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Gold sh in a Bowl
A personal and eye-opening account of an FIS Board meeting
One freezing cold Thursday in October 2016, I braved the elements to attend an FIS
Board of Trustees meeting at the Waldlust Park Hotel in Oberursel. I expected to be watching the animals in the zoo along with a large crowd of parents, but instead I was the sole gold sh in a bowl.
For the  rst  ve minutes, there was just me, and then a student turned up (through obligation I suspect). So, when the meeting began, we were the only two “regular” FIS Community members in attendance. In a school of approximately 1,800 students, 300 faculty and sta , and 2,200 parents, this took me by surprise. I had come from a school that was run for pro t by a company that shared nothing with its parents. It was as far away
from transparent as possible. And yet here at FIS was an opportunity to see governance in action, to ask questions of the Board, to comment on how the school was run, and only 0.0004% of the parent community had turned up for the evening meeting. Me.
In the year since then, the above experience has not changed dramatically. However, in the meeting this October, there was a grand total of ten parents! Perhaps I am being  ippant, but I would dare to argue that such a low turnout at these meetings is also  ippant. Unlike a great number of international schools, FIS is a not-for-pro t association. As such, this means that the school – and the Board – is accountable to parents, rather than shareholders who care more about Euros than learners.
I was puzzled by such a low attendance, and I wondered if these sessions came with a “fear of the unknown” that keeps parents away. With this in mind, let me try to explain what a Board meeting entails from my own experience, and through conversations with Head of School, Paul Fochtman, and elected Board member, FIS parent – and alumna
– Claudia Laux.
Since 1961 FIS has had a Board of Trustees, which consists of 12 voting members: six are elected by the FIS community to serve a two-year term, one is elected every two years by the faculty and sta , and  ve members are appointed by the Board from the wider community.
14 FIS World October 2017

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