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The International School’s TIS News * Fall 2010

TIS alumni & current families come together for 20th Anniversary kick-off On September 19, during a perfectly timed break in the rain, over 650 current and former TIS students, staff, families and trustees celebrated the school’s twenty years of educating world citizens. Founders Douglas and Frey

between the teacher and student here is a really cool thing.” Camillo C., Class of 2006: “All the teachers that we had here, they know how to teach. They made it so that we wanted to learn.” Patti Ng, parent Class of 2008 and 2011: “There were excellent immersion teachers at TIS in 2001, and continue to be excellent immersion teachers today. Now English also has very experienced and able teachers using a standard curriculum. And with the addition of the IB, the whole program seems to flow better and students learn a lot more in the various subjects.

Principal Maria Abad, TIS staff member since 1993, introduces founders Frey Stearns (left) and Douglas Stearns (standing just outside of the photo). Stearns cut a ceremonial cake, and Principal Maria Abad jubilantly called scores of young adults with florescent green “Alumni” tags to the stage. The celebration included performances by the TIS Chinese Dance Troupe, Takohachi Taiko, the Grupo Borikaus Latin band and BJ the clown, along with face painters and rooms full of craft activities. Alumni and their families reminisced and explored changes around campus. New TIS families enjoyed the strong and supportive community. The vision that Douglas and Frey Stearns began implementing in September 1990 has clearly touched so many people and enriched so many lives. The reflections of TIS graduates and graduate parents show how deeply the TIS experience has taken root. The teachers we had here . . . Andrew S., Class of 2007: “The relationship and the bond

Nick G., TIS 1994-1999: “[In other schools,] they have American teachers who think they know Spanish. They think ‘I’ll teach it this way’, and I’ll think, ‘no, that’s not the way you pronounce it.’ They get mad and say, ‘what do you know about Spanish?’ Well, I went to The International School - I learned from teachers who are from Puerto Rico, from Guatemala, from all these places - teachers who are natural born speakers.” It’s been rooted early on . . . Alexis G., Class of 2002: My dad’s side of the family is Hispanic, but he lives in Texas so we never really got to speak with him. So [TIS] helped us. When we went to visit, we could talk with our grandparents and socialize with that side of the family a lot easier. Taylor R., Class of 2006: “It does make learning a 3rd, 4th, 5th language so much easier. I want to learn a bunch of languages. Because it’s been rooted so early on, there’s no way you’re ever going to forget it.” More than just language Camillo C., Class of 2006: “From being here in elementary school, I think we have more empathy toward other cultures. We could not be ignorant, we could understand them.” Andrew S., Class of 2007: “Not only do you get exposed continued on page 2

The International School’s T I S NEW S * F ALL 2 0 1 0

Longest tenured TIS staff members Staff member Year hired Maria Abad 1993 Jossie Torres-Jurado 1994 Guadalupe Martinez 1995 Akiko Grimm 1996 Vicky LaMear 1996* Mary Sanchez 1997 Pilar Arias 1998 Hideko Forzley 1998* Adela Pedrosa-Correa 1999* Elena Savaria 1999* Constanza Wilkes 1999 Sophia Antonis 2000* Shelley Stoye 2000 Ivonne Tellez 2000 Gloria Widdows 2000* Mei Zhang 2000 Maria Lira-Wiser 2002 Paola Magaz 2002 Elizabeth Martinez 2002 Judith Masjuan 2002* Rob Timmons 2002 Yin Ping Tong 2002* Yu Yen Lee 2003 Jan Williams 2003 Jennifer Zhu 2003 Robert Briglia 2004 Qiong Li 2004 Chisa Terano-Chilgren 2005 David Platt 2005 Hong Shentu 2005 Linda Bonder 2005 * not at TIS continuously

Anniversary - continued from front page to different types of Spanish, you get exposed to the different cultures that each teacher brings, and that is a really cool experience. [TIS is] one of the main factors that helps me be who I am today and developed me into a good person.” Alexis G., Class of 2002: “Growing up here and going to this school - everyone was friends with everyone. When a person wants to talk to me, I think, ‘Sure, we can be friends.’ It’s not, ‘Oh, you’re wearing that, so I can’t talk to you.’ It’s not like that.” Rich Read, Board President 2007-2008, parent Class of 2009: “We thought having another language would be a really super thing, and [we knew it would be] easier to learn it when you’re little. What we didn’t realize as much when we began, was that she would get a whole other culture as well. [She got] an understanding of how her culture and the other culture differ - how things can be different, and not necessarily right and wrong, but just different.” Still a big family Rich Read: “What I love is that TIS doesn’t seem to have lost its family feel. You still feel you know about half the people, the classes are still small, and the campus is kind of funky, but it’s really familiar. Kathrina S., Class of 2007: “I really liked the small classes, because even though my friends are at different high schools now, we’re still really close. And when I

come back here, it’s like another family because all my teachers remember me.” Seeing TIS today Patti Ng: “In the early years, I think the parents had much more say in the day to day running of the school. With the addition of actual administrative staff, it feels more like a real school – less small town and more small city. Kim Marcus, Board President 2005 to 2007, parent Class of 2009 and 2011: “When we decided to build Stearns Hall, I believed that we were taking a major step in the maturity of the school. I was confident that we would have increased enrollment, if not the year that we moved in, shortly thereafter. As it turned out, the building was fully used from the day it opened – that was a great thing to see.” Alexis G., Class of 2002: I’m amazed at what it has become. My mom was on the PTA, so she helped with raising money. She actually went to Madrid to help find some of our teachers. Doug Stearns always had big plans for this place. Imagine what [this anniversary] is like for him!” Nick G., TIS 1994-1999: “I’m happy [to see TIS doing so well], cause it’s an awesome school. It teaches you a language, which is very important in this life since we have so much diversity in this world, and it kind of gives you an upper hand.”

