Rhonda Norris | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear AAS Families,
The AAS leadership team continues to enjoy observing and participating in the distance learning shared by students, teachers, and parents throughout the divisions. Families are encouraged to explore and engage with examples and celebrations of learning shared by our community. Examples and celebrations of learning can be found on our school’s Facebook page and our Distance Learning Padlet.
Now, more than ever, we must strive to stay connected with our family, friends, and community. We hope that you are speaking with your child(ren) often about their thoughts and feelings related to this unprecedented situation. Please encourage your child to connect digitally with friends and classmates and take advantage of the platforms AAS has for connection. Sharing how things are going with your family via our school padlet is a great way to stay connected with the school community!
While AAS teachers are working hard to engage students in high-quality learning, AAS counselors are working equally hard to ensure that each student feels supported, and our community has access to quality resources for maintaining a healthy, positive and engaged attitude during this complicated time. Counselors have compiled outside resources and created quality videos to help our students engage in their best learning, manage stress, and leverage positive attributes such as perseverance, mindfulness, and empathy. Please read the counselor sections of this newsletter to find these resources.
We all miss the AAS campus, our friends, our coworkers, and of course, the joy of seeing students roam the campus halls and classrooms. In place of our traditional end of year events, we are preparing video materials that honor and celebrate learning at AAS, the strength and perseverance of our community, and our six weeks of Distance Learning. We hope that when these videos are released, you watch them as a family and celebrate your own hard work and perseverance.
This week marks the beginning of the second half of our Distance Learning experience. Thank you for all your support on the homefront as we navigate these difficult times. We recognize that dynamics can vary greatly from family to family, including where you may be located in the world, number of students in your home, and the challenges of balancing Distance Learning with your own careers, etc. We want to make sure that we are designing our program to be flexible and adaptable for you and your child.
Please know that our Daily Slide Decks are designed to meet a range of abilities and levels while still meeting grade level standards and expectations. As parents, we know that you have the best pulse on your child. The health and well-being of your child is the most important thing to consider. If you feel that your child has hit a ceiling with any part of Distance Learning, please know that your child can be flexible in completing assignments. We ask that you keep in communication with your child’s teacher about any challenges you are facing so that we can be aware and provide help and support as needed.
- Click here to like AAS MS on Facebook!
- Here is the LINK to the week four distance learning video for families.
- Here is the LINK to the student video.
We hope this newsletter finds you happy and healthy. As we come close to the end of week four of student learning, many students are thriving, but many students might also be struggling with the load of work and assessments.
Wellness Tracker Results: Our latest wellness tracker results from students gave us some great information. 48% of our MS students report on our latest Wellness tracker that they are working more than 4 hours every day. 90% report working more than 3 hours per day. While this is encouraging as we strive to provide the most effective Distance Learning program possible, many of your children might need some extra care and structure to meet the demands of the final two weeks. Students are reporting feeling more connected, particularly to their teachers and only 1% report not being motivated to do their work. Interestingly enough, 27% report being hungry, so maybe an extra sandwich, blini or kimbap might be in order!
Reporting: In the interest of making this 6 full weeks of Distance Learning and not 5 weeks plus report writing, we are not publishing report cards until the 8th of May. We will have all of our leaving packets for departing families ready on the 18th of May provided we can access our campus per current Russian Moscow restrictions on movement. This timeline will allow us to focus on students for the full distance learning period.
Parenting During Covid-19: As a parent and a lifelong MS educator, I can deeply sympathize with the challenges you as parents might be feeling at home. I understand first hand the frustrations that parents can feel while trying to work and support their children’s learning, the difficulty imparting the importance of social distancing and the sadness that your children experience by not being able to socialize. This article is a great resource: Supporting Teenagers and Young Adults During the Corona Virus Crisis.
Gratitude: Thank you to all who have reached out, supported our teachers and of course supported our student’s learning. Together we are stronger.
Take care of yourself, and if you can, someone else.
Noah, and Karisti
As we move past the midpoint of distance learning, and closer to the end of this unprecedented school year, I thought it might be helpful to touch again on a few fundamentals related to personal well-being and positive coping. May 1st may be in sight, but it isn’t here quite yet.
Remembering to Breathe: A podcast about intentional breathing, including its documented benefits, and examples of how to do it. Studies show that spending even a few minutes a day on slow, deep, focused breathing can contribute significantly to decreases in anxiety. Here’s a quote that caught my attention: In an experiment where mindfulness was taught to medical students, they “found that during (the) exam period they were much more resilient than the control group. They were able to deal with the stress of exams. They were able to decrease depression, anxiety, and also they were able to increase their empathy and compassion both for others and themselves.” Each of those components sounds like something worth helping our children with right now. And in the future.
How to Help Teens Shelter in Place: I like this article because it reminds me as an educator (and parent) that in all of our dealings with teens, it’s vital that we meet them where they are, developmentally. Here’s my favorite quote: “We need to work with their existing motivations. Teens are unlikely to be persuaded by (brilliant! logical! passionate!) arguments that conflict with their innate, developmental motives.” In other words, our communication priority should be expressing ourselves in ways that will encourage teens to listen to us.
