ISF Newsletter June 2021

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ISF NEWSLETTER JU N E 2021

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www.isf italy.org


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF FLORENCE Our Mission A laboratory for learning where we collaborate to add meaning to a shared future. Our Vision We aspire to build communities of creative makers and doers.


in this issue... THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF FLORENCE NEWSLETTER June 2021

comments A Note, The Leadership Team

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Message from the Board, Cathleen Compton

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Editor-in-Chief Tanya Bruckner Design and layout Tess Hitchcock Printer Tipografia Color Print Cover Photo Luca Stefanon

ISF alumni, families, faculty, and friends are welcomed and encouraged to submit ideas and articles for consideration.

Inquiries may be addressed to: media@isfitaly.org

www.isfitaly.org

features Welcoming Jan Stipek

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2021 Graduation

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ISF Lifers’ Interviews

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Creativity + Innovation, Claire Angeletti

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2021 Cantabile

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Grade Level Celebrations

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Departing Students

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A NOTE THE LEADERSHIP TEAM

On the one hand, it has hardly felt like a year for celebrating with so many disruptions to schooling and life in general, but as we glance through the Newsletter it quickly becomes clear that there is in fact much to celebrate. A particular highlight was the Grade 12 Graduation, what a magnificent end to an ISF education.We managed to follow this with a celebration for each grade in Upper School, including a special one for Grade 8 who also have a kind of graduation. In Junior School the Lower Field provided the backdrop for a lovely morning saying goodbye to our Grade 5 students, recognising their hard work, talents and sending them off on their new adventures at Middle School. These celebrations are important rites of passage as students move from one fixed point to another. They symbolise change and growth and are a useful signal and an opportunity to be different, to be better, to be kinder and more caring. What have we learned from COVID-19? We should have learned patience, resilience, an ability to see things from another point of view, to be grateful, to support each other and perhaps to think twice before we say or send a harsh word because we don’t always have the full picture. I hope these things are what we have learned but for sure they need practising every day and modelling by teachers, leaders, Board members and parents. As we say goodbye to the classes of 2021, and welcome all our students and families to what we hope will be a different 2021-22, we can all give a thought to those who have helped us in whatever way and remember to say THANK YOU!


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A MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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can hardly believe we are at the middle of June, at the end of another school year where Covid restrictions played a leading but not a solo role in a production that was filled with other wonderful highlights – the DP Art Exhibition, the Research Conference, the PYP Exhibition and Science Fair, the Art Friday at Palazzo Strozzi, Field Day, Cantabile Choir, and so many other lovely occasions for everyone.

We are also pleased to welcome two new Board members, David Bach whose experience with communications and outreach will be of great help to us in the Advancement Committee, and Maria Tinedo whose experience and professionality in finance will be a great asset to the Finance and Risk Management Committee. Welcome to both of you – we look forward to productive years together! While the Board is currently operating at its full number, please know that we are happy to speak with anyone who may be interested in participating on the Board in the future. If you might be interested, please write a message to Patrisha who will send it on to us, and we will arrange a time to meet.

Senior Graduation was among my favorites as our Grade 12 students and their families were at the center of a ceremony that was solemn and inspirational but also joyful and fun. The message that emerged was that these young people had come through the difficulties imposed on them by the pandemic with a strong appreciation for themselves and each other and a confidence in their own resilience. It was a very proud moment indeed.

Finally, in closing, we wish to thank the leadership and all the staff for the real dedication they have shown in this, the second year of the pandemic. Their selfless giving of themselves, in support of the students and each other, is a hallmark of ISF and one we continue to admire. Parents and children, too, have continued to meet the challenges of education in these times with remarkable good will and determination.

I’d like to use this message to update you on changes we have seen on the Board, too. After nearly 9 years, filling important roles as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee, and being a constant presence and voice of reason and expertise, the Board says thank you and goodbye to our friend, Giovanni Liberatore. We will certainly miss him and are grateful for all the time he has generously given to the school over these years. Thank you, Giovanni!

All of us on the Board wish you a peaceful, healthy and happy summer break.

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GRAZIE MILLE, MR. DEAN + MR. WHITEHEAD!

An enormous thank you to both Mr. Dean and Mr. Whitehead as they step down from their leadership roles at the end of this year. They both put in tremendous amounts of hard work, and we could not be more appreciative.

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WELCOMING JAN STIPEK JAN JOINS US FROM GEMS WORLD ACADEMY (SINGAPORE), WHERE HE WAS THE SECONDARY YEARS PRINCIPAL AND ACTING DEPUTY HEAD OF SCHOOL.

WHAT ARE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF ISF?

the move but we haven’t told Barney yet.

