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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 monthly 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. 

 

Scott's Blog

From Scott’s Blog (view previous posts and subscribe!)

Traditions

We all have traditions that we live during this upcoming Holiday Break. Some of you may have religious traditions, while some of you may have family traditions that include traveling somewhere -- to the mountains for a quintessential snowy winter, or across the ocean for a long overdue reunion -- but we all have some kind of tradition we look forward to during this time of year. 

 

Our family’s traditions are loosely connected to a traditional Christmas, but it is truly about being with family and friends to genuinely appreciate and value each other. I have always been fascinated with how individual families celebrate this time of year. When Emily and I had Cole and Zoe, there was some serious negotiating that occurred in order for each of us to preserve important childhood traditions. What was never compromised was our desire to establish our own traditions with our two children. Twenty years later, I find it interesting to see how our traditions are evolving, and I recently realized, I am ok with that. It occurred to me that the thing I really care about is being together with friends and family as we usher out one year and bring in another. 

 

Still, there is one tradition that will never change for me. Each year, I try to find moments of quiet. During these moments, I reflect on the people I am grateful to have in my life... friends, family, colleagues, and certainly, all of you: the FAIS community. I am grateful for the year we are having, and I look forward to the year ahead of us.

 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all of you!

Faculty/Staff Workshop on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (and Belonging)

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts have gained momentum from the start of the year. We are thankful that different stakeholders have been supportive during this critical period of assessment in order to help build understanding of the scope of work that needs to be done through the lens of our school context. DEI work helps us engage multiple perspectives throughout our school ecosystem. 

 

Purpose

Understanding and demonstrating who we are as a community through the lens of our mission. 

 

Culture

Establishing norms for healthy interaction amongst all community members and ensuring that we always uphold an inclusive community that embraces diversity through multiple perspectives. Respect above all. 

 

Environment

Taking a close look at our structure, policies and procedures to ensure equity for all community members. 

 

Learning

Analyzing and defining a curriculum in order to provide an unbiased education to our students and the skills to be empowered to learn, discuss and respect different points of view. The skills they develop at FAIS will be the foundation of how they interact with a changing society in an interconnected world. This, in turn, also would apply to the learning process of all stakeholders associated with the school. 

 

Different pockets of effort have helped set the stage for our work. Our November 16th faculty/staff meeting provided the opportunity to meet together and build perspective around the meaning of these three terms that constitute DEI. We were able to discuss our backgrounds, experiences, and personal perspectives regarding DEI – at FAIS and in life. Other smaller group meetings have been crucial in informing our work. Counselors, leadership, International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) Coordination, and talks with people interested in affinity groups have helped to build the scope of interest and areas to further develop. 

 

We are happy to say that our Board of Trustees is engaged and supportive with this year's scope of work, and have made DEI a priority in the school’s long-term strategic plan – including the mission review process that is underway. Thank you to all the alumni, alumni parents, current families, faculty, and staff who have participated in the recent surveys. Please keep an eye out for additional opportunities to share your insights.

 

This commitment from our Head of School and the board has empowered the leadership team to look at DEI through the lens of different departments with the goal of strengthening the FAIS experience for everyone. We look forward to the exciting work ahead and sharing the progress with our community.

RECAP: Giving Tuesday

The FAIS Community unleashed their generosity for GivingTuesday! GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. Created in 2012 to encourage people to do good following “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” GivingTuesday has grown into a movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. 

 

This year on November 30, we had over 30 families make gifts to the Annual Fund, with many others committing through their company’s matching gift programs.

 

Of the gifts that came in online:

  • 9 donors made their first EVER gift to FAIS
  • 8 donors made their second (or third!) gift this year
  • 7 gifts came from parents new to FAIS this year
  • 4 donors joined the 1979 Society

 

Overall, our community raised over $40,000 toward the Annual Fund this GivingTuesday – double what we raised on the same day last year!

 

Thank you to everyone who supported FAIS! To make a gift to FAIS before December 31, please visit https://www.faispdx.org/give

Web Radio: Special International Collaboration

Earlier this month, FAIS Web Radio students participated in a worldwide educational event among the network of 535 schools accredited by the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE): La Semaine des lycées français du monde! #SemaineLFM

 

Our students partnered with three schools — Cousteau–the École Française Internationale de Vancouver, Lycée Français de Séoul, and Lycée Français International de Bahreïn — to produce a special three-episode series on art, sciences, and sustainable development... completely in French!

 

Congratulations to all of the schools on a successful and exciting project. And thank you to our new friends at Radio Cousteau (Vancouver, BC), Radio LFS (Séoul), and Web Radio LFIB (Bahreïn) for such a fun and collaborative week!

