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. 

Note from Pam: January 18, 2019


We hope everyone had a restful and enjoyable winter break. The new year is already off to an exciting start! The FAIS Forest is now reopened after the wind storms, we had our first ever FAIS Family Game Night (thanks to the PLC's FUN Committee), and we held our 9th annual FAIS Spelling Bee! Our 8th graders also presented their community service projects -- stay tuned for an update in the next issue! From all of us at FAIS, we wish you a healthy 2019 and we look forward to watching our students continue to grow into open-minded, global citizens.

FAIS Family Game Night Was So Fun!
By Sara Hernando, Volunteer and Special Events Manager

Over 65 families and 200 people showed up to the Fun Committee’s family fun event on Saturday, January 12 and it was a blast. Highlights of the night included Bingo and Musical Chairs. The middle school kids were super excited to have Rainy Day Games there to help lead them in various strategy games that drew in parents and children alike. Keep an eye out for the next Fun Committee Family events which will be the Art Gallery on March 29 and an “outdoor games” event that will take place in June.

Fifth Grade Student Wins Spelling Bee
By Jeff Luther, Middle School Teacher

Congratulations to 5th grade student Euan, the winner of the Ninth Annual FAIS spelling bee held on January 15. The runner up was 7th grade student Ashley. Both students battled for six rounds before Euan successfully spelled the winning word, “insinuate.” All together, twenty six students in 5th-8th grades competed in this year’s spelling bee. Euan will represent FAIS at the regional spelling bee on March 9 at the Hollywood Theater in Portland.

Classcraft with the 4th Graders
by AnaÏs and Valerie, 4th Grade Students

Fourth graders have started Classcraft in Music with their teacher David Olson. “When we heard David explain what it is we felt very excited!” said Anaïs. “It’s like a lifelong dream come true,” laughed Valerie.


Classcraft is a game to make class better! First, you choose your group in your class and you pick a name for the group. For example “Bear Paws” for Anaïs’s group with Lauren, Mealla, Elsa, and Morjane. Valerie’s group is “The Power of Music” with classmates Dash, Cosette, and Amelia. Second, you a choose a logo for your group like the head of a deer with decorations or a glowing blue tree with stones around it. Third, you create an avatar. You can choose out of three categories: a warrior, a mage, and a healer. Anaïs chose to be a healer so she could heal the people in her group when they get hurt during a battle. Valerie chose to be a warrior because she can protect people and because “I am the best fighter!” she says. Then you can choose from three powers in the level (there are 24 total, maybe) depending on your character.


The goal of this game is to win battles and reach the highest level. You also get points! Experience points, health points, action points and GOLD! With the gold you can get pets and change your clothes but it also depends on your level.


Your teacher is the game master. He gives all the points and sets the challenges. You have to learn things, memorize stuff, be respectful and do good things in class to win battles! When you fall in battle you sometimes have to do something ridiculous in class or do extra homework which is terrible! No one has fallen in battle yet.


David does this to motivate us. Valerie says, “it’s working for me because I don’t want to have to do something ridiculous in class like do the chicken dance.”


Anaïs replies: "I really want to learn more so my group doesn’t fall in battle because of me."


"This game is the best thing ever!” screams Valerie.

Green Team: Leading the Charge on Campus Energy Conservation
By Dharshini Pillai and Jeanette Swafford, Gilkey Green Team Leaders

“Parent Green Team Leader Needed.” I saw those words printed in the Eagle Newsletter at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. “Given all our keen parent volunteers that will be snapped up in no time” I told myself.


Weeks went by and to my surprise the slot remained vacant. Our family is passionate about protecting the environment so I asked Beth Clifton if I could take on the role partnered by my dear friend and partner in crime, Jeanette Swafford. Together we met with Beth and chartered a course for a Gilkey Green Team. I can’t at this point continue without mentioning Avery Eastman, an alumni student who is the brainchild behind the Gilkey Green Team. Without her light bulb idea and Beth’s efforts to promote it, we would not be here and achieved what we have.


Beth galvanized the student body and announced that we would meet every Wednesday at lunch. “Would they come?” “Do kids care?” “Will they be willing to give up their recess?” “Will it just be the two of us staring at a room full of empty chairs?” Our fears were allayed when ten 6th-8th graders showed up for the first meeting and continued to do so for the rest of the year. Wednesday turned out to be our favorite day of the week. There is something heartwarming about the enthusiasm of children, and this bunch is inspiring in their ideals and creativity. Kudos to their parents and the School for developing such enlightened souls.


That first year, the Green Team focused on “responsible waste initiatives” by educating students and teachers on how to sort and separate waste according to school and provider guidelines. The kids created a giant 3-D board detailing the separation of waste, filmed a Harry Potter-esque movie trailer, and a stop-motion video to educate the student body in a fun way.

This current school year, the Green Team has swelled to 16 delightful kids. We are working on an energy conservation initiative to bring down the School’s electricity bill, which runs at about $70,000 per annum. Louise Kausche (the school’s accountant) and Ralph Medina (Director of Facilities) spoke to the kids about the cost of energy and how to conserve it at school. It was fun to see the kids pepper them with questions; no shrinking violets in this group!


Each satellite has been divvied up between team members who are now conducting an energy audit which entails assessing the energy efficiency of every room on campus. New thermostats were installed over winter break with instructions to the room owners to maintain temperatures at 70o F / 21o C (according to the EPA, there is improved student and staff health, thinking, and performance with an indoor temperature range of 20 - 23o C). The kids will follow up their work with a light and technology audit in February. Stay tuned to hear more about their achievements and audit results!


Are you a parent interested in getting involved with the Green Team? Please contact Beth at

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead

Winds Topple Tree in FAIS Forest
From our Instagram Feed

Heavy winds during the first few days of the new year affected the FAIS Forest, toppling a tree that had been weakened by a fungal infection. The Nature Trail and Outdoor Classrooms were closed for just a few days, until the tree could be removed. It was a blessing in disguise, as the Green Team will be using the salvaged wood on upcoming nature trail restoration projects.

Photo Gallery: Recess!

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Episode 11


All-School Half Day on January 25

January 25 is the end of the semester for Middle School students, and a half day for all students. FASCA and PM Classes will run as usual. If your child is staying for FASCA or a PM Class, please have them bring a lunch.

Read More about All-School Half Day on January 25

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