MARK’S ASKED & ANSWERED
ASP BY THE NUMBERS
LIVING OUR MISSION
TEACHING & LEARNING
12 WHOLENESS OF EDUCATION 18 PLAN TO ACTION 19 ASP GIVES BACK 22 LOWER SCHOOL CONNECTIONS 24 MIDDLE SCHOOL CONNECTIONS 25 UPPER SCHOOL CONNECTIONS 26 ALUMNI CONNECTIONS
American School of Paris Newsletter
Kohei Sanno, Grade 4
Mark’s Asked & Answered New developments in language learning at ASP A year ago, three expert professors in the field of language learning visited our school and performed an audit of the language program at ASP. What first step did the school take following their audit report? MEU: We’ve taken many steps forward. The language audit report provided helpful feedback on the quality of our program in the following areas: • Alignment across school divisions; • Our philosophy for teaching languages; • The quality of our curriculum; • The way we have organized our courses; • H ow we are providing for the unique needs of the range of learners at our school; • T he quality of the teaching practices that are used each day with our young people. Our student scores for both French and Spanish consistently exceed world averages with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Advanced Placement (AP) programs. Student growth in Lower and Middle schools indicates that incoming students who are flat-line beginners or novices, move to higher proficiency levels and then do very well on external examinations. Yet, in the name of continuous improvement, we have come together as one school, to develop a common K-12 structure on how language learning is organized across grade levels. Our language-learning teachers have developed a holistic, twotrack language learning sequence of courses. One track focuses on the needs of the French as an additional language learner, and the other track is for the Heritage speaker of French –a first-language speaker of French– or the student who speaks multiple languages and is highly proficient. Each course within the sequence for each track is aligned with a set of learning or proficiency standards that describe what the student must know, do and demonstrate in listening, speaking, reading and writing. The most important message I wish to convey is that our new French learning course sequence ensures there is no glass ceiling– that any student will continue to be challenged as they move from one proficiency level to the next. They can also crossover from the French as an additional language track to the Francophone side. In summary, we are committed to implementing a new dual track French language-learning program. It is proficiency-based, so we are very clear about what we expect the learner to be able to do. Our assessments will be connected to those proficiencies for each course. As parents (and for students), it will be much easier to understand where your child fits within the hierarchy of courses, as he/she is moving through and gaining new proficiencies.
What other actions have begun taking shape? MEU: The audit also revealed the need for a common philosophy on how we teach and promote reading, writing, speaking, listening. Before we were able to continue our work in this area, we needed to make sure that our structure and the organization of our French language program was well defined and consistent across all school divisions. Now that we have agreed on very specific and practical statements around what proficiencies our students must be able to show in each course, we are now upgrading our written curriculum and then our program philosophy to reflect these proficiencies. Proficiency descriptions will also support the manner in which we assess each child and their ability to utilize the French language in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Our teachers want to continue with their professional development on how best to ensure the defined proficiencies for each of our French courses are becoming part of everyday instruction. Using the Paris region and wider France as a learning laboratory, emphasizing French culture all the more and using subject content are central to developing needed proficiencies and so they will use the language. Continuously improving language learning at ASP is an allschool effort. Our After-School Extension Program has also engaged in supporting language learning. Most of our After-School programming is now provided in a bilingual format – French and English – and surely we want to continue to grow these ideas. We are also developing a summer camp that invites students from ASP to receive intensive French training during the summer. We also believe it is just as important for our native French speaking students to continue with their mother-tongue language and our summer camp opportunities will support them too. We are also offering Mandarin language within our after school program.
When will these new programs be implemented? MEU: Our school community will witness these changes being implemented for the 2013-14 school year. Across all divisions, information you will receive about your child and their French language learning will be in the context of the new course structure, names and proficiencies. Our hope is of course, that our reporting about your child’s progress in French language will also fully reflect the proficiencies within their specific language learning level. On behalf of our Language Learning faculty, I am pleased to share news of these advances in our program.
French Language Learning: Two Track Approach LOWER , MIDDLE AND UPPER SCHOOL DIVISIONS
French as an Additional Language FRENCH NOVICE LEVEL 1
FRANCOPHONE GRADE ONE GRADE TWO
FRENCH NOVICE LEVEL 2 (MID-HIGH)
GRADE THREE GRADE FOUR
FRENCH INTERMEDIATE LEVEL 1 (LOW-MID)
FRENCH INTERMEDIATE LEVEL 2 (MID-HIGH)
FRENCH ADVANCED LEVEL 1
GRADE SEVEN GRADE EIGHT
FRENCH ADVANCED LEVEL 2 (MID-HIGH)
Francophone - begins grade 9
French Intensive/ French 1, 2 Course Sequence
IB Language A (SL & HL) - begins grade 11
French AP & IB Language B Course Sequence (SL & HL) - begins grade 11
(NOVICE THROUGH MID-HIGH)
roficiency Placement: proficiency assessment, teacher recommendation, year-long P performance. If the student is assessed as proficient, then he/she moves to the next level. 2
ASP by the Numbers
number of e-mails processed by the ASP server every day
number of food cans collected by ASP students for Restos du Coeur
number of students who took part in winter sports
number of musicians involved in the winter concerts across all divisions
number of different instruments played at ASP
number of ASP rugby team members
number of cities visited by students in the China Expedition 3
number of books checked out in the LS library every day
students enrolled in the Leadership and Entrepreneurship seminars
number of computers and tablets used at ASP
number of French lessons taught throughout the school every month
number of students who speak two or more languages at home
of students who took the Bilingual IB Diploma
increase of funds raised by the Excellence Fund compared to last year
number of new ASP students who started in January
ever Pep Rally â€“ a great success!
ASP Originals Through the Eye of the Needle Patrick Ginestet’s typical day starts even before the crack of dawn — in the pitch black of night, when aided by a single powerful lamp, he rises to pore through a knotty problem that’s pulled at him every free moment for nearly 35 years. Patrick’s passion for needlepoint began at a young age. A first lesson from his mother at age 11 when, confined to a hospital for six months due to illness, got Patrick hooked on the hobby. “It was very difficult for a boy to let his friends know he was doing this,” he laughs. “But, I decided even back then that no matter what people thought, I would focus on my goal of creating increasingly difficult work.” It will require him to refer to centuries-old notes handed down from his female forebears and memories of museum visits to conclude which of hundreds of possible knots, thread combinations, and pigments will yield the exact texture and color to complete a needlepoint canvas. The manager of ASP’s food operations is a devout interpreter of this art form, which he proudly has cultivated to a high level. Patrick’s completed works number in the hundreds, each one an original creation that reflects his interests in world history, literature, comic book characters, and nature. This past January, a collection of his work was on display in the CUBE for the entire ASP community to discover and enjoy. The exhibition was so well received that Patrick was invited to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for his hobby in an Upper School art class. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience and perhaps even ignited a latent passion for needlepoint in some of his apprentices. On canvases that have ranged from three by five meters to average picture frame sizes, Patrick has brought to life in exquisite detail scenes from the ancient silk road to his own interpretation of Japanese screen drawings. He has scoured fields and marchés for vegetables, berries, and barks to create dyes when the perfect hue has eluded him. And, he has unraveled hours of work when the stitching technique failed to satisfy his standards for perspective. Then, he experiments until he finds the perfect knot from the some 200 stitches he already knows that will bring dimensionality to a sprig of wheat or the drape of a cloth on a Roman figure. “Each time the difficulty of my project becomes higher,” he says. “But, that is also when I gain a lot of satisfaction. Sometimes, I can be
doing this from eight in the morning to midnight, and I don’t know that time has passed by.” Today, Patrick’s works hang in the homes of friends and family. “It’s very difficult for me to part with my works because they usually require hundreds if not thousands of hours to complete. Some take years,” he says. The avocation that occupies his free time has the added benefit of unburdening his mind from the responsibilities of the day. “When I am doing this, my spirit is free--- it’s like meditation, when I am absolutely focused on what I am doing,” he says.
