Our fast-paced world

The last few months have certainly reminded us to expect the unexpected. I began this month wanting to make note of the many exceptional opportunities and learning that take place at FIS. As we all live and learn here in Germany, other families have been evacuating Cairo, Libya and Japan, en route to join our special community. Our school has welcomed these families and children with open arms.

As we race into the FIS 50th Anniversary celebrations, there continue to be many events in which you can participate. One thing is for sure – you can’t do it all. The Gala event, Worldfest, the faculty/staff and alumni evening, softball games and more, will provide for a wide array of opportunities. I do hope you can join us for as many events as you can, but please know this is a community weekend and we will be delighted to see you whenever you are able to attend. All events are equally important in the celebration of our special history – and our bright future.

Relief for Japan
Amy Orben and Kristoff Sebestény from the Senior Forum are coordinating the effort for Japan relief. They are planning a four-week campaign and intend to find a local school we can directly support. There are several connections we have in Japan that can assure the funds get to a particular school when the time comes.

If the Primary, Elementary, and Wiesbaden Schools would like to funnel support through the Senior Forum, they welcome contributions. Deposits can be made with Margaret Ortel. A portion of the proceeds will be put aside for further emergency relief situations.

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Delegates checked in to the conference with a group of FIS student ambassadors

Technology at FIS
I want to extend my thanks to the ECIS Coordination Team for a phenomenal experience. As we closed the conference on Sunday, there was a palpable sense of time well spent, and an eagerness to get back and apply the new learning to augment current instruction and practice. I heard from a fellow educator who commented and thanked us and our team for “all the work, support, and coordination that took place before, during and now after to make the ECIS IT Conference such a success. The mix of keynotes, sessions, downtime and informal conversations provided an outstanding venue for us all to collaborate, learn and share.”  Educators from both South and North America, Asia, Australia, and across Europe were on campus at FIS learning and sharing – an exceptional weekend.
I believe it’s time to take the next step in leveraging technology’s role in augmenting instruction at FIS. The work that we have done to date positions us well for the next phase of integrating technology into our program. Sitting in a biology class last week, I noted 10 of the 15 students were using computers and as I walked down the hall, I counted 23 students sitting in the hallways working on computers. We need to move beyond the parallel technology that is occurring at FIS and bring our world closer together in a balanced manner.
Rhiannon Wood will be communicating and meeting with the Upper School faculty to prepare for the implementation of a grade level mobile computing initiative, which could begin next year.  FIS is ready. We’ll implement this integration in a manner that allows for the very best of all instructional practices to be applied at our school, ensuring a balance of movement, and learning from others’ experience. We will begin in a limited scope with a single grade level, so as to be sure we work out implementation issues, solidify professional development, and ensure alignment of our instructional objectives before any expansion. We will be communicating with you as we present this proposal to the Board of Trustees Education Committee, parents, and students in the upcoming months.

Worldfest 2011 is Coming!
The 50th Anniversary Weekend plans are well underway for a memorable and fun time for our entire community. The weekend will open up with an Alumni Reunion kick-off party on Friday 20 May where former FIS students, teachers, and parents and current faculty and staff will gather at FIS to share an evening of fun and memories of their “good old days” on campus.
Please mark your calendars for Sunday, 22 May 12:00-16:00 for Worldfest, our annual international food festival with live entertainment and games. As a special feature this year, a small selection of vintage cars from the 1960s and 1970s will be on display. Worldfest 2011, which is open to the public, will cap off an event-filled FIS Alumni Reunion Weekend and the 50th Anniversary Gala.

Primary and Elementary School parents, keep an eye out for flag-rimmed Spirit Contest posters that will come home in the Tuesday folder on 5 April. And, most of all, the PTG Worldfest Committee needs volunteers for the day of the event. If you can share your time, please contact the volunteer coordinator, Angela Thompson.

50th Anniversary Gala
On Saturday 21 May, our 50th Anniversary Gala will take place starting at 19:00 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Frankfurt. The event promises to be a memorable celebration and I hope you will join me for an evening of great food, dancing, entertainment and live and silent auctions. Seats are limited and we only have approximately 100 tickets left, so please book your tickets as soon as possible.

For those of you wishing to join the celebration later, we are also selling tickets to the After-Dinner Party which starts at 22:00 and will include most of the fun of the evening. For more information, please visit the 50th Anniversary page, or register for the Gala here.

For a look at 50th Anniversary school celebrations to date, click here to watch a video produced by FIS Alum, Thomas Cordwell.