 

Listen to these special episodes (as well as previous episodes, newly released episode #67, and a special holiday song) at www.faispdx.org/WebRadio or by clicking the button below!

 

Listen to Web Radio

Toute Petite Section (TPS): New Movement Room

Students in TPS (our early preschool for 2½-year-olds) have been enjoying their new movement room in Satellite 3! This has been such a great resource for all kinds of activities for play-based inquiry – as well as an indoor recess option and exploration space for when weather is less than ideal outside.

Kindergartener Shares Home Project on Diversity

Kindergarten classes have been participating in Communities for Safe Kids with Impact NW. Through online presentations and discussions on diversity, kids learned about a variety of topics, including: the importance of feeling welcome and helping others feel welcome, empathizing with what it feels like to be left out, identifying and being proud of what makes us unique – from personalities, interests, and body type to gender, culture, ethnicity, and language.

 

One of the kindergartners in Veronique Pain's class, Harlow, decided to do a personal project in her free time at home, and brought it to class to share with her friends (see picture above, shared with permission from Harlow’s family).

8th Grade/1st Grade Partnership Project

Three 8th graders (Maya, Ellis, and Mona) developed a plan to share creative opportunities with children as part of their community project — the capstone of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. They asked the 1st grade teachers if they could come in to share some creative moments with their students. 

 

After receiving a resounding “YES!,” they came in over the course of a week to share in three collaborative opportunities: creative writing, drawing/painting, and dreamcatcher making. It was so encouraging to see their initiative as leaders in our student community, their passion for creativity, and their willingness to share their knowledge with our younger learners.

2nd Graders Take a Healthy Bite into Science

As part of their unit of inquiry on healthy habits, 2nd graders in Jennifer Reineck’s class explored the importance of keeping our teeth healthy. They created their own teeth molds during science by making play dough, biting into it, then pouring plaster to form the molds. Students also welcomed a visit by a dentist… from the comfort (and safety) of their classroom chairs, instead of the dentist chair!

6th Grade: Summative Art of Geometry

Eighth grader Stefan accepted Lauren Sinclair’s invitation to return to her 6th grade Art of Geometry class to share his project from last year as inspiration for the current class.

 

The assignment: build two scaled geometric polyhedra that move or function in some way.

 

Stefan’s stepdad likes to do woodworking, which gave him the initial idea of building a geometric waterfall fountain, but he couldn’t get the flipping mechanism to work properly. He then pivoted to a water clock, using a fish tank pump as the mechanism to pump water into the largest water tower. 

 

So, how does it work? Zip-tied corks (skewered by coat hangers) measure time as the water level rises. Stefan then took the distance in millimeters and divided it by minutes to determine how many markings to make and where to put them. 

 

After demonstrating the water clock in-action – with some elements of his original waterfall idea – he donated it to Mrs. Sinclair to show to future classes… and free up space in the garage!

 

Click here for a video! 

8th Grade Event Design: Production Begins on “The Outsiders”

Eighth graders in David Olson’s event design class pivoted this year’s public performance from what is normally a musical, to a play (as a COVID precaution). Students researched a number of options to consider and voted on “The Outsiders”!

 

This week, they had their first off-book run-through. In addition to the action on stage, students are also in charge of lighting, sound, and set design. They’re also showing their creativity (and perseverance) with design challenges, ranging from sketches and color palette backdrops to blocking and fight choreography. “Stay gold,” students – we’re looking forward to the performance in January!

Welcome to Elmira Ramos: Our New Health Coordinator

We’re excited (and grateful) to welcome our new school health coordinator, Elmira Ramos! Elmira is a native South Texan, raised in Tampico, Mexico along with her younger brother. She received her M.D. degree from Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas. During her medical training she did clinical rotations at St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston, Texas, as part of the Latin-American Physician Training Program. 

 

After graduating medical school, she spent over 5 years in clinical research on numerous specialties. She is a native Spanish speaker, is fluent in English, and dabbles in French. Her interests and activities include: reading, watching documentaries with her husband, and having dance parties with her daughter. Welcome/Bienvenue/Bienvenidos, Elmira!

Meet Juliana Gay: Our New Library Assistant

"I love spending time in nature, whether it’s hiking and backpacking, taking a leisurely stroll, or trying a new activity. I also enjoy reading, baking, rollerblading, and snuggling with my new kitten!

 

I love working with kids, specifically building individual relationships and learning how to best engage them in an educational setting. I can’t wait to work in the library and continue to connect with students while being surrounded by books!"