And finally, just a few words about the importance of maintaining perspective. We’ve been doing distance learning for over 3 weeks now, arguably enough time for it to feel somewhat familiar. But to say that we’ve fully adjusted to the situation is just as debatable. Coming up with a general statement about how everyone is coping feels impossible. Some of our students find distance learning to be a lot easier than on-campus learning, while some find it much more challenging. The same is true for us adults: some of us are finding things easy, while others of us find them difficult. Our general statement, then, needs to be something like this: All of us are experiencing this situation in our own ways, and all of us are doing our best in the face of enormous and completely unexpected challenges. Remembering these facts can help us be empathetic with one another.
I made a few short videos for MS students about maintaining balance and focus, but I had to move those videos. You can now find them HERE.
The Wellness section of the school’s Distance Learning page has additional links to a variety of resources to help you manage the altered demands of work and school.
Please reach out if you have concerns or want to share information. You can email me, or, to schedule an online appointment, use this: https://calendly.com/james-villers If you send me a meeting request, I will reply with a Google Meet link.
HS Associate Principal, Matthew Groves email@example.com
As we move through our fourth week of distance learning, I want to take a moment to recognize the extraordinary contributions of the parent community during the past two months. I can't thank you enough for your overwhelming support through this crisis. As a leader, it was incredibly difficult to incrementally take so much away from your children.
Every time we did those things (like canceling Discovery Week or closing the pool), there were parents who sent kind emails or stopped by the office to show their support for the difficult decisions we made. You are such an essential part of helping the AAS community thrive, and your connections to the school are genuinely appreciated.
Since distance learning started, your role has shifted to always managing a teenager in your home, which is no small task. We are quite pleased with the levels of engagement we are experiencing from your children in their classes. Much of the credit goes to you for ensuring that routines have been established and maintained throughout the crisis.
In difficult times of transition or crisis, we emphasize the importance of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. As parents, you are providing the most important aspects of this hierarchy. We work to create a school environment where we play a complementary role to what you create at home. After all, a student cannot learn if they are hungry, uncomfortable, or in fear. With our campus closed, you are given the added responsibility of meeting their needs 24 hours a day. Thank you for feeding them, holding them accountable, and, most of all, loving your children during these difficult times. Your efforts allow our students to focus on and maintain some form of normalcy during a period of substantial added stress. This is hard on all of us, but we can take comfort in the fact that we are all playing our part in the responsibility of ensuring the success of your children. It is a real honor to be a part of that relationship with you. On behalf of the high school leadership team and the faculty, thank you for all you are doing for your children.
- We would love to know what we can do for you. Please let us know in this anonymous survey.
- We’re also working on some resources for after this May 1 time. Let us know in that same survey if there is anything you notice your kids (of any age or grade) could use. Mental health resources? Searching tips? What can we provide to help you out?
- Do you need to return books, textbooks, iPads, or musical instruments before you leave? Please leave anything you would like to return at the guard gate of the school. We will be checking things in as soon as we are allowed back on campus.
- Keep watching our Padlet of Library Resources to find tons of online reading options for your children. We are adding to it constantly, and it is full of awesome things.
- This week is Big Fact Week, and we have a Padlet that we would love some more input on! What interesting thing have you found out about this week? Put a link to it so we can immerse ourselves in non-corona information.
Penguin Games 2020 - Week 3 Update
- JOIN THE HUDDLE... ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE!
- Visit https://www.aasathletics.org/ and watch the video and read the instructions
- Check out the new video and audio challenge for week 3
- We have extended the SPORT CHALLENGE for another week so we can get more amazing videos
- CHECK OUT THE PENGUIN GAMES
PTO Divisional Updates
ES: Grade 5 Hoodies
Due to the quarantine situation in Moscow, the timeline to pick up 5th-grade hoodies has been extended. You may collect your child’s hoodie through April 30 in Pokrovsky Hills, Moscow regulations permitting. Please email PTO.firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a pick-up time.
Any hoodies not picked up by April 30 will be returned to school to be distributed in the fall.
MS: Grade 8 Hoodies
Grade 8 graduation hoodies are also ready to be picked up from PH after 3.30 pm on weekdays or anytime on weekends Please email Marjo at PTO.MS@aas.ru or email@example.com to arrange a pick-up time.
HS: Graduation Blankets
12th-grade graduation blankets can be picked up in Pokrovsky Hills until May 1. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a pick-up time. If you cannot pick up the blankets before May 1, distribution will be handled by the HS office at a later date.
New Voting Dates! PTO Elections
In order to get off to a quick start in the next school year, the PTO needs to elect next year’s PTO Executive Committee.
We have one candidate per position, but per our by-laws we need to hold an election to ratify the candidates. The candidates’ statements of interest are attached here. (Please add the link)
We kindly ask you to take a few minutes to review the statements.
PTO e-voting New Date! The email with a link to e-ballot will be sent out on Thursday April 16 with instructions to submit your vote. Voting will close at midnight on Thursday April 23.
In order to get off to a quick start in the next school year, the PTO needs to elect next year’s PTO Executive Committee. Keep an eye out for an electronic vote election email in the coming days.
We have one candidate per position, but per our by-laws we need to hold an election to ratify the candidates. The candidates’ statements of interest are attached here. We kindly ask you to take a few minutes to review the statements.
The email with a link to e-ballot will be sent out after April 1st with instructions to submit your vote.
Finally, a big thank you to all the parents, Class/Grade Reps, Event Coordinators and volunteers for making AAS PTO a community to be proud of during these extraordinary times.
And, before ending let me take this opportunity to express gratitude and appreciation to all the doctors, nurses, other health care workers and essential services providers who are carrying on their work under very difficult circumstances, along with those working in the media and communication, everywhere across the world.