“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller.
Our 2022/2023 school year is truly up and running. Field trips, days trips, Parent Information Nights, and of course, the myriad of learning experiences have been the hallmark of the first three weeks of school. Thank you to all who could attend our Primary and Secondary Information Nights. As I said previously, how refreshing it was to start school and share these events in person and together.
Upon COVID-19 being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, families and schools faced major challenges in how to adapt, become resilient, and to continue educating their children at all levels amid school closures. While students pivoted from more traditional learning, to virtual or blended scenarios in which the contents reached their homes without having to travel, the pandemic threw up a veil between home and school, and at other times blurred the lines between school and home. This school year, we wish to reconnect with our community and re-establish and further strengthen our home school partnership.
As Kerrie LaRosa states educating children without family involvement is like trying to solve a puzzle when you are missing pieces. Learning is not limited to school. Whether reading, playing, arguing with a sibling or fixing a snack, children are constantly learning through everyday activities. A child’s job is to learn and effective learning always requires a strong relationship between parents and teachers.
At the FIS, we believe in home-school partnership and how this partnership promotes the positive impact on students’ motivation, engagement, and academic and social development. Partnership is more complex than merely involvement or participation. It is mutually determined and has benefits for all partners – students, parents and teachers. It is two-way. Schools can recognise and celebrate each child’s uniqueness and welcome all families, while helping families to recognize their children as students and to reinforce the importance of homework and activities that build students’ thinking and skills.
Effective collaboration depends on using these key components of partnerships. In order to have a true partnership, we know that both parties must be willing to participate, trust that the child’s best interests are at the forefront. We also understand that this does not just happen but needs to be deliberate and planned.
We have been looking at how to re-energize our home-school partnerships, at what is hopefully the very tail end of this pandemic, and I would like to share two points:
Primary and Secondary Conferences
As you may be aware, parent/teacher conferences (PTCs) will be reinstated but with a slight twist. We will be following a family conference model whereby “parents are treated as conferencing partners and encouraged to interact during conferences from positions of mutual strength, based on their special knowledge of the children involved” (Peyton, 1997). Students are also encouraged to be active contributors: provide perspective on subjects discussed, setting goals, sharing assessment information, and contributing to solutions. All participants are equal contributors and together teachers, students and parents will develop goals to work on at home and at school. Our first conference, for both primary and secondary school students will take place on Thursday, November 10. More information on the conferences will be communicated well in advance of this date.
This school year, we will also be launching our Coffee Morning program. This will run regularly throughout the year. There will be a different focus or activity for each Coffee Morning that will inform you about school policies, how we can collectively support your child, and also solicit your input and feedback on school initiatives and developments.
These will be informal sessions and refreshments will be provided. Coffee Morning will also be a great opportunity to get to know other parents, and share experiences. Parents lead very busy lives, but we are hoping you could spare an hour to ‘wind down’ and learn about something new. Our program already kicked off on September 9 with the “How to @the FIS”. Our next session will be on Thursday, September 22 at 8:45 in the Theater. If you wish to attend any of the sessions please rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org listing the sessions you would like to attend. Our program for the first semester can be found below:
|September 9, 2022||How to @ the FIS|
|September 22, 2022||Meet the Senior Leadership Team|
|October 5, 2022||New Parent Welcome - Transitions|
|October 18, 2022||School Core Values|
|October 25, 2022||Parenting and German Legalities|
|November 15, 2022||Raising Children in the Digital Age|
|December 13, 2022||Navigating Emotions|
|January 23, 2023||New Parent Welcome - Transitions (for mid-year entry families)|