A-TeamBoard of DirectorsMichaelHoza, ChairLynette PoultonAmy DemboskySpecial Guests
Alexei Tarakanov and his driversIlyaPekshev and his IT teamAlexander Solovyov and his Green Guys teamDmitry Dementyev and his Four Squares teamOlga Miram and her Apartment Green GuysNicolette Kirk and the Admissions departmentIrina Fetisova and the Business Office staffDaniela Mandl and Kari Badinbanga -
Our school building and what we do with it shapes usThe ways we set up classrooms, gyms, and cafeterias shapes usThe way we choose to use school buildings after the bell shapes usThe way we create learning environments outside the classroom shapes usThe way we clean and prepare the building each day shapes usThe way we choose to stay safe and secure in our space shapes usThe way we display student work and information in halls and on walls speak volumes about our learning cultureBut, also, something as simple a clean mirror or a freshly painted surface can have profound impact on our perceptions of quality and our attention to detail.I would argue that Churchill’s message is that, each of us in this room has an impact on how we shape children’s lives each day that they come to school. We all have a role to play in shaping this place, and ultimately a child’s experience -- from the moment they arrive each morning to their departure each afternoon.
We have a tendency to simplify the world around us.We look for how things work.When we look up in the night sky,we ask ourselves questions about why and how the points of light spread before us.We look at the horizon and wonder what is just beyond.We turn the page of a book eagerly seeking the author’s closing words.We love a puzzle and are satisfied only when it has been solved.We struggle with seeing the big picture.We often see the trees only to miss the forest.We often forget to savor the journey while rushing to our destination.
What is complex?Our relationships are complex.We build them on both what is said and not said.What do we show on our faces? What do we hold in our hearts?Do we recognize and respect diverse cultural backgrounds?Diversity is still frustrating for us at times.We start with our own frame of reference - that’s our natural tendencyBut as the complexity grows, we grow into a different frame of mind – one that both recognizes diversity and embraces it.A wise person once shared with me that she no longer considers herself part of her own culture. After years of workingwith a diverse group representing cultures from around the world, she feels more individual, more alone, and yet also more aware of a global perspective.When you work at an international school, you are forever changed by the experience – the complexity changes you.
What is it that is simple and we just know it to be true?We know that whatever our culture, our actions have an impact on others.No human being can live a life in isolation.We know that a single moment can change the course of history.We know that a word or a phrase can have tremendous impact. We know that a picture can tell a story.We know that a chorus of voices raised in a single message can initiate profound change.We know that the children of today will grow up and live in a world we cannot now describe.We know that we must all work together to achieve our common goals.
There are simple things that motivate us.Proven in research, it is not the tangible rewards that motivates us to achieve. While you might get a burst of energy by offering a treat or some other kind of reward, the long term benefits come from something more central to our brains.At the core, we have an intuitive sense for what we enjoy, our desire for freedom of choice, our sense of right and wrong, our curiosity for solutions.
In our search for simplicity, we like to be independent. We like to have controlWe like to decide what we doWe look for opportunities to enrich our lives without reward or coercionWe look for jobs that wefind fulfilling and rewardingWe follow other interests and hobbies – not because of any reward other than our sheer enjoyment.
Mastery is about the innate desire to get better at somethingWe love puzzles.We will sit for hours playing a game or reading or watching a television program unwilling to walk away until the conclusion is revealed.When we find an interest, we learn about it until we know every detailWe share this with friends and it forms the foundation of relationships and sits at the core of families.My son is a football enthusiast. He plays the game, but more importantly, he lives the game. He knows every team. He can name all the players. The statistics for 5 years is ready for any who might ask him a question. He has mastered this sport, not because there is reward, but because knowing is it’s own reward.
We all seek higher purpose.We get involved when we sense that there is something wrong – or that someone has been wronged.We are especially engaged when someone close to us is hurt in some way.We believe various things that are part of our family and our culture, but at our core, we believe in a sense of right and wrong.From that comes a sense of why – there always has to be a reason, even if it means creating a reason.But, purpose is best understood through the stories we tell.
I’ve told this story before, but today I want to share it again.Charlotte was a kindergartener in my class in Guangzhou,China many years ago.Recently, I reconnected with Charlotte and she shared with me a story of something she remembered quite vividly from my Kindergarten classCharlotte remembered a day when her limited English language skills caused her to struggle. We were studying the letter “T” and she had difficulty thinking of words that began with this letter.She started to cry. She remembers that I came up to her and seeing her crying, I reached down and touched one of her tears on her cheek. I sounded out the word “tear” and showed her that it started with “T”.She remembers this event as a lesson to her that nothing is impossible and that there is always a way to solve a problem, no matter how big.In this one instance, Charlotte found purpose.Charlotte is a graduate of Pomona college and is heading to graduate school to become a doctor.