“I do not sleep much, and at the end of the day when I am exhausted, I relax with my canvases and challenge myself to create something new and do it better than I ever have,” he says. It’s a lesson he tries to share with the hundreds of US students he sees daily in the cafeteria checkout line. “I take a lot of energy from the students,” he says as he teases another student about his eating habits. “I always share a few words with everyone who comes by, even if it is just a friendly bonjour!” “Every day I see something that inspires me, and then I want to learn as much about it as possible. It could be that I will use that knowledge to create a new image or it might be that I am just happy to have learned something I did not know before.” At the end of a day that began at 5 am supervising the preparation of breakfast and lunch for 900, Patrick retraces by foot the four kilometer path from home he traversed pre-dawn. “I am tired from my day” he says. “But the walk keeps my body active while the children have filled my heart with joy. Then, at home, my hobby awaits to calm and sustain me.”
Living Our Mission
Our Mission The American School of Paris is a vibrant, international, family-oriented community. Our mission is to inspire and prepare every student to achieve personal and academic excellence as an engaged global citizen by providing a challenging, innovative program within a compassionate environment.
Leaders in the Making “Personal Excellence”
— what this means at ASP is best described by Mark Ulfers’ words: “It is no accident that our mission speaks to first personal, then academic excellence. We are a school that has the courage to announce that exceptional academic performance and preparing our students for their future first requires a foundation of skills for living an exceptional life – the ideas of human excellence.” The new Leadership Seminar, offered in the Upper School, is a venue that explores and debates thought-provoking topics around the notions of leadership and character. This is where students discuss profound questions like: “What is leadership?”, “Are leaders born or made?” and “Are there leadership skills that can be developed and strengthened?” The participants would clearly affirm the last question as they can see themselves progress quickly in this field. By discussing and presenting real life examples as well as meeting leaders from the business world, the seminar members use an intellectual approach to leadership and self-reflection. Other essential learning outcomes are organization, time management and being proactive in order to prevent problems. The students put these skills into practice and use them in their roles as leaders of clubs, activities, sports and organizations. The Leadership Seminar has brought value to all involved – be it the students themselves or the tutors Mark Ulfers, Dave Lynn, Craig Vezina and Lil Pfluke. The lessons were conducted in a spirit of selfdiscovery, deep inquiry, open communication and connectivity with others – consequential principles upon which personal excellence is founded. Read on for impressions of seminar participants.
— Ana “Valuing the work of others and cooperating with peers are essential in continually furthering our community.”
The fact that Mr. Ulfers was the leader of the seminar was a motivator for me to enroll. As students, we don’t often have the opportunity to interact with the Head of School. Additionally, in my various leadership roles in school clubs, such as co-editor of ASPIRE and with the Kids Home Club, I felt that the Seminar was an opportunity to better myself and my leadership strategies. I wanted to explore the best manner in which I could reach goals with my teams. The most useful thing I have learned is perhaps to work in harmony with others. It is extremely important to keep in mind – especially during such a self-oriented time when seniors are focusing on college applications – valuing the work of others and cooperating with peers are essential in continually furthering our community. The seminar has definitely taught me to be more inclusive and take into consideration the opinions and values of others, to an extent that I have not thought to do before. It has taught me to think in a more open-minded way. The seminar is a place where a myriad of different opinions and views appear and converge – not unlike the real world out there!
Living Our Mission: Continued Did you know? Meg Seaver, Lower School Librarian, recently shared this story. “The ASP logo was originally created by art teacher, Brandt Kingsley sometime in the 80’s and was modeled after the City of Paris logo and motto. Sometime in the 90’s, before our catalog was on-line, two gentlemen walked into our library unannounced and began going through our card catalog. I approached them - a bit miffed at the lack of an introduction. It turns out one of the gentleman was graphic artist and children’s illustrator, William Wondriska who had been hired to update the logo. He was checking to see if we had any of his picture books – and we did! Tomato Patch by William Wondriska was
— Miléna “It make us realize that finding solutions means taking risks, that cooperating means making sacrifices, and that life presents situations in which every possible solution has significant consequences.” Curiosity is what originally motivated me to enroll in the Leadership Seminar. I was wondering: how can leadership really be explored? How can it be discussed in order to give insights into successful leadership? At the very beginning we were asked to give our own definition of leadership, the variety of responses showed that there really isn’t one right definition. This is what makes the seminars so interesting: it invites us to think and debate so much. I’ve learned about what can make a leader a great leader, the different levels of leaders, and the obstacles leaders face when cooperating with each other. The seminars encourage us to work in groups, debate, and expose our thoughts and opinions to others, which can actually be quite challenging. The fact that the class is made up of students from different grades is very interesting because it creates an environment where we need to interact with new people. One thing that I found surprisingly challenging was having to stand up to express our opinion. Although it may seem trivial, the action of standing up to speak puts more pressure on the words. I know this is a skill that will be very useful in my future. In the seminar, we are not just presenting ideas, we also have to come up with them ourselves by studying real life situations. We are given case studies to examine and argue about the right decisions to take. It make us realize that finding solutions means taking risks, that cooperating means making sacrifices, and that life presents situations in which every possible solution has significant consequences.
founded 1946 1990
lost in the flood of 2006, but it has since been put back into print and I have just ordered a replacement copy.”
— Erlend “It is vital to be effectively understood, and to understand others equally as effectively.”
I can say with confidence that the Leadership Seminar has taught me a variety of lessons and valuable ideas that will transcend through my academic career and beyond. Specifically, I have learned the value of communication. When attempting to reach a clear consensus or conclusion, I have learned that it is vital to be effectively understood, and to understand others equally as effectively. This is often the greatest obstacle for leadership teams, especially if all the leaders like to assertively take action. In a team of strong leaders, communication must act as the common bridge that guides everyone to the same place – whatever the chosen destination, what’s important is that the destination is reached together. Another important aspect of leadership I have come to realize is the importance of rallying the team toward common goals. This is related to communication again, seeing it as the first step toward formulating a common goal. The common goal needs to be powerful enough to keep the team motivated and engaged through to the final stages of their pursued action. I am certain that these timeless lessons will resonate in my future career and overall pathway in life. I have learned to speak publicly more comfortably and fluidly. Public speaking is an important aspect of leadership as it constitutes the most direct action someone will take in voicing their ideas and inspiring others. By sharpening my public speaking skills, I feel that I now approach any given situation with more confidence. I do not feel reluctant to voice my opinions, and I assertively communicate my ideas in times of conflict resolution.
We cannot be taught what to do in each situation so instead the Leadership Seminar teaches us to think and act as efficiently as possible. 6
“What new talent, ability or interest have you discovered about yourself this year?
Andrea Grade 1
Maria Grade 1
Nuwayer Grade K2
I learned how to speak English and French!
