Stephan's Update

Capstone 2009-10
One of the most extraordinary aspects of TIS' programming is the grade 5 Capstone Academic Trips Abroad program. Capstone represents the culmination of the children's cultural education at the school. Up until now, TIS has not had the resources to coordinate Capstone trips, and much of the work and expense has fallen on the shoulders of our dedicated parents.

I am very pleased to announce that beginning in the 2009-10 school year, The International School's Capstone program will be managed and funded by the school as a component of its curriculum. In this way, Capstone will become part of the normal operating procedures and expenses of the school. Working with the Head of School and the Business Manager, Capstone Coordinator Erika Kohn will create and administer a Capstone budget as part of the school's regular budgeting process. Through her office, the school will organize the trip details, consulting with the 5th grade parents. The school budget will include those school-related student and accompanying faculty expenses such as airfare and accommodations. They will be purchased by the school through the school's travel agent, host-country ground transportation and will also include any hosting school fees, meals as related to the planned itinerary, and a gift from TIS to the host school.

Complete program details will follow with the revised Capstone brochure and Q&A which will be available this spring.

Peanut/nut allergies
Many people have become aware in recent years of the apparent increase in the frequency of children being diagnosed with allergies to nuts, including nut products, and especially peanuts. Many educators know from both first-hand experience as well as having read many students’ physicians’ reports about the extraordinary health risks posed to people who are allergic to these nuts and related products.

TIS has a practice already in place toward ensuring that the school does all that it can to minimize the risk of exposure to nut allergens for students whose health is jeopardized by such exposure. We have simply formalized that practice into a policy which appears for your review in this edition of In The Know. We include a reference to the Mayo Clinic’s website for anyone wishing to learn more about the health risks presented by these allergies.

What is new, however, is that the school will bolster the policy by sending a letter to each family in the classes attended by students who have such a very serious allergy to nuts. The students, of course, will not be identified by name in the letter, but parents, as they do now, will be asked to avoid sending food containing the allergens to school. This is all in support of maintaining a secure environment for the children who are allergic. Such an allergy will pose extremely serious consequences to the health of someone who is allergic.

We thank everyone for their continued support of a healthy environment for our students.

Snow days
As the administrative team reviewed the possibilities of making up for some of the class time lost to the snow days last December, we realized just how “tight” the school calendar is already. We are, however, extending two current half-days to be full days of classes in order to recapture some of that lost time. Please make note in your calendars that Thursday March 5 and Thursday June 4 are now full days of classes. They currently appear as half-days in the school calendar.

Strategic planning
As we continue to move through this process, please note that the committee has planned for drop-in sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday this week from 2:30 to 6:00 PM at the school. Parents are invited to provide more input into key aspects of the school’s planning.

Dr. Stephan Grasmuck