes de nuit à Rio ». Merci pour le multiculturalisme... Certes, il ne faisait que mettre le doigt sur un écueil dont nos écoles privées et internationales doivent se garder: celui d’encourager des valeurs qui élargissent la fracture entre les nantis et les autres; notre devoir au contraire est de promouvoir la notion d’éthique professionnelle et politique, l’émergence d’une jeune génération utile à la société, capable de réparer le tissu socio-économique et d’arrêter le raz-de-marée de ce qu’il appelait « l’arrogance de la corruption politique trop présente chez les dirigeants de ce monde ». « Où sont les Gandhi? demandait-il. Pourquoi au fil des gouvernements, le fossé se creuse-t-il entre philosophes, intellectuels et théoriciens d’un côté, et de l’autre les activistes, fanatiques et autres fondamentalistes, tandis que La Lettre | 13

les dirigeants politiques se font photographier plus ou moins au milieu ?” A la relecture, je suis frappée par la justesse de son discours 10 ans plus tard, dans le contexte du post-11septembre d’une part, et de l’autre au regard de cette année 2011 qui nous échappe. Tandis que Londres brûle, mise à sac par une jeunesse désenchantée, à peine plus âgée que nos élèves du Secondaire, venant de banlieues oubliées, le Premier Ministre David Cameron, un pur produit d’Eton et d’Oxford, et toute la digne classe politique se dressent sur leurs ergots pour fustiger les émeutiers. Honnêtement, il y avait quelque chose d’atrocement hypocrite et faux dans l’indignation du Parlement outragé, dénonçant les actions de ces pillards assoiffés de sang... ou plutôt de biens de consommation. Et ceux qui criaient le plus fort sont les mêmes hommes politiques qui l’an passé, vous en souvenez, se sont octroyé des millions de livres sterling en fausses factures de vacances de luxe, maisons secondaires, douves de famille, ordinateurs et bien sûr les inévitables ballets roses sans lesquels le système parlementaire britannique ne saurait perdurer. Certes, le Premier Ministre a parlé de moralité, comme si ce mot ne pouvait s’appliquer qu’aux plus pauvres... « Nous instillerons un solide et véritable sens des responsabilités, déclarait-il sur le ton pompeux et doucereux d’un ancien d’Eton, tentant en vain de se hisser à la hauteur d’un Churchill... « Nous instillerons un sens des responsabilités encore plus grand dans chaque ville, dans chaque rue et dans chaque foyer ». Lui est-il venu à l’esprit que ceci doit s’appliquer aussi aux riches et aux puissants ? Tandis que nous nous préparons, en cette rentrée, à accueillir nos 1010 élèves, il faut nous souvenir que nous vivons dans un monde de célébrités de 4e zone, où la prédiction d’Andy Warhol, que chacun aura ses 15 mn de gloire, est devenue l’obsession de tous, où la valeur d’un être humain se mesure, quelle tristesse! au nombre de ses suiveurs sur Twitter et à la triste banalité de ses propres tweets...un monde où des personnages remarquables par leur absence de talent, d’intelligence et de pudeur caracolent dans les émissions télévisées et sont portés au pinacle, où toute forme d’apparition Paris-Hilton-esque, pour aussi gênante, embarrassante ou même dégradante qu’elle soit, vous ouvre la voie assurée du succès. La modestie, l’authenticité et la discrétion ont perdu leur panache. Notre devoir d’éducateurs, c’est bien sûr d’instiller à nos élèves que les véritables accomplissements, la vraie gloire a fort peu affaire avec la bruyante reconnaissance médiatique, et en vérité est avant tout affaire de comportement, de motivation personnelle et de dignité. Dans son livre « Moteurs: la surprenante vérité sur nos véritables motivations », Daniel Pink propose cet exemple contemporain: “Imaginez que vous soyez en 1995, vous consultez un éminent économiste, quelque docteur en économie patenté. Vous vous adressez à elle (oui, elle!) en ces mots: « je suis en possession d’une boule de cristal qui me donne accès au futur d’ici 15 ans. Je voudrais tester vos pouvoirs de prévision ». Elle a des doutes, mais elle décide de jouer le jeu… 14 | La Lettre

« Je vais vous décrire deux encyclopédies, l’une qui vient de sortir et l’autre qui sortira dans deux ans. Vous devez prévoir laquelle des deux aura le plus de succès en 2011 ». « Allons-y, dit-elle ». « La première est produite par Microsoft. Comme vous le savez Microsoft est déjà une immense et puissante entreprise en passe de devenir, grâce à la sortie, cette année, de Microsoft95 un colosse incontournable…Microsoft investira les fonds, paiera d’éminents savants et rédacteurs qui mettront tout leur soin à produire des centaines d’articles sur des milliers de sujets. Des chefs de projets grassement payés assureront la supervision, contrôleront les dépenses et le respect du calendrier. Puis Microsoft vendra son encyclopédie sur CD-Rom ou en ligne. La deuxième encyclopédie ne sera pas produite par une entreprise. Elle sera composée par des dizaines de milliers de gens qui écrivent et relisent pour le plaisir. Aucune qualification particulière ne sera requise pour participer, et personne ne recevra un centime ou un yen pour ses œuvres... Les participants offriront gratuitement le fruit de leur labeur... parfois jusqu’ à 20 ou 30 heures par semaine. L’encyclopédie elle-même sera gratuite, accessible par tous et de partout. Bon, dites-vous à votre économiste, maintenant, projetez-vous 15 ans dans le futur ...une seule de ces deux encyclopédies sera devenue la plus vaste et la plus consultée au monde, et l’autre aura périclité. Laquelle ? » En 1995, je doute fort qu’aucun économiste au monde, du moins en pleine possession de ses moyens, n’eût été convaincu du succès de l’encyclopédie de Microsoft. Sans doute n’eurent-ils pas douté que quelques bénévoles en ordre dispersé puissent produire quelque chose, mais de là à imaginer que leur production puisse rivaliser de popularité avec celle d’une puissante et lucrative compagnie comme celle-là.... Or nous savons tous comment les choses ont tourné : le 31 Octobre 2009, Microsoft renonçait à MSN Encarta et envoyait au pilon son encyclopédie sur CD-Rom et sa version internet, sur le marché depuis 16 ans. Entretemps, l’autre, Wikipedia, avec son armée de fourmis bénévoles et ses 13 millions d’articles en 260 langues, était devenue, en moins de 8 ans après son lancement, l’encyclopédie la plus vaste et la plus consultée au monde. Que s’était-il donc passé? Quoi que l’on pense de sa fiabilité et de sa qualité, comment diable en est-on arrivé là ? Comment diable a-t-on suscité une telle motivation chez les participants ? La traditionnelle théorie de la motivation externe chère au 20e siècle aurait bien du mal à fournir une explication. Peu après, une équipe de chercheurs du MIT entreprit de sonder les motivations de 684 personnes ayant contribué bénévolement à ce projet ou à un autre du type open-source. Ce qu’ils découvrirent, c’est, parmi une liste de raisons variées, que la motivation intrinsèque de participer pour le plaisir, c’est- à -dire « le fait d’éprouver le plaisir de se sentir créatif et engagé dans une tâche est le moteur le plus enthousiasmant et le plus puissant du succès ». Les sondés décrivent (et je cite) « le plaisir d’atteindre ses propres limites, le bonheur de maîtriser la difficulté avec aisance » et même winter 2012

International High School’s Historic Trip to Jordan. On Friday, October 21, a group of ten International High School 9th and 11th graders, accompanied by advisors Dina Srouji and Leslie Adams, embarked on the school’s first trip to Jordan.Hosted by the Ahliyyah School for Girls and the Bishop’s School for Boys, the students spent two weeks journeying to Roman ruins, the Dead Sea, and Petra, and were invited to a radio station (Al Hawa 105.9) where Dina Srouji, a Palestinian-Jordanian herself, and our students spoke of the significance of this unprecedented journey. The group arrived back in San Francisco on November 4 accompanied by representatives from both the Ahliyyah and Bishop’s Schools, who attended the Soirée des Arts et des Vins at the Ferry Building. (pictured above)

« un désir de faire cadeau de son savoir à la communauté ». Alors, comment développer chez nos élèves le désir intrinsèque de bien faire ? Comment les amener « au plaisir d’atteindre ses propres limites » ? Je sais que chacun ici vivrait comme une malédiction que les écoles internationales produisent année après année des générations de requins genre Gordon Gekko. Certes, nous pouvons, et nous devons, nous enorgueillir de nos 100% de réussite au Brevet et au Bac de nos 72 élèves cette année, raflant 59 mentions au total. Nous pouvons et devons nous délecter de notre taux de réussite de 90% au Bac International. Nous pouvons être très fiers des rapports dithyrambiques émanant de l’Inspection Générale qui louent le remarquable travail des professeurs et de la Direction de l’école élémentaire. Nous pouvons et devons être très fiers de la lettre reçue du Consul Général de France qui nous félicite de ces brillants résultats, ajoutant que c’est là la preuve chiffrée, « s’il en fallait une », de l’excellence de notre travail et de la qualité de l’enseignement qu’on reçoit ici. Et même s’il est bien légitime de crier sur les toits la prestigieuse liste des admissions de nos élèves dans les universités les plus renommées, nous ne devons jamais oublier que l’essentiel est que nos élèves se montrent toujours des hommes et des femmes de bien, tout autant que de bons élèves, des hommes et des femmes de bien capables de motivation intrinsèque, de décisions justes, de pensée indépendante , pourvus en outre d’un sens aigu de l’empathie et de la compassion. Laissez-moi vous en donner un exemple concret. Il y a une semaine, je fournissais une recommandation professionnelle pour une ancienne élève, Hewette Moore, dont beaucoup d’entre vous sans doute se souviennent: après une scolarité hiver 2012

complète chez nous jusqu’en 2004, Hewette quittait Boston College avec une licence de Sociologie en 2008. La famille de Hewette n’a pas eu la vie facile...un père handicapé, une mère travaillant dur, trois frères et soeurs, et jamais assez d’argent pour finir le mois...mais ils se sont serré les coudes avec le soutien de notre communauté et une bonne dose d’optimisme. Hewette m’a remerciée hier sur Facebook en ces termes : « Je voudrais surtout vous dire que j’ai fondé avec deux amis une organisation charitable basée à New York qui s’appelle SWAG: « Serving While Achieving Greatness » (Servir pour accomplir le Bien). Cela marche très bien et vous pourrez en savoir plus en consultant notre site internet ou notre page Facebook…Beaucoup de ce que je fais aujourd’hui provient de mon éducation au Lycée International Franco-Américain. Tout ce que j’ai aujourd’hui, tout ce que je suis, je le dois à cette école, et je me demande où j’en serais aujourd’hui sans les conseils, année après année, de son administration, de ses professeurs et de sa communauté. S’il vous plaît, remerciez-les tous pour moi de leur travail et de leurs efforts pour améliorer les performances et les progrès de vos élèves. C’est tout leur dévouement qui a changé ma vie.” Sur la page d’ouverture du site, on peut lire : « Servir pour accomplir le Bien : ouvrir les esprits, générer l’action, développer le pouvoir des communautés”. Notre mission : SWAG est une organisation à but non lucratif basée à NYC qui se donne pour but de développer le potentiel des jeunes talents. Notre objectif est d’aider de jeunes hommes et femmes à se prendre en main en leur donnant les connaissances et les compétences capables d’imprimer un changement profond et durable dans leurs communautés, tant au niveau local qu’à l’échelle du monde ». La Lettre | 15

Voila qui est Hewette. Elle est des nôtres, elle qui change la vie de jeunes à risques de New York, 10 ans après le 11 Septembre. Voila l’importante tâche qui nous incombe. Au début du roman de E.M. Forster “Howard’s End”, on peut lire cet envoi : « Juste un lien ».C’est tout. Et c’est le leitmotiv de son roman et à vrai dire de toute son œuvre... Trois mots qui représentent parfaitement ce que nous faisons dans l’air raréfié du monde des écoles internationales. Dans mes conversations avec Hewette et d’autres anciens élèves, maintenant jeunes adultes de 20 ou 30 ans, ce n’est pas des notes ou des bulletins, ni des résultats au Bac, ni même des enseignements dont ils se souviennent avec émotion. Cela ne surprendra personne. Ce dont ils parlent en évoquant leurs souvenirs scolaires, c’est de l’effet transformateur que produit le fait d’apprendre au milieu d’une communauté où se côtoient paisiblement cinquante nationalités, les co-voiturages et les nuits chez les copains, la chance de se frotter à l’altérité sous toutes ses formes, dans les classes et dans les couloirs, la parfaite «normalité » pour un Arabe et un Israélien de co-présider le club de foot, le clan des nombrils-percés, le curieux phénomène d’avoir à penser la physique en Français mais la biologie en Anglais, le courage de tel étudiant de leur classe n’ayant d’autre foyer qu’une voiture, les effluves du jasmin à Tahiti, la première pièce de théâtre à l’école, et, oui, les tatouages, oui aussi la première cigarette à Paris, la pastout-à-fait-première première bière à Berlin. Et aussi, avec admiration, ils se souviennent de la qualité et du dévouement ainsi que de la personnalité de leurs professeurs, tout autant que des sommets vers lesquels vous les avez poussés; ils se souviennent de leur stupeur en entrant à l’université de constater que non seulement ils en savaient plus que leurs pairs monolingues et monoculturels, mais mieux encore qu’ils étaient capables de meilleure pensée critique, d’un meilleur questionnement, d’une meilleure analyse, toutes capacités finalement pas si courantes parmi les étudiants. Ils ont alors compris ce qu’ils avaient d’unique, d’inouï. Telle est notre tâche au quotidien, et c’est l’essence même de ce que nous célébrerons ensemble lors du 50e anniversaire de notre école, en Février 2012. Voilà pour le passé. Les parents croient que lorsqu’ils auront dépensé une fortune en frais de scolarité, leurs rejetons quitteront l’école bardés de tout ce qu’il faut pour affronter les défis de la vie. Ironie du sort, bien sûr, le monde change à une vitesse proprement affolante, si bien qu’il nous est impossible de prévoir de quoi sera fait le monde de demain. Un des aspects les plus fascinants des soulèvements populaires qui renversent, s’opposent ou obligent à la réforme les gouvernements du monde arabe, c’est la variété du vocabulaire utilisé pour les décrire. Le terme le plus communément admis est “Printemps des Peuples Arabes”. Nombreux pourtant sont les journalistes de langue arabe qui désapprouvent ce terme. Rami Khouri, journaliste au Financial Times et au Jordan Times écrit : « chaque fois que je rencontre un Tunisien, un Egyptien, un Libyen, un Syrien, un Bahreïni ou un Yéménite, je leur demande quels termes ils emploient pour décrire les actions politiques de leur peuple. Dans presque tous les cas, ils disent : «révolution» ( thwara en Arabe, thwarat 16 | La Lettre

au pluriel. Parmi les autres qualificatifs parfois en usage, on trouve « insurrection » (intifada), « réveil » (sahwa) ou « renaissance » (nahda) ce dernier renvoyant également au tout premier soulèvement arabe contre la domination ottomane et européenne du début du 20e siècle. Dans tous les cas, Rami Khouri trouve que les termes arabes sont toujours beaucoup plus forts et plus profonds que le terme de « Printemps Arabe », inspiré du « Printemps de Prague » en 1968 vivement réprimé par les Russes. Sans plus de détour, je veux dire que pour nous, communauté internationale, environnement bilingue qui mettons l’accent sur le pouvoir du langage, le sens exact et la nuance des mots, nous tout particulièrement devrions éviter la facilité du mot « Printemps » qui a quelque chose de léger et de passif (quoique David Williamson ait, l’an passé, donné une brillante démonstration du contraire), et nous attacher à employer seulement avec nos élèves les termes qui expriment le plus haut degré de l’action politique, de la volonté, de l’engagement et de la détermination dont nous sommes témoins... L’exemple de citoyens à l’assaut du pouvoir pour changer leur monde, à force de courage et de persévérance, les qualités exactes que nous souhaitons instiller à nos bacheliers. Voila l’importante tâche qui nous incombe. Quoi qu’il en soit en tant qu’institution dynamique et allant de l’avant, nous nous trouvons au cœur de la réflexion sur les « Ecoles du 21e siècle », des interrogations sur ce que signifie « apprendre au 21e siècle ». Même si le travail est rare, la nouvelle économie du savoir sera sans aucun doute mue par des gens intrinsèquement motivés et doués d’une grande vivacité d’esprit, des gens extrêmement adaptables, des gens hautement capables de résoudre grâce à leur imagination les nouveaux problèmes, et qui sauront travailler efficacement en équipe. Chacun devra être capable de maîtriser les changements accélérés de la technologie, d’extraire le sens d’une énorme masse d’informations pas toujours fiables et de relever les défis que la société lui lancera, comme par exemple celui de trouver un équilibre entre le développement économique et développement durable, entre la prospérité et la justice sociale. Comment être sûrs que nos élèves en seront capables ? Comment être sûrs que lorsque nous évaluons les acquis de nos élèves, nous nous assurons en même temps de leur progrès dans ces compétences essentielles, et que nous ne les enfermons pas dans le carcan d’une éducation archaïque, assommant héritage du 20e siècle? Sommes-nous sûrs, quand nous évaluons notre propre performance pédagogique, de fournir à nos élèves les véritables compétences dont ils auront besoin au 21e siècle ? Dans les dernières années, on a vu la guerre, l’horreur du nettoyage ethnique, la surexploitation des ressources naturelles, l’extinction d’espèces végétales et animales aussi bien que de cultures et de langues, la croissance incontrôlée de la population, les sécheresses, les famines, les trous dans la couche d’ozone et le réchauffement planétaire, sans parler de ce “Meilleur des Mondes” où règnent la recherche sur les cellules-souches, le clonage et les cœurs artificiels, ni même mentionner la révolution des communications et du cyber-espace. La question essentielle qui doit donc guider nos discuswinter 2012

Celebrating 50 Years of Intern ational Education French American International School | International High School | Lycée International Franco-Américain

At French American and

“You want to be able to recruit

International, a first class

and services. I think that it is

education is our first priority.

daughter’s future.”