Although I haven't yet physically visited the school, I have been meeting with different people online from the leadership team to teachers to students and parents. I have also enjoyed reading the weekly Friday Flash and have been studying various school policies and documents. Based on this, my first impressions are that ISF is first and foremost a community, and that it blends the tradition of success with a clear vision of where it wants to head in the future.

WHAT DREW YOU TO A CAREER IN EDUCATION? My love of languages. By the age of 16, I knew I wanted to study linguistics and especially English. I considered interpreting and political sciences but in the end I decided to enrol in a teacher training programme at the university in my hometown. I started teaching part time in my first year and once I discovered the international school environment shortly before my university graduation, there was no going back.

WHO WILL BE COMING WITH YOU TO FLORENCE? I will be moving to Florence with my wife Katerina (who will work at ISF, and is also an experienced yoga instructor), our two boys (Oliver will be in grade 5 and Daniel will be in Foundation next year), and our dog Barney (who is a 'Singapore Special' - a fancy name for a local mixed breed). The humans in our family are all excited about

IF YOU HADN'T BECOME A TEACHER, WHAT OTHER PLANS DID YOU HAVE FOR YOUR CAREER? I didn't really have any other plans at the age of 18 when I decided to become a teacher, but looking back now, I think alternative careers for me could be a diplomat working for an embassy,

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a commercial pilot (I love traveling on planes and the responsibility of transporting people safely across the globe). Or a music producer - I am a musician and love taking someone else's musical ideas and shaping them into a finished song.

team and faculty to sensitively move the school closer to that vision by contributing insights and best practices that I came across in other schools and backed up by educational research. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN YOUR FREE TIME?

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST CONTRIBUTION TO THE SCHOOLS YOU HAVE WORKED IN?

Working in Asia is full on so I haven’t had too much free time recently but my long-term hobbies are playing bass guitar and guitar, traveling, and staying active by playing squash, cycling or doing high intensity interval training. Next year I hope to find more time for reading books too. But most of my free time is spent with my family. We are very active and spend most weekends doing different activities - from cycling or inline skating around various parts of Singapore to climbing walls or high ropes to socializing with friends.

As a leader, I always try to see the big picture and have a vision of where we are going as a team. Schools are dynamic organizations by nature; they must constantly grow and evolve as a result. I feel my greatest contributions have been those which resulted in the school moving forward while respecting the good work done already. Some concrete examples are introducing additional academic programmes and subjects, or rolling out educationfocused school-wide systems and databases. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO CONTRIBUTE TO ISF? ISF is an established school with a great tradition and a very strong vision. I hope to work alongside the school-wide leadership

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GRADUATION MAY 29, 2021

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ISF LIFERS ALI HAIDAR, MATTEO L AVORATO, ARIANNA MARRA, PETER WOOD, + MARGHERITA PRATESI

WHAT UNIVERSITY WILL YOU BE ATTENDING AND WHAT WILL YOU BE STUDYING?

make decisions about my future and for the most part dictated who I’d be friends with or not (in a good way of course).

Ali: UNIFI, Law.

WHO WAS MEMBER?

Matteo: I’m preparing myself for the medicine exams for Milan, Florence, and Rome.

YOUR

FAVORITE

TEACHER/STAFF

Ali: Ms. Hampton, Ms. Hillman.

Arianna: I still don’t know where, but I will be studying medicine here in Italy.

Matteo: Velasquez, Landolfa, all Italian Programme teachers, and SUPER MIRKO!!!

Peter: University of York, hopefully.

Arianna: It’s impossible to choose one.

HOW DID ISF IMPACT YOUR LIFE?

Peter: John Pitonzo.

Ali: It set me in the international mentality rather than just a local one, this will be a great advantage for me once I get my law degree. I also met great people that come and go, so I now have friends everywhere in the world.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER ISF STUDENTS? Ali: Organize yourself from an early age, so school won’t take to much of your time and will have more time to develop new skills and travel.

Matteo: It made me find a second family. Arianna: It helped me grow and become the person I am today.

Matteo: To study... a lot during high school, a lot. Arianna: Never give up.

Peter: Considering I’ve been here all the time, I’d say ISF was my life, it led me down paths and helped me

Peter: Become part of the Tuskan Times even if you don’t like journalism give it a go, and take

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physics I heard there’s a really good teacher in that department.

WHAT WILL YOU MISS MOST ABOUT ISF? Ali: The community.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNED WHILE ATTENDING ISF?

Matteo: Family-like attitude. Arianna: Literally everything, it’s my second home and family.

Ali: The IB Learner Profile. Matteo: English and Spanish.

Peter: I hate putting the same answer for multiple questions but I will certainly miss Pitonzo the most.

