Archive for April, 2012

Santos/Liaison Meeting: Feb 2012

Written by PTA. Posted in Meeting Notes, middle/high, PTA

Mr. Santos Raised the Following Issues:

Dutch Language Lessons:

  • School is working on the possibility of starting an after-school tutoring program for NATIVE Dutch speakers on the grounds for interested students. Looking ahead, this might become an elective for NATIVE speakers. At this time, there are no plans to have Dutch as a second language offered.
  • Will the 10th Grade Foreign Exchange Program with Bard (New York, USA) run in the 2012-2013 School Year? This issue is under discussion in the upcoming weeks. While it is a wonderful experience for the high-achieving students, it presents curriculum and staffing challenges.
  • Are kids obsessively checking their PowerSchool grades? Teachers will take the Advisory period to educate kids about how/when the grades are entered, and how they will become more variable in the beginning of the semester with a small sampling.
  • Are There Sometimes Different Expectations by Different Teachers for the Same Subjects? Because multiple teachers teach the same subject, there will always be small differences between classes and teaching styles. All students however deserve the opportunity to succeed and the opportunity to reach the same ultimate essential skill set. School encourages teachers of same subjects to collaborate, to stay consistent in major assignments, in final assessments, and in curriculum. An exception is in Math, where we have multiple math groups due to ability grouping, so the final assessments will not be identical. Another exception is that Unit tests on different days may have a dramatically different structure, in order to discourage sharing of answers.

Parent Concerns:

  • Studies show a link between exercise and academics–Are we maximizing play space for our MS/HS kids? Scheduling complicates MS/HS use of fields and patios. Parents requested that the school organize more informal events like the MS Soccer tournament—great for school spirit! Basketball shoot-outs, soccer, etc. Mr. Marks and Mr. Preston are interested in this area.
  • PE Concerns: Students feel that they need more instruction and direction during PE lessons e.g. learning games rules, drills, etc….BFIS Administrators will follow up on this issue.
  • Are Cell Phones Used During Exams? They are not allowed during class or during exams. During class, a teacher has the right to confiscate cell phones and keep them until the end of the day. Exams–teachers ask them to turn them off and turn them in. If a child is caught using a phone during an exam, the consequences are severe.
  • Prom: Students want more of a traditional dance, less of a sit-down student banquet. Food (pica-pica) will be offered. Looking at Monte Carlo or 80’s Theme.

Open PTA Meeting Notes–March

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

Meeting notes of Open PTA meeting on Friday, March 30th

PTA gave update on upcoming events:

  1. Teacher Appreciation on May 4th. PTA will arrange a gift for all faculty and staff. Parents are asked to bring in a treat for the teachers and to encourage their children to make a personal card/drawing for their teacher.
  2. International Food Fair on May 18th. An opportunity for countries to showcase food from their home country for the rest of the community to taste. Event is yet another way BFIS celebrates all the different cultures represented in our community. More communication to follow in the next few weeks.

Discussion points:

  1. We discussed, in general terms, competitions at BFIS and how students are awarded for their efforts. It is often not clear to students (or parents) the criteria by which entries are judged. Is there a way to make competitions like the bookmark competition and the welcome sign competition less arbitrary? And would it be an option to have more awards given out than just 1st place in for example the science fair?
  2. The drug workshop that was organized recently was in Spanish. Many English speaking parents were sorry to have missed the opportunity. It would be very interested in having a similar workshop/presentation in English. This was discussed with Jeremy Marks who offered to host an evening; list of points of interest to be drawn up by PTA and parents.

BFIS Parent Profiles & International Food Fest!

Written by anuradhapta. Posted in Articles, frontpage, PTA

AnuradhaOn Friday, May 18th , The PTA will once again be hosting the annual BFIS International Food Fair, our cultural food-fest meant to showcase all the wonderful cultural diversity here at BFIS! To lead up to the event, we thought you might like to meet some of the interesting BFIS parents who will be volunteering as this-year´s Country Table Co-ordinators!

Our first parent profile is an interview with Anuradha M. Ghemawat, this year´s Table Co-ordinator for the India-Pakistan Table. Anuradha´s experience with the IFF goes back to 2001 when she first participated in the Fair. Since then, she has been the Co-ordinator of the IFF for the last five years, so she is undeniably one of the best people at BFIS to tell us what´s involved.