I learned so many things this year: how to write, how to play tag and how to draw nice pictures.
I really like the game “Spider in the Web” in PE!
Nick PE Teacher
Kavya Grade 10
I improved at using computer programs that I wasn’t familiar with. Also, I’ve enjoyed practicing French with my French colleagues and friends.
This is my first year at ASP. I joined the A Cappella group although I had never done A Cappella before. It is so much fun to work in a group and harmonize.
Louis Grade 7
Sammy Grade 1
Alex Grade 11
I’ve become very good at the Rubik’s Cube - I must have done it about 100 times!
I can now swim with just the belt on and I can write.
My friend Kavya convinced me to join the winter musical. I had never acted before and now I am playing Elvis Presley.
ASP Voices: Continued
Galvin Grade 6
Mary Grade 6
Sophie Grade 1
I started playing the saxophone. We’re making a lot of jazz music. It’s great being able to play new pieces of music.
I’ve always been a sporty person. This year I took up basketball and soccer.
I learned a lot about wolves this year: their babies can’t hear or see!
Courtney Grade 10
Lucas Grade 7
I finally figured out how to make my computer do what I want it to.
I leaned how to solve problems in algebra. I can even draw graphs on a computer now!
Antonio Grade 7
Madison Grade 6
Catherine Grade 6
I can do three-pointers at basketball.
I am now much more able to defend myself since I took up kick-boxing. I was sad to miss a lesson on snow day!
I play Helena in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and found out that I want to become a professional actress. I really like performing and being on stage. 8
Teaching & Learning
Teaching & Learning is at the heart of what we do at ASP. We continually examine how we drive our curriculum initiatives across the disciplines of study and throughout the divisions to achieve the objectives of our mission statement. In this issue, we examine how we bring Literacy to life in the study of English Language and some of the different methods our faculty use to encourage the development of 21st Century Skills through the study of Poetry.
Lower School Spring Poetry Week: Innovation and Creativity Innovation and creativity are tantamount among the 21st Century Skills we strive to foster in the teaching and learning at ASP. One of the ways we encourage students’ development of these skills is to select a topic, like poetry, and set it in a completely different context. Students then discover the medium in an inventive new light – beyond the page. Traditionally, Spring Poetry Week in the Lower School has been a forum for imaginative activities. Promoting creativity and sparking novel ways to consider poetry in their language and their lives is the objective. Past activities have included a “Poetry Walk”, in conjunction with the Physical Education department and most recently a “Poetry Café”. In a French bistrot setting, created in the Lower School foyer under the direction of LS Art teacher, Debra Dalla Santa, students served up poetry readings as entrées, plats and desserts. “Poetry, Art, Music & Dance” is the theme of this year’s Spring Poetry Week. The highlight will be a visit from children’s author/ illustrator, Lauren Stringer, made possible thanks to the parent-led ASP Friends of the Library committee.
Traditionally, Spring Poetry Week in the Lower School has been a forum for imaginative activities. Promoting creativity and sparking novel ways to consider poetry in their language and their lives is the objective.
Ms. Stringer will read her book published this year, When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky, a rhyming non-fiction narrative written in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the debut ballet performance of the “Rites of Spring”. During the week, students will participate in classroom workshops creating “origami poems” inspired by, Fold Me A Poem, a book written by Kristine O’Connell George and illustrated by Ms. Stringer. Finally, the LS Library will host a book signing on Tuesday, May 14, from 3:30pm to 4:30pm.
Teaching & Learning: Continued Grade 8 Poetry Experience: Communication and Collaboration Communication and collaboration are two important facets in the 21st Century Skills framework — a contemporary theme in Education that ASP has integrated into our curriculum. Effective communication regularly involves a process. Collaboration with others is a method employed in the successful outcome of that process. Each spring, eighth graders participate in a two-month poetry writing activity that involves an element of collaboration. The objective is for students to practice the progression of writing, obtaining feedback, proofreading and editing. “This experience is really about the process for the students, rather than the product,” explains Diane Smith, MS English teacher. The collaborative aspect enters the picture when we invite parents from the ASP community to work with the students on their projects. Parent volunteers work one-on-one with each student, giving them feedback and encouragement and guiding them in the process to a finished product.
Ms. Smith adds, “We have published a booklet of the poetry in past years and displayed photos of the parents working with students along with their poem. This year, we plan to have students post their work on grade eight blogs as well.” “It was a pleasure to talk about poetry again — discussing the flow of words and images with kids who were eager to sharpen their work,” offers Catherine Sinegal, parent volunteer. “My job as the parent helper was to listen — first to the poem and then to the poet, encouraging them to listen to their own poems fresh again so they could find the areas that needed work.” Traditionally, a fitting poem for the occasion is selected from the Eighth Grade Poetry Experience to be read at the Promotion Ceremony at the end of the school year.
“This experience is really about the process for the students, rather than the product,” — Diane Smith, MS English teacher.
Teaching & Learning: Continued Grade 10 Harlem Renaissance Unit: Communication and Critical Thinking In the study of art, music, history and literary works of the Harlem Renaissance period, grade ten students have opportunities to put their emerging 21st Century Skills into action – especially critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills. “I really enjoy using the Harlem Renaissance – a social and cultural movement that took place in the U.S. during the 1920’s and 1930’s - as a context for teaching poetry to our Upper School English students. It lends a historical reference point that is grounded in experience. Students first research the history of the time period and examine its effect art, music and literature of the era,” states Duncan McEachern, US English/Humanities Coordinator. Rick Engelmann, US English and Film Instructor, notes, “The poetry of Harlem Renaissance period was rich in symbolism and the use of the metaphor. It expressed the emotions of African-Americans at the time, and foreshadowed a period of change that was to come.”
“As a teacher, I think poetry is one of the best ways to teach critical analysis. In it, each word is placed precisely and with intent – for the sound it makes when spoken as for the message the writer wants to convey. The challenge for the reader is to do the interpretive analysis,” adds Mr. Engelmann. Each tenth grade English instructor incorporates a form of oral interpretation in the Harlem Renaissance unit, as poetry provides an ideal opportunity to practice presentation skills. Maryama Antoine, US English teacher, has her students recite The Red Flower by Claude McKay. It is an example of the way a writer can manipulate the language so that the sound of the words when spoken can evoke emotion. Popular among the poets of the Harlem Renaissance is the use of an “extended metaphor” as in Langston’s Hughes’s poem, Mother to Son. “My students are challenged to draw on their creativity by writing an extended metaphor poem of their own using Mother to Son as a model and applying the technique in another context,” notes Mr. McEachern. “Their take on this literary form has produced some compelling work.”