Arianna: Determination. Peter: Anything I learned in History and English class was equally important especially all the times we had to do public speaking, those helped me a lot in feeling more confident about myself.

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University of Toronto Boston University University of California, Berkeley University of California, Irvine

Durham University University of Edinburgh ESCP Business School University of Exeter

University of California, Los Angeles Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) University of Massachusetts Amherst University of Minnesota Twin Cities New York University Parsons School of Design University of Pennsylvania Franklin and Marshall College University of Wisconsin Parsons Paris, The New School Università Bocconi Leiden University Erasmus University Rotterdam Utrecht University Les Roches University of St Andrews Arts University Bournemouth University of Bath University of Birmingham Bournemouth University University of Bristol University of Cambridge Cardiff University City, University of London

St George’s, University of London Goldsmiths, University of London Imperial College London University of Kent King’s College London, University of London Lancaster University University of Leicester Loughborough University University of Manchester University of Nottingham Queen Mary University of London Regent’s University London Royal Holloway, University of London University of Southampton University of Stirling University of Surrey University of Sussex Swansea University UCL University of Warwick Warwickshire College Group Bristol, University of the West of England University of York York St John University


ISF’S 70 TH ANNIVERSARY Since ISF opened in 1952, we have spent 7 decades educating children from all over the world. Mark your calendars for a Spring 2022 Alumni Reunion with graduates spanning all 70 years!


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CREATIVITY & INNOVATION CL AIRE ANGELETTI, C&I LEARNING LEADER

Above: Students had over two months of online and in-person training for the opening of the exhibition. Right Top: Students working in the aula magna with street artist ExitEnter. Right Bottom: Screenshot of the ISTA Verbatim Project.

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his challenging year really made us look for the opportunity to work in different ways creatively as we began with so many restrictions - no performing, no singing, no audiences allowed!The whole community has risen to the challenge and students have shown such resilience and ingenuity in all the projects they have engaged with.

about their experience of the last year, working with 10 other schools around the Globe. More details to follow about the World Film Premiere in September. The Florentine Studies Street Art initiative arrived in full colour when 68 students worked with Barbara Logiudice, Lina Martinez and the celebrated Street Artist, EXIT, to transform the walls of the Aula Magna into a visual feast of the students’ relationship to Florence in signs and symbols. The mural is truly magnificent and makes the work environment such a happy, creative space.

The ISTA Global Verbatim Production is now complete and the International Schools Theatre Association is now putting together 2 films as part of a 3 day online Festival September 2021.

Thank you to Barbara, Lina, EXIT and the School Community for being innovative in ideas and supportive in practice. Student comments about

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the project: The part that I enjoyed most ...was that I was able to sort of, "leave my mark" in ISF. Everything about this project helped with creativity and wellbeing. I learnt so much more about street art and how creative... it can be. I love the fact that street art always portrays a message I loved everything, the fact that I had an opportunity to express my art in the aula magna with the help of a street artist was incredible.

The Strozzi Project saw students training to be curators of the American Art 1961-2001 exhibition with Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi. I admire the 12 students involved who undertook this demanding training and have shown such skill, dedication and imagination to enable us to experience this exhibition in a dynamic way; showing how Art can open up our hearts and minds to new ways of seeing.

I really had fun and hope that the school will organise more activities for art in the future, to give the possibility to some students to express their feelings and their ideas in a creative way. I learned more about symbolism and how a simple drawing can hide many messages, memories, sensations, and points of view that can be perceived differently by everyone.

On the horizon, ISF is now part of the Junk Kouture Community - a platform for youth creative expression. The organisation Junk Kouture was founded in 2010 to give young people the opportunity to be creative and raise awareness around sustainability and sustainable living. Every year young people in various countries design and create clothing made out of recycled products and each costume tells a story. We already have students interested in taking part in this year’s competition with the semifinals in Milan in May 2022. If anyone at ISF is interested in being part of the next competition email me at c.angeletti@isfitaly.org. See more about Junk Kouture at junkkouture.com.

It was very interesting to hear the artist’s story and his point of view in art. I also somehow felt empathy, as if we had something in common and like other artists and the need to paint to say something you can't say with your own voice. I understood his need to let his feelings go in art as if it was his secret diary, and personally I do exactly the same. When I grow up I hope I become like Exit, an artist that can make people feel better with his art. In general I had fun doing this project and I hope I will have a way to work with another great artist like him in the future.

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2021 CANTABILE TANJA KUSTRIN

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GRADE 5 PROMOTION

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GRADE 8 CELEBRATION

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ASSEMBLIES

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DEPARTING STUDENTS

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CELEBRATING PRIDE MONTH

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