Help us deliver that goal by making the Annual Fund

and retain the best of teachers money well invested in our Sara and Matthew Jennison “Especially in tough economic times, it is really important to think about your kids first. And

your first priority.

what better way to give than to the school, to specific programs in the school that you want.”

Annual Fund Fonds annuel : notre priorité

Chuck Han

To learn more about how our community supports the schools’ programs through the Annual Fund, and to make a gift, visit our website. hiver 2012

La Lettre | 17

sions cette année est de savoir comment préparer au mieux nos élèves, qu’ils soient en Maternelle ou au Lycée, pour le monde qui les attend. Cette année, le Lycée se lance dans les nouvelles pédagogies, la méthode FLIP et les iPads, tout en s’embarquant dans une nouvelle et audacieuse entreprise de collaboration avec les autres écoles internationales du monde. Maintenant que le Lycée International Franco-Américain est membre à part entière du groupe ECIS iTunes University, j’espère voir de plus en plus d’exemples de votre remarquable travail apparaître sur les rayons virtuels de cette nouvelle bibliothèque pédagogique. Et parce que nous savons bien que l’environnement physique compte pour atteindre nos objectifs pédagogiques, de nouveaux meubles de classe ont été commandés, des bureaux individuels faciles à bouger et par là plus propices à une géographie variable et collaborative de la classe. Au 4e étage, les murs sont tombés, la lumière est entrée afin d’offrir aux jeunes élèves des espaces conviviaux et agréables ou converser et entretenir commerce. Le Hickory Yard éclate de couleurs toutes neuves et d’espaces de jeux et autres activités telles que la réflexion et la discussion. Cette année, nous travaillerons ensemble au Primaire non seulement au projet de Centre pour les tout-petits, mais aussi à la rénovation de ces trois étages pour en faire des salles de classe idéales du 21e siècle, et intégrer au mieux les nouvelles technologies dès le plus jeune âge. Nous continuerons également à travailler avec tous les professeurs à l’examen scrupuleux de nos programmes que nous voulons pertinents et non pompeux, rigoureux et non rigides, stimulants et non bêtifiants, et ce travail concerne toutes les sections, tandis que nous nous attachons en outre à prendre en compte l’élève dans son entier, pour qui le monde devient plus, et non pas moins, stressant. Nous abordons cela tout en gardant à l’esprit que nos enfants qui vivent dans un monde de plus en plus ludique mais virtuel et ont besoin d’équilibre dans cet apprentissage virtuel de la vie, ont plus que jamais besoin de nos conseils et de l’environnement social et moral que procure une école où l’on apprend ensemble à partager le sens de la fête comme celui du chagrin... Après tout, l’homme est un animal social

qui a besoin d’affection, de chaleur et de soin. C’est dans ce contexte que je me réjouis de nos nouvelles journées professionnelles du printemps lors desquelles les professeurs du Primaire rendront visite à leurs collègues du Secondaire, et vice versa. Nous avons tant à partager et à apprendre les uns des autres. Pour terminer, je voudrais vous lire un extrait de la lettre reçue du Directeur de l’école Internationale de Stavanger en Norvège : “ Ce 22 Juillet, l’inimaginable s’est produit dans ce beau pays. Pendant ces dernières semaines, j’ai reçu des mots de condoléances venus du monde entier. La Norvège, longtemps considérée comme un des pays les plus paisibles au monde se trouve aujourd’hui sous ce terrible choc. Mais le peuple norvégien a toujours fait preuve d’une immense force de caractère, et au milieu de tout ce chagrin, nous voyons fleurir d’incroyables preuves d’amour et d’unité. La semaine dernière, j’ai rejoint pour un soir les 100.000 participants à la procession aux flambeaux dans le centre de Stavanger, une manifestation d’amour et de soutien, l’affirmation têtue et fière de la foi de ce peuple en sa démocratie. Quand vous saurez que Stavanger ne compte que 126.000 habitants, vous pourrez mieux apprécier l’étendue du soutien que la foule a voulu exprimer aux victimes et à leurs familles, envers son gouvernement et envers chacun. Dans tout le pays, ce soir-là, des processions se sont tenues dans les villes grandes ou petites. Dans tout le pays, des funérailles ont lieu , et le chagrin est toujours là. Quoique nous n’ayons pas à déplorer de perte parmi nos élèves, enseignants ou familles, ce pays ne compte que 5 millions d’habitants et nous savons que chacun est en deuil d’un ami, d’un cousin ou d’un collègue. Jens Stoltenberg, le Premier Ministre Norvégien, a cité dans son discours les mots d’un des jeunes survivants : « Si un seul homme peut faire la preuve de tant de haine, imaginez de combien d’amour nous pouvons faire la preuve tous ensemble ». Voila donc mon souhait pour vous tous : en tant qu’éducateurs, nous avons tous fait vœu d’optimisme. Nous nous devons de jouer ce rôle auprès de nos communautés et de nos élèves. Qui sait ce qui nous attend au tournant ? Un autre 11 septembre ? Un autre 22 Juillet ? Mais je sais que nous sommes prêts à nous serrer les coudes et à réagir de notre mieux. La communauté des écoles internationales de par le monde est plus forte et plus unie que jamais. Quel bonheur d’en faire faire partie ! ” Merci à vous tous qui faites partie de la communauté du Lycée International Franco-Américain! Je suis fière de travailler avec vous à l’accomplissement de nos objectifs et de célébrer ensemble notre 50e anniversaire.

jane camblin

September 12, 2011: In commemoration of the

10th Anniversary of 9/11, the Lower School honored the firefighters of San Francisco Fire Department’s Engine #36 at an early morning assembly in the Hickory Yard.

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Special Events 2011-2012 des événements spéciaux pour l’année scolaire 2011-2012

l a u n n A tion Auc e r u c i p E ’ d r e Le Dîn Le Dîner d’Epicure March 2012 Mars 2012 Details Coming Soon!

For more information, go to:

30th Annual Auction Fête des Enchères Saturday, May 5, 2012 samedi 5 Mai 2012 The Palace Hotel

Celebrating 50 Years of International Education French American International School | International High School | Lycée International Franco-Américain La Lettre | 19

Conseil de Gestion

Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees

2011–2012 Romain Serman Consul Général de France Honorary Chairman Gerard (Tex) Schenkkan Chairman Ronald Kahn, Vice Chairman Leigh Sata, Vice Chairman Vernon Goins, Secretary Josh Nossiter, Treasurer Denis Bisson Attaché Culturel Stephane de Bord John Cate Adam Cioth Orpheus S.L. Crutchfield Azeb Gessesse Frances Hochschild Diane Jones Lowrey Dwight Long David Low Kathleen Lowry Patrice Maheo Christine Motley Anne-Marie Pierce Jerome Roth Young Shin Greg Thayer Debbie Zachareas

Conseil Honoraire Advisory Council Martin Quinn, Chair Judithe Bizot Joan Chatfield-Taylor Thomas E. Horn

50th Anniversary Host Committee Allan Basbaum, Alumni Families Chair Chloe Soroquere, Corporate Outreach Paul Loeffler and Leslie Norris Lower School Co-Chairs Claire Bobrow and Bianca Kramer Middle School Co-Chairs Tom White and Tammy Smith-White High School Co-Chairs

Représentants des Parents d’Élèves Parents’ Association Representatives David Peters and Rona Spiegel Lower School/Primaire John Cate and David Greenthal Middle School/Collège Stephanie Lima High School/Lycée

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Board’s Eye View by josh nossiter


second gym, with locker rooms and showers. A dedicated preschool facility. New offices and classrooms, a rooftop playing field and playgrounds, more and higher technology. The board and the administration consider these pressing needs. And, through a combination of building out our present sites, and acquiring additional parcels in the neighborhood, those needs will be met in the coming years. Our ambitious campus master plan, spearheaded by board members Dwight Long and Leigh Sata, presents many planning and financing challenges. But as the school enters its second half century, we have established a convincing history of meeting each successive challenge and moving, with more or less grace, to the next. Our near and medium term expansion plans will be implemented with French American’s customary mixture of care, forethought, goodwill – and good luck. Facilities improvements are important and exciting, but the measure of an institution is not its bricks and mortar. I, along with several dozen others, had occasion recently to breakfast with the director of San Francisco’s largest city department, one that employs eight thousand people and has a budget of over a billion and a half dollars. The director confided to me that events such as the one we were attending, at which the department was being feted for good service to the community was, although necessary and enjoyable, not the favorite part of her job. “What is your favorite part of the job?” I asked. “Working with wonderful people,” was the sincere reply. And so it is with French American. Having participated in, fund-raised for, and helped to plan and organize

successive upgrades to our facilities over the past quarter century, I am always impressed when I walk through the doors of 150 Oak because I well remember our humbler origins. But far more impressive is the way we have stayed true to our essential mission: producing literate, humane, thoughtful, and informed citizens of the world. We did it when our high school was housed in a leaky basement, our middle-school was in mobile-homes next to a parking lot, and our lower school made up with charm what it lacked in amenities. We continue to do it today in the comparative luxury of 150 Oak Street and the surrounding campus. Because what distinguishes French American is not and never will be our buildings. We are defined by our students, faculty, staff, and parents, as diverse and delightful a community as ever came together for anything at all. Of course we have our differences. We represent dozens of nationalities and multiple ethnic, language, and socioeconomic groups. To a far greater degree than many institutions that consciously devote more resources to the issue, we really do live diversity. Difference is what we are, and we are the stronger because of it. I was sitting over a lunchtime sandwich not long ago in the garden at Arlequin, a neighborhood spot owned by a French American parent and former board chair, perusing The Economist winter 2012

and considering just how long I could put off returning to my Civic Center office. I glanced up and spotted a tall, rugged young man sitting with an attractive young woman at a nearby table. In the time it took me to register who he was, he sprang up and came over to my table with a huge smile and an outstretched hand. Without hesitation he waved his lady friend over and they sat down to join me. The conversation flowed in a way that greatly extended my (generally) spartan civil service lunch hour. A classmate of my son’s and a fellow basketball, baseball, and soccer player. Now a geologist, I hadn’t seen him in years largely because he is often out of the country, in the field. Half French and half American, he exemplifies what our school is all about. Intelligent, articulate, cosmopolitan, thoroughly civilized and thoroughly engaged with the world, this French American lifer not only made a point of seeking out his classmate’s dad, but of chatting with him like an old and valued friend. At the time it seemed unremarkable, just another encounter in a place that likes to think of itself as a big city, and is in so many ways just a small town. As I strolled back to my office after lunch, deplorably late but entirely unregretful, it dawned on me that what had just transpired was not unremarkable at all. That a young man lunching with his girl would give up a tête-à-tête for the sake of renewing acquaintance with a member in good standing of the AARP mailing list is perhaps noteworthy. But that the conversation, ranging from geological exploration to art, history, literature, geography, world travel and local politics, should have been so compelling was revelatory. And remarkable though he is, my son’s classmate is by no means unique in that cohort. It may seem a long road, depending on where your child is along the way to graduation from French American and International. But speaking from experience, it’s a road well worth taking. Not because of the facilities your child may enjoy during the school years, but because of the person he or she is so more than likely to become. Correspondence is welcome, to hiver 2012


n deuxième gymnase, avec des vestiaires et des douches. Des locaux réservés aux classes préélémentaires. De nouveaux bureaux et de nouvelles salles de classe, un terrain de sport et des aires de jeu sur le toit. Le Conseil de gestion et l’administration considèrent qu’il s’agit là de besoins pressants qui seront satisfaits dans les quelques années à venir au moyen d’un mélange de construction sur les sites actuels et d’acquisitions de terrains supplémentaires dans le quartier. Notre ambitieux plan directeur du campus, sous l’impulsion de Dwight Long et Leigh Sata, deux membres du Conseil de gestion, présente de nombreux défis en termes de planification et de financement. Mais à l’aube du deuxième demi-centenaire de l’établissement, nous avons prouvé que nous pouvons relever avec succès chaque défi successif et passer, avec plus ou moins de grâce, au suivant. Nos projets d’expansion à court et moyen termes seront mis en œuvre avec le savant dosage de soin, de prudence, de bienveillance et de chance

qui caractérise le Lycée International Franco-Américain. Les aménagements des locaux sont certes importants et passionnants, mais la valeur d’une institution ne se mesure pas à celle de ses murs. J’ai moi-même, avec plusieurs dizaines d’autres personnes, eu récemment l’occasion de prendre le petit-déjeuner avec la directrice du plus grand service de la ville, qui emploie huit mille personnes et dont le budget se monte à plus d’un milliard et demi de dollars. Elle m’a confié à cette occasion que les manifestations telles que celle à laquelle j’étais convié, un hommage à son personnel pour son œuvre au service à la communauté, bien qu’agréables et nécessaires, n’étaient pas la partie la plus gratifiante de sa mission à ses yeux. « Qu’est-ce qui vous plaît le plus dans votre travail ? », lui ai-je alors demandé. « Travailler avec des gens formidables » m’a-t-elle répondu avec sincérité. C’est également le cas au Lycée International Franco-Américain. J’ai participé à de nombreux réaménagements successifs de nos locaux et aux campagnes de financement

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correspondantes tout au long des 25 dernières années, et je ne manque jamais d’être ému au souvenir de nos origines plus humbles lorsque je passe les portes du 150 Oak. Ce qui est encore plus impressionnant, c’est la façon dont nous sommes restés fidèles à notre mission essentielle : la formation de citoyens du monde cultivés, humains, réfléchis et informés. C’est ce que nous faisions lorsque notre lycée résidait dans un sous-sol humide, notre collège se résumait à quelques maisonnettes mobiles près d’un parking, et notre école primaire compensait par son charme ce qui lui manquait en confort. Nous continuons à le faire aujourd’hui dans le luxe comparatif du 150 Oak Street et du campus environnant. C’est que ce ne sont pas nos locaux qui donnent au Lycée International Franco-Américain son caractère unique. Cela ne sera jamais le cas. Ce qui nous définit, ce sont nos élèves, nos enseignants, notre personnel et nos parents, une communauté on ne peut plus diverse et accueillante. Bien sûr, nous avons nos différences. Nous représentons des dizaines de nationalités et d’origines ethniques, de nombreux groupes linguistiques et socio-économiques. Nous vivons véritablement la diversité, dans une mesure bien plus grande que de nombreuses

institutions qui consacrent pourtant plus de ressources à cette question. C’est la différence qui fait notre identité, et nous n’en sommes que plus forts. Récemment, j’étais assis devant un sandwich à l’heure du déjeuner dans le jardin d’Arlequin, un commerce du quartier qui appartient à un ancien parent d’élève et membre du Conseil de gestion du Lycée International Franco-Américain. Je feuilletais The Economist en me demandant pendant combien de temps je pouvais continuer à retarder mon retour à mon bureau de Civic Center. J’ai jeté un coup d’œil tout-autour de moi et remarqué un grand et fort jeune homme assis avec une belle jeune femme à une table voisine. Avant que j’aie eu le temps de m’apercevoir de qui il s’agissait, il s’est levé pour s’approcher de ma table avec un grand sourire et m’a tendu la main. Sans hésitation, il a fait signe à son amie de le rejoindre et ils se sont assis à ma table. Le cours de la conversation m’a conduit à prolonger de manière significative mon heure de déjeuner de fonctionnaire spartiate, du moins généralement. Il s’agissait d’un camarade de classe de mon fils, qui jouait également à ses côtés dans les équipes de basket-ball, de baseball, et de football. Il est maintenant géologue. Je ne l’avais pas vu depuis des années,

Jane Camblin, Beth Cobert and French American International Board member Leigh Sata at the Soirée des Arts et des Vins, November 2011.