Mother to Son by Langston Hughes Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor— Bare. But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on, And reachin’ landin’s, And turnin’ corners, And sometimes goin’ in the dark Where there ain’t been no light. So boy, don’t you turn back. Don’t you set down on the steps ’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard. Don’t you fall now— For I’se still goin’, honey, I’se still climbin’, And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
Student use of “extended met
Mother to daughter by Krthika Kumararajan (Grade
Well, Daughter I’ll tell you My life is not a happy musical It’s had drama in it And Cliffhangers,
And nail biting suspense sharp twists And sudden, least expected Drama
But all the time I keep on acting
And acting in life depressing scenes And sometimes acting through So, Daughter Don’t you stop acting
stage Don’t you stop getting up on Because you’re not in the mood Don’t you stop now For I’m still acting, kid
And life for me hasn’t been a
Wholeness of Education Entrepreneurship Seminar Wednesday afternoon, 5 o’clock. Eighteen students put down their books and take up vivid discussions: What is our overall strategy? What are the market opportunities? What does our competition look like? This self-selected group of aspiring business men and women are dealing with real world questions that will determine the success of their enterprise. This transformation regularly takes place in the Entrepreneurship Seminar led by seniors Niccolo Semerari, Neil Ben Ammar and Elliot Greenwood as well as Upper School Counselor Craig Vezina and teacher David Lynn. During the course of the school year, participants go through the planning process of starting one’s own business. By the end of the year, the entrepreneurs-to-be will be able to present their own business plan. What started off as a lunchtime club has turned into an afterschool seminar mainly through student initiative and because of their dedication. It was a “long and bumpy road trying to achieve what we have finally reached”, Niccolo Semerari says. The students are greatly involved in designing and planning the seminar. The group members are picking up the skills needed for creating a start-up. They are adopting strategic thinking towards the market and competition and other important character attributes for an entrepreneur. One of our ASP beliefs is that through hard work, determination and passion individuals can achieve their full potential. In this course especially, there is also an emphasis on presentation skills. When starting your own business you need to be able to convey your ideas convincingly. “A great idea isn’t the same as a great business. You need to be able to sell it to people,” Craig Vezina says.
Craig provides his students with many case studies from the real world to make the experience as practical as possible. A special treat for them are talks from guest speakers such as Mr. Hooman Hakami, the Europe CEO for General Electric and Tom Mercer, founder and Managing Director of MOMA Foods, who gave ASP’s entrepreneurs a private seminar during their educational trip to London. In a few years time, participants of the Entrepreneurship Seminar might be accomplished business men and women themselves, able to share their own success story.
Junior Awards Cum Laude Awards
Junior Students who ranked in the top 10 percent of their class during both semesters and had maintained a B plus average over their high school career were awarded Cum Laude status last June. Patterned after the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa program at colleges, the Cum Laude Society solely honors the academic achievement of secondary school students. On average, 344 member schools noted for their academic excellence in the United States, Canada, England, France, and Spain annually induct some 4,000 students into this prestigious honor society. Last year, seven ASP eleventh graders were elevated to Cum Laude status and will have the honor of wear the society’s gold and blue collar during their graduation ceremony in June. Students receiving the award are:
Each June ninth to eleventh graders look forward to the yearend awards ceremony that recognizes best performers in academics, arts, and sports. Invariably a loud cheer fills the gymnasium when teachers announce the names of classmates who produced consistently outstanding work during the school year. Last June’s ceremony once more brought to the forefront students whose quiet and disciplined efforts earned them the “best of” awards by their teachers. Please visit the Upper School webpage for a full list of students who were honored.
Helen Alexander Julie Cumin Hyoney Kwon Madeleine Pauchet
Chandler Sterling Sara Venkatraman Adam Willems
China Expedition Instead of taking the late bus home on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 48 Upper School students and 6 faculty chaperons waved farewell to their families and made their way to Charles De Gaulle Airport. After an eleven-hour journey, they set foot into what would become their classroom for the next eleven days: The People’s Republic of China. The third biannual ASP China Expedition was much more than a standard tourist trip. Recognized as a “Concentrated Learning Experience” (CLÉ), journeys like the China Expedition are designed by ASP faculty members as hands-on, holistic learning experiences that encompass a clear set of learning objectives and assessments. These courses bring together a wide range of student learning interests along with the talents of our faculty and community members. The application process for CLÉs requires students to think deeply about their motivations while answering a series of essay questions. Early on students set personal learning goals and establish teams to research specific topics. In the case of the China Expedition, students also committed themselves to studying Mandarin through the Rosetta Stone online language programs provided by the school. Leading up to their October departure, students participated in weekly after-school classes, learning from each other and from members of the ASP community. Lessons included an introduction to Chinese etiquette, a look into the legacy of Confucius, an examination of the impact of Mao and a sampling of techniques used to make Chinese calligraphy. During a full day Saturday retreat, the students took part in a number of immersion activities where members of ASP Chinese families graciously shared their insights into the culture and history of China while helping students expand their knowledge of the Mandarin language. Each student was assigned a pen pal from Linyi Number One Middle School. Letters and emails were exchanged allowing the pen pals to get to know each other and begin to form friendships before their face-to-face encounter later in October.
“China is evolving so fast. I wanted to experience what it was like to be in China and see if they were aware of the pace at which their world was changing. Hosting my pen pal was a special moment. She had never traveled before and I knew what it meant to her to be on this trip. We have emailed several times already and I know we will continue.” — Ariadne
A Bustling Itinerary With no time to even consider jet-lag, students spent their first day in Shanghai visiting numerous points of interest including the top of China’s tallest building and historic YuYuan Gardens. Following an exploration of QuFu, the hometown of Confucius, students put on their hiking boots for a 6223-step journey to to the top of Mount TaiShan. Their reward at summit was waking up to an amazing sunrise, once witnessed by former Chinese Emperors in their quest for good fortune. The next five days were spent in Linyi where our students received a “rock star” welcome from the mere 3800 students and teachers eager and excited to meet their Parisian visitors! Experiencing everyday life in a China school, ASP students acted as ambassadors of western culture while forging special bonds with their pen pal friends. A stop in Beijing marked the end of the journey, with a memorable visit to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and plenty of shopping! The food, language, culture, architecture, history, art — our ASP students embraced it all with gusto. Tired from their journey, but filled with new experiences, friendships and fond memories, students and chaperones landed in Paris with a myriad of ideas on how they would soon reciprocate the incredible warmth and kindness with which they were received in Linyi.
Teaching & Learning: Continued “For me, it was about seeing a new part of the world. I had heard about so many aspects of Chinese life, I wanted to experience a different environment and culture first-hand. I have learned so much from this trip and have made strong bonds with the group.” — Lindsey
ASP Welcomes Students from the Linyi Number One Middle School According to the teachings of Confusions: To have friends come from afar is happiness, is it not?” On the morning of Friday, February 13th, 18 visiting Linyi students and two faculty members were welcomed with a rousing standing ovation as they arrived at ASP for a week of joint learning experience. It was the first time in Europe for all members of the delegations and their time in Paris was packed with visits to many of Paris’ landmarks including an ASP student led tour of the Louvre and a full day of excitement at Disneyland. Our Linyi guests were all hosted by ASP families. The highlight of the visit was “China Day” at ASP, on February 15th, when Linyi students visited classes in the Lower, Middle and Upper School. While the cafeteria staff prepared a delicious Chinese lunch, both visiting and hosting students prepared for talent show performances with the Middle and Upper School. After school, students participated in a sporting competition with games of badminton, basketball and a new sport for our guests… dodgeball! In the evening, over 170 students, parents, faculty and community members gathered for an international potluck with eight tables full of dishes, desserts and drinks from around the world. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of ASP’s first-ever “honorary diploma” to Mr. Wang Enlai, the Deputy Headmaster of Linyi Number One Middle School. Recognized as a role model of service and commitment to international education, it has been Mr. Wang’s tireless efforts in Linyi that have made our China Expeditions possible over the past five years. Without question, preparations for the China Expedition in October and Linyi visit in February, was the work of dozens of committed students, faculty, parents and other community members. According to faculty member Dave Lynn, “the generous support provided towards the China Program, from pre-trip planning all the way to the warm ASP hospitality given to our Linyi guests, is a shining example of the community spirit than makes ASP a place where exceptional learning experiences can happen. XIE XIE (THANK YOU) to all!” The ASP China Expedition was supported by a grant from the ASP Excellence Fund. Additionally, all participating students made a contribution to sponsor two top Linyi students who otherwise would not have been able to participate in this exchange.
