Community at FIS

As I prepare to leave Germany for my annual trip to recruit teachers for the coming year, I constantly remind myself that nothing is more important than ensuring our school has the finest teachers found anywhere, and that is why we actively search on three continents to fill every available faculty position that comes available at FIS. Our faculty is the bedrock of our community.

Paul and Wendy Fochtman at recent community event, “FIS Goes Scottish”

You have heard me extol the quality of our faculty on many occasions, but I also want to share the importance of every adult that interacts with children on our campuses. You may find Stephane and our security team intimidating as they attempt to control traffic, but I have also witnessed how compassionate they can be when a child is waiting alone to be picked up by a parent that is running late on a given evening.

When a child feels suddenly ill or has an accident on the playground, there is no person more important than one of our school nurses. Their work is often behind the scenes, giving children medication, offering concern at the latest scrape or bump, or giving critical medical advice to new parents trying to navigate the German health care system.

Another group of unsung heroes is our food services staff. They provide the fuel that keep our students going throughout the day and are somehow able to continue to smile even after serving hundreds of students who can barely take their eyes of the food long enough to offer a greeting.

Outside of the school day, our athletic coaches are just beginning their work that sometimes lasts late into the evening or begins hours before school starts at the local pool. They sacrifice weekends to chaperone trips, sometimes with the unenviable task of being caught in hours of traffic while sharing a bus with a horde of sweaty students.

Part of the FIS support network

And then there are those who are rarely seen but are the foundation of our school’s operation: the hausmeisters and cleaning crews that keep our huge campuses functioning. They solve more problems in a day than I tackle in a week and spend the evenings renewing the school so that each morning it is again ready to withstand the onslaught of active students. Even as I write this letter in the late evening hours, there is snow being removed from the schools’ parking lots, and most likely in Naurod as well, so that we all have a safe arrival in the morning.

FIS is very fortunate to have a community of caring adults to support the needs of our students. One of my New Year Resolutions for 2013 is to remember how important they all are and to make a special effort to thank them for making this school such a special place.