News from Alfonso - 6/14

Dear Friends,

Somehow we have reached the final week of school, and I feel how the slow steady steps of the year have accumulated since I first wrote to you last July. I am sure all my colleagues will agree the work of schooling is hard work but there is no better work, thanks in large part to the presence of children and young people.

Last week, at assembly, we recognized the achievements of Sienna in Jenny Lin’s grade 2 Chinese class who passed the YCT exam (Chinese government fluency test for young learners); and of Angela in Ann Zhu’s grade 3 Chinese class who passed the HSK exam (Chinese government fluency test for acceptance into jobs and university in China). On Friday, we were treated to amazing puppet shows by the fourth grade students, who wrote, directed, created sets for and acted out their terrific stories. I truly enjoyed watching the faces of the enraptured audience members. Many thanks go to Carol Olson and Tricia Tallman for guiding the students in this endeavor. Indeed, we recently learned with sadness that Ms. Tallman has decided to pursue a longstanding dream of being an art therapist, and she will not be returning to TIS next year. After 10 years of working at TIS and exposing students to the wonders of visual arts, she will be heading back to school to earn an MA. The good news is that she will still offer an after school program. We thank her for her years of fine work.

It occurs to me that in all these ITK pieces this year, I get to joyfully touch upon major events and activities, but that does not even scratch the surface of all the vital experiences students have here every day- all the moments of joyful puzzlement and wonder and discovery, as well as the moments of challenge and frustration and uncertainty, moments that constitute their welcome to and preparation for our lives as humans.

We have done a good year’s work but there is much more to do. Many of us will continue to work this summer, and I will be updating you through this channel. I will be heading back to China for a respite in mid July.

This three and a half day week promises to be a very busy one, but I am sure I will have an opportunity to wish you in person a very peaceful summer.

Take care,
Alfonso, 503-226-2496 x109