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essentiellement parce qu’il voyage souvent à l’étranger, sur le terrain. A moitié français et à moitié américain, il est l’incarnation même des valeurs de notre établissement. Intelligent, s’exprimant aisément, cosmopolite, totalement sophistiqué et profondément impliqué dans le monde, cet ancien élève qui a fait toute sa scolarité au Lycée International Franco-Américain n’a pas seulement fait un effort délibéré pour aller à la rencontre du père de son ancien compagnon de classe, mais il a pris le temps de converser avec lui comme s’il s’agissait d’un ami cher de longue date. Cela ne m’a pas alors particulièrement frappé. C’était une rencontre comme une autre dans un endroit qui se targue d’être une grande ville, mais qui de bien des manières, n’est toujours qu’un petit village. Alors que je retournais vers mon bureau après le déjeuner, déplorablement en retard mais sans le moindre regret, j’ai soudain réalisé que ce qui venait de se passer n’avait en fait rien d’insignifiant. Qu’un jeune homme qui déjeune avec sa petite amie renonce à un tête-à-tête pour renouer avec un membre en bonne et due forme de la liste de distribution de courrier de l’association des personnes du troisième âge, l’AARP, est peut-être notable. Mais le fait que la conversation, de l’exploration géologique à l’art, en passant par l’histoire, la littérature, la géographie, les voyages dans le monde et la politique locale, soit captivante à ce point est en soi révélateur. Par ailleurs, aussi remarquable soit-il, ce camarade de classe de mon fils n’est absolument pas un cas isolé dans sa promotion. Ce cheminement peut vous paraître long, suivant le nombre des années qui vous séparent de l’achèvement des études secondaires de votre enfant au Lycée International Franco-Américain. Mais croyez-en mon expérience, il s’agit d’un chemin qui vaut bien la peine qu’on l’emprunte. Pas du fait des locaux dont votre enfant bénéficiera pendant sa scolarité, mais en raison de la personne qu’il est ainsi beaucoup plus probable qu’il devienne un jour. N’hésitez pas à me faire part de vos commentaires à

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Global Engagement

Global Issues Club

International students seeking to make a difference in a globalized world. OLIVIER MAZEAS


Science Lab Technician new student club is starting this year at the International High School, focusing on the difficult topic of global issues. The club counts a nicely growing body of students and we can already witness a strong discussion dynamic fueled by avid curiosity, critical thinking and emulation. In less than five minutes, you might hear about philosophy, science, politics, history, psychology, geography, economy and more. Discussing about global issues can be very important and highly stimulating for high school students, at an age when you feel the urge to grasp the big picture, when you “simply” seek to make sense to the world. An urge which often fades away in adulthood, when confronting day-to-day and long-term survival for yourself and your family makes the top of the to-do list. This difference of priorities might explain some of the tensions arising between teenagers and their older circle. This urge may very well be exacerbated in our time of unprecedented globalization and complexity, making the big picture somewhat bigger, and more difficult to grasp. The current state of the world is indeed a matter of concern for teenagers, very much aware that they are the generation inheriting it. From climate change and other critical environmental issues to the financial and economic situation, challenges are not running out, while reasons for hope can surely not be dismissed (ozone layer policy, people’s uprising in Arab countries, etc.) In any case, it seems indispensable to prepare young generations for systematic global thinking and awareness, complex problem-solving and mechanisms for change at the global level. Reading my first sentence, some of you may have thought that “focusing on something global” is an intriguing concept. It is indeed one by which you simultaneously perform two seemingly opposite moves: acutely focusing all your attention

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on something so big that it forces you to open up, to broaden your horizons. Discussing global issues enlarges all the more your views that it is multidisciplinary in essence. One needs to think across many disciplines to reach a realistic understanding of the world. Global thinking is thus of particular interest because it goes against our very way of thinking, making us separate and compartmentalize for simplification and understanding’s sake, but also for deeper scrutiny. This can be observed in most areas of society, including education, academic research or industrial production, for instance. The further you go, the more specialized you become, but at the same time the more we should try to connect the pieces together, keep the big picture in mind in daily life, and foster the potential of human nature. A recent example of what our school can offer is the addition in the International baccalaureate curriculum of a new subject this year titled “Environmental systems and societies”, bridging the academic areas of “experimental sciences” and “Individual and societies”. The first feedbacks from students indicate much enthusiasm for the initiative. The very name of international schools (=“learning across countries”) places them at a crucial crossroad from the standpoint of global thinking. The mission statement of our school goes further, making central the notions of communication across cultures, diversity and critical thinking. This is all the more essential in our time of ethnosphere (diversity of cultures) shrinking on a global level and consequent ethnocentrism. The club should soon join a body of students from all over the world, called the Global Issues Network, working together to develop solutions for global issues. This can be a strong motivation for students seeking to make a difference in the world, not just to be prepared to fit in society but looking for guidance and emulation to develop their unique potential, then bringing it to society and enriching it. La Lettre | 23

50th Anniversary

50 Years of Educating Thought Leaders February 10–11, 2012

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“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”


ifty years ago, the idea of teaching two curricula simultaneously in two languages to young children came to fruition through the efforts of a small group of San Francisco visionaries. These individuals, who were community leaders in their own right, believed in the importance of educating youth for a global future. The founding principles: academic rigor, diversity, communicating across cultures, critical thinking and a global perspective, were the foundation and the tools of this new educational institution. These values have created generations of critical thinkers who, in the tradition of international education, are changing the world as we know it. On February 10 and 11, 2012, the French American International School and International High School will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. To plan for this milestone, parents, alums, former parents, board members, faculty and staff came together over two evenings last spring. Out-of-the-box ideas came forth to create events that acknowledge the school’s past and, more importantly, focus on the future of French American International

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e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

as a School of the 21st Century. The anniversary is an inclusive event for all students, alumni, faculty and families. Some events are free and tickets for other events will be available online at $5.00 for children and $10.00 for adults. A new school event, i-speak, is part of the twoday festivities, and will feature students, faculty, alumni and internationally renowned guests addressing innovative topics that are interesting, impactful, interactive and inspiring. Other activities include alumni author readings and book signings that will be held in the stateof-the-art school library, a treasure hunt that will connect the three campuses of the schools in Hayes Valley from the ‘70s to the present and to cap the celebration, a community-wide celebration with music, food, dancing and surprise videos featuring amusing stories and historic footage. Guests, family and friends will be hosted in iconic venues in San Francisco, from the historic Castro Theatre to the former Harley Davidson shop, now the school’s Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavilion, to the former Cal Trans headquarters, now the French American and International school campus.

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Schedule of Events Friday, February 10, 2012 Alumni Author Appearances and Readings 5:00–7:00 p.m. Come for an extraordinary afternoon with alums and former families reading from their published works. Book signings will follow. 6th Floor Library, French American International School, 150 Oak Street, San Francisco

Appearing:  Christina Henry (class of 1989) Forever Paris  Benoit Denizet-Lewis (class of 1993) America

Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of A Life and American Voyeur: Dispatches from the Far Reaches of a Modern Life

 Francis Tapon (class of 1988) The Hidden Europe: What

Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us

 Christopher Ebersole (class of 2006) Paris While We’re

Young by Maureen Ebersole and Family

 Harriet Heyman (mother of Jake, class of 2007 and

William, class of 2008) Private Acts: The Acrobat Sublime

“i-speak” Student, Alumni and Faculty Series 7:30–9:00 p.m. Don’t miss this exciting evening of discussion, demonstrations and performances. Thought Leaders of the Future: our students in the lower, middle and high schools, present innovative ideas in many creative forms. Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco

To reserve your space and order tickets, visit:

Saturday, February 11, 2012 Treasure Hunt 9:00 a.m.– Noon Become the next Tintin sleuth through a treasure hunt that will take you to the three Hayes Valley campuses where French American International School has thrived from the ‘70s to today. Creative clues with a map will be distributed between 9:00-10:30 a.m. at the school’s gym. Begin your journey with a mysterious guide and meet interesting characters along the way who will stamp your map. Create a team with your class, family and friends. Bring a photo of you as a young student and wear comfortable shoes. Return to the gym by 12:30 p.m. to be eligible for a drawing of prizes at the Castro Theater that evening. French American International School Gymnasium, 151 Oak Street, San Francisco

Alumni Reunion 12:00–2:00 p.m. Alumni are invited to join fellow former students from French-American Bilingual School (FABS), French American International School and International High School to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our amazing institution. Special recognition will be offered to classes of 1972, 1982, 1992 and 2002 for their decade(s) anniversary years. Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavilion, 66 Page Street, San Francisco

“i-speak” Signature Series: School of the 21st Century 5:00 p.m. reception for Host Committee 6:00 p.m. doors open, event runs from 6:30–8:00 p.m. The 50th Anniversary signature event features international thought leaders, artists and celebrities discussing innovation in the 21st Century. Confirmed speakers are listed on the next page. Free child care 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.! Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street (at Market), San Francisco

50th Anniversary Party 8:30–11:00 p.m. Join in the final 50th celebration with music, food and activities for all students, alumni and their families. This will be an occasion to reminisce and to look forward to the next 50 years. French American International School Gymnasium, 151 Oak Street, San Francisco

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Guest Speakers

(as of 11.1.11)

at “i-speak” Signature Series on Innovation, Saturday, February 11, 2012 Castro Theatre

Peter Coyote

Tiffany Shlain

Peter Coyote has performed as an actor for some of the world’s most distinguished filmmakers, including: Barry Levinson, Roman Polanski, Pedro Almodovar, Steven Spielberg, Walter Hill, Martin Ritt, Steven Soderberg, Diane Kurys, Sidney Pollack and Jean Paul Rappeneau. Coyote has written a memoir of the 1960’s counter-culture called Sleeping Where I Fall which received universally excellent reviews, appeared on three best-seller lists, and sold five printings in hardback, was re-released with a new cover and afterword in May, 2009. A chapter from that book, “Carla’s Story, won the 1993/94 Pushcart Prize for Excellence in nonfiction. He is currently working on a new book about politics. From 1975 to 1983 he was a member of the Literature Panel of the National Endowment of the Arts and then Chairman of the California State Arts Council. During his Chairmanship and tenure, expenditures on the arts rose from 1 to 16 million dollars annually. He is an ordained Buddhist who has been practicing for 36 years and he was ordained as a priest in August 2011. He is and has been engaged in political and social causes since his early teens.

Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Tiffany Shlain is a filmmaker, founder of The Webby Awards, cofounder of The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences and a Henry Crown Fellow of The Aspen Institute. Her work in film and technology has received 48 awards and distinctions and her last four films premiered at Sundance. They include “Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness,” about the importance of reproductive rights in America and “The Tribe,” an exploration of American Jewish identity & the Barbie doll, “Yelp: With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl,” about our addiction to technology and the value of “unplugging,” and her new acclaimed feature documentary, “Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology,” which explores what it means to be “connected” in the 21st century. Her last three films have been narrated by the very talented Peter Coyote and have shown on TV and in theaters throughout the world. Her team at The Moxie Institute combine film + new technologies + educational materials + live events to engage people in new ways. They just have begun a new film series of 10 short films called “Let it Ripple: Mobile Films for Global Change.” A celebrated thinker and speaker, she is a visiting professor at The University of Wales, is on the advisory board of M.I.T.’s Geospatial Lab, has advised Secretary Clinton, and presented the 2010 Commencement Address at UC Berkeley. Tiffany is married with two children and they all unplug from technology one day a week for a technology shabbat.

Michael Moritz Parent of two alumni, Michael Moritz is a Managing Member of Sequoia Capital. He joined Sequoia Capital in 1986 and has served on the boards of Flextronics, Google, PayPal and Yahoo!. He is currently a Director of 24/7 Customer, GameFly, Green Dot, Kayak, Klarna, LinkedIn, and Sugar Inc. Prior to joining Sequoia Capital, Moritz co-founded Technologic Partners and was a correspondent for Time, where he was the San Francisco bureau chief. While at Time he wrote two books – “Going For Broke, The Chrysler Story,” and “The Little Kingdom, the Private Story of Apple Computer.” Moritz graduated from Christ Church, Oxford in 1976 with a MA in History and is an Honorary Student of the College.

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Phil Bronstein, Emcee Phil Bronstein is director of content development and editor-at-large for Hearst Newspapers. Bronstein also writes a weekly San Francisco Chronicle column, blogs for and helps to lead various crossnewspaper investigative reporting projects. Formerly, he held the positions of editor-at-large, executive vice president and editor, and senior vice president and

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executive editor, for the San Francisco Chronicle. Prior to that, Bronstein was executive editor of the San Francisco Examiner, having previously served as managing editor for news. Bronstein began as a reporter with the newspaper 20 years prior, specializing in investigative projects, and was a foreign correspondent for eight years. He has won awards for his coverage of the Philippines from the Overseas Press Club, Associated Press, the World Affairs Council and Media Alliance. Bronstein was a 1986 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his work in the Philippines and went on to cover conflicts in other parts of Southeast Asia, El Salvador, Peru and the Middle East. Previously, he was a reporter with KQED-TV in San Francisco. Bronstein is on the board of the Center for Investigative Reporting and the advisory board of Litquake, one of the largest literary festivals in the country.

Moyara Ruehsen Moyara (“Mo”) Ruehsen is an Associate Professor of International Policy Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. After receiving three graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University (MHS, MA, PhD), she spent a post-doctoral year in 1993 at the University of California, Berkeley. An economist by training, she has since been teaching courses on international finance, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policies. Her regional expertise is the Middle East, where she spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Bahrain. Her current research focuses on money laundering and illicit drug markets. Professor Ruehsen has published in a variety of academic journals and professional periodicals, such as Money Laundering Alert, and has served on the Middle East Task Force of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS). Professor Ruehsen is an award-winning instructor, who has given guest lectures throughout the U.S. and overseas. She also serves as a consultant to the US government and the private sector.

Nathaniel Stookey Photo by Ole Lütjens

First commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony at age 17 (while a senior at International High School) Stookey has since collaborated with a remarkable 28 | La Lettre

range of artists, from Frederica von Stade to Lemony Snicket, from the Philadelphia Orchestra to The Mars Volta. His composition The Composer is Dead is one of the five most performed orchestral works of the 21st century, worldwide. He is currently at work on a new string quartet for Kronos Quartet. Stookey is a graduate of French American International School (class of 1988) and is a current parent of two children in the lower school.

Guillermo Gómez- Peña Photo by Zach Gross, 2007

Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, radical pedagogue and director of the performance troupe La Pocha Nostra. Born in Mexico City, he moved to the US in 1978. His performance work and 10 books have contributed to the debates on cultural diversity, border culture and US-Mexico relations. His art work has been presented at over eight hundred venues across the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Russia, South Africa and Australia. A MacArthur Fellow, Bessie and American Book Award winner, he is a regular contributor for newspapers and magazines in the US, Mexico, and Europe and a contributing editor to The Drama Review (NYUMIT). Gómez-Peña is a Senior Fellow in the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and a Patron for the London-based Live Art Development Agency.

Oral History Interviews Photo of Matthew Perifano by Rick Gydesen

International Baccalaureate film students, under the supervision of film instructor Matthew Perifano, present tales of the school through interviews by school pioneers, former heads of schools, faculty, alumni and families. Tapings were held in New York, Paris and San Francisco during the fall of 2011. Vintage footage will be screened at the post fête on Saturday, February 11th.

winter 2012

Tribute Ad

50th Anniversary Commemorative Program

Families and Friends Help Support the

50th Anniversary!


rench American International School’s 50th Anniversary is an event for the entire community. To keep the ticket prices affordable at $5.00 for students and $10.00 for adults, a group of dedicated parents and former parents are helping to raise funds to underwrite the costs. We would like to thank the individuals listed below for their support.

Send a message, a photo or a memory from you, your family, organization and business for French American International School’s half-century fête!

If you’re interested in joining the Host Committee and would like more information, please contact Laura Heffron at

Full Page - $750 (7.5 w x 10” h) Half Page - $500 (7 .5”w x 4 7/8” h) Quarter Page - $250 (3 5/8 w” x 4 7/8” h)

50th Anniversary Host Committee Chairs

Ad Specifications:

Allan Basbaum

Program size: 8.5” wide x 11” high All advertisements must be black and white in camera-ready format, electronic file in Acrobat, Illustrator or Photoshop as eps, PDF, tiff or jpeg files. Outline fonts. Printed out hard copy is acceptable. Include your name in ad file, example: HEFFRONHalfPgAd.jpg You must submit via mail to Laura Heffron, 50th Anniversary Producer at 150 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, or email

Alumni Families Chair

Chloe Soroquere Corporate Outreach

Paul Loeffler and Leslie Norris Lower School Co-Chairs

Claire Bobrow and Bianca Kramer Middle School Co-Chairs

Tom White and Tammy Smith-White High School Co-Chairs

Deadline for Artwork is January 15, 2012 hiver 2012

La Lettre | 29

At French American we believe strongly that the Flip is a promising method that will help teachers differentiate their pedagogy: shifting from “Sages on the Stage” to “Guides on the Side”, their classroom delivery increasingly becoming more student-centric.

21st Century Classroom The French American and International Middle and High Schools embark on an innovative “flipped classroom” approach to learning.

30 | La Lettre

winter 2012

Academic Innovation

A New Era

in the Middle School mireille rabaté


Middle School Principal | Principale du Collège ver the summer, things have visibly changed on the 4th floor: when students walked in on August 31, 2011, they discovered a brand new space with light and space: lots of ahhhs! and wows! In the freshly repainted rooms, new, modern, functional student desks are/ were displayed. Then, 7th graders sat in their classrooms only to discover that they would soon be given a personal iPad to work in class and study at home: more ahhhs! and wows! So, what happened over the past months that led to such spectacular changes? Faculty and administration have been working hard over the past two years on the renovation of all aspects of our school. In the Middle School, there was a real need for material change: the 4th floor was always crowded and uninviting, lacking social and recess spaces for the students. After careful consideration of countless design options, our architect Josh Cohn and Board members Leigh Sata and Dwight Long (architects too) came up with a bright and very clever design that created the much needed student areas while preserving the number of classrooms. Then work started over the summer, as soon as students left in June, everything was moved away, the 4th floor was completely vacated and administrative offices relocated in HS classrooms. After only a few days of work, being my curious self, I wandered through the construction site, hard hat and goggles safely on: WOW! Two walls only had been taken down and the whole floor looked different: light flooded the lobby with views of the city on both sides, three offices (two windowless in fact) had been joined to create a new classroom on the north side; the south side classroom was split into one large den, where soon beautiful ecofriendly bamboo benches would surround the space, and one roomy student-friendly Dean’s office with enough space for faculty and staff, but moreover for students to do retakes or just collaborate. This quite simple move actually re-centered the whole middle school around students’ needs: in the middle around the lobby are now all the services (learning specialist, counselor, dean, MS coordinator and Principal), and at the edge of our floor, all the classrooms, quietly away from the open space. To make all things practical for students, we ordered new, very big lockers, ample enough to contain one big on-rolls backpack and all the textbooks and notebooks. But wait: is this just a facelift?

