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  Parents listen in as ES Principal, Dr. Jean-Marie Kahn, shares information during a Family Partnership Morning
Partnering with Parents
Open forums for information sharing
Excited to join the FIS community, my family moved to Oberursel in February 2022. I am grateful for FIS’ emphasis on personal growth and independence within a nurturing
environment; it has been invaluable to our assimilation in Germany.
This school year, one of my favorite initiatives is Elementary School (ES) Principal Dr. Jean-Marie Kahn’s Family Partnership Mornings. Each Thursday from 9:00-10:00, Dr. Kahn invites parents to school to learn about an aspect of the ES and ask questions. The weekly commitment underscores Dr. Kahn’s dedication to welcoming families onto campus and into the building as we all re-adjust our habits acquired during COVID- 19. Those in attendance sit in a circle or rows, depending on the audience size, and have a conversation about the pre- announced topic. As needed, Dr. Kahn invites other FIS staff to share their expertise. Topics have included Responsive Classroom, Grade 2 Swimming, and the curriculum surrounding subjects such as Personal Social Emotional (PSE) Development, math and German. Attendees receive more insight into decisions made on behalf of their children and are able to better visualize what goes on during their days at school.
Across both campuses and throughout each division, principals are working
to engage families in learning opportunities and discussions.
Some of the sessions fill the entire one hour block, whereas others are shorter; when the planned agenda is completed, Dr. Kahn opens the floor for any parent questions. Sharing our experiences in a casual setting like the Elementary School Junior Lounge makes complex topics more approachable. We may even get ideas for dinner table conversation starters that elicit more than “My day was fine.” The Personal Social
6 FIS World November 2022
Emotional curriculum session spawned an especially robust conversation; parents and staff brainstormed ways to discuss topics like diversity in age appropriate ways with their children. That led to suggestions for future topics to address at a Family Partnership Morning.
There are other informal ways families can be partners at the school. The FIS Primary School’s (PS) recently reopened Coffee Cart offers an opportunity for parents to meet after drop off or before pickup to chat over a cup of coffee. While I was waiting for a meeting with PS Principal Dr. Caroline Joslin- Callahan, I enjoyed a conversation with a fellow parent I had not seen in several weeks. I left that conversation secure in the knowledge that someone else could relate to my current parenting struggles and successes.
Across both campuses and throughout each division, principals are working to engage families in learning opportunities and discussions, both in-person and through hybrid sessions in monthly meetings like the Middle and High School Q&A sessions on the Oberursel Campus, or the monthly “chat with the Principal” in Wiesbaden.
Students, teachers, staff, and parents are all benefitting from new opportunities that we missed when the pandemic started. As Upper School Principal John Switzer said,“It is so important that parents are able to connect with one another, and we want our school to be able to provide that as much as practically possible.”
Susan Robbins FIS Parent

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