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. 


The Tilt

One of my favorite lessons when I taught middle school science was “Why do we have seasons?” It was always fascinating to watch kids’ faces as they contemplated this idea, then discovered it through a variety of activities. Why did we just move from summer to autumn last month? It’s the Tilt. Our Earth is tilted 23.5 degrees, and this subtlety along with our revolution around the sun creates beautiful and predictable change this time of year--it’s the Tilt. 


Right now, life seems tilted far past the normal 23.5 degrees. Kids are at home all day, we are all on endless Zoom calls, and our typical and predictable routines and activities are neither typical nor predictable. We have all had moments in the past two months where we wondered if the Tilt was so severe that we would simply fall off the proverbial edge. But we didn’t (thankfully!). 


The leaves have changed, the air has cooled, the pumpkins have arrived, and our first virtual Fete du Vin was a success. These are all proof that our planet is not tilted 180 degrees, 50 degrees, or even 24 degrees. Earth is still at 23.5 degrees, and it will be for a very long time. 


We are in a moment, longer than we hoped, that is wobbly, unmoored, and tilted at times. But, it is temporary and it is important to notice the predictable things around us -- like the change in the color of the leaves and the frost in the mornings. We also have our community, our children, our families, and friends to keep us on our axis and revolving around the sun. This gives me great joy and comfort, and I hope you all find the moments to remind yourself of these things.

Gratitude and joy for a New Year!

I have often talked about the predictable rhythms of schools and the feelings that coincide with these rhythms. For me, there is truly nothing like the first day of school, and the exciting lead up to that first day. Yes, this year is a very different first day of school, but I am still feeling the excitement, hope, and optimism that coincides with new beginnings. So, Happy New Year!


In our August parent meetings I mentioned how important it will be to maintain a sense of joy that typically exists so naturally on our campus. I also mentioned that I thought gratitude was a key component to this. Soon after these meetings I started reading the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu’s book, The Book of Joy (brace yourselves for too many references to this book throughout the year). As I reflected on the past year and the upcoming year, this quote resonated:


“The central pillars of joy are our ability to reframe our situation more positively, our ability to experience gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous.”


I hope we can all strive to keep this quote in front of us as we begin this year, and continue to try to put these pillars into action. Yes, last year was difficult, and I continue to be grateful to have been invited into this community so generously just over a year ago. The strength, resiliency, and grace of our community have been truly amazing over the past six months. Like many of you, I look forward to finding moments for us to safely come together in some way, and of course, I cannot wait until we are all on campus together again. 


To our new families: welcome to the FAIS community! We are so glad you are “here” and that you have chosen to be on this journey with us. This year may not be starting as expected, but we look forward to making it memorable and showing how our community extends beyond our campus.


Happy New Year to you all!!!

8th Grade Boys Basketball Back-to-Back Champions!

In Tuesday night’s championship game vs. Valor, our 8th grade boys basketball team held on for a 50-43 win to finish as undefeated champions -- two years in a row! 


After being in control for most of the game, the Eagles fell behind by 5 points in the 3rd quarter. Thanks to a couple of clutch 3s, we took back the lead heading into the 4th quarter, then pulled away by going 6 for 6 on free throws down the stretch. Our final free throw (featured in the video) iced the game, making it a three possession lead with only 8 seconds to go.


Congratulations, Eagles!!! Your resilience, teamwork, and commitment make the entire FAIS community proud. 

It’s a Bird... It’s a Plane... It’s ACE Week!

Last week, our preschool-5th graders wrote, illustrated, and designed their own comics/graphic novels. How do you wrap up a week of this much fun? By donning capes and unveiling their creations at our first ever Comic Con!

Our middle schoolers enjoyed a number of off-campus workshops, including a lesson on gravity from a certified STEM educator… then experienced it for themselves with indoor skydiving at iFLY! After lunch, they continued applying their knowledge by jumping over to Sky High Sports Portland for some trampolining and other gravity-testing activities.

Thanks to our in-house Super Friends for making this all possible: the FAIS Extracurricular Team!

We (1st Graders) Built This City

The 1st graders have been building a city in L'espace créatif (Creative Space). As part of their "Where we are in space and time" unit, the students took on the jobs of urban planners, architects, builders, and cartographers. 


They started with an empty plot of land, then held many discussions to determine what it meant to be a city and what services were needed. After the buildings were constructed, people, cars, ambulances, and farm animals were borrowed. The students drew maps to help visitors find their way around and practiced giving directions.


On February 21st, the city was officially opened and students led members of the FAIS community through their mini metropolis!

German and International Track Students Explore the Silk Road through Interactive Mapping

Sixth graders in the German Track and International Track came together for a social studies unit on China and the Silk Road trade route. Ms. Seydel (German Track) and Ms. McCandless (International Track) collaborated with Ms. Sinclair (GIS Design) to use dynamic mapping technology as a tool for student-driven inquiry of how trade influences society.


“We’re better teachers when we try things together. Kids are always excited to interact with students outside of their track” - Ms. McCandless


Through this interactive inquiry project, students were challenged to look for clues that took them beyond static maps and books to explore history in a much more meaningful way.


  • How long did it take to travel the Silk Road (by camel)?
  • How would that affect the price you set for trade?
  • How did people communicate with people from other parts of the world?
  • What types of non-tangible items were exchanged (religion, ideas, information)?
  • How does this compare to today?

These two classes then had a follow-up activity to close out the week, with each student bringing two examples of non-tangible trade items to discuss and simulate trading!

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Reopening Metrics from Beaverton School District

Governor Brown announced new reopening metrics this past Friday, easing the cases/100,000 and test positivity requirements for schools to return to a hybrid model of distance and in-person learning.

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