Page 5 - FIS World June 2021
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Perseverance in Uncertain Times
A challenge like no other brings out the best in FIS
 In recent years there has been a lot of research and discussion regarding what helps students succeed. Of course there are many suggested answers, but
one that I find rings true is the concept of “grit.” Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, who studied achievement at the University of Pennsylvania, defined grit as “the sustained perseverance and passions for long-term goals.”Otherssimplysummarizeitastenacity,orthe ability not to give up in the face of obstacles.
We will emerge even stronger because of this experience, because of what we have learned, and because it affirmed that we are a school where grit grows from within.
Although this concept has generally been associated with individual success, it clearly can also apply to institutions. As I look back upon this year as the FIS Board Chair and ask how our school has been able to thrive, I believe FIS grit is a major reason for our success.
There have been many situations when this pandemic has forced setbacks to the “normal” operations of our school. Yet each time this has occurred, I have witnessed our Board, administration, faculty and staff rise to the challenge and work harder, determined to maintain its high standards for
teaching, innovation and leadership. Of course, there have been disappointments and limitations caused by the unpredictability of the pandemic and by various government restrictions, but the school has approached each challenge with creative problem solving and has continually sought new ways to push forward in reaching its goals.
There are countless examples of ways in which our teachers have still allowed students to share their artistic talents, be it by taking an event outdoors, hosting collaborative productions via Zoom, or creating virtual exhibition spaces using new online tools. Our FIS counselors have supported both students and parents with online counseling when needed, and our parents have come to the rescue by offering fun events like virtual cooking classes and book groups, or evening wine tastings through Zoom. Our Board of Trustees meetings and strategic initiatives, including the Discovery Summit for Equity, Justice and Belonging, have not only gone forward, but they have had even greater participation and have gathered more input from community members, likely because of their virtual format.
I am not turning a blind eye to the sense of loss that our community has experienced this year in the events and activities that have been cancelled. Those realities are very real and incredibly disheartening. But I do believe what has been said by other leaders in the school: we will emerge even stronger because of this experience, because of what we have learned as an institution, and because it has affirmed that we are a school where grit grows from within.
Dr. James Beaty
Chair, Board of Trustees
Flexibility, determination and a passion for both teaching
and learning has allowed students to continue making memorable school experiences, even if virtual, like the Model United Nations MUN event (pictured above).
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