We have no way of knowing when a small kindness will have significant importanceWe never know what a child will remember 10 years from now.We only hope that our smallest interactions will be remembered as a kindness at the right moment. For that reason, we must be forever vigilant. We must always look for opportunity.When we find the moment, and a child smiles, we know.When a child is excited to return to school each day, we know.We know that we are stringing the small moments together into experience and learning that will last a lifetime.So, I ask you to hold the values of AAS in high regard
What makes AAS a special place is the profound sense of community.We all feel like we belong hereWe are part of something bigger - something importantBut, always for the sake of the children we serve…
We care about more than just gradesWe care about more than the papers we file or the surfaces we cleanWe care because we are part of a bigger pictureWe care because we understand how important we are to the puzzle of life
We listen because we careWe listen because we know this is where understanding beginsWe listen because diversity through many voices makes us stronger than when we stand aloneWe listen because silence often teaches us more than the sound of our own voice
We learn because we love learningWe learn because we sense the need to make the world a better placeWe learn in order to be better teachersWe learn in order to become better peopleWe learn in order to serve othersWe learn in order to set an example for others in hopes that future generations will remember our contributions and value our purpose
We share a collective responsibility for the care of all our students. No matter the classroom or the situation, we all care and contribute to the complexity.We are all teachers for all the children.We are always ready to help when the situation demands.We share that responsibilityWe commit ourselves and contribute to a community of learning.
So,I share with you today, the ten most important two letter words in the English language, and translated for my Russian friends.IF IT IS TO BEIT IS UP TO MEAn artist is attributed with this quotation, although others have suggested it could possibly have come from another source.I choose to believe that the story of this American artist demonstrates the message behind the quote.Born in South Carolina to a poor family, Howard Johnson moved to New York at the age of seventeen. Working a variety of jobs, he saved enough money to pay for an art education at the National Academy of Design. His mastery of the academy's rigorous standards gained him both awards and the respect of his teachers and fellow students.
Although Johnson enjoyed a certain degree of success as an artist in America and Europe, he never made much money.But, he didn’t follow his passion because of financial reward.Following his wife's death in 1944, Johnson's physical and mental health declined dramatically. In a tragic conclusion to a life of creativity, Johnson spent his last twenty-three years in a state hospital suffering from many ailments. By the time of his death in 1970, he had slipped into obscurity. After his death, his entire life's work was almost thrown in the trash, but friends rescued it at the last moment.Today, over a thousand paintings by Howard Johnson are part of the Smithsonian Institutes American Art Museum Collection.
So we teach our children to become powerful. We ask them a question in anticipation of their response.If it is to be? A simple question that asks how we create something new, something creative, something important.It is up to me! This answer is a commitment to participate in the solution – with our words and actions, from now until it is resolved and sustained.And our reaction to the response is easy and automatic…
Me Too!And, thus, the collaboration is affirmedWe are all in this together and we look now for how we organize our efforts and energies toward our common goal.
The cornerstones of our Strategic Plan to accomplish this greater purpose:We proposed, and the Board of Directors has confirmed, that we will seek to align our systems and communications strategies around a new mission and vision that seeks excellence for each individual child’s learning.It is a bold plan and it should be noted that this is not just a plan for teachers or administrators.Each of us is an important part of making this plan come true.Each of us is part of assuring that the next generation of AAS students is increasingly more prepared that the group before them.
Our new mission is to empower our students.We want our students to respect themselves and othersWe want our students to love learning – now and throughout their livesWe want our students to make a contributionWe want our students to experience personal excellence!
But, more than this, we seek to become a lighthouse school.We will become a beacon to others.AAS will stand as an example of understanding and embracing the complexityAAS will stand as a symbol of simplicityWe all dedicate our energy and passion to the school where we belongThe place where we have purpose.We are Penguins! We make a difference!One small step at a timeStringing individual acts of kindness and compassion one to another and beyond our wallsUntil the world is wrapped with peace and prosperityIn AAS Style!!Have a great year!! Thank you
Learning, Systems, CommunicationОбучение, Системность, Информация и взаимодействие<br />Learning<br />Systems<br />Commitment<br />Communication<br />
Our Mission<br />AAS empowers each student to<br /> Respect self and others<br /> Love learning, and<br /> Contribute as a globally aware citizen<br />in order to achieve individual academic and holistic excellence.<br />