Archive for January, 2012

Open PTA Meeting–January 20th

Written by PTA. Posted in Meeting Notes, open pta, PTA

Open PTA Meeting:  Friday, January 20th

Opening Notes:

The PTA would like to apologize for the total lack of M&M’s at this meeting!

Dates to Remember:

  • Head of School Search Meetings:
    • Monday, January 23—Community Forum 6:30-8 PM (Bill Knauer)
    • Thursday, January 26—Community Forum 6:30—8 PM (Monica Medina-Olds)
    • Friday, Jan. 27th, Lost and Found Clean-Out
    • February 3rd, Frosty Friday
    • Wednesday, Mar. 7t:  Pancake Day

Please remember to subscribe to the BFIS Webpage for all the latest information

Resolved Issues:

  • In-line skates:  2/3 graders should bring supplies to school in labeled bag, they will be stored in a separate area from the cubbies.  Children without supplies will participate in some manner.
  • Report  Cards:  ES are under review by the ES faculty and administration
  • PE Grading System was reviewed in December, this issue is still under active revision.
  • Powerschool Program has been launched, it can be accessed through the student email accounts.
  • Advisory Meetings continue with Elementary Room Parents and MS/HS Parent Liaisons.  If you have concerns that you would like the administration to be aware of, please contact your room parent and they can bring up the issues at their regular meetings.  A copy of the notes from these meetings can be found on the BFIS website.
  • Traffic Concerns:  We will be filing a petition with the local government to change the bottom portion of our street to one way for the morning and afternoon drop-off.  We are working with Oak House, faculty, staff, teachers, and parents on this issue.   Until we get the official permit, we will try to unofficially launch a new traffic pattern.  The lower green gate will be closed, and the two primary entrance points will be the upper gate and the entrance with the security guard.   Question:  why is the green gate being closed?  People don’t want to walk up the sidewalk to the old gate, and people don’t want to walk the extra block to the security guard entrance.

New Concerns:

  • Request to get the link to Volunteer Google Docs online ASAP.
  • Traffic and Parking concerns—New traffic pattern will begin in February/March, and people are worried about closing the green gate.  People want to use that gate, both drivers and walkers, and there was widespread concern over this issue. We are asking everyone to be patient and give the new system a chance.  We will plan to review the new system a month after launching.
  • Is there a way to slow down traffic? We have asked in the petition to have a sign with blinking lights to indicate that we are in a school zone.
  • Concerns regarding ES email accounts—why are the students being given email accounts?  Is this necessary in the lower elementary school?  Why is this an academic advantage?  Can parents opt out or be given permission? (Concern brought up from the 3rd Grade)
  • Lunch-time:  Elementary—the lunchtime is too short for some children.
  • Monitors:  Monitor program is not organized to support good behavior and encouragement to taste all food. Could there be a meeting with monitors and parents to coordinate lunch-time behavior?
  • Lunchtime menu:  The dessert is always listed as a fruit, but is fruit offered?  Do they run out of time before the students eat the fruit?
  • Overnight Student Trips:  When are they?  Where are they going?  When are James’s orientation meetings sooner rather than later?  Can the school publish a one-pager explaining the rationale/organization etc. of the field trips?
  • Calendar concerns:  The school is about to begin planning the calendar for next year, now is a great time for parents to share their thoughts about puentes, vacations and more with the PTA.   There was a parent concern regarding the long three-week vacation in December—working parents are concerned about childcare etc.—can the school offer childcare for these extra-long holidays?
  • Math Differentiation:  When is the follow up with Monica Neagoy?  Is there a search for a math director?
  • Grammar:  What is the rationale for ignoring grammar?  Is there a way to bump up the math program?

Overnight Adventures!

Written by Lila Jorge. Posted in Administration, Elementary School, ES Principal

The new year is upon us and that means that our elementary overnight trips are on the horizon. After last year’s resounding success, we are extremely excited to begin preparations the Kindergarten through 5th grade trips this spring.

In addition to information that will be sent home with students, Ms. Delgado and I will also be holding short information sessions for parents who would like to hear more about the trips and converse face to face. Below I have listed dates for each of the sessions as well as other key dates associated with the overnight trips.

Creating a post with one click

Written by admin. Posted in Technology

WordPress provides this great tool that allows you to publish a blog post with one click. It’s called “Press This”, and it allows you to click this button while you are reading something interesting from some other site and then automagically it creates a blog post. It is a wonderful feature for bloggers as it help you highlight something that your read elsewhere on the web. Obviously you can add your own text to explain why your reader should check this content etc.

So how do you use it?

  1. Sign in
  2. Then click BFIS Blogoshere in the WordPress toolbar on top.
  3. Click Tools and a page with the following text shows up.

Press This

Press This is a bookmarklet: a little app that runs in your browser and lets you grab bits of the web.

Use Press This to clip text, images and videos from any web page. Then edit and add more straight from Press This before you save or publish it in a post on your site.

Drag-and-drop the following link to your bookmarks bar or right click it and add it to your favorites for a posting shortcut.

  1. So drag this icon to your bookmarks bar
  2. Now browse to something you want to blog about
  3. Highlight the text (and/or image)
  4. and click the Press This button you just dragged to the bookmark bar.
  5. At this point the new post is opening, just edit if needed, add the correct category, and some tags perhaps.
  6. Publish and done !

