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 Welcoming families, both returning and new, during the FIS
Welcome BBQ
The Perfect Fit
Ensuring FIS is a place where everyone feels they belong
If you have just arrived at FIS from elsewhere in the world, you may be asking yourself the question, “Does it feel like my family belongs here?” As your Head of School, I take that question very seriously, and one of my highest priorities is to ensure your answer to that question is an emphatic “YES!”
At FIS, we feel so strongly about creating a sense of belonging that we have included it in our Strategic Plan under the heading “Equity, Justice and Belonging.” We want every student, parent and professional at FIS to feel they are part of a community where each individual “fits,” regardless of their background or beliefs. Ideally, coming to FIS should be like putting on a well-worn sweater or sweatshirt that puts a person at ease and helps them feel comfortable in their own skin.
At FIS, we feel so strongly about creating a sense of belonging that we have included it in our Strategic Plan.
There are many reasons why creating such an environment is central to our FIS Mission. First, students learn better when they feel welcomed and connected. This is true for the youngest learner who needs to know each morning that they are coming to a place where they feel valued and affirmed. And, the same is true for the teenager who is at the peak of their identity formation. These students must be assured that regardless of what passions they choose to pursue or what
parts of their often fragile selves they are willing to share, they will be accepted rather than judged.
Sometimes the hardest group to convince of this truth is our parents. I, too, am a parent and can remember struggling with my own inclination to lead my children down a path I had envisioned for them rather than allowing them to answer their own calling. That said, sometimes a parent needs to redirect their children who are making choices that are harmful to themselves or others. However, more often we can take this license to protect our children too far, focusing our energies on seeing that our children meet our own definition of success.
Many parents choose FIS because of its reputation for academic excellence and exceptional IB Diploma scores. And while I am incredibly proud of these ongoing academic results, the prospect of a high test score is not what makes a student or family feel as though they have found a home at FIS. Instead, it is all of us coming together and welcoming the newcomer, celebrating our diversity, reaching out to those in need of our support and making a conscious effort to build our school family. Our world is struggling greatly with this effort to build a culture of belonging, but if we start here, our children and families can make a difference by spreading what they have learned at FIS.
Dr. Paul M. Fochtman Head of School
  2 FIS World November 2022

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