Florescent green tags identified alumni as they ran around campus exploring and reminiscing. This group from multiple years and language tracks gathered for a photo in the gym.

The International School’s T I S NEW S * F ALL 2 0 1 0

Enrollment shoots up, breaks records 450 400 350

2010-2011 enrollment: 446 students


300 250


200 150 100



'90 -'9 1 '91 -92 '92 -'9 3 '93 -'9 4 '94 -'9 5 '95 -'9 6 '96 -'9 7 '97 -'9 8 '98 -'9 9 '99 -'0 0 '00 -'0 1 '01 -'0 2 '02 -'0 3 '03 -'0 4 '04 -'0 5 '05 -'0 6 '06 -'0 7 '07 -'0 8 '08 -'0 9 '09 -'1 0 '10 -'1 1


This fall TIS ushered in its largest student body ever with 446 enrolled children. This is a 13 percent increase over the last two years which each began with close to 395 students. Admissions Director Jan Williams says that the increase came from record retention of existing students combined with continued strong new student enrollment.

Join us November 13 for the TIS 20th Anniversary Auction Please join us for a great party and our biggest fundraiser of the year. See details and order tickets at

Sixteen years later, still loving 4-year-olds “People come to my classroom and it might seem that we are just playing all day,” says sixteen-year veteran TIS preschool teacher Jossie Torres-Jurado. “And we are,” she laughs, “because that is how they learn at this age, through play.” Jossie taught third grade before coming to TIS in 1994, but after a year with four-year-olds, she was smitten. “I love this age,” she says, still clearly filled with wonder. “I love discovering who my children are inside - their likes, their dislikes, this crazy one, this funny one, this shy one. Preschool is a real time of transformation for them. The children learn to share, to negotiate, to behave in a way that is acceptable to everyone. I get to see the huge changes during the year. “I love watching their hands,” she says. “At the beginning of the year, they might grab the pencil wrong, or hold the scissors backwards. Then they turn it, exploring, until they find the way that will work best for them. Everything is such a process of discovery.” “Jossie makes every child and every parent feel special,” says parent Lee Rahr, who has had two children in Jossie’s care. “You walk in, and you feel her love and dedication to your child. Jossie’s gift is creating that confidence and happiness and love for learning.” For Jossie, the gift goes both ways. “I get so much from the children every day. There are so many special times. But when they start to use the Spanish, when they start grabbing the language and giving it back to me - it is a feeling beyond explanation!” Then there was the time when a student made Jossie touch her first worm. “This student came over with a worm, so

proud, looking at me with those big eyes. ‘Isn’t she pretty, Maestra? Don’t you want to pet her?’ Oh, I didn’t want to touch that worm. But I couldn’t disappoint her! So I reached out my hand, slowly, trying to smile. And I touched it. And it wasn’t that bad! It really was ok!” Jossie laughs, “That girl came back to visit at the 20th Anniversary; she didn’t even remember the worm. But I will always remember - she changed my life!” For Jossie’s students today, it is hard to imagine their Maestra shrinking from a worm. They know that any bug in the classroom brings an impromptu science lesson, good for a trip outside to return the bug to its habitat. Jossie’s class is filled with such inquiry-based and experiential learning, cornerstones of continued on page 4

The International School’s T I S NEW S * F ALL 2 0 1 0

Jossie - continued from page 3 the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program. “With the IB, I love how the children are so involved in their education. Their curiosity is so fresh - the IB is just taking advantage of that. I use inquiry with the children all day long. Even when two people are fighting, I go to the inquiry. I get them to tell me what is going on, what lessons we have learned that we can bring to this situation. I I always used a lot of inquiry in my teaching, but now (with the IB) I do it even more, even better. It gives children the opportunity to take ownership for their learning.” At the 20th Anniversary Celebration, Jossie saw the fruits of her labor: former students who are now teenagers. “It was such a joyful experience. I got some hugs that were so tight, so long - they really remembered me. I can’t even express what that was like. Their plans, going to college or whatever - I was a little part of that. I had them in my hands for a year, and maybe some part of that stays with them. I told them to take care of themselves, to keep growing and keep going. I still keep them in my heart, these are still my children.”

Fourth graders practice inquiry at Mt. St. Helens “The more porous the rock, the more air is trapped inside, and that makes the rock lighter,” explained fourth grade student Claire M. after her recent class trip to Mt. St. Helens. Classmate Anna O. pointed out that the size of the crystals in the rock depends on how fast the rock cooled after the blast. The field trip was part of the International Baccalaureate fourth grade unit of inquiry, “How the World Works.” The students study volcanoes, tsunamis, hot springs and other phenomena to understand the unit’s central idea, “The earth is constantly moving and changing through quick and slow processes.”

Although it was too foggy to actually see Mt. St. Helens during the visit, student Seth M. explained that the visitor center had many interactive exhibits that made the trip worthwhile. Leyette L. and Clara H. really liked the machine in which students could jump to simulate an earthquake. Kai B. described a diorama that showed the blast radius and how far the lava flowed. Kaiya G. and Tadeusz C. did a presentation on the vulcanologist killed by the 1980 blast. Other students cemented their learnings with projects on types of volcanoes, crystal growth, the flow of lava and ash - all in Spanish or Chinese.

Educating World Citizens since 1990 • International Baccalaureate World School Thriving in other cultures • Fluent in another language Engaged in math, science, social studies & arts • Confident & capable 025 SW Sherman Street, Portland, OR 97201 • 503-226-2496 •

TIS News - Fall 2010  

TIS alumni & current families come together for 20th Anniversary kick-off

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