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Not at all! This is only the most visible change, maybe not even the more important. The material changes only point out the direction of all the changes in the classroom. For instance, by choosing new, individual desks, we declare our goal to create a flexible pedagogical environment, in which the teacher designs the setting as an art director would stage a play: with purpose. Depending on the type of lesson, and maybe even over the course of just one period, one may want the students to sit in clusters and discuss or collaborate, later to arrange the desks in a bigger circle to share the results, or to be separate to take a test. Possibilities are countless, when we move away from magisterial teaching! The old-school, onesize-fits-all model of teaching is being seriously questioned all over the world in schools like ours where we believe that the skills our students will need in the 21st century must be the new standards of our teaching and learning experience. Over the past 2 years, our professional development aimed at renewing our pedagogy, along with the modernization of our curricular content. To help everyone look into new ways and more collaborative teaching/learning techniques, we decided, after careful research, to introduce individual iPads as a pilot program in 7th grade, with the goal to expand it quickly if the feedback proves positive. Early last summer, volunteer teachers participated in an iPad training session and were given a device to prepare new classes over the summer. Now we are really entering a 21st century classroom: after spending most of the first 3 weeks in the classrooms, I can attest to the real changes that are taking place: I see students really

32 | La Lettre

engaged, collaborating on a research project, discovering apps and tricks to go further and learn more, and sharing those discoveries with each other and with the teachers. Such as the Chinese writing training app discovered by Carter C and John F and now used by all 7th grade Mandarin students to practice their writing/drawing, reading and pronouncing skills with Mr. Lee, Mr. Paz with the Spanish group, and Ms. Scotti in Italian, who are reviewing vocabulary with pictures and sounds from other apps. Ms. Dekeirle teaches geometry using iPads apps that allow the students to actually draw and experience hands-on figure drawing and a digital math book. Next door, Mr. Simonet and Ms. Harifi co-teach a History class where students are incredibly busy searching the Internet for documents, pictures and texts to understand events that happened in the 9th century. “Do not believe everything you find on the Net”, they warn, “check your sources, find more than one proof!” Meanwhile, Ms. Santos Da Silva downloads content to Dropbox or Boxnet, and makes it accessible to her students from the Cloud, incuding a French dictionary along with her own famous cahier rouge with all the verb forms necessary to turn a French student into a fluent speaker. Ms. Volta reads to her students on the website to prepare for the spelling test or the recitation de poesie, but also to give students at home the pleasure of listening to the perfect accent and beautiful verses. Latin lessons can go at different paces according to each student: “It’s a more personalized experience”, says James. Soon they will be twitting in Latin for Mr. Dufresnes’ class... For the Physics class experiments, Mr. Saggiotto asks students to take iPad pictures of the different stages of their manipulations, which in the end illustrate the narratives and comments of their virtual notebook, like a science newspaper online. In 8th grade, no iPad yet, but there are a lot of novelties anyway: here comes the virtual notebook! All History/Geography classes are taught in the computer lab; each student has a virtual notebook (discovered by another student from the group), and readily adopted by the teacher and accessible from the Internet. No need to carry bulky books and cahiers back and forth: everything is accessible online. Students appreciate the neat organization on their iPad or virtual notes. “I used to have so many stuff on my desk,” says Lizzy, “notebooks, textbooks, papers, pens and pencils: it was hard to keep track and organize them. Now everything is on my iPad.” Says Astra, “It’s better for the environment!” So has the Middle School entered the 21st century? You bet! And both the Lower School and the High School join in with age-appropriate new methods, new tools and new challenges. Both learning and teaching are becoming much more interesting and engaging. Teachers are asked to tap their creative sides and re-invent their profession for the next era. Students are collaborating and communicating more effectively: “When I forgot a piece of paper with homework, I ask a classmate to take a photo and send it over to my iPad”, says Genevievet. “And when I need help understanding something, I do Facetime with my classmates–we can discuss homework and lessons as if we were together.” CArly adds, “Seth [our IT Academic Coordinator, without winter 2012

whom we would be lost!] showed us how to link our iPad to the website, so that all posted homework appears directly on my calendar.” It took a real team effort on the academic part, a shared vision and goal from the Board of Trustees, strong parents support, and several months of organization, imagination and staffing to create and provide the new Middle School experience. I can feel the vibe and energy of our students in their new spaces as well as during the lessons – it is all worth it, and this is only the beginning!

Une ère nouvelle pour le Collège…


ans le cours de l’été de visibles changements se sont produits au 4eme étage : lorsque les élèves arrivèrent en ce matin de rentrée d’aout 2011, ils découvrirent avec le plus grand étonnement et à vrai dire ravissement leurs tout nouveaux locaux, accueillants et baignes de soleil. Les Ohhh et les Ahhh fusaient de toutes parts. Dans les classes fraichement repeinte, trônaient d’élégants e modernes bureaux individuels. Puis, lorsque les 5e se ont installés dans leurs classes, quelle ne fut pas leur surprise d’apprendre que leur seraient distribués des iPads personnels pour étudier en classe et à la maison quelques ohhh et Ahhh supplémentaires…Que s’est-il donc passe dans les derniers mois pour amener tous ces changements ? En vérité, depuis deux ans déjà, professeurs et administration se sont engagés dans un effort extraordinaire de rénovation de tous les aspects de l’Ecole. Au collège, il était

hiver 2012

clair qu’il fallait rafraichir et améliorer les locaux : le 4e était bondé, étroit et sombre, dénué de tout espace pour accueillir les papotages, jeux et collaborations des élèves. Apres bien des réunions et des suggestions diverses, notre architecte Josh Cohn et un membre du Conseil d’Administration, architecte lui-même, Leigh Sata, proposèrent un plan particulièrement séduisant et pratique ou de nouveaux espaces sociaux étaient créés tout en respectant nos besoins en salles de classe. Dès les premiers jours des vacances d’été, aussitôt les élèves partis, les travaux commencèrent : on vida et déménagea tout le 4e étage, réinstallant les bureaux dans les salles de classe du 5e pour l’été. Apres quelques jours, je ne pus m’empêcher de faire ma curieuse et d’aller jeter un coup d’œil aux travaux : Je ne fus pas déçue !on avait fait tomber 2 murs seulement et déjà l’espace et la lumière étaient bouleversés, ouvrant des deux côtés du hall sur des vues magnifique de la ville ; une belle salle de classe, côté nord, avait remplacé trois bureaux (dont 2 sans fenêtres !). Au sud, un grand espace qui serait bientôt entoures de bancs accueillants et écologiques en bambou, et le nouveau et vaste Bureau de Vie Scolaire, centre vital de la vie des élèves, assez grand pour accueillir tous les visiteurs et leurs besoins varies : espace de travail pour les uns, organisation de la vie quotidienne pour les autres. Cette simple inversion de deux espaces a en vérité complétement révolutionné la fonctionnalité des lieux : désormais autour du pallier du 4e sont regroupés tous les bureaux et services et espaces dédiés aux élèves, y compris le bureau de la conseillère psychologue et de celui de l’orthopédagogue, tandis qu’aux deux bouts du ces couloirs se trouvaient toutes les salles de classes, à l’abri des allées et venues et du bruit. Les espaces administratifs eux aussi firent peau neuve, en bleu La Lettre | 33

ciel et bois clair, modernes et fonctionnels, pour accueillir parents et visiteurs. Pour améliorer encore l’organisation des espaces communs, nous nous sommes dotés de casiers d’élèves 50% plus grands que les précédents, donc beaucoup plus logeables et fonctionnels eux aussi : depuis, les gros sacs à roulettes et les divers manuels ont trouvé bien sagement une place rangée et les couloirs ont retrouvé un air propre et range bien venu. Mais quoi ? Est-ce seulement une opération cosmétique ? Que nenni ! Ceci n’est que la partie physique et visible du changement plus fondamental qui est en train de s’opérer dans toutes les classes de l’établissement. Ainsi, le choix des nouveaux bureaux individuels a été guide par des considérations uniquement pédagogiques, car ils permettent une géographie variable de la classe que chaque professeur peut modifier à son gré en moins de 2 minutes, pour planter le décor et servir les besoins de sa leçon, ou même des différents moments de la leçon. Parfois on a besoin que les élèves fassent leurs recherches en petits groupes, puis que le cercle s’élargissent pour les partager avec le reste de la classe ou au contraire individuellement séparés pour les besoins d’un devoir. A vrai dire, on n’a que l’embarras du choix, lorsqu’on s’écarte du modèle classique, mais battu en brèche, du prêt-a-écouter magistral. En effet dans le monde entier, ce modèle vieux de 5 siècles est remis en question, dans les écoles comme la nôtre qui cherchent à inventer le modèle de l’enseignement idéal pour le 21e siècle. Depuis deux ans déjà, tous nos efforts e de formation continue ont eu pour but d’accompagner la reforme pédagogique indispensable en aidant les professeurs à revisiter et réinventer leur métier, le contenu des leçons, la manière de les faire. Pour encourager et soutenir ces initiatives de pédagogie moderne et différenciée, nous décidâmes, après de patientes recherches d’introduire les iPads en 5ea l’essai pour le premier semestre, avec l’objectif déclaré d’étendre la pratique 34 | La Lettre

si l’expérience s’avère concluante. Au début de l’été les professeurs volontaires reçurent un iPad et une formation de base pour leur permettre de préparer de nouveaux cours et d’inventer l’usage pédagogique de cet instrument. C’est ainsi que le Collège entre de plain-pied dans le 21e siècle : depuis 2 ou 3 semaines, je visite, selon mon habitude, les différentes classes et je peux ici attester des nombreux et fondamentaux changements qui s’y opèrent : je vois les élèves au travail, en groupe, ou non, à leur rythme, penches sur des projets et des recherches, découvrant de nouvelles « apps », partageant leurs découvertes avec leurs camarades et leurs professeurs : en Mandarin , c’est Carter qui a découvert un programme pour s’entraîner à la calligraphie chinoise, adopté par tous ses camarades et M. Lee ; dans les salles voisines, M. Paz en espagnol et Mme Scotti en Italien utilisent une autre app pour les révisions de vocabulaire en images et en sons ; plus loin Mme Dekeirle enseigne la géométrie en faisant dessiner du doigt les figures sur l’écran et en utilisant un manuel digital ; dans une autre salle Mme Harifi et M. Simonet co-enseignent une classe d’Histoire allant de groupe en groupe pour soutenir les recherches sur internet concernant faits historiques et culturels du IXe siècle. »Et ne prenez pas pour argent comptant tout ce que vous trouvez sur le Net, préviennent-ils, vérifiez vos sources, croisez vos résultats ! ». Pendant ce temps Mme Santos Da Silva a téléchargé et partagé dans Dropbox les dictionnaires de français et ses célèbres « cahier rouge » et « cahier bleu » contenant les savantes formes verbales sans lesquelles un étudiant de Français ne pourrait jamais devenir un locuteur natif. De son cote, Mme Volta enregistre le texte des dictées à pr4eparer et des récitations à apprendre sur le Web, ajoutant à l’efficacité audiovisuelle, le plaisir de la chanson des mots. Mme le latin n’échappe pas à la modernité : de son stage d’été sur langues anciennes et nouvelles technologies, M. Dufresnes a rapporté toutes sortes d’idées, sites et méthodes pour rendre winter 2012

le Latin alléchant, et le mettre à la portée de tous, chacun a son rythme. «J’ai l’impression d’apprendre davantage à mon rythme, déclare James ». Bientôt ils twitteront en Latin ! Au laboratoire de Sciences Physiques, M. Sagiotto demande à ses élèves de documenter le protocole expérimental par des photos prises aux différentes étapes de leur manipulation, auxquelles s’ajouteront les commentaires écrits : à la fin du cours c’est une sorte de journal scientifique que les élèves ont créé sur iPad. En 4e on n’a pas encore d’iPad, mais on ne manque pas d’idées : le cours d’histoire est entièrement en ligne : manuel digital procure par le professeur, cahier virtuel créé par les élèves et adopte avec enthousiasme par Mme Harifi. Tous les cours ont donc lieu au labo informatique ; livre et cahier sont accessible sur le Net : fini les allers-retours de livres et cahiers, parfois oublies, souvent écornés, les photocopies égarées ou illisibles…Et els élèves préfèrent : « Avant, dit Lizzy, mon bureau était couvert de trucs : cahiers, livres, pages volantes, crayons…C’était dur de gérer tout cela. Maintenant tout est sur mon iPad, propre et organise ». Et comme le dit Astra, « en plus, c’est écologique » ! Alors le Collège a-t-il fait son entrée dans le 21e siècle ? Je le crois bien ! Et Le Primaire comme le Lycée lui emboite le pas avec des méthodes et des instruments appropries aux différents âges de nos élèves. C’est à la fois apprendre et enseigner qui devient plus intéressants. Pour les professeurs une, il s’agir de réinventer le métier d’enseignant en faisant appel à leurs capacités créatives et à leur imagination ; pour les élèves, c’est apprendre à collaborer et a communiquer plus efficacement : « parfois, quand j’ai oublié un papier avec des devoirs, je demande à une copine de prendre le papier en photo et de me l’envoyer », dit une élevé. » et quand je ne comprends pas quelque chose , je communique instantanément avec les autres élèves de ma classe par Facetime sur mon iPad : on ;peut discuter ou faire les devoir ensemble comme si on était dans la même pièce » dit une autre » ; « Et en plus, Seth (notre Coordinateur techno-pédagogique, sans lequel je serais dépassée ) nous a montré comment lier notre iPad au Web site ; ainsi les devoirs mis en ligne par les professeurs arrivent directement sur mon agenda électronique », dit Carly, ravie . Une telle rénovation est le fruit d’un long et patient travail d’équipe , de réflexion et de collaboration pédagogique, soutenue par un conseil de gestion visionnaire et des parents confiants ; il a fallu des mois d’efforts et d’organisation, des trésors de ressources humaines et toute l’énergie d’une équipe soudée et enthousiaste pour procurer à nos élèves ce tout nouvel environnement. Je sens dans les couloirs les flots hiver 2012

d’énergie positive qui émanent de nos élèves, parfaitement à l’aise dans leurs nouveaux espaces matériels ou virtuels : l’enjeu en vaut la chandelle ! Et ce n’est pas fini ! –mireille rabaté

The Flipped Classroom joel cohen


High School Vice Principal

n a world changing at an ever increasing rate it is more important than ever that our students become lifelong learners. Consequently, we think that the role of teachers is no longer to create “one size fits all” lessons, but rather to make sure their students learn and to help them find the best way to learn. With this in mind and in the larger context of a number of “21st century initiatives” our High School has launched a “Flipped Classroom” pilot program. It is difficult to know exactly when the idea of the “Flipped Classroom” originated but many agree that its development probably coincided with the creation of the Kahn Academy in 2009. Founded by MIT and Harvard School of Business graduate Salman Kahn, it is a library of more than 2000 free educational videos available online to students all around the world. This new pedagogy was named the Flip because the idea was to have students watch short instructional videos containing the key elements of a lesson at home in order to free classroom time for what used to be the more traditional homework. In other words the Flipped Classroom entailed students taking the lecture at home and doing the homework in class, thus benefiting from valuable interactions with the other students and the teacher. Even though the Flip is generating some discussions in the world of education there is only a small number of schools who have committed to trying it, including Munich International School and a handful of

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schools in the United States. At French American we believe strongly that the Flip is a promising method that will help teachers differentiate their pedagogy: shifting from “Sages on the Stage” to “Guides on the Side”, their classroom delivery increasingly becoming more student-centric. As of today ten of our teachers are Flipping one of their classes in a large variety of subjects (Chemistry, Physics, Math, Geography, Environmental Systems & Societies, Economics, History, French), producing their own videos every week and publishing them on the ECIS (European Council of International Schools) iTunes U page (iTunes University). All the students have to do is subscribe to the free podcasts and new episodes are automatically downloaded to their device as soon as they are posted. Teachers are reporting that students are more engaged in their classes and that the actual recording of videos generates deep thinking about the essence of their class and the key concepts they want their students to learn. Meanwhile the Flipped Classes are being very closely monitored to make sure student learning is effectively taking place and the goal of each unit achieved. The feedback from students has also been extremely encouraging so far and they claim that there is more time in class for hands-on activities and interactive work. They also enjoy the fact that they can watch the videos at their own pace, pausing and rewinding when they are struggling with a concept. Furthermore they choose where, when and how they watch the podcasts, from the bus on their way to school to the comfort of their own bed at home! They finally appreciate getting more individualized time with the teachers in the classroom. It is very exciting to be at the forefront of innovative 21st century student-centric pedagogies that promote collaborative learning, and we are fortunate to have so many dedicated teachers who volunteered to join this pilot program. 36 | La Lettre


ans un monde changeant à un rythme toujours plus rapide, il est essentiel que nous formions des élèves capables et désireux de continuer à apprendre tout au long de leur vie. Par conséquent nous pensons que la priorité pour nos enseignants n’est plus tellement de créer des leçons mais plutôt de s’assurer que leurs élèves apprennent et surtout qu’ils connaissent leurs modes d’apprentissages privilégiés. C’est dans cet esprit et dans un cadre plus large d’un nombre d’initiatives de « l’Ecole du 21ème siècle » que notre lycée s’est engagé dans le projet pilote « Flipped Classroom ». Il est difficile de savoir quand exactement cette idée de « Flipped Classroom » a vu le jour mais nombreux pensent qu’elle a probablement commencé à se développer aux alentours de la création de la Kahn Academy, librairie en ligne contenant plus de 2000 vidéos éducatives fondée en 2009 par Salman Kahn (Diplômé du MIT et de la Harvard School of Business). Cette nouvelle pédagogie fut nommée le Flip car il s’agissait pour les élèves de regarder des vidéos éducatives contenant les principaux éléments du cours à la maison afin de libérer du temps en classe pour les exercices d’application, travaux en groupe ou autre débat. En bref le principe de « Flipped Classroom » implique que les cours aient lieu à la maison ou ailleurs et que les devoirs soient faits en classe quand les élèves peuvent bénéficier de riches interactions avec leurs enseignants et camarades de classe. Bien que cette nouvelle pédagogie fasse maintenant l’objet de nombreuses discussions dans le monde de l’éducation, il semblerait qu’il y ait peu d’établissements, comme la Munich International School ou encore une poignée d’écoles aux Etats Unis, qui se soient décidés à l’expérimenter. Au LIFA nous pensons que le « Flip » est une méthode prometteuse qui devrait notamment permettre aux enseignants de difwinter 2012

férencier leur pédagogie. Nous espérons ainsi pouvoir réduire la fréquence des cours magistraux et valoriser la place de l’élève au cœur du processus d’apprentissage. Il y a à ce jour dix professeurs qui se sont portés volontaires pour « Flipper » une de leurs classes dans une grande variété de disciplines (Chimie, Sciences Physiques, Mathématiques, Géographie, Sciences de l’environnement, Sciences économiques et sociales, Histoire, Français) et qui enregistrent chaque semaine plusieurs podcasts qu’ils mettent à la disposition de leurs élèves sur la page iTunes U (iTunes University) de ECIS (European Council of International Schools). Tout ce que les élèves ont à faire est de s’inscrire aux podcasts de leurs professeurs pour que les épisodes soient automatiquement téléchargés sur leurs ordinateurs (ou téléphone, iPod, tablette, etc….) dès qu’ils ont été publiés.

