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Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Building on success
 Starting at the beginning: FIS staff member Peter Blaquière introduces the clarinet to a student new to band.
The spring edition of FIS World is a reminder that our current school year is coming to an end. According to the results of our recent community
survey – as well as from what I have experienced over the past 10 months – it has been another year that we can look back on with a great deal of satisfaction at what our students have accomplished.
I recently spent some time reminiscing about the events I have witnessed and conversations I have had during the course of this school year. I recalled talking with a student who was incredibly nervous in our first week of school, and then following up just a short time later and finding him feeling very much at home. I also remembered with fondness the look on many our First Steps students’ faces who arrived wide-eyed and uncertain, but who now meander through our school as if they own it.
And there have been so many spectacular events to replay. FISW’s 25th Anniversary celebration was certainly a highlight, as was entering the Stroth Center to see the stands filled with fans cheering on our Varsity Boys Basketball team as they competed in the ISST finals. There were concert performances early in the school year where our Elementary students had just started playing new instruments with, shall we say, ‘great effort,’ and more recent concerts where those same students have evolved into poised and talented musicians. I also vividly remember my first lesson in Virtual Reality, sharing students’ experiences as they entered a new 3D world in the classroom.
In addition to all of the wonderful experiences, I have also replayed my many meaningful conversations with parents, faculty and staff.
I hosted lunches for groups of our new teachers
after their first weeks at the school and enjoyed hearing them excitedly talk about how they were making an impact in our community. I recall the Welcome BBQs and chatting with families who
had just arrived, some of whom were experiencing real culture shock as it was their first time living abroad. In April, I met an alumni parent who, while visiting Germany on a business trip, made a side-trip to the Netherlands just to watch the FIS baseball team compete. And more recently, I have been having conversations with departing parents, some of whom are struggling to leave a school community that has come to mean so much
to them.
While spring is a time to be nostalgic over the closing of another school year, I am always reminded that it also comes with excitement for what lies ahead. As you know from my earlier communications, next year our school will embark on new frontiers to institute accelerators that will fast-track the teaching and learning that takes place across our divisions. I expect it to be a groundbreaking year for the school on a number of different fronts and can’t wait to get started after the summer break.
All in all, I am grateful for this past year and look forward to building on its success as we set our sights on new frontiers.
Paul M. Fochtman Head of School
  2 FIS World June 2018

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