I really enjoyed the sightseeing and the beautiful places in Paris. I liked learning about school in Europe and how it differs from China. Classes are smaller here and there are more subjects. It is easier to give attention to each student and there is more opportunity to express yourself and have discussions. But the highlight of my trip was being in my pen pal Ryan’s home.” — Changhao (John)
ASP Proud to Host the 2012 European Student Film Festival ASP proudly hosted the 2012 European Film Festival, an international event that originated here in 2006. In 2009, the festival evolved into a non-profit organization and was officially named, “The European Student Film Festival”. This years’ festival was the largest to date with 120 students and 30 teachers from 13 International schools both large and small. The countries represented included the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Romania, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Professionals from the film industry and the educational community participated as instructors and judges. Fledgling filmmakers entered their film creations in two competitions. The first was a project completed prior to the festival – a seven-minute film of any subject matter that met the IB Film requirements. The second was a 24-hour project filmed on location while in Paris for the exhibition. In it, filmmakers were tasked with creating a five-minute film using a baguette and a beret as props. This resulted in several inventive films including, “La dernière baguette” and “The Paris Baguette Massacre”. Attendees also participated in workshops for cinematography skills, cinematic storytelling, music scoring, stunt work, editing and screenwriting. The Honorable Charles H. Rivkin, U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco, and former C.E.O of Jim Henson Company, producer of The Muppet Show, was the keynote speaker before the competition film screenings. La Pagode, an architecturally unique cinema known for showing retrospectives and art house films, was the venue. This prestigious project required the commitment of numerous ASP faculty and staff resources. Laura Schupack, Upper School Science faculty, served as Director of the Festival this year and deserves an “Oscar” herself for pulling off this organizational feat with aplomb. In addition, Larry Love, Michel Lami, and their IT staff played a crucial role in planning and coordinating all the technological requirements. One of the workshops, “Score! A crash course in original music composition”, was led by US/MS Music faculty member, James Wilson. Eleven Upper School film students, under the direction of Rick Engelmann, US English faculty and Digital Film instructor, represented ASP at the event. Many thanks to the Excellence Fund for a generous grant that allowed the purchase of state of the art filmmaking equipment including: a jib arm, dollies, cameras, microphones and more. This equipment will be used in classroom activities at ASP as well as at future festival events. Student films from the event may be viewed at the European Student Film Festival website, www.esff.org.
Wholeness of Education: Continued ASP’s Visiting Writers Series Welcomes Ira Glass Thanks to a generous annual gift from literary agent and ASP Alumni, Mr. Steven Barclay, Class of 1977, ASP is able to showcase some of the world’s most distinguished authors in our Visiting Writers program. Early this year, we were honored to welcome journalist and radio host, Ira Glass, producer and creator of the award-winning public radio program and podcast, This American Life to Paris. This American Life, a one-hour weekly production by WBEZ of Chicago consists of short stories told in the first person, field recordings, and extended essays all surrounding a “theme” explored in several “acts”. This popular storytelling format takes the listener on a journey of exploration through a wide variety of subjects, weaving anecdotes that can be humorous, intriguing, thought provoking and, most often, memorable. In an address to the Upper School, Mr. Glass described how he came to be inspired by the work of French literary theorist, Roland Barthes. That led to Glass’s keen interest in how to create satisfaction for the reader or listener in the telling of a story. He described how a narrative can “hook” an audience using suspense and a plot-driven approach. In Q & A sessions following the assembly and in small groups with student writers, Glass shared this advice to our aspiring writers – in whatever medium, “Don’t wait – get out there and start DOING.” Later that evening, the honorable Charles H. Rivkin, U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco, welcomed Mr. Glass to speak at a reception for the ASP community in the magnificent George C. Marshall Center in Paris. In his incomparable narrative style, Glass, again, captivated the audience - no doubt adding many more devoted listeners to This American Life.
Ready, Set, Get Active! If you see your children sprinting up and down the stairs and jogging around the block, they are probably training for their Presidential Fitness test. ASP students are very eager to put their skills to the test and earn one of the coveted badges. The “President’s Challenge” is held three times a year – in the fall and winter followed by a final challenge during the month of May. The President’s Challenge is a comprehensive program initiated in the United States to help schools promote health and physical activity for our young people. During the event, students from all age groups compete amongst their peers in five disciplines: upper body (push-ups), core strength (curl-ups), flexibility (stretching), speed (shuttle run) and aerobic endurance (one mile run). The test for the Lower School children is adapted to meet their abilities. The results our athletes achieve are measured in a standardized score by age. Children who make the top 50 percent in all disciplines are awarded a red badge for “National Level”. The blue “Presidential Level” badges are very rare and revered. Only the participants who perform in the top 15 percent of their age group in every single category earn the award. The students are preparing for this fitness test in their PE lessons and are highly motivated by the award and recognition they can earn. This program challenges our children to strive and motivate themselves to continually improve. And they do! Every year, more and more ASP students proudly take home one of the prized awards. So get out your threads and needles - you might be sewing badges on shirts very soon! 16
Rugby Since the beginning of the winter sports season, a new sport can call ASP its home: Rugby. The newly founded team consists of 36 Upper School boys, some of whom had never touched a rugby ball before. Since they took up training, the team members made incredible progress: on their first ever matches at the beginning of February, they were equal opponents to Frankfurt International School and the British School of Paris. This is not a small feat considering their rivals have been practicing the sport for several years.
This rapid development is probably due to a combination of commitment, hard work and great fun. There is excellent attendance at the practices – rain or snow. As the pictures clearly indicate, our rugby boys don’t seem to mind mud either! Rugby is a very technical and strategic sport. ASP is developmental team at this stage, but the aim is to continue to build it appropriately one step at a time. Coach Nick Walklet is very proud of his team, “It’s enjoyable and a pleasure for everyone. I have high hopes for us at ISST’s.” The tournament will be held in London this year, and a total of 8 teams will be competing. We shall watch out for our ASP boys and wish them “bon courage”!
Plan to Action ASP’s Strategic Plan for Curriculum Development Curriculum Development is an integral piece of the Strategic Plan ASP has in place for continuous improvement and fulfilling our mission to “prepare every student to achieve personal and academic excellence”. We regularly examine how we meet our learning objectives, assess our educational standards using appropriate benchmarks, and provide teachers with the support needed to implement best practices for instruction. ASP’s Curriculum Development Strategy, as outlined in the 20112016 Strategic Plan is to; “develop, implement and communicate a rigorous, relevant, assessed PK-12 curriculum specifically designed to achieve academic excellence aligned to our mission and objectives.”
Our curriculum objectives:
Effective Curriculum Development must be an on-going, purposeful and collaborative process. Therefore, ASP has a dedicated professional responsible for providing leadership and coordination in the development and implementation of the above referenced strategy, which includes the articulation of the Upper School IB and AP programs. As ASP’s Curriculum Coordinator, Carleen Helaili, an experienced teaching professional, is tasked with implementing the action items necessary to meet our curriculum objectives outlined below. Rest assured, ASP’s commitment to Curriculum Development is at the core of the outcomes we expect our students to achieve this year and in the years to come.
