News from Alfonso - 3/14

Dear Friends

So much has happened in the world lately. And at TIS.

I have been communicating with Japanese 5th grade teacher Taka and the parents of TIS students on their Capstone trip in Japan, and all are fine. However, the group has learned that there will be rotating power shutoffs throughout the city that will leave them hotel bound, so they will most likely be returning this Thursday. Taka describes the mood in Tokyo as being very low, understandably. There will be so much to clean up and recover from, so much loss.

As I told you yesterday, our school council will be launching a fund raising initiative for Japan. I have received emails from various parties stating that we can donate through them and accounts they have set up. Of course we all have to be careful at this time, so TIS donations will be forwarded directly to a recognized organization such as the Red Cross. We will be talking with students in assemblies and classrooms about catastrophic natural events and be sure to reinforce that they are safe but that this offers us an opportunity to help others in need. If students want to help, it would be great if you let them earn some money through chores or projects so that they can feel the fulfillment of donating money they earned.

At last Wednesday's PTO meeting I talked about the budget and tuition for next year. We are very focused on improving salary for teachers and other staff. The highlight of the evening was a panel of former students and their parents who are now attending 6th grade through high school at other area schools. We should have video taped that presentation as the students surely made us very proud with their poise, their insights on transition, and their many accomplishments academically and personally.

Thanks to Linda Bonder’s tech magic (even from Spain where she’s currently attending Capstone with her 5th grade son), the capstone blogs will now be more easily accessible from the TIS home page. The blogs are now all linked to the announcements box on the TIS home page.

As some of you know, Michael (who helped do traffic in the morning among other things) was here as a temporary employee from an outside firm and helped Frank for the past several months. Michael has now moved on, and we appreciate his work and his presence at TIS. We are fortunate to have been able to hire Mr Eros Minera in our Maintenance Department. Eros is the husband of Adriana Burrola (Spanish 3rd grade teacher) and fortunately for us, he is highly skilled in plumbing, electrical work, wall repair and painting. His presence will help us to accomplish many repairs in-house without reliance on outside contractors.

Main Building receptionist, Ellen Savaria has decided to move on to other endeavors. This Friday will be her last day. We thank Ellen for her service to TIS and wish her well in her next steps.

Pilar Arias has stepped down as Summer Camp Coordinator. After her years of running the program, she has decided to take a break to concentrate more on her classroom work and perhaps to have a bit of a summer break for a change. Lauren Hostetler, who has assisted significantly in running the summer program, will assume management of the camp with help from Maria and me. Lauren has a background in second language education, ran a Spanish summer camp program for two years in Pittsburgh, PA, and has a wonderful ability to organize and manage.

As we had informed you earlier this year, the summer program has been curtailed from 8 weeks to 6 weeks to allow for better sprucing up and preparation for the regular school year. This summer we anticipate some rather significant projects on the HVAC in Stearns Hall.

Congratulations to the following students who passed their Kanji tests:
Level 9
JP 4th grader, Hazel
JP 4th grader, Takuto
Level 10
JP Second grade, Erin
JP Third grade, JT
JP Third grade, John Peter

As you know, next week will be spring break. My wife and I will be taking her mother back to China and getting her settled. I will depart on March 21st and return to school on April 4th but will be getting a lot of work done online. Hard as it is to believe, we have already begun to work in earnest on planning for next year.

Have a good week and let's be sure to find at least one quiet moment to be grateful for all we have and to utter prayers, good wishes, or ardent hopes for those who have lost so much.