The final week of the school year has arrived, and as report cards are being prepared and students in secondary are receiving academic recognitions, we are putting the final brush strokes on what I think has been a solid year of achievements for which I have expressed my thanks in the end-of-year publications of the Elementary Times and the Secondary Sting – you can access these at the following links:
The Sting – Secondary Newsletter
In the last several days, both in informal gatherings between faculty and at staff meetings this week we have said farewell to faculty who are moving on this year to new challenges, most of them continuing in the career they have come to enjoy – international school teaching. As I have said over the years, no departing teacher is ever replaced, they are followed by a new teacher who will bring his or her own distinctive qualities to UAS. Our leaving teachers have left a mark, even a legacy, and I thank them for their many contributions and wish them well, personally and professionally.
Due to transfers or other circumstances, several families will be leaving UAS. Our rate of retention is excellent and in fact significantly higher than in past years, and that is good for our sense of community and the continuity of learning that is a critical part of good and sustained schooling. I wish our departing families all the best , whatever their new destination, and your children – our students – continued success as they embark on a new educational path.
We will welcome our new teachers in August with the first day of orientation set for August 14th. August 22nd will be the first day of all faculty orientation, and classes begin on Monday September 5th. Parents, it is crucial that you observe this starting day – any school day missed brings a disadvantage, and frankly we have seen too much of it at the end of this school year, though in some individual cases we were aware of compelling reasons to leave a few days early.
The Farewell Assemblies for students this week take place in the Secondary Library for Elementary Students (yes, all of them, and Mr. Webb thinks it is eminently doable), Thursday morning from 9:00–10:00AM ; Secondary Final Assembly with students is set for Wednesday, from 2:30 – 3:00PM in the gym. Both will be occasions for students to give their farewell to teachers, and in some cases to each other.
Parents have been helpful in many facets of school life, as substitutes and volunteers, and serving in leadership roles in the PTO, Saturday Soccer, the Booster Club, the Scouts, and The Fine Arts Booster Club. I am looking forward to the same kind of commitment and energy next year, and on behalf of students and teacher colleagues I extend our appreciation for this support which often entails many hours of collaborative planning.
Finally, I thank all my administrator colleagues, Eric Webb and Joan Marie Larter in Elementary and Simone Sebban and Scott Terry in Secondary, Ayman Khouzam and his team in Business and the support staff, Suzanne Makarem my Executive Assistant along with our new Office Assistant Lamya Kamal. I have appreciated the good working relationship with the ESOL Management Team, and above all I want to conclude by thanking faculty colleagues and the many faculty who have played key leadership roles in shaping curriculum and ensuring the quality of teaching and learning for the benefit of our students.
To our students I say: of course we will miss you, we look forward to having you back, and as regards the summer let it be an opportunity for relaxation and joyful play, perhaps non-digital, seeing family and friends, reading, and some productive work to catch up, stay on top of things, or advance in pursuing a talent. In short, keep busy on all fronts!
All the best,