As our Admissions Officer Lisa Ward wraps up her last few days at the FIS before retiring, we sat down with Karine Chaveriat, who will be taking over our Admissions department and process.
Mrs. Chaveriat has had a long association with the FIS since her start at the school in 2008 as a Learning Assistant. Over the years, she has handled many responsibilities including front office coordination, After School Activities, and the Instrumental Program. She has also been involved in the CIS/NEASC accreditation process. As a FIS parent of four, Mrs. Chaveriat has an excellent overview of the different possibilities and opportunities for the students. This, combined with her experience, makes her a fitting choice for this new challenge.
What is unique about the FIS?
Mrs. Chaveriat: I remember that for us as a family, the FIS offered a feeling of home quite early. It was a good place to find our feet and settle in. Here, the teachers provide a personalized and caring learning environment for every student. At the FIS there is a strong emphasis on caring for individual needs.
Additionally, the FIS provides the students with various platforms to find their voice, build confidence and independence of thought, and to support their personal development. They are not here only to learn facts and figures, but to also hone their interpersonal skills.
What do you think the students most enjoy/value about the FIS?
Mrs. Chaveriat: In Primary School, the students certainly enjoy the possibility to engage in multiple types of activities. We have Outdoor Learning, Music, Sport, Art, and Drama, to list a few.
For Secondary School students, it’s amazing to see the kind of relationships they can build with their teachers. At the FIS there is a strong student focus and a profound sense of care. There is an open-door culture throughout the school. Students have a lot of support, and there is a feeling of being in a safe place – a place where people care for their wellbeing, education, and growth.
This ties into my earlier reflection of there being an emphasis on providing individualized attention at the FIS. The students aren’t just numbers in a classroom; they are recognized for the person they are and I think that’s key to their development.
How does the FIS support the transition of incoming students and families?
Mrs. Chaveriat: As soon as the students are accepted, we provide them with the necessary information on how to get ready for the start of the school year. The FIS Newsletter and FIS NewsBlog are great resources for getting an overview of everyday life at the school, as well as accessing important documentation and departmental information.
A Welcome Afternoon is hosted right before school starts. Here the parents and students have an opportunity to meet their future teachers and the Head of School, see the classrooms, ask questions and get to know each other.
Later, there are Parent Information Nights where the school shares key information on the curricular side of things. Here, the families also get to meet the PTO. There is also a Welcome BBQ organized by the PTO, besides several meetups throughout the year, where the new families have a forum to engage in an informal environment.
For Secondary School, we have a ‘buddy’ program where each new student gets two buddies (current FIS students) to facilitate their integration at the beginning of school.
Besides, throughout the school year there are multiple events organized by the FIS counselors on an array of topics, to encourage dialogue and get the parents directly involved in student development.
How would you describe the FIS community?
Mrs. Chaveriat: When I joined the FIS, there was always a conversation about building a ‘home away from home’. And over the last 14 years, I’ve realized that this is indeed true for the FIS.
That’s how I’d describe the FIS community. Very quickly, you can develop a feeling of belonging. There is an extremely supportive community. Within the parent and staff groups, you see a lot of support being extended to each other.
What kind of services does the school offer?
Mrs. Chaveriat: At the FIS, our focus isn’t just curricular; we support student development in a number of lateral ways. This is exhibited in the After School Activity Program, Instrumental Program, and GISST, among others. The FIS is also always open to supporting mother tongue programs and art projects.
As part of the curriculum, the Learning Support department includes certified learning specialist teachers to offer students with mild learning difficulties additional assistance. There is the English as an Additional Language (EAL) to help students build a foundation in the English language. Our three in-house counselors not only enable an environment of caring and active listening for the students, but also regularly share resources and conduct roundtables to support parents in doing the same. The FIS has also developed connections with local service providers like speech therapists and psychologists which we can recommend as needed.
What made you want to take on this new challenge at the FIS?
Mrs. Chaveriat: I think I was ready for a change and to undertake a new challenge professionally. So when the position was advertised, I felt I could contribute more to the development of the FIS within this role. This is because I’ve been part of the admin team for several years, I know the people, and I am acquainted with the administrative processes in place. Thanks to my experience as a FIS parent, I understand what the expectations of the parents are. I hope I can now contribute to making the admissions process of the FIS an even more pleasant journey for the families.
We wish Mrs. Chaveriat all the best as she embarks on this new journey at the FIS. Please note that we still have open spaces for SY 22-23. To book a visit, or find out more, please look at the Admissions section on our website or get in touch with Mrs. Chaveriat at Karine.Chaveriat@the-fis.de.