Duval/Room Parents Meeting Notes–January

Written by PTA. Posted in elementary, Meeting Notes, PTA

Follow Up Notes:

  • Questions about BFIS Governance was brought up by 2nd Grade, and follow up meeting has been scheduled to include a PTA representative, 2ndgrade parent representative, Board Member, and Tom Northrup.
  • Remember that links to the monthly teacher/specialist newsletters are in the Weekly and on the website.
  • How do we ensure that information on students is not lost from year to year?  Teachers fill out a “Progress Report” and an “End of the Year” summary on each child.  This information is passed on to each new teacher.  New families are encouraged to communicate with the school about their child’s needs and strengths before arrival.   New students come with referrals and progress reports from their previous schools.
  • Report Cards—BFIS teachers and administrators are always reviewing the best method to assess and report children’s progress and future goals. ES is actively working to overhaul how we communicate student progress via a new reporting format, which will be launched in the Fall of 2012.
  • Meetings to coordinate the 2012-2013 calendar begin soon.  The committee will include PTA, board, administration and teachers, and will focus on striking a balance between school days and puentes.
  • 3rd Grade In-line skating issue:  In order to alleviate cubby crowding, an alternative location to store skates, pads and helmets had been found.  Parents are asked to put all skating supplies in a bag marked with the student’s name.    Students who do not have in-line skates can still participate as monitors etc.
  • Parent Education Nights were raised—Strategies for bilingual education at home, and current Math education strategies are both topics of interest to parents.  This idea will be considered for 2012-2013 school year.
New Issues:
  •  Lunchroom supervision—Is there adequate teacher supervision during lunch to ensure healthy eating behaviors?
  • Occasional concerns from the students regarding the cleanliness of school lunch utensils and trays.
  • How much collaboration occurs between classroom teachers, lunch-room monitors, and specialists regarding the individual students?  Cross-collaboration occurs primarily when a student is struggling.
  • Can we increase the visibility of the specialists for the parents?  The specialists are available at “Back to School Night “ in the fall.
  • Head of School Search is underway.  43 resumes have been submitted, 11 candidates have been/will be interviewed via SKYPE, and 2 candidates will be visiting the school.  The search committee includes teachers, administrators, the Board, and a representative from the PTA, a parent, and a student.  The structure for the site-visits is being organized now.
  • The upcoming Open House on January 28th is for potential new families, not for current families to visit.  We have an increased number of applicants for the 2012-2013 school year, as our local reputation is on the rise.
  • Enrollment:  While the enrollment of the ES is ideal, there is room for growth within the Middle and High schools.
  • School accounts—seems to be some ongoing confusion in the parent community regarding school accounts and school fees.  Could the business office send out a summary of how this works, including extra fees for pictures, field trips, after-school activities etc.
  • Can swimming be integrated into the ES PE program?  Not really—from timing to travel, there is no way to get our ES kids to a local pool.  BFIS continuously follows up with local schools and Can Caralleu to see if an ideal time slot has become available.
  • Why is grammar not part of the ES/MS curriculum?  Is this a change in current education thinking?  How does a bilingual curriculum impact this area?  For native speakers, studies do not support ongoing formal grammar training, but for ESL students, grammar support would be helpful.   Current thinking for the main focus of instruction is to enable our students to read carefully, think critically and communicate clearly, with grammar integrated into the overall program.  Can extra grammar support (teachers, classes or workbooks) be made available for parents who are interested?
  • Teacher hiring?  We post our openings online for international schools and independent schools.  School administrators interview and attend job fairs within the USA and Europe.  BFIS has an extensive training and acclimatization program for our new overseas faculty.   Ongoing mentoring, collaboration and evaluation takes place for all teachers.
  • Is there a spring follow-up from the fall visitors?  Yes, there will be a follow-up with the math and learning styles specialists this Spring.

Duval/Room Parents Meeting–December

Written by PTA. Posted in elementary, Meeting Notes, PTA

  • Parents are pleased that students with home lunch and bought lunch are able to sit together in the lunchroom.
  • Curriculum—in the monthly newsletters, would it be possible for teachers to give us a look ahead, as well as a review?
  • Can we learn more about the PE Curriculum, including a look at what is coming up?
  • What is the process for student transitions between grades—how is information transferred to the next year’s teacher?
  • Math curriculum—when kids leave our school, can BFIS provide their new schools supplemental information regarding the math program at BFIS?
  • Report cards in ES
  • Governance questions

Duval/Room Parents Meeting–November

Written by PTA. Posted in elementary, Meeting Notes, PTA

New concerns/questions:

* PE 21 – parents would like to better understand the extent of
interactions between the children of PE 21 (formerly Casa Nostra) and BFIS.
PTA/James to raise with school Admin/Board
* WiFi Radiation – parents are concerned about the dangers after the
publication of several articles and would like to hear the school’s view.
PTA/James to raise with school’s Technical Director
* 3rd grade choral music – this was on the schedule at the beginning
of the year, but seemed to have been stopped. Why? What is the current
status?  James to write update for 3rd grade parents
* Nursery parents are still not happy with the quality of the food
that Cuina Justa is offering.  Nursery room parent to recommend parent
attend the “tasting session” on Nov 16th and to fill out survey
* Ensuring adequate time to tie shoes in the music room – to be
addressed in monthly Q&A
* Money for teacher gifts – when will this be available?  PTA to check
with Business Office. A message will be included in the Weekly. Money should
be available as of next week.
Updates to Nov 6th Weekly:
The Weekly of November 6th included a Q&A that answers the
questions/concerns at last month’s meeting. This Q&A will become a regular
part of the communications process and the aim is to have it included at the
end of every month.
Recently Resolved Issues:
* The seating arrangement where “home lunch” children and “school
lunch” kids has been changed – children are free to sit where they like,
except for the Nursery, Pre-K and K children as their trays are already on
the tables when they enter the lunch room.
* Grade 4 & 5 late lunch – for 4th and 5th grade, the morning snack
break has been moved back, shortening the time between snack and lunch.
These children now have their morning break after 3rd period.