Ongoing Curriculum Development • Using the Understanding By Design Format • Documenting with the Curriculum Database • Personalizing Instruction • Global Citizenship-Leadership-Extended Day Programs
Reviewing our curriculum standards and making changes as necessary to ensure a rigorous, relevant and up-to-date program throughout the divisions.
Educating faculty about and implementing contemporary curriculum design ideas, such as the Understanding by Design framework, currently in use by highly successful schools worldwide.
Collaborating with all teachers; individually helping them map their units and in groups helping them work together in tailoring their units specific curriculum.
Managing and implementing improvements to the Atlas -Rubicon database software used by our faculty to record our written curriculum across the disciplines and divisions as well as for EAL and Learning Support.
Ongoing Foreign Language Curriculum Development • Shared Philosophy • Curriculum and Teaching Practices • Additional Languages and Online Learning
Campus Development Technology for Learning • New Technology Learning Center for Faculty and Staff • One-to-One Laptop Program in the MS • Online Learning Curriculum Protocols
• Campus Design Competition, Name Architect, to Final Drawings with Community INPUT • Ongoing Community-Building Activities to Advance the School • Capital Campaign Fundraising for Campus Development
Organizing on-site, hands-on professional training in methods of classroom instruction and the use of current technology.
Examining and making improvements to our Language Learning Program, ensuring it meets the needs of our international community.
ASP Gives Back
Upper School students warmly welcomed alumna Joyce DeConink back to Paris at an assembly in honor of Romanian Children’s Relief. Formerly called The Romania Club, Romanian Children’s Relief celebrated their 10th Anniversary at ASP. One of the most popular student-run clubs, Romanian Children’s Relief began with an idea Joyce had while a freshman at ASP.
Romanian Children’s Relief Celebrates 10 Years of Service ASP Jim Denison, Upper School Art teacher, served as faculty advisor in 2001-2002 to a ninth grade advisory group that included Joyce. The group had been tasked with selecting a community service project that was to be student-driven. Joyce facetiously suggested a trip to Romania where she’d personally witnessed some of the harsh conditions for children living there. “I could tell Joyce didn’t think it could become a reality, though she felt strongly about it. I thought, why not? As long as the students were willing to do the background research and present their plan, I didn’t see a reason not to consider it,” remarks, Jim. After weeks of research, organizing and fundraising, Joyce, Jim and five classmates headed to Bucharest to participate in a service project through Fundatia Innocenti a partner of Romanian Children’s Relief Fund. In an over-burdened children’s hospital in Bucharest, they spent a week caring for abandoned infants waiting for foster care placement. By providing attention and affection and by engaging the infants in play, volunteers in the program help the infants make connections so important to their normal development. Romanian Children’s Relief club members and their faculty advisors now travel bi-annually, to participate in Fundatia Innocenti awardwinning programs organized for the benefit of vulnerable children in Romania.
“Before the trip, you don’t really know how you are going to feel. It hits you when you are sitting in a rocking chair, holding the most innocent form of life, inside a country destroyed by communism.” — Nuperi Yigit
The club has expanded the scope of their mission to include participating in a program at a nearby school helping at-risk Roma children get engaged in learning and stay in school. The volunteers teach English and create art projects with the students. With Excellence Fund support, award-winning journalist and photographer, Mike Carroll, came to Paris to address the Upper School. Mr. Carroll covered Romania right after the fall of the communist dictatorship in 1989. His story and haunting images ran in a photo-documentary for the Boston Globe that exposed the plight of Romanian orphans and the pediatric AIDS epidemic – a result of Ceaușescu regime policies. Public outcry from that exposé led to the formation of the Romanian Children’s Fund of which Mr. Carroll now serves as President. He commended Joyce for activating ASP’s long-standing commitment to Fundatia Innocenti. In addition, he recognized ASP’s decade-long commitment to humanitarian programs in Romania that have genuinely improved the lives of many children. The Romania Club service trip still remains a profoundly rewarding personal growth experience for all its participants as it has been for the past ten years. Thank you Joyce, Jim and all the students and faculty who have given their time and energy through Romania Club in service to our global community.
By providing attention and affection and by engaging the infants in play, volunteers in the program help the infants make connections so important to their normal development. 19
ASP Gives Back: Continued Restos du Coeur: An All-School Event For the last 10 years, around American Thanksgiving time, ASP students have been collecting non-perishable food items for needy families in the greater Paris area. This activity traditionally took place in the Middle School and Lower School but for the first time this year, all school divisions took part in this worthy project. The goal to collect 1000 cans of food was over-accomplished – thanks to the generosity of our ASP families. This outpour of kindness filled a lot of heavy boxes – a good thing our strong maintenance staff was ready and eager to help! They carried all the food that had been collected over to the St Cloud branch of “Restos du Coeur”. This initiative, founded by French comedian Coluche in 1985, operates houses all over France and in other European countries, providing people below the poverty line with meals and accommodation. Special thanks go out to Chantal Papin who is ASP’s liaison to the organization. As a reaction to our students’ engagement, the St Cloud manager of Restos du Coeur sent a thank you letter to the school. He also paid students a visit to share the history and the purpose of the project and explain how ASP’s donations make a difference in the lives of families. We are proud that our students are learning to be responsible members of the community and that they contribute to the greater good.
Lower School O.K. Chorale Brings Mid-Winter Cheer to Local Retirement Communities For more than 20 years, the O.K. Chorale has visited local retirement homes to entertain the elderly residents. Fourth and fifth grade students, under the direction of Chris Chater, LS Music teacher, shared their talents again this year to the audience of seniors. The children also collected and presented wrapped gifts to bring cheer to their appreciative audience. Accompanied by Jean-Pierre Heussaff, LS French teacher on guitar, and Gilles Croulard of the Maintenance Team on accordion, the performance included some pop music of today and some classic tunes in French – much to the delight the mesdames and messieurs. A few residents even got up to dance with the students.
“At the end of our show when we went to say goodbye one lady held my hand tightly and told me in French that she was grateful for what we’d done for them. She had tears in her eyes and I knew this was really important to her.” — Kahleah, Grade 5
“When the music started all of the people were smiling and very happy. When we handed out the presents, a woman couldn’t really take it with her hands so I laid it on her lap. When we left, I felt proud, happy and I had so much JOY in me! It was so much fun I would LOVE to do it again!” — Iris, Grade 4 The Chorale members practiced during recess and put in a dedicated effort to the collection of gifts – even making an appeal at Middle School and Upper School assemblies. Thanks to Linda Franco, EAL faculty, for her supervision of the gift collection and wrapping, the LS student council for their efforts, and the ASP community for gift donations.