Après un peu moins de deux mois de pratique, les témoignages d’enseignants indiquent des élèves plus actifs et engagés en classe et stipulent que le processus d’enregistrement des vidéos engendre une réflexion productive quant au contenu du cours qu’ils délivrent et à l’essence du savoir qu’ils veulent transmettre. Parallèlement une attention toute particulière est donnée aux classes du projet pilote et nous vérifions régulièrement que les élèves apprennent et que les objectifs de chaque leçon sont bien atteints. Les élèves quant à eux déclarent avoir plus de temps en classe pour entreprendre des activités pratiques et des travaux collaboratifs. Ils apprécient le fait de pouvoir regarder les podcasts à leur rythme avec la possibilité de pouvoir pauser, reculer ou avancer à leur guise et déclarent aimer pouvoir choisir l’endroit où ils les regardent , du bus en passant par la bibliothèque du 6eme étage ou encore le confort de leur lit à la maison. Finalement ils disent profiter de plus de temps personnel avec leurs enseignants dans la salle de classe pendant les cours. Ce projet, à la pointe des innovations pédagogiques de ce début de siècle est extrêmement stimulant dans la mesure où il engendre des méthodes centrées sur l’élève et le travail collaboratif. Nous sommes chanceux au LIFA d’avoir une équipe enseignante professionnelle et dévouée qui se soit portée volontaire. –joel cohen

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Special Events

Over $67,000 Raised at the Third Annual

Soirée des Arts et des Vins

Special Thanks We encourage our community to support those who support the school so generously.

Andante Dairy Bluestem Brasserie Charles Neal Selections Ciao Bella Gelato Dalrymple’s Fine Condiments Fatted Calf Charcuterie Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant Gott’s Roadside La Boulange Café & Bakery Ora Catering Otoro Sushi Oxbow Cheese Merchant Sauce Thompson River Ranch

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rench American International School and International High School held its third annual Soirée des Arts et des Vins on November 6, 2011. In an effort to accommodate even more members of our community, this year’s Soirée was moved from the Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavilion to the historic Grand Hall of the San Francisco Ferry Building. The event was co-chaired by Debbie Zachareas, of the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant and Clydene Bultman of Thompson River Ranch. Together they hosted an impressive party resulting in over $67,000 raised in unrestricted funds to support the school – the most successful Soirée in recent years! With the goal of building community and promoting family and friends of the school, a number of great neighborhood vendors and parent-run businesses were invited to participate in this year’s event. Hayes Valley and Ferry Building participating vendors included Otoro Sushi, Gott’s Roadside, Fatted Calf Charcuterie, Sauce, Hog Island Oyster Co., La Boulange Bakery and Ciao Bella Gelato. Twenty-five wineries including Hourglass, Paradigm, Duckhorn Vineyards, Flowers Winery, and Robert Sinskey Vineyards, poured a great selection of wines for the 425 attendees. Live entertainment for the evening included Bay Area locals Wil Blades, Laura Weinbach, Gaucho Jazz, and DJ Nathalie Neal. A wine and food focused live auction, led by auctioneer Ursula Hermacinski, raised over $35,000 and included items donated by Jonata Winery, Bluestem Brassiere, Charles Neal Selections, Opus One, and a number of generous parents from both French American and International. The efforts of the event chairs, dedicated volunteers, and participating vendors helped make the event a huge success. For more information on the Soirée des Arts et des Vins or the French American International School and International High School, please visit or contact the Special Events Manager at 415-558-2014. winter 2012

Clydene Bultman and Debbie Zachareas, Co-Chairs

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College Counseling

College Bound Director of College Counseling Ashley Rochman reports on the college application process for the 2010-2011 Academic Year.


Another Year of Challenging Admit Rates

ast year’s statistics showed how difficult it has become to gain admittance to many colleges and universities. This year, those admit rates tightened even further. Here is a sampling of the admission rates for some of the most competitive schools in the United States (percentage of applicants admitted):

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Harvard 6.2% Duke 12.6% Columbia 6.9% Swarthmore 15% Stanford 7.1% Vanderbilt 15% Yale 7.4% Univ. of Chicago 15% Princeton 8.39% Bowdoin 15% Brown 8.7% Williams 17% MIT 9.6% Cornell 18% Dartmouth 9.7% Rice 18% Penn 12.3% Johns Hopkins 18.3% winter 2012

Success By Any Measure

Despite the increased competition for these slots, the Class of 2011 at International continued to gain admission to an impressive selection of schools in the U.S. and abroad. The Class of 2011 received a whopping 100 offers from schools that accept 25% or fewer of their applicants. As for schools that accept 15% or fewer of their applicants, eleven students in the class received 19 offers, including Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Yale, Princeton (2 students), Brown, University of Pennsylvania (2 students), Duke, Swarthmore (2 students), University of Chicago (5 students), and Bowdoin. Williams, Cornell (2 students), Rice, and Johns Hopkins (3 students) in the 17-18% selectivity range were also generous to our students. Please see the side bar for a complete list of all the offers of admission for the Class of 2011. On the University of California front, UCLA received over 61,000 applications, followed closely by UC Berkeley at 59,000. Even though the UC system has recently engaged in an effort to recruit more out-of-state and international students in the face of the bleak state budget, our school maintained an acceptance rate to UC of nearly 100% for those students who were UC eligible. Only one student who applied to UC was not accepted. Internationally, our students received an equally impressive array of acceptances from premiere institutions around the world, including:

This year’s POCIS Scholarship recipients from our school included:  Dina Estipona  Luz-Elena Hernandez  Emani’ Lewis  Christina Cummings was one of only 50 students invited to participate in the prestigious Chemistry Emerging Scholars Program at the University of Texas at Austin  Nettazine Davis and Teo Byl received substantial merit scholarships from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, named the most influential school by art critics from across the United States. In fact, when the representative from the Art Institute of Chicago visited Eva Strohmeier’s classroom, he was so impressed that he said all of the art students in her class would be automatically admitted.  Catherine Arbona also received a National Merit Scholarship at the University of Chicago

McGill University Sciences Po Reims Kings College London Kingston University Univ. of British Columbia University of Edinburgh University of Glasgow University of St. Andrews Concordia University Delft Institute of Technology École hôtelière de Lausanne Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design

10 admits 1 admit 1 admit 2 admits 4 admits 2 admits 1 admit 2 admits 2 admits 1 admit 1 admit 1 admit

Please see the other side bar for a list of where the members of the Class of 2011 will attend college. Additionally, several of our students received scholarship recognition in the application process. Among those scholarship highlights that were brought to my attention this year: 

   

Two students, Natalie Grant-Villages and Catherine Arbona, were named University Scholars at the University of Chicago Corbin Halliwill was named as a Regent Scholar at UC Berkeley Erida Tosini-Corea received a Kluge Scholarship from Columbia University Jacob de Heer-Erpelding received a National Merit Scholarship from Bowdoin College Stéphane Génini was named a University Scholar at University of Southern California

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The World Affairs Council, one of the oldest and most prominent international affairs organizations in the United States, awarded a scholarship to Nicolas De Golia

Success Comes to Students Who Embrace Rigor A November 2010 U.S. News article, “8 Big Changes to College Admissions in 2010 and 2011,” recently confirmed what I have been writing in several La Lettre articles: A growing number of colleges and universities are putting more emphasis on the difficulty of the high school program in making admissions decisions. “Responding to growing evidence that students who take more rigorous courses in high school are more likely to succeed in college,” the percentage of colleges giving considerable importance to a student’s “strength of curriculum” has increased, according to U.S. News, to 71%. The priority in admissions given to students who challenge themselves in high school benefits all of our students, since there is no way to shirk rigor at International High School. A couple of other recent developments have also benefited our students. The Common Application (the application students use to apply to the great majority of private colleges and universities in the United States) has recently been updated to allow a student to check a special box to signify that the student is an International Baccalaureate diploma candidate. The University of California application has also recently added a similar special box. In light of the current application climate, where Harvard received around 30,000 applications and UCLA received around 61,000, every chance for an applicant to distinguish himself or herself is an advantage. Both our French Baccalaureate and International Baccalaureate programs give applicants from our school the top academic rigor ranking, a fact that helps our students succeed in the elite college admissions competition. La Lettre | 43

The Questionable Value of Rankings Speaking of the U.S. News magazine, most of our readers know that the U.S. News college and university rankings are very popular. The value of rankings, however, is in the eye of the beholder, and I urge everyone to look at any ranking with a critical eye. Want to know the top school in the Wall Street Journal college rankings based on job recruiter picks? It’s not Harvard. It’s Penn State. Go to Top 25 Colleges Ranked by Recruiters at for the entire listing. Are you interested in a ranking of the most beautiful college campuses on Earth? ranked Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, the world’s most beautiful college (and it is beautiful), followed by England’s Oxford University. Want to know the colleges or universities with the biggest online media presence or “internet brand equity”? Boasting that this ranking is an “historic re-alignment of what is considered an elite school,” the creator of this ranking announced that the winner is the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by the University of Chicago. Go to the Global Language Monitor Trendtopper Media Buzz rankings for the entire list. If you like games of chance, go to the website to play the admissions game – test your predictions against a virtual panel of experts. The website has additional rankings material. In a recent New Yorker article (February 14 & 21, pp. 68-75), “The Order of Things,” Malcolm Gladwell provides insight into what college rankings really tell us, which is not much. As he explains, “there is no direct way to measure the quality of an institution – how well a college manages to inform, inspire, and challenge its students.” Instead, rankings rely on proxies for quality, and those “proxies for educational quality turn out to be flimsy at best.” The U.S. News ranking gives “twice as much weight to selectivity as it does to efficacy.” While the wealth of an institution is a large factor, neither cost of attendance nor student engagement is considered. There is an actual National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) – data collected from students themselves evaluating their experiences. There is no ranking of colleges or universities based on that data, since, tellingly, the majority of participating colleges and universities do not release the results. The college that has had the best NSSE survey results in recent years is a small, new school called Quest University in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, also has great NSSE results. Is it fair to say that if a college or university does not release the results that the results are not anything to brag about? As Gladwell concludes in his article, “Who comes out on top, in any ranking system, is really about who is doing the ranking.” That is why we caution against using rankings as some sort of talisman in the college selection process. The professional association of which I am a member, NACAC, recently surveyed its members about the U.S. News rankings, and the vast majority of respondents ranked the rankings as highly problematic. From the name of the rankings, “America’s Best Colleges,” (best for whom?), to the method44 | La Lettre

ology used in the rankings themselves as not being accurate measures of college quality, the entire publication has come under fire from admissions professionals. The NACAC survey study contains the following warning: “Any attempt—ANY—to distill the concept of academic quality down to a single metric is based solely in marketing and is antithetical to all best practices in conducting a proper college search. As has been said on this matter countless times, what is best for one student is not necessarily best for another, let alone best for all. The guiding principles for finding the right college for any student must be rooted in fit and match, and there is no ranking system that can accomplish this. This applies to USNWR, Forbes, Newsweek, and every single publication that tries to make the college search process easier for families by selling millions of issues of their publication.” The entire survey can be accessed at At the College Counseling department at International, we get to know our students well, and get to know about a wide variety of schools here and abroad, so that we can suggest an array of schools to match an individual student’s interests, academic strengths, learning style, and comfort level. For one kind of student, a reasonable list may include MIT, Caltech and Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute. For another kind of student, a reasonable list will include Kenyon, Oberlin, and Sarah Lawrence. Another student may wish to explore McGill, University of Edinburgh, and Sciences Po. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to finding the best colleges or universities for a particular student. That is also why I visit many different colleges and universities every year. This year, I was invited to tour the following: Carleton College, St. Olaf College, Macalester College, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Colgate University, Skidmore College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Hamilton College, Syracuse University, Union College, University of California at Berkeley, Centre College, Quest University (Canada), Tulane University, the University of Newcastle (U.K.), the University of Durham (U.K.), and the University of York (U.K.). I try to visit as many schools as I can so that I can better serve our families in selecting a set of target colleges and universities for our diverse set of students to explore.

A Bright Outlook Many U.S. colleges and universities are now attempting to attract students with an international outlook. Our students, of course, have a very attractive profile. As our alumna Elaine Sullivan said when she arrived at Yale, she was bemused by the fact that President Levin continually emphasized the need for students to be able to build skills necessary to deal with global competition. Because of her bilingualism and her enriching experiences at our high school, she felt confident that she had built a strong foundation on that front even before arriving at Yale. Not only do our students succeed at winning prestigious admissions prizes, they possess the skills necessary to thrive once they attend college. winter 2012

College Acceptances 2011

Matriculation 2012

American University (2) Arizona St. University (3) University of Arizona Bard College (3) Barnard College (2) Bennington College Bethune‐Cookman University Boston College (3) Boston University (18) Bowdoin University (2) Brandeis University University of British Columbia (4) Brown University Bryn Mawr College University of California Berkeley (13) Davis (27) Irvine (5) Los Angeles (5) Merced (3) Riverside (3) San Diego (21) Santa Barbara (16) Santa Cruz (31) California St. Polytechnic Pomona (2) California Polytechnic St. Univ. St. Luis Obispo (3) California St. University East Bay California St. University Fresno Carleton College (3) Carnegie Mellon University (4) Case Western Reserve University University Chicago (5) University of Cincinnati Clark University (4) University of Colorado at Boulder (3) Columbia University Concordia University Cornell University (2) Delft University of Technology Dickinson College Drexel University (2) Duke University École Hôtelière de Lausanne University of Edinburgh (3) Emerson College (2) Emory University Eugene Lang College Evergreen State College Fordham University George Washington University (6) Georgetown University Georgia Institute of Technology University of Glasgow Goucher College Grinnell College Harvard University Haverford College (3) Hofstra University University of the Incarnate Word Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Po) Reims Ithaca College Johns Hopkins University (3) Kalamazoo College King’s College London

Bard College (2 students) Barnard College Bennington College Bethune-Cookman University Boston College Boston University (3) Bowdoin College Brown University Carleton College Carnegie Mellon University Clark University Columbia University Cornell University Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (Switzerland) Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles Georgetown University Georgia Institute of Technology Haverford College (2) Johns Hopkins University King’s College London (U.K.) Kingston University (U.K.) Lewis & Clark College Loyola Marymount University Loyola University New Orleans McGill University (3) (Canada) Middlebury College New York University Oberlin College (2) Occidental College (2) Princeton University (2) Reed College Rhode Island School of Design Rice University San Francisco State University Sarah Lawrence College School of the Art Institute of Chicago Sciences Po, Reims (France) Scripps College Seattle University Sierra Nevada College Syracuse University The Evergreen State College The University of Texas, Austin Tufts University Tulane University University of British Columbia (Canada) University of California at Berkeley (4) University of California at Davis (5) University of California at Los Angeles University of California at Merced University of California at San Diego (2) University of California at Santa Barbara (2) University of California at Santa Cruz (3) University of Chicago University of Edinburgh (2) University of Michigan University of San Francisco (2) University of Southern California (3) University of the Incarnate Word University of the Pacific University of Washington Wesleyan University

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Kingston University (2) Lewis & Clark College (4) Loyola Marymount University (4) Loyola University New Orleans (2) Macalester College University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2) McGill University (9) Miami University, Oxford University of Miami University of Michigan (3) Middlebury College Mount Holyoke College University of Nevada, Las Vegas New York University (6) Northwestern University (2) Oberlin College (3) Occidental College (5) University of Oregon (3) University of the Pacific (3) University of Pennsylvania (2) Pitzer College (3) Pratt Institute Princeton University (2) Providence College University of Puget Sound (2) University of Redlands Reed College Rhode Island School of Design Rice University University of Rochester San Diego St. University San Francisco St. University (5) University of San Francisco (5) Santa Clara University (2) Sarah Lawrence College (3) School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2) Scripps College (3) Seattle University (2) Sierra Nevada College Skidmore College (2) Smith College (2) University of Southern California (7) University of St. Andrews (2) St. John’s University Stanford University Swarthmore College Syracuse University (2) Temple University Texas A & M University University of Texas, Austin Trinity University Tufts University (3) Tulane University (4) Vassar College University of Vermont Virginia Polytechnic Institute University of Virginia University of Washington (9) Wellesley College Wesleyan University Whitman College (2) Willamette University Williams College Yale University

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International Service

Up On The Roof Installing solar panels in a school in Haiti

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fabric urrizalqui


French Coordinator Cycle 3, CE2 Rouge

n 2009, a parent of one of my third grade students, Bruce Baikie, mentioned that he was going to take a trip to Haiti and asked me if our class had some French books we could donate. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and any help a school could receive was welcome. So I just gathered some books with the students and put them in a box. Bruce brought them in November 2009. When he came back, he said, “One box is nice. But can’t we do better?” Well, we could. Bruce was involved in Haiti with his non-profit organization, Green Wifi, and was installing solar powered Internet connections. He would have to go back to Haiti soon. So we planned on organizing a bigger book drive. Haiti was in a terrible situation and could use some help. We were both sure that our community would help. Then the earthquake happened. On January 12, 2010, it caused major damage in Port au Prince, killing more than a quarter of a million people. More than ever, Haiti needed help. Many in our community donated. The priority was medical care and preventing more deaths. Eventually, though, kids would have to go back to schools and study, but with what? That was another story. In 2008, the Haitian government received a donation from the Non Profit Organization OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) of 10,000 laptops. That means many students in Haiti actually had a laptop that could be used in the classrooms. However, with the earthquake, it became extremely hard to access electricity. The bottom line is: you might have a laptop but you can’t charge it. Bruce was working with a professor from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Laura Hosman, and her team of students. The main goal was to provide solar power to schools so the children could actually charge their laptops and bring them to the classroom. They would start with one school. It had to be simple, sustainable (needing very little maintenance) and replicable in other schools. The installation would take place during the summer in Lascahobas (about a three hour drive from Port au Prince). Besides installing solar panels, Bruce and I thought that bringing more French books would also help. With some International High School students, we organized a school wide book drive in March 2011 and collected piles and piles of books that we would bring during the summer. In August, Laura Hosman, her students, Bruce and myself landed in Port au Prince. Hard to believe the earthquake was more than a year and half ago, as the city still looked like it was on the edge of collapsing. After a day and a night, we headed to Lascahobas. Of course a few things got complicated, some pieces of equipment were missing when we arrived (lost in customs), and we only had a week to complete the work. But everything worked out great. La Lettre | 47

When we left, solar panels had been successfully installed on the roof of the library and 500 laptops could be charged, making it one of the largest (if not the largest) single school solar-laptop charging deployments in the world. In addition to that, we started the first library. When we arrived there was a room called “Library”, but with empty bookshelves and numerous boxes of books sent from the European Union and never unpacked. The team put a library together, sorting the books and making an inventory so that after the summer session, the students and their teachers could start using it. We also got the opportunity to go to most of the classrooms to talk about solar energy and talk with teachers about their needs. This is their reality: the smallest classroom has 55 students of different ages. Until recently, there was no library. There were almost no pencils or notebooks for students. Generally speaking, resources are scarce. However, teachers do whatever they can to make learning happen. Back in San Francisco, I couldn’t help wondering: helping once is nice. But can’t we do better? More about this project:

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Sur le toit d’une école : installer des panneaux solaires à Haïti


n 2009, un parent de l’une de mes élèves de CE2, Bruce Baikie, évoquait son prochain voyage à Haïti, me demandant si notre classe avait des livres en français à donner. Haïti étant un des pays les plus pauvres du monde, une école serait ravie de recevoir de l’aide, aussi modeste soit-elle. Nous avons donc collecté des livres avec les élèves et les avons mis dans un carton. Bruce les a emmenés en novembre 2009. A son retour, il me dit, “Un carton de livres, c’est bien. Mais on pourrait peut-être faire mieux ?” Certes, on pouvait faire mieux. Bruce travaillait à Haïti avec son association à but non lucratif « Green Wifi » et installait des connections internet fonctionnant grâce à l’énergie solaire. Il devait repartir prochainement à Haïti. Nous avons donc décidé d’organiser une grande collecte de livres. Haïti était dans une situation très difficile. Nous étions sûrs que notre communauté souhaiterait participer. Puis ce fut le tremblement de terre le 12 janvier 2010. Séisme le plus important de l’histoire d’Haïti, il tua plus de 250 000 personnes. Plus que jamais, Haïti avait besoin d’aide.

