La Gazette

La Gazette highlights the variety of stories happening in our FAIS community every day—from moments in the classroom and around campus to service projects and off-campus activities.

Usually published twice per month during the school year, La Gazette is shared via email with current families and staff. It can also be found here, in our website archive. 


"Dragons Love Tacos”... and our Prekindergarteners do too!

Last week, one of our prekindergarten classes took a field trip to see the Oregon Children’s Theater production of “Dragons Love Tacos." Well, it must’ve made them hungry, because they decided to have their very own taco party during snack time on... you guessed it: Taco Tuesday! Students made a list of possible ingredients, and everyone built their tacos with their favorite goodies.

8th Graders Present Digital Maps to Group of Experts

Students in Mrs. Sinclair’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Design class had the opportunity to present their work to a group of experts -- including geomentors David Bantas and Hunter Shobe from Portland State University, Christina Friedle from PCC, and Annie Trambley from Quantum Spatial. They were also treated to a black powder cartography demonstration by Matthew Hampton from Portland Metro.

These students are doing university-level work with digital map making software, and tackling important issues affecting our local and national communities:

  • Affordable Housing in Portland (Alexander and Krissy)
  • Anti-Vaccination Rates in Oregon (Rafe and Riley)
  • Climate Change and Health in the U.S. (Chloe and Maneli)
  • Healthcare in the U.S. (Mariella)
  • Safety in Portland (Athena and Charlotte)

Congratulations to our students for pushing the boundaries of what kids can do with GIS, and showing how this technology can help spark solutions to help create a better and more peaceful world! Learn more about their accomplishments through GIS design at FAIS (scrolling down to the published articles, videos, and interviews).

FAIS Spelling Bee

Ready. Set. Spell! This year’s FAIS Spelling Bee featured 16 contestants, 54 words, and 12 rounds — capped off by a 3-round, head-to-head duel. The winning word? McIntosh (noun): a bright red apple for eating.


Congratulations to our FAIS champion (Diane, 7th grade) — who will go on to compete in the Portland regional — runner-up (Ashley, 8th grade), and all of our spellers!


Thank you to our audience members who showed up to support their friends, as well as our staff volunteers: crowd wrangler (Minda McCandless), judges (Mike Potter and Sarah Whitcher), pronouncer (Lauren Yamasaki), and organizer (Matt Young).

6th Graders Reflect on the Importance of Learning Other Languages

Sixth graders in our immersion tracks (French, German, Mandarin, and Spanish) recently reflected on their own language learning, and on how communities of various backgrounds can be brought together by languages.


Their summative assessment addressed these common inquiries:


  • How is a language connected to a culture?
  • How does the study of your immersion language help create international consciousness?
  • What role does this language play in your personal life?
  • What languages does FAIS offer -- and if we could add another language, which one would you recommend, and why? 
  • What does it mean to you to be a student in an international school, and how will it help you in your future?

Teachers were impressed by the level of maturity that students expressed in their assessments. Through well-supported and powerful arguments, students presented a diverse range of possible languages to consider adding to our Middle School program, including Arabic, Latin, Japanese, and Russian.


After careful consideration, teachers selected the articles that they thought best represented the spirit and the overall goal of the unit to share with the FAIS community. Each article is in its original language, along with its translation in English:



Students in the French track examined the francophone world, focusing on one country in particular where French was spoken in order to put together a short study. They gained a deeper appreciation of how language enriches a culture, and how learning and speaking one or more languages encourages not only communication and connections, but also tolerance. This year, students also conducted a survey about the francophone community at our school -- interviewing a total of 64 people among staff and faculty (see survey results). The summative assessment of the unit included questions about the survey, the future of the French language, and its influence at an international level.


Students in the German track first looked at how many languages were spoken in Europe and learned about the value of being able to communicate with people in their language. They then focused on the German speaking countries and researched parts of the history, government, and culture of those countries. Students enjoyed being able to read text in the original language, including some famous German fables and books by German speaking authors.


Students in the Mandarin track studied how the language can be different in different countries, including use of words, intonation, accents, and pronunciation. They learned to understand why and how one language can change in different countries and cultures. They also appreciated being able to learn different languages and how that gives them more opportunities in the future.


Students in the Spanish track took the same approach as the Mandarin track. They also explored the differences between how Spanish is spoken in Spain, as compared to Latin America.


Great job to all of our students, and a big thank you to the teachers who led this collaborative unit: Angelique Cansse (French track), Kelly Chen (Mandarin track), Angelika Oedekoven, Marion Rosier (French track), Angelique, and  Gloria Widdows (Spanish track).

Alumni Spotlight: Louis Wheatley ('06)

FAIS alumnus Louis Wheatley (‘06) graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College to go on and work for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. In this alumni spotlight, Louis shares about his time at FAIS, pursuing a career in writing and journalism, and more!


“Perhaps it’s cliché, but FAIS erased the borders that otherwise might have held back some of my most pivotal life experiences thus far... There’s nowhere I’d rather be than neck deep in a story, connecting dots that aren’t plainly linked and picking up insights that change how we understand our society.”


Read more about Louis and other FAIS alumni

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