ASP Celebrates “La Belle Époque” More than 350 ASP parents and friends are expected April 13 to celebrate under the sheered satin ceilings at the elegant Le Pré Catelan located inside Paris’ famed Bois de Boulogne during ASP’s second ever Gala. The evening’s theme is La Belle Époque, and guests will be treated to the sounds and images of late nineteenth and early twentieth century France while they help support the school’s Excellence Fund in the live, silent and online auctions that accompany the event. For months, parents, faculty and administrators have combined efforts to build a mesmerizing night that will bring to life a slice of an era that straddled two centuries. Upon entering the venue, guests will be greeted by jazz music and free-flowing open bars offering this country’s best champagnes and cocktails. The evening will be topped by a full-course dinner after which a live auction will follow. Capping the chic night will be dancing to a D.J.’s formidable list of tunes from varied musical genres. As one of the year’s key fundraising efforts, the Gala includes an online auction in the days leading to the event which features services donated by faculty and parents and designer goods from corporate sponsors. These range from historical walking tours, world cuisine classes, themed parties, and products from leading cosmetic and fashion houses to raffles to be “Director for a day”. Also on tap on the night of the event will be a live auction featuring unique items such as a chef cook-off with Head of School Mark Ulfers and Board President Lis Seeley; vacation home stays in Provence, Costa Del Sol, and Greece; guided tours of a French wine region; and other unique food, wine, travel, sport, and high-end product offerings. Spread throughout the event space will be silent auction items that guests will be able to bid on such as designer clothing, one-of-akind pieces of art, and extraordinary culinary experiences. Each year, generous school community donations have enhanced creativity and innovation in the classroom. The Gala, while also providing an opportunity for families to mingle in a light-hearted evening of fine food and entertainment, offers the school-wide community an additional method of supporting ASP initiatives. Gala co-chairs Tania Ayoub and Kristen Burd, alongside honorary co-chairs the U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin and wife Susan Tolson, invite everyone in the ASP community to participate. Individual tickets start at €200. Attendees are welcomed to support the Gala at additional amounts that range from €400 for a Baron Patron and €800 for a Marquis Patron. Soirée Sponsors who contribute €3,000 are eligible for two tickets. To help set the mood, guests are encouraged, but not required, to add embellishments to their evening attire reflective of the Belle Epoque era, such as a top hat, feather boa, or elbow-length gloves. 21
“This is the event of our school calendar thanks to the hard work of more than 60 volunteers,” says Lara Tilley, ASP’s Director of Advancement. “We ask everyone in the school community to help support the Gala in some form, whether it is placing a bid in the online auction or purchasing a ticket. We promise everyone who attends this year another memorable and magical night.” For more information on how to purchase tickets, please log on to www.asparis.org and click on the “Our Community” tab.
Making Connections Lower School Connections
Small Hands, Big Imagination Pablo Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” What children know about art, grown artists are often at pains to recapture. This is the joy of teaching art to children. In the Lower School, the aim of the art program is to instruct and develop of course, but also to nurture imagination, creativity and self-expression. During the school year Lower School students at each grade level are given the opportunity to develop their understanding of art and their technical ability through a variety of artistic experiences. The children are encouraged to thoughtfully use materials and techniques to express ideas and feelings, to be inventive in their choices and to consider the process just as important as the
product. Through regular exposure and practice with works of art, either reproductions, directly in museums or at important sites in the artist’s life, students are taught that works of art have meaning. As an integral part of the curriculum, art projects are often coordinated with other subject areas such as social studies, language arts, science and French. Encountering the same topics in many different disciplines makes the learning more tangible, memorable and complete. In this issue of the ASPect, LS Art Teacher Debra Dalla Santa shares examples of how the principles of self-discovery, personal excellence and innovation, harbored by our mission, truly come alive through the ASP Art program.
Grade 1: Flying to a Favorite Place ‘Roy G. Biv’, the imaginary boy who lives in the rainbow, accompanied our first graders in painting activity by helping them remember the colors of the rainbow in order. These paintings were cut up, made into paper weavings and with imagination, transformed into magic flying carpets after reading the story Regards to the Man in the Moon by Ezra Jack Keats. Riding their magic flying weavings to their favorite places, the children then drew and wrote postcards about where they flew, what they saw and how they felt.
Grade 2: Hands and Mind Connection The book Popville by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud inspired the following collaborative “pop-up” paper town art project. By transforming two-dimensional shapes into three-dimensional forms, the second graders created paper structures in “scale” and arranged “public” and “private” buildings to meet the needs of the daily lives of the communities of people living within them. The questions considered during the construction of these towns: “How are towns organized and planned?”, “What types of buildings are usually found in the centers of towns, why?”, “What types of places are essential in towns for the communities of people to have?”, “What happens to the land or “wilderness” as towns grow?”. This studio art experience was conceived in relation to the social studies curriculum on the theme of Community.
Carnet Culture in the Lower School Why and how visual artists explore their world through observation and use looking-logs to think about, research, store and remember ideas is discussed by first to fifth grade children in the art room at the beginning of each school year. Each child is given a blank-page book or Carnet (French for sketchbook, reflecting their time spent in France) to be used as a kind of room of one’s own not only in art class, but across the subject areas and during field trips. In school, throughout the year, this Carnet is a work-in-process. The goal of having one’s own Carnet is to create “habits-of-mind” in relation to observing, thinking about and researching one’s inner and outer worlds.
Grade 3: Texture and Art Third graders explored texture in art and how to transform an image from one media to another. A continuous line drawing of a swan made by each child was transferred to cardboard. Tiny cut pieces of colored card were then added to build dimension and recreate the drawing through collaged form. Three types of feather textures/ patterns were created for the body, wings and tail. Afterward, the children made multiple rubbings of their textured collaged swans and watercolor painted each one to make it unique. In the final phase, a heavy sheet of aluminum foil was glued over the collage and more drawn textures were added for emphasis and surface embellishment. This was covered completely with black ink. The surprise of seeing a shiny, silver swan appear was revealed on the third graders faces when they wiped the ink away!
Grade 4: What is Under the Ground What is under the ground was brainstormed as an Art and Social Studies connection on Ancient Egypt. As students moved down the page of their drawings and deeper into the ground, they indicated their historical knowledge moving from the present at the top to the past at the bottom. In these pictures, the fourth graders also reviewed and incorporated concepts of depicting deep space and explored showing surface texture with pattern.
Grade 5: The Human Body in Ancient Greek Art room activities linked to those of Social Studies with fifth graders exploring the notion of ideal proportion of the human body according to ancient Greek aesthetics. Measuring the body’s proportions in heads, articulated people were fabricated and used to create poses for realistically proportioned figure drawing. This studio experience prepared the children for a visit to see Ancient Greek art at the Louvre Museum. 23
Middle School Connections Advisory Program: The Heart of Middle School Our Middle School Advisory Program sets aside a special time and place for students to bond with other students in their grade level groups and to develop a meaningful relationship with their Advisor. Daily Advisory serves as homeroom, and also as a time the groups participate in thought provoking activities infused with fun and friendship. A specialized curriculum is designed for Advisory around relevant topics for each grade. These include study skills, communications skills, conflict resolution, coping with peer pressure and acceptance and understanding of other cultures. “Advisory allows us a forum to deal with issues as they come up,” says Kate Powers, MS Guidance Counselor. “Students can play a part in addressing these concerns.” Service Learning, an educational strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection, is also an integral part of the Advisory curriculum. Careful consideration is given to creating Advisories that are diverse and complementary. The intent is to provide an opportunity for students to develop trusting relationships within their group, filling the need for young people to be connected to a greater community. Faculty Advisors provide leadership, mentor students academically and personally, liaise between students and their parents, and serve as counselors in navigating the emotional and physical changes of adolescence. “The first point of communication between school and parents is the Advisor because of that personalized relationship,” offers Ms. Powers, “so much so, that October conferences are conducted between parents and Advisors. They really get to know their advisees both academically and personally.”