Beaucoup dans notre communauté ont donné. La priorité était bien sûr aux soins médicaux pour éviter de nouveaux décès. Toutefois, dans un avenir proche, les enfants allaient bien devoir retourner à l’école. Avec quelles ressources ? C’était une autre histoire. En 2008, le gouvernement haïtien reçut une donation de l’association OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) de 10 000 ordinateurs portables. De nombreux élèves avaient donc un ordinateur qui pouvait être utilisé dans le cadre scolaire. Toutefois, suite au tremblement de terre, il devint très difficile d’avoir accès à l’électricité. En résumé : il était possible d’avoir un ordinateur portable mais pratiquement impossible de le recharger. Bruce commença à travailler avec une professeure de l’Institut Technologique d’Illinois, Laura Hosman, et ses étudiants. Leur objectif : fournir de l’énergie solaire aux écoles d’Haïti pour que les enfants puissent recharger leurs ordinateurs. Ils commenceraient avec une école. Le projet devait être simple à mettre en œuvre, durable (nécessitant peu de maintenance) et facile à reproduire dans d’autres écoles. L’installation devait avoir lieu pendant l’été à Lascahobas (à environ trois heures de route de Port-au-Prince). Parallèlement à l’installation de panneaux solaires, nous voulions avec Bruce apporter des livres en français à Lascahobas. Avec des élèves du lycée, nous avons donc organisé une collecte de livres dans toute l’école en mars 2011 pour les emmener durant l’été. Au mois d’août, Laura Hosman, ses étudiants, Bruce et moi atterrissions à Port-au-Prince. Difficile de croire que le tremblement de terre avait eu lieu il y a un an et demi, tant la ville semblait encore plongée dans un chaos quasi-complet. Après une journée et une nuit passées à Port-au-Prince, ce fut le départ pour Lascahobas. Bien sûr les choses furent parfois compliquées. Certaines pièces nécessaires à l’installation des panneaux solaires étaient manquantes (perdues dans

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le labyrinthe des douanes) et nous n’avions qu’une semaine pour terminer l’installation. Finalement, tout a fonctionné. A la fin de la semaine, les panneaux solaires avaient été installés avec succès sur le toit de la bibliothèque. En permettant de charger 500 ordinateurs portables en même temps, cette installation fait de Lascahobas l’une des plus grandes (voire la plus grande) école du monde dans le domaine de l’énergie solaire. En plus de cette installation, nous avons pu faire fonctionner la première bibliothèque de l’école. A notre arrivée, il y avait bien une salle appelée « Bibliothèque » mais tous les rayonnages étaient vides. Nous avons également trouvé de nombreux cartons de livres envoyés par l’Union Européenne mais qui n’avaient pas encore été ouverts. L’équipe a donc assuré le démarrage de la bibliothèque, triant les différents ouvrages et faisant l’inventaire des différentes collections. Après la session d’été, la bibliothèque pouvait donc enfin être utilisée par les enseignants et les enfants. Nous avons pu également aller dans les classes pour dialoguer avec les élèves à propos de l’énergie solaire et discuter avec les enseignants de leurs besoins. Leur quotidien : au minimum 55 élèves d’âges différents par classe. Jusqu’à cet été, pas de bibliothèque. Pratiquement pas de cahiers et de stylos pour les enfants. En règle générale, très peu de ressources pour travailler. Malgré ce contexte, les enseignants font tout ce qu’ils peuvent pour que leurs élèves apprennent. De retour à San Francisco, je ne pouvais m’empêcher de me demander : aider une fois, c’est bien. Mais on pourrait peut-être faire mieux ? More about this project :

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Project Senegal February 2011 Photography by Christine Bois and Elizabeth Cleere

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Service Learning Introduction


Tara Singh, Grade 11

n February of 2011 twelve International High School students went on a community service trip to Senegal to visit and volunteer at Ecole Natangué, the school we have been supporting for the past four years. Ecole Natangué is a public Pre-K and elementary school for economically disadvantaged children in M’bour, Senegal, a coastal city that has been flooded by internal immigrants forced to leave their farms and villages as the result of desertification. Unlike other public elementary schools, Ecole Natangué also includes a kindergarten where children who speak only Wolof can learn to speak French, putting them on equal footing with students whose parents can afford to send them to private pre-schools. Thanks to Ecole Natangué, hundreds of poor children in M’bour are able to enter and succeed in the public school system, where the language of instruction is French. Over the years we have raised around $33,000 for Ecole Natangué, and last year we also got a $5,000 grant from the Ustinov Foundation and the European Council of Independent Schools to build an organic teaching garden for the school. The garden will produce food for the students and also serve as a means of learning about organic farming and

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rediscovering the connection with the land that their families lost when they were forced to leave the countryside. During our stay in Senegal we not only volunteered at the school and helped the children plant their new garden, but also found time to travel around M’bour, visiting a local village and a fish market. We learned Senegalese dance and met a marabou, and also visited a local high school where we met students our own age. For me, however, the most memorable experience was helping out in the classrooms and playing with the kids. Despite the fact that some of the younger children did not know much French, we had no problems communicating with them, playing simple games and that brought us much joy and happiness. We felt very privileged to have the possibility of meeting and connecting with the children, and seeing how the money we had raised was helping to make such a difference in their lives. This trip was an amazing voyage that didn’t just allow us to experience a new culture; it gave us the chance to become part of a community.

A Visit to a Senegalese Village Ociane Canadas, Grade 11

On our first Sunday in Senegal we climbed into a van and drove for around an hour to visit Djilas, the small rural

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village where Marie, the director of Ecole Natangué, grew up. As we drove down the bumpy dirt road that led to the village, we were met by three men on horseback. The horses, decorated with a patchwork made of scraps of multi-colored fabric, resembled the stunning horses of medieval knights. When we arrived at the entrance of the village, a crowd of people, mostly women and children, were waiting for us. The women were poor, but beautifully dressed in flowing clothes made from colorful African fabrics that shimmered in the sunlight. A few people were playing music on djambes, tam-tams, calebasses and whistles. We didn’t share a common language, but the villagers danced to make us feel comfortable. Everyone, from the youngest children to elderly women, showed off their dance moves. After this warm and joyful welcome we went to visit the salt marshes, the main source of income for the people of the village. To get there, we rode on what the Senegalese jokingly call “TGVs”–carts pulled by horses. Once we arrived at the salt marshes, a worker explained how the salt is extracted. He described how they fill up a hole with water from the sea, wait a month for the water to evaporate in the sun, then scoop up the salt with buckets. It was around noontime, and it was already awfully hot. All round us lay buckets, full of

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salt, their contents glistening. When we took the TGV back to the village, we had all run out of water and were tired, thirsty, hungry, and wilting from the heat. Thankfully, it was time to eat and we were ushered into a cool bedroom in a hut belonging to Marie’s parents to wait for our meal. A few minutes later, two huge platters of food arrived and were placed on the floor. Then Elena (the founder of the school) explained that Senegalese people all eat from the same plate. They put all the food they have on the plate, and then divide it equally. This is why, she went on to say, that even though Senegal is a very poor country, it is very rare for anyone to die of hunger. So we ate like Senegalese people, awkwardly sharing the delicious rice and chicken on our platters. We were starving, but we couldn’t manage to finish all the food Marie had spent all night preparing. For desert we had fresh and juicy green melon and caramelized peanuts. We rested for an hour after lunch and at around three, everyone awoke. Suddenly, the village was alive and dancing again. Music blasted from the giant loudspeakers the villagers had rented for the occasion, accompanied by the village drummers. Under a makeshift tent held up by four poles, the whole village and us “toubabs” (white people) assembled to dance and sing. The women danced wonderfully. Stomping their feet, waving their arms, swinging their hips, they danced until our breath ran out just from looking at them. When they tried to teach us their dance steps we became painfully aware that a great sense of rhythm was needed to be able to keep up with the frenetic music. Watching everyone in the village dance, I realized how deeply music and dance is rooted in their culture. Under the glaring sun, we all danced for over an hour until we fled once again into the hut, craving cool air and water. A tired little 4-year-old girl followed us inside. She sat in our laps and basked in the attention we gave her. Little by little, the village quieted down and we lay on the floor, resting. I settled the little girl in my lap and hummed until she fell asleep, her head on my shoulder. Before leaving, we laid her gently on a bed in the next room. winter 2012

“This trip was an amazing voyage that didn’t just allow us to experience a new culture; it gave us the chance to become part of a community.”

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“Tomorrow it will all seem like a dream,” Elise told me. Then we all went outside, thanked everyone, said good-bye, and left.

The Children of Ecole Natangué Rebeka Horvat, Grade 11

The trip to Senegal was a life-changing experience. It has taught us all to appreciate the opportunities we have and to enjoy the small things we normally take for granted. We spent ten days in Africa, most of the time working at the school, Ecole Natangué. This was my favorite part of the trip. I really made a connection with the children at Ecole Natangué, who are incredibly inspiring. They have so little, and all come from poor families, yet are happy, curious, respectful, and appreciative of every little thing. Every day when we arrived at the school, they would reach out to shake our hands again and again. At the end of each class, it was wonderful to see them sing and dance with great enthusiasm with their teachers. Of course, we couldn’t resist joining in! Ecole Natangué is a public school, but has gotten a lot of support from our school over the years, as well as from other organizations in France and Italy. (The founder of the school, Elena Malagodi, is Italian and lives in France.) As a result of this extra help, Ecole Natangué is a model school. Even the entrance is inviting, full of flowers, color, and life. The children who go to the school could never afford to go to private schools, but fortunately for them, Ecole Natangué

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was created to give them the same high-quality education, and therefore an opportunity to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Meeting and working with the students at Ecole Natangué was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

A Sense of Community Melina Dunham, Grade 11

Our ten days in Senegal gave us the opportunity to experience a country with a rich past and an extremely lively, welcoming, and fascinating culture. On our first day in Senegal, we went to the Île de Gorée, where we took a tour of the House of Slaves. Seeing the cells where the slaves were held before they left Africa forever through the “Door of No Return” opened my eyes to how unfairly and inhumanly they were treated. During the time we spent in Senegal I was very aware of the influences of the past and the importance of tradition revealed in the colorful, traditional clothing, the food, the dancing, and the music. When I saw the women working in the field, dancing and singing during their break, my eyes were opened to the idea of communal labor, and I related this to customs of the slaves in the Americas, who sang rhythmic songs to lessen the load of the back-breaking work they were forced to do and hold on to their African traditions at the same time. La Lettre | 55

What I found the most beautiful, and cherish as my fondest memory of the trip, was experiencing the strong sense of community the Senegalese share. They all seemed to be working together for the benefit of their families and the larger community. As guests, we were also able to experience firsthand the famous Senegalese hospitality, or “teranga”, which made us feel like we were a part of their warm, welcoming community.

Juggling in Senegal Matthew Beaudouin, Grade 10

At school in San Francisco, I am known as a magician. I wanted to go on the trip to Senegal not just to be a spectator, but also to see how people with a different culture and mind set would react to my performances. In San Francisco, I had already done some street magic, but performing in Senegal was completely different. My first real magic “show’’ was an impromptu performance at the hotel. The Senegalese people at the hotel were not only confused and puzzled by the lack of logic and physics in my routine, but, interestingly, they did not mention my age. Usually an American adult is more likely to comment on my youth than the magic. In Senegal, that was not their main focus. I think this was a reflection of the fact that Senegalese people tend to be very open-minded. Take religion, for example. The majority of the population is Muslim, but they are tolerant of other religions. (Their president, for example, is Catholic!) So to my first Senegalese audience, my age was irrelevant. Magic aside, I had a personal project that I wanted to undertake with the children at Ecole Natangué. I’m not only a magician but also a juggler, and I had bought twenty sets of juggling balls for the school. I wanted to teach the students how to juggle, but before I was able to do that, I had to perform. I did one show for the kindergarteners, and that was wonderful; despite their age, they were both calm and attentive. They were perfect spectators, applauding at just the

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right time. Later, I had the chance to teach the fourth graders how to juggle. Even though they were a little over-excited by the process, I was still able to teach them the basics. My favorite juggling experience was with two sixth graders, Mustafa and Assan. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to really get to know most of the children, but since these two spent a lot of time with us, I got to know them well, which gave me a good sense of what Senegalese children are like. What amazed me most was their maturity. Thanks to their ability to pay attention and focus, Mustapha and Assan learned the basics of juggling very quickly. Instead of rushing through the steps like most people, they took their time and did very well. I left them with a set of juggling balls each. The whole trip was incredible, but the interaction with the kids at the school was probably the best part of the trip.

Micro-Financing Donations to “Les Mamans” Soumeya Kerrar, Grade 11

This year’s trip to Senegal was an opportunity to experience many great things. We were able to work directly with a less advantaged community, experience a new culture and, most importantly, see with our own eyes what a difference we are making. While we were in M’bour, we were able to work with the children at Ecole Natangué through dancing, arts, crafts and planting a new garden for the school. My most memorable experience, however, was our visit to the homes of five of the poorest families in the school. $1000 of the $7,500 we raised this year was split between these five families, and Fatou, the director of a micro-lending group connected to Ecole Natangué, took us to visit the women who had been chosen as the recipients of our donations. The first woman we visited, Gloria, rents a small room for $10 a month where she lives with her four children . She works at another family’s house where she washes their clothing, and is forced to take her children with her to work. With the money we gave her, she wants to be able to work at home so that she can take better care of her children. The second woman we met, Audiouf Fatougai, has nine children, two of whom attend Ecole Natangué. With the money we gave her, she hopes to expand her business of selling arachides (peanuts) and vegetables. Her reaction to our gift was very emotional. She cried, thanked God, Marie (the principal of Ecole Natangué) and us over and over again. The third woman, Oumi, is the mother of four children and lives with her mother. With the money we gave her she hopes to start her own small business selling oils, soap powder and coal. The fourth woman we met, Oumi Diko, is the mother of nine children: 2 married daughters, six sons who have left home to winter 2012

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work, and a little girl who is the last of her children still living at home. Her previous job consisted of carrying water to people. She had decided to use the money to construct stone walls around her small kitchen. Before, her kitchen was outdoors and surrounded by straw walls, which was a serious fire hazard. While we were in M’bour, the boys in our group helped build the walls for the new kitchen to give Oumi a safer place to cook. The final person we met was Sira Sisie, who lives with her eight children and mother in a small house. She too hopes to start a business selling oils and brooms. All these women have had very hard lives and were all very grateful for our donations. For us, $200 is next to nothing, but for these families, it represented an opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their families. I was very touched by this experience. For the past four years, I have watched Project Senegal grow. When I got the chance to travel to Senegal, I was able to see with my own eyes what a difference the money we raised was making in the lives of the children and families connected to Ecole Natangué. While I had never doubted that all the effort we have put into the project was worthwhile, distributing the money to these families touched me in a way I had not expected. I became more aware of how far our money goes in Senegal, and what a difference every dollar we raise can make. To see how happy the women were and to hear how our donations could help them get back on their feet was the greatest experience I had during the whole trip.

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Visit to a High School English Class in Senegal Elise Lavielle, Grade 11

When we were in M’bour , we visited a public high school and sat in on one of the 10th grade English classes. The school itself was very poor and run-down, and the classroom was very large, filled with around 50 teenagers who were from16 to 19 years old. The Senegalese teacher, who spoke only English in class, was doing a reading lesson based on a story by the English writer Graham Greene. We students from International High School were paired with two to three Senegalese students to help them answer questions about the text. Despite our cultural differences, we still found a way to connect, thanks to the fact that we all spoke French. The English teacher was as passionate and well-prepared as one of our teachers, and the students were extremely motivated and attentive. No one said a word while the teacher was talking. At the end of the class, Matthew performed some magic tricks and juggled for the students, and we taught them to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in rounds. Then a Senegalese girl got up and sang a beautiful song in English, followed by a group of boys who treated us to a performance of Senegalese rap. Many of the students, including the ones I was paired with, had never left M’bour, let alone Senegal, but still had high hopes for their futures. Our visit to the school gave us

a glimpse of the everyday life of Senegalese teenagers our age who, as we discovered, weren’t so different from us.