We asked Anuradha what she liked best about the International Food Fair and she told us that that there were three things that were very significant for her: first, the cultural diversity, secondly, the cameraderie between the parents as they work together and get to know each other better and finally, the exposure to the different cuisines, national dresses and customs of the countries represented at the food fair and comprising our family community at BFIS.

She explained that the role of Country Table Co-ordinator was for anyone who is good at organizing and/or wants to get involved in showcasing their country of origin and bringing together families at BFIS.

In her words, “if you´re good at and like organizing who will bring the veggies, who will bring the entrees, and who will bring the deserts and you don´t mind asking around to see who has a flag or some special decorations, or typical clothes, then this job is for you!”

Anuradha offered 5 valuable suggestions:

  1. Take the initiative! If you have a desire to present your country through it´s typical food and customs, then get involved!
  2. Contact your room parent and they will let the word out  that you would like to either be a Table Co-ordinator and/or work with other families  in your child´s class who would like to set up a table.
  3. Contact the PTA and let them know which table you would like to set up. They will put you in touch with other families  in other grades at BFIS and give you a list of table items  and supplies you can check off and indicate what you need. Things like the table, serviettes, plates, plastic glasses, forks etc., are all happily provided by the PTA.
  4. Think about finger food! Plates, forks and serviettes will all be available and provided by the PTA, but if you can bring finger food, consider it a good idea as they are just so easy to munch on and move about with.
  5. Remember that you are cooking for about 10 – 15 people. You don´t have to bring food for a hundred people! But, usually about 350- 400 people attend the IFF so you do want a fair number of people at your table who can each bring one or two different plates.

We ended our interview with Anuradha by talking about the more than twenty different nationalities and food tables that are usually set up at the BFIS International Food Fair and how just plain delicious it is to explore, taste and enjoy the fine food, company, and wonderful student-performed, entertainment!

Thanks Anuradha! 🙂

If you would like to get involved with this year´s International Food Fest, send us an email!

MSA “Q and A”

Written by Kili Lay. Posted in Kili Lay

After the all staff meeting on Tuesday, April 10, several questions arose.
Read them, and responses, here.

  • How do individual teachers need to prepare for the visit?

There is nothing out of the ordinary that you need to do. As the visit comes closer, there may be some specific tasks that need your help to come to completion and you will be asked for help, if needed.

  • What work still needs to be done by the end of the year, and from which individuals? (for example committee chairs…)

The Self Study report needs to be completed. There are many sections and people with inside knowledge of a particular section have been asked for help (ex. Nurse will help provide vaccination data, Admissions will provide enrollment trends). Kili is collating this report, as the Internal Coordinator.

The Student Performance Objectives (one part of the Self Study) need to be finalized and sent to MSA for “technical review” later this month. Input will likely be sought from ES Reading Committee members, ES Writing Committee members, ETLs, SALs, the MSHS Language Arts Team, the MSHS World Languages Team, the MSHS Math Team.

Action Plans (another part of the Self Study) to carry out the SPO’s need to be created, likely by the same groups involved in the above work. These last two sections are work that needs heavy input from teachers.

MSA Big Ideas from April 10, 2012

Written by Kili Lay. Posted in Kili Lay

The three big ideas I hoped to impart on Tuesday, April 10 at the all staff meeting can be stated as the following:

First: The Middle States Association for Accreditation provides us with an external validation of what we do as a school. It helps hold us accountable to our mission statement and our vision of our preferred future to guide school improvement.

Second: Schools choose an accreditation protocol based on different factors. We have chosen “Accreditation for Growth” (AFG) and that means we commit to strategic planning, student performance improvement, and wide community involvement. Other protocols include Excellence by Design (ExBD), focusing on strategic planning and continuous review, and Renewing the Vision, focusing on a clear vision of the school’s preferred future.

Third: The AFG protocol for our self study focuses on three things –

  1. a culture of planning and a planning ethic
  2. student performance objectives, results, and growth towards school goals
  3. the 12 MSA standards