At the core of the MS curriculum is the idea of Experiential Learning – providing learning opportunities through a process of “doing” and then reflecting upon and evaluating the experience. The Outward Bound educational experience all Middle School students embark upon at the start of the school year is a chance for students to realize this learning approach. All activities take place in Advisory groups, guided by their Advisor, thus solidifying the groups’ relationships and readying them to participate with their team in activities throughout the school year.
“The first point of communication between school and parents is the Advisor because of that personalized relationship,” — Kate Powers, MS Counselor
Upper School Connections PAMUN Conference: Raising the Bottom Billion Nine hundred students from nearly 25 countries arrived in Paris early December for the twelfth Paris Model United Conference (PAMUN), one of the biggest conferences in the worldwide MUN circuit and organized entirely by ASP students. Over three days of discussion on issues ranging from international intervention in Syria to the question of debt forgiveness, high schoolers modeled their presentations on debates made on the floor of the United Nations headquarters in New York City while exploring this year’s overarching theme, “Raising the Bottom Billion.” The students’ aim: “further the interests and goals of the countries they represent while they attempt to accept with due respect and consideration other countries’ goals and interests.” Held at the conference rooms of UNESCO headquarters in the seventh arrondissement, the event was organized by a team from ASP’s Model United Nations Club and other student volunteers who drafted conference goals and an agenda; created nearly 1,000 packets containing badges, agenda information, and certificates to distribute to attendees; built and maintained a conference website; wrote research papers and edited others submitted by member schools that addressed the meeting’s theme; produced a daily newspaper, Munificience; and, built daily coffee breaks and evening social events for participants to relax in between after long days of debate and negotiation. Delegate work was centered in nine committees and panels whose chairs came from cities as far away as Moscow and Jerusalem
“Model United Nations is first and foremost an educational experience in which students are invited to develop two important human skills: listening for comprehension and not for controversy, and keeping an open mind,” said ASP’s MUN Faculty Advisor Ouriel Reshef. “PAMUN and other Model UN conferences can therefore be viewed as incubators of our future.” to schools in the Paris region. Issues during the conference addressed challenges faced by the world’s poorest even in the face of a huge rise in living standards since the UN established its Millennium Summit goals in 2000. PAMUN Secretary General Adam Willems notes, “The entire team put in hundreds of hours since the December 2011 conference to create a fresh program and to build an ever more exciting event. For more than a decade, high school students the world over have looked to the American School of Paris to create a simulating, wellorganized, and disciplined conference that captures the spirit and intention of the actual United Nations.” PAMUN IT Wizard Sara Venkatraman concurred that the benefits that accrue both ASP organizers and conference delegates are numerous, from honing their ability to manage large-scale events to dealing effectively with other cultures within a setting that respects and tolerates differences of opinion. “PAMUN asks students to research issues in depth months before they arrive. And, during the conference, they must defend their positions, think on their feet, and build consensus with others,” said Sara. “Model United Nations is first and foremost an educational experience in which students are invited to develop two important human skills: listening for comprehension and not for controversy, and keeping an open mind,” said ASP’s MUN Faculty Advisor Ouriel Reshef. “PAMUN and other Model UN conferences can therefore be viewed as incubators of our future.” ASP students who formed the PAMUN Executive Team lead the effort to establish this 12th annual conference. They are: Adam Willems, Secretary General; Fiona Bell, Michael Carden, and Sabrine Keane, Deputy Secretary-Generals; Kristin Pekot, Head of Administrative Staff; Caroline Sheehey and Tamara Ezzat, Deputy Heads of Administrative Staff; Lily Rivkin, Editor-in-Chief of Munificence; Nora Stai and Tiffany Mauth, Deputy Editors of Munificience; and, Sara Venkatraman, IT Wizard.
In this issue, meet...
Joyce DeConinck Class of 2006
In the ASP 2006 yearbook, senior Joyce De Coninck was dubbed, “Most Likely to be a Star.” Indeed, Joyce’s perseverance in pursuing endeavors of importance to her, both while at ASP and after graduation, would classify her as a “star” by any standard. Now resident in her home country of Belgium, Joyce recently returned to Paris for the 10th Anniversary Celebration of ASP’s Romanian Children’s Relief service club (see page 19) where Joyce spoke to Upper School students. She told about how she became involved in the service project and how the experience has affected her then and now. We caught up with Joyce recently and asked her to retell the story she shared with the students.
ASPect: What prompted you to consider starting a service project in Romania at ASP in 2001-2002? “As a child living in Bucharest with my family from 1996 to 2000, I became keenly aware of the vast differences in the living conditions for numerous other children living in Romania to those of my welloff family. My brother, sister and I spent a considerable amount of time interacting with Romanian people in our Bucharest community; outside the confines of the American school we attended. It seemed unfair to me, even then, that there should be such a large discrepancy between the few haves” and the many “have-nots” I observed on a daily basis,” explains Joyce. Joyce adds, “In discussing a possible community service project for Advisory, the children in Romania came to my mind and I proposed we locate our project there. It was kind of a “joke” as I didn’t really think it would be feasible,” recounted Joyce. “On the contrary, Mr. Denison agreed that it would be a worthwhile pursuit and challenged me to take a leadership role in organizing the project.”
ASPect: What were your original objectives? Were you able to meet them and how did they change?
ASPect: How has the Romanian Children’s Relief experience affected you then and now? “I recognized, through this experience, I HAD the necessary qualities to make this project happen - by remaining focused on my goal. With the help of a small team of students, Mr. Denison and some friends of my family in Bucharest, we were able to make the necessary connections at the hospital in Romania, rally the support of families and school administrators, and organize successful fundraising efforts,” remarks Joyce. “The experience has had a profound effect on me still today,” Joyce acknowledges. “I moved to Belgium after graduation to pursue a law degree. Shortly afterwards, my father was diagnosed with cancer. European bureaucratic circumstances at the time made it necessary for my family to pay for all my father’s vast medical expenses without the support of Belgian or French social insurance. I was obliged to attend classes during the day and work night shifts in order to support myself and continue my education. Sadly, my father passed away after a long, horrendous battle. But this challenging encounter, along with my Romania Club experience, has given me focus and direction towards the vocation I’d like to pursue in human rights law.” “I am now only three classes away from graduating with distinction. I hope to pursue a PhD concerning human rights adherence by the European countries and the Roma people,” adds Joyce.
Aspect: How has your experience at the American School of Paris shaped your life post-graduation? “My experience at ASP has instilled in me the capacity to hope, dream and persevere in my endeavors. I have garnered, in my time at ASP, a confidence that I can be successful in whatever I choose to do - regardless of any challenges I may confront. Most importantly, I realize to this day that even small ideas can start big things.”
“At fifteen I had taken on this project without really knowing what I hoped to accomplish,” explains Joyce. “One of the scariest moments in my life was waiting in the playroom of the hospital for the children to join us, not knowing what to expect. When the first little girl entered the room, she shot me an almost instantaneous smile, and my fear drained away. Our small gifts of time, attention and affection would meet a huge need for these abandoned children. From there, I sought to expand upon what we could do for the children, including providing some financial and material aid.
Jim Denison, Art Teacher and Joyce DeConinck, Class of 2006
Zilin Jing, Grade 4
The American School of Paris
41, Rue Pasteur, 92210 Saint-Cloud, France Tel. +33 (0)1 41 12 82 82 Fax +33 (0)1 46 02 23 90 founded 1946