- MS PE /Exercise: School is working with MS/HS PE teacher towards a written PE curriculum. This does not mean that all lesson plans will be written and shared with parents. School is also looking at ways to optimize opportunities for physical activity during the day that can be offered to the kids. Tournaments are being organized during recess in MHS.
- Math Textbook Update: Why do we have Australian textbooks for Math? BFIS chose the current textbook with four criteria in mind: English language, adequate preparation for IB program in 11th grade, international nomenclature (metric, not American Standard), and available in Europe. There was not an appropriate American textbook fitting all three criteria.
- SFL 2012-2013: International Students will have the opportunity to work on Spanish language skills using Rosetta Stone program on school computers. More information to follow.
International Food Fair is Friday, May 18th
- Why don’t we provide free bracelets to volunteers? Financially, we can’t afford to give free bracelets to the hundred plus people who volunteer at IFF. At the same time, trying to award limited number of bracelets to smaller tables was complicated by issues of uneven expenses, effort, and numbers of volunteers. Last year, after much open debate, the community voted to discontinue the policy of free bracelets for volunteers. Ultimately, each country must decide for themselves whether or not to participate.
- Help for Small Countries: Small countries with limited volunteers may want to consider sharing a table with neighboring countries in the region or focusing on a single food or dish, rather than presenting a banquet.
- GUEST WORKER program, in which we can provide volunteers for a shift, enabling countries with one or two volunteers to enjoy the fair for a time.
- In collaboration with ES music teacher, IFF entertainment will showcase more international acts with link to country traditions. Please recruit your fellow citizen performers now!
New IFF ideas for consideration by the PTA:
- Sign-in table for Last Minute Volunteers,
- “International table” for those parents that want to bring in one dish, but are not affiliated with a country table. This table would still need a captain to work.
- Better communication from PTA that this is not a PTA funded event, but parents are paying for food etc.
- Increasing prices at bar as a substitute for free bracelets.
- Reminding countries to bring a trashcan if they want—ease of cleaning up and school supplies are always limited!
New Discussion Items:
- If you have a suggestion for outside speakers/authors/participants, please pass the name and description on to the PTA. PTA will send it on to appropriate department.
- Children not allowed to play tag on the playground anymore. Can alternative way of playing tag be found? To be logged in the PCL.
- If you would like to get more involved with BFIS, please consider helping out with the PTA Board. We are always in search of fresh perspectives and helpful, organized people!
Meeting notes of Open PTA meeting on Friday, March 30th
PTA gave update on upcoming events:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
Follow Up to January Meeting:
- Traffic Patterns: Traffic pattern was implemented Monday the 20th.
- Jim Conner (teacher traffic supervisor) has reported that compliments are coming in regarding the chaos at the bottom of the hill—a lot less three-point turns going in every direction.
- Lack of crosswalk up at the upper gate–Could the people at the drop-off area help with crossing?
- Could the bottom green gate be open? With it open, we can keep walkers off the congested sidewalks.
- In the afternoons, people need to remember that the one-way traffic pattern still holds true.
- Lunch Committee:
- Due to ongoing concerns, we invited interested parents to work together on a small committee. There were two responders. The committee will be convening in the next few weeks. Cuina Justa would also like to meet with parents.
- Cuina Justa already encourages all students to take a bite or taste all the foods. They are also considering methods of reporting to parents if the child has not eaten anything.
- BFIS has explained that there are a few items that are not open to debate:
- Students can sit wherever
- BFIS will not force children to clear their plate
- Lunch cannot be longer
- With a small school, it may be hard to find a provider who can accommodate many choices, particularly when numbers of kids buying are not consistent.
- Are there menu options? Cultural differences? Different choices? There are currently options for vegetarians, gluten-free and lactose-free, but there may be restrictions on these items. Can there be daily options?
- Ongoing concerns: expensive and food runs out before last meals.
- Head of School Search Committee—Board may be making an announcement regarding the head of school search work by the end of February.
- Bus Behavior: BFIS acknowledges that school bus behavior is linked to campus behavior.
- There are established rules for the school bus, and there is a process in place to enable the monitors to unacceptable behavior.
- BFIS has met with the monitors already this year to review the process, and they are now trying to look at ways to tweak the reporting to make it more consistent and effective.
- ISA test has happened. Can the school include information in an upcoming Weekly the FAQ’s regarding the intent and purpose of the test.
Open PTA Meeting: Friday, January 20th
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
- 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.
- 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?