Mark E. Ulfers Leadership Award Call For Nominations
Our Board of Trustees is inviting nominations for the Mark E. Ulfers Leadership award.
The Mark E. Ulfers Leadership Award was established to recognize an FIS community member who has made an impact on the school community through his or her leadership. The qualities of leadership that were modelled by Mr. Ulfers during his tenure, and that are recognized in the recipient of this award, are as follows:

Leadership has been exemplified in this recipient who has:

• Given himself/herself to the betterment of others through selfless service.
• Built bridges of understanding within our community through his/her collaborative efforts.
• Demonstrated a high level of cross-cultural awareness and international perspective on issues within the school.
• Created programs and/or led initiatives that have left a lasting impact at FIS.
• Empowered other leaders through shared decision making and supportive mentoring.
1. Nomination solicited from the community, faculty, staff, ADCON, students and the Board of Trustees. (Deadline – 16 April 2011)
2. Head of School creates a review committee, including Board member, by 7 May
3. Recommendation of top three candidates forwarded to Board Chair
4. Board decision and invitation of recipient to May Board meeting
5. Board Chair presents award at start of regular session
If you are interested in nominating a candidate for this award, please complete the nomination form and submit it to the Head of School office.

FIS Maths Team Members (partial)

UK Intermediate Math Challenge Successes
Thirty FIS students from grades 8-10 were among over 200,000 who took the UK Intermediate Math challenge. This challenge was aimed at the top third of pupils in this age range. The top 40% of students receive a gold, silver or bronze certificate in the ratio 1:2:3, and each institution receives a Best in School certificate.

This year, FIS had two Best in School; So Yoon Won in grade 10, and Seung-Hun Kohin in grade 9, both with a maximum 135 points. In total, 17 of our students received gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze. Around 500 of the highest scorers in each school year are invited to take part in the Intermediate Mathematical Olympiad papers. FIS had 10 students invited to take part – a record result. These two-hour papers with six questions were sat on 17 March and we are still awaiting these results.  We also had four students who qualified for the European Kangaroo papers.

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Grade 5 Exhibition
The Grade 5 Exhibition, the culmination of weeks of research and working with their mentors, took place on Wednesday, 23 March. The students were expected to carry out an extended, collaborative inquiry project under the guidance of their teachers.

The exhibition represents a significant event in the life of both the school and student, synthesizing the essential elements of the program and sharing them with the whole school community. It is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the student profile that have been developing throughout their engagement with the program.

The exhibition is a culminating experience and there is so much superb research taking place. In one such example, two ESL grade 5 students based their project on street children. They conducted a skype interview with a young man who lives in an orphanage in Nepal. These students in Nepal attend an orphanage supported by our own Bill Owen. Two little girls at the orphanage were also present during the interview, which was recorded so that our grade 5 students could review it at their own pace. What an experience for our students – and for the students in Nepal!

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Spring Concert 2011
This Thursday 31 March at 19:30, the Oberursel Stadthalle will come alive with the sound of music and “Mamma Mia!” – what a concert it will be! (Yes, music from the “Abba” musical will be played.) During the performance, music from “The Lion King” and “Alice in Wonderland” will also be featured. Watch out for the stage effects!

The Upper School Honor Band/Choir has returned from the festival in The Hague and all musicians are very busy preparing for the show. Approximately 250 students in the band program will be performing in this concert and I invite you to hear them play music from “Guantanamera” (please no dancing in the aisles!) as well as “The Godfather”. If you like Jazz then this is the concert for you.  The event will also include the fabulous beginners’ band as well as our ensembles. Entrance is free and the concert promises to provide a great evening out!

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Grade 5 Team at the Odyssey of the Mind competition

Odyssey of the Mind
FIS returned from the Odyssey of the Mind competition victoriously, as two of the senior teams won gold and silver medals and the junior team came in third. It was reported that the competition was particularly fierce this year! Many thanks go to Erdmute Koplin, our fearless Odyssey leader, Rhonna Jessome (coach), and Hakim Hariss, who also supported the FIS teams at the competition.

The Elementary School and ISW also sent teams – five in all! They also did extremely well, bringing in a gold and bronze medal. Many thanks to their coaches Karen Pauly, JoAnna Callahan, Cornelia Enste, Andrea Mosteller and Gill Gammon.

Architectural rendering of the new FIS Auditorium

Auditorium Renovation Approved
Investing in our facilities continues to remain a high priority at FIS and our Board of Trustees has approved the execution of the auditorium project. This will add capacity, improve seating, upgrade all wiring, lighting and technology, and will also include an overhaul of the foyer and entrance to the Upper School.

We will have an update on the auditorium and several other projects on the Master Plan web page by early next week.

Kind regards,
Dr. Paul M. Fochtman
Head of School