The Women of Senegal Eleonore Steible, Grade 12

When I decided to go to Senegal, what I wanted most was to experience what those of us who are very fortunate don’t ordinarily see. Of course we experienced a huge culture shock, but what surprised me most was the pride and the joy in the faces of the people I met there, especially the women and their willingness to give, even to us, who were perfect strangers. The Senegalese women did not conform to what we see in the world of advertising, and would be considered out-of-fashion here in the US. But the grace those women had was unbelievable. It was obvious that they had suffered or were suffering hardship, but I never I saw a tear rolling down their cheeks or sadness in their eyes. It seemed to me that they accepted life without complaints, determined to make the best of things, and had a depth and sense of pride we might have lost or forgotten due to the superficiality of the world we live in.

The Traditional Music of Senegal Daniel Meyer, Grade 12

It might take you a minute, especially if you are a “toubab” (white person). Beneath the cacophony, the vehement palms on tight drums that sound like heavy rain, there is a pulse. Like a heartbeat. You can hear the people’s spirit in the traditional music of Senegal. There might be ten drummers or two drummers and a kora (a harp-like West African instrument) or singers chanting over a thin beat. No matter what the instrumentation, the beauty and spirit of Africa is heard in the music. hiver 2012

Dancing to Senegalese music can be difficult for a toubab. The rhythms were hard to hear for those of us used to listening to Katy Perry. Sometimes we would see three-and four-year-old children better able than us to predict and move to the complicated music. On the few occasions I had the opportunity to play along with Senegalese musicians, I would be lost after a few measures. I left Senegal with a deep respect for its musicians, and hope that one day I might have the opportunity to study with some of them. Inshallah.

Le Baobab Griffin Wurzelbach, Grade 11

The baobab is the most beautiful tree in Africa, and in a way the symbol of Senegal. In the past, traveling musicians called “griots” were buried inside the hollow trunks of baobab trees because the people who lived off the land thought it was bad luck to bury them in the ground. Legend has it that one year a griot was buried in the ground, resulting in a massive drought. The baobab trees with griots buried inside are considered sacred, and should not be photographed. The following is a poem I wrote about the baobab tree:

Le Baobab People come to admire it from all around the world. It is unlike any other tree. Rich fruit glows from its branches, a wonderful sight to see. Griots, when buried inside them, brought balance to the land. But when this practice ended, There was no rain to soothe the sand. This is le Baobab. La Lettre | 59

Building Bridges Three International students share their experiences volunteering over their summer breaks Mi experiencia en Nicaragua con Amigos de las Américas


Allison Le Corre, Grade 12

left in June to spend seven weeks in Nicaragua. I would not be back until August. I did not know what exactly awaited me: where exactly I would be, who I would be with, what I would precisely be doing. Despite all the unknowns, I was excited; I told myself it was about to be the most amazing experience in my life without even really knowing what it would be yet. It was amazing, but in ways I could have never imagined. The experience AMIGOS offered me was most unique, and fulfilled everything I was looking for in a community service experience abroad, and more. I chose to do AMIGOS because of the independence, high responsibility and deep immersion that the program gives to you as a volunteer. This year AMIGOS sent 705 high school- and college-aged volunteers to countries all around Latin America. Sixty volunteers, from the United States and from Latin American countries such as the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua itself, were sent to communities throughout the region of Boaco, Nicaragua, where I went. A volunteer lives with one or two other volunteers in one community for the length of the project where they live with local families and work on community projects. I was in a small semi-rural community of about 500 people in the mountainous region of Boaco and worked with one partner from Texas and one coming from another region of Nicaragua. The volunteer work we did in the community was three-fold. First off, we worked alongside the local people supporting an initiative they found important to

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the development of their community. The community-based initiatives are important because they are projects that the volunteers support and help organize – but do not do for them – with the idea that the community continues carrying out development projects once the volunteers have left. It is a great opportunity for us to really work alongside the local people, get to know them, and experience the way things work in a different country. There is much adapting and learning to be done there! Secondly, we worked in engaging the youth in projects. With the youth group we formed while we were there, we fundraised for, designed and painted a mural on the primary school. It was great because it allowed us to spend a lot of time and become close friends with the young people of our age in the community. Lastly, we also held art workshops and activities for the young kids in the school, through which we promoted children’s rights. Aside from the volunteer experience, the immersion experience is extremely deep and is by far what affected me the most. For the seven weeks I was there, I lived there. I eased into the rhythm of life there. My host family was my family. The community was my home. Being there for a good period of time (which went by so fast! Who knew seven weeks could go by so fast?), and being in direct relation with the people of the community with everything you do—it is amazing how well integrated you become in the community. In addition to

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handling challenges with the hands-on and direct volunteer work we did, AMIGOS plunged me into an entirely different world and connected me deeply to that world. Experiencing this different culture and lifestyle first-hand, speaking Spanish every moment of every day, making tight relationships with the people you live with and work alongside, living integrated in a community… all this proved to make this experience even more out of this world and life-changing than I could ever have imagined.

Helping Build Bridges in Bosnia Rebeka Horvat, Grade 11

This summer I volunteered at a youth center called the Omladinski Center in Bosnia, my family’s country of origin. The center was established in 1995, right after the end of the war, in my mom’s hometown, Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje. This divided town is a microcosm for post-war Bosnia where, as the result of nationalistic and political propaganda, the three main ethnic/ religious groups – Bosniaks (Muslims), Serbs (Orthodox Christian) and Croats (Catholic) – live in segregation throughout most of the country. The Omladinski Center is located right on the border of a road between the Bosniak and Croatian sides of town – the only place where children and teenagers from both sides can safely interact. It was founded by a local Bosniak teacher who taught at an integrated public school before the war. Now, she is only allowed to teach Bosniak (Muslim) kids in their segregated public school. The goal of the center is to create a safe, fun, and crehiver 2012

ative educational environment that facilitates social contact between the different ethnic/religious groups. It provides opportunities to build bridges through positive experiences between Bosniak and Croatian kids, who attend workshops and work together on a variety of projects together. This past summer, my mother and I joined other international and local volunteers who volunteered at the center, working on bringing kids together by engaging them in sports, play activities, art, theater, film, music, web design, collecting books for the center’s library, and environmental and social projects. It was a very interesting, educational, and rewarding experience that taught me a lot about Bosnia and its divided communities. I was able to participate in projects that, step by step, erased biases and prejudice, bringing people together through common interests, goals, or just having fun. Some projects and games took place on both sides of the town, as one of our goals was to make the kids feel more comfortable crossing over to the other side. During one of our picnic trips, it was very sad to see one little Bosniak girl start shaking and sobbing when we crossed to the other side of the town where Croats live. A few kids and volunteers tried to comfort her with hugs and assure her that she was going to be safe. I learned that many of the town’s kids had never set foot on the other side of the town, and avoided any contact with La Lettre | 61

kids who belonged to the other ethnic/religious group. I was told that they were conditioned to think and behave in this way by their parents, teachers, religious and political leaders, relatives, neighbors, peers, and the media. Even some of my Croatian relatives tried to discourage me from going to the Omladinski Center, saying that “Croatian kids don’t go there.” It made me happy to see that when we worked on rebuilding a park, adults from both sides of the town participated in the project. Some donated tiles for our colorful mosaics, while others donated wooden benches, garbage cans, flowers and trees, and some worked for hours with us. After the project was completed, it was nice to see kids, teenagers, and adults from both sides of the town mingling together at opening night. The park is located across the street from a high school known as “two schools under the same roof”; the Bosniak school is on one floor, and Croatian school is on the other. Each school has separate stairways, and the kids are punished if they use the stairway belonging to the other school. Only the teacher who organized the Omladinski Center dares to use both stairways. She was a teacher to my uncle, my mom, and many other Croatian students before the war, and is so respected by people on both sides of the town that school officials don’t dare to punish her. Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks often emphasize how they different they are, but I could not tell them apart; they look and dress alike, and their languages have minor variations that I didn’t even notice. Traditionally, people belonging to

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the different ethnic/religious groups lived together in relative harmony, but as a result of the war and the destruction of towns and villages, loss of human lives and emotional suffering, everything changed, and people started clinging to their religious, cultural and ethnic identities. I have been visiting my Croatian relatives in my mom’s hometown for a few years now, but this was the first time I had set foot on the Bosniak side of town. Some of my Croatian relatives told me that there was no need to go on the other side, insisting that those of us who were not there during the war couldn’t understand things there. To be truthful, it is very difficult for me to accept that people in this town continue to live in segregation, especially after making new friends on both sides. I plan to stay connected to the people I met last summer and continue my involvement with the Omladinski Center, which is helping to build bridges between cultures and create a brighter future for the children in their still-divided communities.

Haitian Voices

Eva Victor, Grade 12 It was sunny and sticky, and I was nervous. Me and my mother were driven from the airport in Port-au-Prince to Mariaman on a gravel road, past street vendors selling metal art, past dogs and goats scouring piles of trash for scraps of food, and past miles of tents where Haitian families were liv-

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ing. After an hour drive, we arrived at the house of John Engle, the co-founder of Haiti Partners. As we pulled up and walked up the stone steps to the beautiful house, I was startled: fourteen strikingly beautiful young Haitians were standing in front of me, their eyes fixated on their conductor. Before I had time to say anything, they began to sing the Haitian national anthem. These young people were not only beautiful; they had powerful voices too. I spent five days working with the WOZO Children’s Choir to prepare them for a tour to the United States. I was worried I wouldn’t have any comments or suggestions to give them, but my Girl’s Chorus training and Theater training seemed to prevail! I felt that I was very aware of what they needed as an outside source, and I had helpful ideas to improve their technical and emotional performances. I knew that the most important thing was for the audience to hear their message: to hear their hope, their love, their guilt and their anguish. I helped them with simple things like posture and breathing, along with more challenging, thought-provoking things such as their personal artistic expression and connections to the song. When I asked them to share what they were feeling as they sang their song entitled “Mwen Se Ayiti”, translated to “I am Haiti”, the choristers were quite hesitant to share their feelings with me. I had not yet become vulnerable, while they had done so by singing for me. So, I taught them an icebreaker theater name game and, after seeing my goofy and awkward side, the choristers opened up: one young boy raised his hand and contributed that he felt guilty because he is able to go to school while other children are not. Then, a girl shared that she sees people in the streets who do not eat, and it makes her feel sad. They were willing to share their impressions of their worlds with me because I had become vulnerable; I deserved their respect. I felt their humanness, which allowed me, as an audience member and a teacher, to be proud and moved by their progress. I hope to return to Haiti to see the WOZO Choir again, though I know that, though I’m back home, a part of me will always belong to Haiti. I can now confidently say, “Mwen Se Ayiti Twò”, or I am Haiti too!

Best Buddies

Kelsey Boylan, Grade 11 Best Buddies International is an organization active in middle schools, high schools, and colleges all over the world. The goal of the organization is to form one- to- one friendships between students in standard education and students in special education with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) like autism or Down’s syndrome. hiver 2012

While it is important that students with IDD receive specialized instruction, providing them with special classes means that these students don’t have a chance to meet their peers in standard education. Despite their disabilities, they’re eager to make friends and have fun like all teenagers. Last year International High School started a Best Buddies chapter paired with the Spectrum Center, a school for students with autism that is only a few blocks from our school on Gough Street. We had a great core group of student volunteers from our school who went over to the Spectrum Center once a week during lunch to hang out with the students there. It was really fun getting to know them. This summer, as chapter president, I attended the two-day Best Buddies International Leadership Conference at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. At the conference I learned about strategies for managing a chapter and the history of disability rights. I also met a lot of great people and had a lot of fun. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities gave speeches about how friendships formed through the Best Buddies program had changed their lives. It was the people at the conference who really inspired me. This year we’re hoping to focus more on one-to-one friendships. We would love to recruit more students who are interested in joining Best Buddies, and plan to meet twice a month during lunch or after school. Students who are interested in getting involved in this project can contact me or Elizabeth Cleere. La Lettre | 63

Cultural Exchanges

Israel February 2011

The French American and International Exchange Program inaugurated its first trip to Israel in 2011. Following are impressions from the students who participated in this unique journey.


Alexandra Koscove | Grade 12 he epicenter of long-standing religious and political tension, the tiny state of Israel has been a hotly contested area of land for centuries. When I signed up for the trip, I didn’t exactly have the misconceptions about the Holy Land that some do. However, while I knew that Israel was steeped in religious and historical artifacts, I did not realize it was a country of such natural beauty. Hence, the wildlife sightings and gorgeous scenery were a wonderful addition to the educational excursion I had anticipated. Originally disappointed that we had to extend our time in Israel when political turmoil caused us to cancel the Cairo portion of the trip, the extension gave us the opportunity to explore it in greater depth. In Israel as in California, I never felt in danger or threatened by anything other than some creepy guy on a street. Security and safety were never an issue, although it was nice to see the good-looking army trainees everywhere we went, including museums and forests (which they were fireproofing). The success of the trip in my mind lies not only in the diverse locations we went, but also from the people who accompanied us. With Avner, the driver at the wheel of our bus, the thirteen of us (ten high school students, two chaperones and a tour guide) delved into a country rich in history, culture, and an astounding abundance of flora and fauna.

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Negev Desert


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Krista Gon | Grade 12 Luckily, we were hooked up with an amazing guide. Ron was extremely intelligent, well-read, and knowledgeable about almost every aspect of the country. Whether he was discussing the Israeli culture, describing a species of desert plant, or recounting a saga of an ancient medieval battle, he captivated our interest and expanded our horizons. We ascended mountains and delved into craters; at each locale a unique sight greeted us. Colored sands in one of the largest erosion craters in the dry Judea desert, the coypus and hyraxes of the lush Golan Heights, and the site of the famous David and Goliath battle in the Elah Valley are just a sample of the variety we encountered in Israel. Of course we did do some of the standard, obligatory tourist stuff as well. We floated in the Dead Sea (warning to future participants: do not dunk your head underwater!), visited the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, toured the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, rode a camel in the Negev desert, and stood at the base of the Western Wall. I became versed in the founding of the Jewish State, the beginnings of Zionism, and the political situations in neighboring countries Jordan and Syria – while looking at Herzl’s grave or staring out at the border lines. This up-close and personal take on history imbued it with more meaning and significance than had I merely read the facts in a textbook or listened to a lecture in an International High School classroom. It was a fantastic trip that I would highly recommend to my fellow students.

I never truly understood the Israeli-Palestinian conflict until I went to Israel. When I got back, that is all everybody wanted to talk to me about. They did not want to hear about my first-ever desert experience in a Bedouin camp, making friends with Jerusalem kids, eating warm homemade pita bread, go-karting in Haifa, floating in the Dead Sea, or having fun on the picture-perfect beach in Tel Aviv. People were expecting stories of my “near-death” experiences, escaping missiles as I walked on the sidewalk, avoiding roadside bombs as we travelled through town, or running away from angry mobs of Arabs. Yes, I might be exaggerating a little, but the stereotypes placed on such a safe country were quite ridiculous. The day I got back to school, a teacher asked how I had liked it and I responded simply: “fantastic!” But then she responded: “That’s good. So it was safe and everything? I would never take my children there…” That’s when a light bulb flashed in my head. The two groups of students we had met in Israel were from Haifa and Jerusalem. Both times I was asked what I thought of Israel, my preconceived ideas and what Americans think of Israel in general. I was taken aback by these questions because first of all, Americans do not talk about Israel, second, I had no expectations, and lastly, it had never occurred to me that Americans would perceive Israel any differently than the “Holy Land”. But I had also remembered my friend jokingly saying: “Be careful! I don’t want you to die from a roadside bomb!” So I responded to both groups a little unsure,


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“I think Americans think it is dangerous.” That would only explain why only ten students from our school signed up for the Middle East trip. I said also, “And Americans are just not educated about the Middle East or the Israel/Palestinian conflict.” Only after coming back to the US did I realize that Israel indeed is stereotyped and misunderstood. Five or ten years ago, Israel had suicide bombers and terrorist attacks in major areas of the country. These events were displayed all over the media around the world, especially on television. The only media attention Israel or Middle Eastern countries got was “bad press” that evidently has lingering negative images. On the bright side, I learned so much from this trip and hope that the school will still offer this opportunity for other students to explore the Middle East (and hopefully be able to travel to Egypt next time) because it was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I am grateful to have this first-hand experience of the wonderful diversity of people, cultural traditions, food, and scenery that has enabled me to form my own personal image of Israel.

Bonnie McDonald | Grade 11 On our fifth day in Israel, we left Jerusalem with all its glorious history and biblical sites, to drive deep into the Negev desert to stay at an Arab Bedouin Caravansary. Having read about this nomadic culture in our history class, I was thrilled to go to this camp and to step back hundreds of years and see for myself the lifestyle of this primitive yet royal culture in the desert. When we got there I was struck by the beauty of the

desert and all its wildlife and sand dunes; the spacious tents decorated with carpets and colorful pillows; our gracious Bedouin host and his traditional songs, music and stories; the delicious meal of Hafla, a Bedouin feast where we all sat on the floor around an enormous platter filled with roasted chicken, rice, corn, hummus, warm pita, tea, coffee and of course baklava. It was a beautiful and clear night allowing us to watch the stars and to even identify some of them with Antoine’s handy- dandy iPhone app. Thinking the excitement was over for the night, we were surprised with a campfire in front of our tent. We roasted marshmallows, shared funny stories and listened to Antoine’s music. At night, some of us slept outside gazing at the stars while the rest of us slept in the spacious tent. We woke up the next morning at dawn and rode camels around the camp feeling giddier and giddier with each bump along the way. Even though we proceeded to see many more fascinating cities, people, cultures, religions and historical sites, the day we spent at the Bedouin camp was a day that I will never forget and will stay in my memories for years to come.

Paul Grant-Villegas | GRADE 11 Israel was such a great trip, and having spent so much time there I felt like I got to fully experience the whole country. In seventeen days we got to see so much. We got to climb to the top of Masada to see the sunrise, float in the Dead Sea, explore the Negev desert, see ancient Greek and Roman ruins, and eat amazing food. But the two best places I experienced


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there had to be Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. Jerusalem was our first place we stayed on the trip. I remember being really surprised about how quiet it was on the first day because of Shabbat. A lot of the stores were closed and there were barely any cars in the street, I’d never seen anything like it. Of course the next day I woke to a bustling city and the atmosphere was completely different. The most memorable part of Jerusalem for me was probably meeting the French lycée kids. It was just really fun to meet other people our age from a different country and culture but we got along great. I am so glad that the school organized that because it was one of the best parts of the trip. The last place we visited was the amazing modern city of Tel-Aviv. It was a great place to end the trip with because the last two days there were pretty much free days where we got to enjoy their beach and have fun. They also had this huge open market where all these artists and craftsmen sell immensely creative stuff. And everything there they made by hand whether it was jewelry, bracelets, soaps, wallets, paintings….etc. But this trip was also a learning experience. During this trip I felt like I learned so much more about the conflicts that are going on and what some of the people there thought about it, which is one of the things I wanted to do while I was there.

Stephanie Dravis | Grade 12 While in Israel we went to so many different and interesting places. One of the most amazing differences between San Francisco and many places in Israel, is here everything is very loud and it is hard to get a quiet moment in the city.

Everywhere we visited, in Israel, was very calm and quiet. One of my fondest memories was when we were staying at a kibbutz, it was incredibly relaxing and it was very enjoyable. At night you could go out on the pier and sit there, listen to the waves break on the rocks, while looking at the endless stars in the sky. That is one of the main differences most notable to me because in San Francisco it is very rare that you can look and see the stars. I must say going to Israel was one of the best experiences I have had so far. Everything was beautiful and the people there are incredibly delightful, they are very open and approachable. I would definitely recommend everyone to go visit Israel at some point. It is a great place and it is a country that is small enough to go around and experience everything Israel has to offer. If I had the opportunity I would absolutely go back as soon as possible.

Melvin Colorado-Escobar | Grade 12 The trip to Israel was a fun experience. It was the first time that I left the country, and I couldn’t be more pleased. I expected Israel to be kind of dangerous before we left. The media here depicts the Middle East as a dangerous place where people are always dying. However, Israel was a lot safer than everyone says it is. There are a lot of soldiers in training walking around with guns. When I first saw them, I thought that something was wrong, then our tour guide Ron told us that they were just training to go into the army. Then we saw them everywhere, and I just got used to it. Over all it was a unique experience that I won’t forget.

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Paloma Sat-Vollhardt | Grade 12 Quand nous avons entamé notre voyage vers Israël, la Terre Sainte, je ne savais vraiment pas à quoi m’attendre. Ce que j’avais déduit du portrait qu’en avaient fait les médias, comparé à ce que j’avais entendu de mes parents et de mes amis fut absolument contraire à ce qui m’attendait. Notre premier séjour était à Jérusalem, le noyau et le centre des trois religions monothéistes principales du 21ème siècle. J’étais étonnée de voir la tranquillité et le respect tenu entre chacune d’entre elles, affichant comment les trois peuvent coexister en harmonie complète. Cependant alors que la plupart des différents religions ou peuples possèdent et se situent dans des communautés, un bon nombre d’entre elles partagent les mêmes rues, des magasins, des restaurants, etc. Il y a beaucoup de différences avec les États-Unis, surtout certaines choses qui pour nous sont absolument normales. Même si les nouvelles générations sont de plus en plus acceptantes, [à Jérusalem] on fronce parfois les sourcils lorsqu’un couple se montre de l’affection, alors que se tenir par la main n’est pour nous qu’un simple geste. Les vêtements de femmes, autant que pour les hommes doit certainement couvrir la plupart des bras et des jambes si possible, surtout lorsque parmi ceux qui sont très religieux. Il y a tout de même un peu de flexibilité pour les touristes. Il y a certains endroits qui eux ne demandent pas autant de mesures. Durant notre visite à Tel-Aviv, nous avons visité un environnement beaucoup plus détendu que celui dans lequel nous avons vécu à Jérusalem. Beaucoup des juifs ne portaient pas de kippas, et nous pouvions voir d’avantage de femmes

Upper Galilee

en jupe et chemises courtes. Il y avait des bars à chaque coin de rue, surtout près de la plage. Les relations homosexuelles sont beaucoup plus acceptées ici qu’ailleurs. En fait, à part le marché extravagant du vendredi matin, Tel-Aviv me rappelle énormément de San Francisco avec sa température variable et ses gratte-ciels. Israël est plus avancé technologiquement et industriellement que ce que j’avais pu croire. C’est pour cette raison que je fus tellement surprise d’entendre que tous les jeunes de 18 ans doivent faire l’armée. Mais encore plus surprenant: les filles comme les garçons doivent faire leur service militaire. De plus, Israël est un pays religieux, majoritairement juif, donc seuls ces derniers sont obligés à faire leur service. Dans un pays si avancé, je croyais que cela leur donnerait un désavantage. Mais après avoir entendu les histoires de leur service militaire, j’en ai tiré une autre conclusion. Le service militaire, bien qu’un moyen afin de se protéger des pays environnants, sert à unifier le peuple, à renforcer le patriotisme national mais peut aussi être une expérience d’apprentissage très formateur qui peut avancer le choix du soldat plus tard dans la vie. Pour conclure, j’ai l’impression que toute une partie du monde a été ouvert pour moi, et je comprends beaucoup mieux la situation au Moyen Orient. Je n’ai maintenant plus besoin de questionner la crédibilité d’un journaliste qui parle d’Israël, puisque j’y suis allé et j’ai une véritable image et expérience de ce pays, dont je me souviendrai chaque jour comme un des meilleurs de ma vie.

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Jordan through our eyes

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The International High School Exchange Program inaugurated its first trip to Jordan in October of 2011. Following are excerpts from the daily blog posted by faculty chaperones Dina Srouji and Leslie Adams. Dina Srouji and Leslie Adams Faculty Advisors


Days 1-3: Amman

fter our arrival in Amman, we were warmly welcomed to the homes in Jordan, and have been told they are now “Jordan Family.” Many parents have informed our students they are in the status of their son or daughter. This means they are no longer their guest but their family. After our welcome last night, the families fed them dinner -- the students have said that they will be a bit larger when they return to the U.S. We have had a most remarkable day in this wonderful country with students from the Ahliyyah School for Girls

and the Bishop’s School for Boys, our hosts for this journey. Midday we met at the girls school and were welcomed with a reception of culture and theatre. We then had a lunch with traditional food: kousa au warak aaen (stuffed zuchini and grape leaves), souraar (rice and lamb in filo dough), and Arabic style lasagna (local cheeses). The students learned survival Arabic words such as: bathroom = hammam, thank you = shoukran, happy = Mabsout. We left our students in the afternoon to their host families to prepare for a student activity event, Quest for the Red Carpet, a quiz night on movie and film trivia with the school community from both Ahliyyah and Bishop schools. This will end their Saturday activities, then jet lag will set in! The next day our group had another great day with their correspondents. One family took all the kids to a breakfast at a place called “Zait & Zaatar” for an Arabic style breakfast of manish, hummus and falafel, and mouajanat gebnah. Then the students were dropped at City Mall where they hung out, went to many stores and played video games. One of the families gave a student a prepaid phone and they were in contact with us all day, sharing their playful times. Later in the evening, we all met at Ms. Haifa’s house (Head of both schools), for a reception and dinner. Our students were complimented by

Student Participants in the 2011 trip to Jordan:

Devin Conroy (11), Noah Morton (11), Julien Sat-Vollhardt (9), Griffin Wurzelbacher (11), Gabrielle Maudiere (9), Leann Bahi (9), Mariko Foecke (11), Shayna Mehta (9), Emilia Omerberg (11), and Louise Wurzelbacher (9). La Lettre | 71

so many of the families as they mingled and shared stories about what they thought of their first visit to Jordan.

Day 4: Jerash and Ajloun Our adventure today was to visit Jerash and Ajloun. During the bus drive, the tour guide told the story and the history of Jordan, and pointed out sites as we passed by them. We reached Jerash, an ancient city dating back more than 6,500 years, and a close second to Petra on the list of favorite destinations in Jordan. Many local people who work at Jarash welcomed and greeted our students. One person began dressing Griffin with the “Hetta”, the white cloth that is wrapped on the head. Later, other sales persons started dressing Emilia, Gabriel and Mariko with the Hetta. From there we continued to Ajloun, a marvel of nature and medieval Arab military architecture, which gave northern Jordan two of the most important ecological and historical attractions in the Middle East.

Day 5: Mount Nebo and Karak On Mount Nebo we saw the same landscape where Moses saw the Promised Land, and the Dead Sea. It was breathtaking! From there we headed to the ancient castle of Karak, and explored the many hidden passages. From atop the castle we could see the Dead Sea and all the way to Palestine! On the long bus ride back, we saw several camels.

Day 6: Desert Castles We spent the day touring three of Jordan’s Desert Castles. One was a caravan station where those traveling to Saudi Arabia may have stopped to get replenished. When we were there the students could enter a Bedouin tent and drink sweet tea with some of the people. The second castle was likened to a hot springs overnight stay. There were various rooms providing water of varying temperatures for use in relaxation and massage. The relics of the rooms’ activities, and one’s own imagination of what may have taken place in each of those rooms, were all that was left. At the second castle we witnessed the incredible

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On both a professional and personal level, I am so grateful for the time and collaborative efforts put into making this exchange a memorable experience that our students can always cherish. Their time spent together and with the families created bonds that I believe will last a lifetime. Recognizing and accepting differences and similarities between cultures is part of our students’ journey in self discovery. The benefits of offering exchanges and the knowledge that is gained from such a life changing adventure are immeasurable, and I hope we can continue this partnership between our schools in the future.

Haifa H. Najjar, Superintendent The Ahliyyah School for Girls | The Bishop’s School for Boys

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fall 2011

endeavor by a group of Italian restorers who were working on the inside of the castle. They will be spending three months restoring the paintings inside a single wall of the castle to their original state. They stopped to explain to us how the process works, and what they were looking for under generations of weathered stone walls. The third castle, the most elaborate, was where Lawrence of Arabia helped the Jordanian people. By the end of the day it was pleasant to return to Amman, and out of the desert sand.

Day 7: Dead Sea Today was purely for relaxation and fun, so we took off for the Dead Sea to swim, and float in the oil and mud, famous for softening and smoothing one’s skin. Afterwards we enjoyed a five-course meal at an Italian restaurant.

Day 9: Community Service Day Today some of our students ran the 10K portion of a marathon with the exchange students. On Saturday, our students participated in a community service project by helping to clean a government primary school for girls, and painting lines on the pavement for their assembly in the morning.

Day 10-11: Petra and Wadi Rum Adventures On Sunday, after a four-hour ride on the bus, we arrived at Petra, the Seventh Wonder of the World, and without doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. We rode horses from the main entrance through the Siq, a narrow gorge, where we learned about the colorful formation of rocks. At the end of Siq, we rode desert camels in front of the Al-Khazneh (Treasury). After a full visit at Petra, we drove for an hour and a half to Wadi Rum. After dinner at a Boudin tent, we enjoyed seeing the dazzling stars (we saw at least five

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contacts and sources that can help provide a solution to the people’s concerns. The station manager was so amazed by our exchange trip and the goal behind it, that he invited Dina for a spontaneous interview that was broadcast on the air. Our students also took part in the interview, and were asked about their opinions of Jordan, and what kind of message they would like to take back and share with their families and friends.

shooting stars!), socialized around a campfire in the desert, and finally had a well-deserved sleep at a Boudin tent. In the morning, we rose to a gorgeous sunrise and crystal-clear blue sky. After a hardy breakfast, we loaded into Jeeps for an adventure at the sand dunes.

Day 12: Aqaba After we checked in at the Movenpick Resort, we headed to the beach with our Jordanian student friends for a relaxing fun day, where we participated in some water activities. In the evening we traveled to a small city next to Aqaba called “Tala Bay”, where we were introduced to the famous fish platter Sayadeah (fish and rice with caramelized onion).

Final Day We picked up the students from the ASG School and drove to the Great Amman Municipality (Al Amana). We received an invitation to visit City Hall, and were welcomed by from Mr. Maher Al Tal and his two assistants. They showed us a model of Amman, 6x8 meters, which covers 99 sq. km from the city center and highlights existing landmarks. We watched a thirty-minute video, “View Amman”, that depicted the history of Amman, the different sites from old Amman city to the new Amman, and provided information on today’s planning efforts in developing a better city and environment for the Jordanians. Next to City Hall is a radio station called Al Hawan, 105.9 on the FM dial. Mr. Maher Al Tal asked if we would be interested in visiting the radio station, and of course with no hesitation we all went inside. This station addresses many problems, concerns and issues that are called in by listeners, and serves as an information resource by providing

Hiver 2012

After this unexpected and wonderful opportunity to share our exciting experience with the people of Amman live on the air, Mr. Maher Al Tal took us to visit the Amman Museum. This facility is not yet open to the public, but since we were leaving on Friday, Mr. Maher made a couple of phone calls, and suddenly we gained access to the museum! We met the architect who designed the building, who took us on a guided tour, which ended with us meeting the director of the museum, who insisted on meeting all of us. He said we were the first people to enter this museum! He referred to our students as “American ambassadors to Jordan”, and was impressed with our students’ maturity and knowledge. Before bidding us farewell, Mr. Maher Al Tal invited us to participate in a camp called “In Jordan We Grow”, that takes place every June. We left the museum and went to old Amman Downtown, visited the Amphitheater and did our final shopping. It was an exciting and amazing day, but sadly it had to end. The trip went by so fast -- our students were anxious to return home, but sad to leave this amazing country and the families that welcomed them to their homes, and made them part of their own Jordanian family.

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Performing Arts


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The Unheard of World michelle haner HOD Theater


his year’s International High School Fall Play, The Unheard of World, was the American première of a play for all ages by celebrated French playwright Fabrice Melquiot. In this piece, a strange world among the roots of our trees is home to the spirit of every person who has ever lived. Eighty million souls, scrambling for space! This is the story of the meeting between a sad little girl half-swallowed by a bear, and a little boy who refused to even be born. It is a uniquely magical place in which Melquiot delves into themes of birth, death, longing and love. It is full of great poetic imagery, and a fantastical humor that intrigues audience members of all ages. This production is the fruit of a collaboration that has stretched over several years, and that brings together the imaginations and creative efforts of students, faculty members and visiting artists. It is first and foremost the result of a unique collaboration between our high school and acclaimed local theater company, foolsFURY, whose company members, including Brian Livingston, have worked as “Artists in Residence”, offering workshops, coaching, and support within and beyond the classroom. FoolsFURY also shares with our school a strong interest in French culture and language. The mission of the Back-à-Dos company’s French Plays Project is to bring contemporary French theater to American audiences through readings, translations, and performances. FoolsFURY obtained a grant to finance the translation of Melquiot’s play, and developed it through various stages, including International High School students reading excerpts of the French original as part of an evening of French contemporary theater last fall. In developing this production, our students collaborated with visiting visual artist Jennifer Landau to draw audiences into this mysterious, underground world of roots, moss, creepers, and buried objects. Emmy Award-winning composer, Dan Cantrell, collaborated with students to create live music as an integral part of the landscape of The Unheard of World.

hiver 2012

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The Unheard of World By Fabrice Melquiot Translated by Michelle Haner


(in order of appearance) The Mechanicals Cléo Charpantier Kimberly Joly Jaclyn Lee Miranda McDonald-Stahl Balthazar Aaron Flemmings The Raindrops Michèle Davey Doyin Domingo Bonnie McDonald The No-Child Morgan McMillin The Little Girl Bear Chloe Barrs The Ink Drops Tallulah Axinn Audrey Breton Amelia Laughlin Elisa Tardy Odessa Allison Le Corre

Back-à-Dos Faculty Team Michelle Haner Artistic Director Brad Cooreman Technical Director Martha Stookey Costume Mistress Franck Bessone French Theater Director David Williamson Musical Director Loretta Duncan Assistant Musical Director Matthew Perifano Film Director 80 | La Lettre

hiver 2012

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Exchanges 2011 Berlin



Guatemala India

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Academic Calendar 2012 Thursday, August 30 First Day of School, PK3–12th Grades

Monday, September 3 No Classes – Labor Day

Monday, October 8 Teacher In-Service – No Classes

Saturday, Oct 20 – Sunday, Oct 28 No Classes–October Break Mon-Tues, November 12-13 Parent/Teacher Conferences – PK-12 (no classes)

Wednesday, Nov. 21 12:30pm – Sunday, Nov. 25 Thanksgiving Break

Wed Dec 19 12:30pm – Sunday, Jan 6, 2013 No Classes – Winter Break

2013 Monday, January 7 Classes Resume

Monday, January 21 No Classes – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


Friday, January 25 End of First Semester

Saturday, February 16 – Sunday, February 24 No Classes – February Break

25 February, Monday Classes Resume Monday, March 11 No Classes – Teacher In-Service

Tues-Wed, March 12-13 Parent/Teacher Conferences PK-12 (no classes)

Thursday, April 4 – Sunday, April 14 April No Classes – Spring Break

Monday, May 27 No Classes – Memorial Day Break

Thursday, June 13, 12:30 p.m. Last Day of Classes

Friday or Saturday, June 12th Grade Graduation – date and location to be announced


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Mark your calendars for French American and International’s

50th Anniversary Celebration, February 10-11, 2012

La Lettre Winter 2012  

The official magazine of the French American International School and International High School

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