Newsletter - 22 May 

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Dear Parents and Guardians

Thank you for your help in ensuring a smooth re-opening of school this week. Despite the strict measures put in place to ensure the community safety, it was really great to see the students keen to get back to school, to see their friends and to start the process of making life feel a bit more normal. I spent time going around the classrooms listening to students talk about their experiences during the lockdown and how pleased they were (generally) to be back. Thank you for your many supportive messages this week, this gives us confidence that we are on the right track. Of course there are always things we can do better, however if you keep in mind that we are providing three learning programmes in the same time to three groups of students, I cannot help but feel very proud about the work our staff members have been doing in these last weeks to welcome 700 kids back to school and keep them as safe as we possibly can.

One very important thing I need to insist on: DO NOT send your child to school if they are showing symptoms that are associated with covid-19. The authorities have been very clear in instructing us to report every single case we have of students feeling unwell, even with minor symptoms. The necessary actions imposed by the authorities are very strict and as a result, we have two entire classes and their families in isolation at home, until the students showing symptoms will receive the covid-19 test results. We need the parents to be responsible and help us carry on with our mission, by keeping their child at home if they present any symptom. Thank you for your cooperation!

Wishing you a good weekend!

Peter

 

 

Message from the Chair of the Board

Dear Parents and Guardians

After several weeks of the school closure in light of the COVID-19 developments, many of our children returned this week to the school after reopening on 18 May. The excitement apparent on the children waiting in the queue to get in the school might have given the impression that it was the first day of school after summer break!

I intended to share with you a midterm update report during the month of March, but given the rapid developments of COVID-19 and the subsequent closure of the school since mid-March, I considered that the reopening of our school would be the first opportunity to share with you an update on several matters related to the Board activities during the past period.

The Board convened 6 meetings so far since the beginning of 2020, both physical and virtual meetings. Following are main highlights of activities.

On 1 March, the Board convened an emergency meeting upon the request of the administration to discuss a COVID-19 related issue. Decisions were taken accordingly to primarily preserve the health and safety of members of the community while providing the required time to receive the necessary guidance form the relevant Austrian authorities. It was a delicate balance between avoiding overreaction and causing panic and between being vigilant and protective and working in accordance with the guidance of the Austrian authorities. That was the illustration of good governance, solid team work and effective leadership. The Board has been closely involved together with the Director and the Crisis Team in all subsequent stages related to the COVID-19 developments. The closure of the school as of 16 March in accordance with the Austrian regulations represented a new challenge for all members of the community. The provision of  Distance Learning to all students at a short instance reflected proper planning and preparedness which had taken place in the school in anticipation of such a situation. The continuous development and enhancement of the content of distance learning in response to views and comments by parents provided through surveys by the school took place thought out the period. The surveys leading up to the school re-opening and offering the different options have been instrumental in providing an accurate perspective of the diverse trends among parents, and which have enabled the school to offer and tailor options to the parents’ preferences, and in a manner that mostly no group would have felt being left out. I would be probably reflecting the sentiments of a large number of parents in expressing deep appreciation to the teachers, staff, and administration of the school for the oustanding manner this unprecedented challenge has been and continue to be managed by continuing providing education to our children while maintaining the safety and health standards to protect them. In continuation of its active community binding role, the PTA initiative “ The Big Thank You Project” for teachers was certainly timely and praise worthy, and reflects again the sense of gratitude and pride we have for our children’s teachers.

At its first meeting in January 2020, the Board discussed the proposal presented in the GA and approved the conduct of an internal management review/audit to be conducted by an independent Austrian audit firm. Due to the COVID-19 developments and its impact on business in March and April, the Board couldn’t discuss the required draft Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the conduct of the review/audit. The approval of the ToRs is envisaged to take place in the upcoming meetings of the Board in order to initiate the review/audit, with the view to presenting the report to the GA in December 2020.

The Board has been engaged in intensive discussions regarding the renovation of the roof, an important part of the necessary maintenance work to be carried out by the School. A decision was taken by the Board inDecember 2019 to proceed with the renovation. Specific options have been identified to carry out the renovation. Extensive information and preparatory work have been provided. The Board has been relying on the technical and financial advice, information and recommendations provided by both the Site and Financial Committees in order to enable it to take a well informed decision taking into account all relevant factors and in accordance with its overall responsibility for the safety of the building.

In light of the potential financial implications of the COVID-19 the Board has requested the Finance Committee together with the school administration to examine different scenarios on possible impact on the school finances and in order to continue maintaining the healthy financial situation of the school, as certified by the External Auditor over the past years. The Board has received some queries regarding the forecast of the impact of COVID-19 developments on school fees and payments in light of the impact on businesses and individuals. The Board is in the process of examining these issues and will share with the community the main findings.

The Director has presented a transition plan to the Board to ensure the smooth transition to the incoming new Director Ms. Lisa Biasillo. The Board will be reviewing the plan in its upcoming meeting. The new Director is expected to assume her position as of 1 August 2020. 

During this month the Board will conduct its annual Director and Board operations evaluation. The results of the evaluation will be examined by the Board in one of the upcoming meetings.

These were some of the main features of the Board activities during the past months with the aim of providing you with a general overview of the work being done.

While the school year is approaching its end, and in these unprecedented times I wish to emphasize once again that we are all members of the same one community, and we are all working for the same one objective which is the good and well-being of our school, to which many of our children were so excited to return to this week. We will continue to have the responsibility to maintain this sense of commonality.

Wishing you and your families an enjoyable weekend,

Tarek Sarwat

 

Thank You for the Spirit Week!

Two weeks ago, many students in the Primary School participated in the first virtual spirit week. There were a number of different activities to engage in, including: Star Wars dress-up day, Math and Reading challenge day, Hobby day, Recipe day and finally Courage/Risk-taker day. We would like to thank all the students who participated and shared their photos and videos on Seesaw. It was wonderful to see how engaged, creative and innovative many of you were.

 

 

MYP Prose Writing Competition

Thank you to all students who entered the VIS Prose writing competition, all of our judges had a wonderful time reading your imaginative, creative, and futuristic short stories. 

Congratulation to the following winners:

Grade 6

1st place  Nikhil John 6A

2nd place Karuna Lynch 6D

 

Grade 7

1st place Victoria Silkina 7D

 

Grade 8

1st place Muhammed Ahmed 8B

Grade 9

1st place Sreeja Roy 9E

2nd place Thaddaeus Tirone 9B

 

Grade 10

1st place Ranea Amir 10E

2nd place Louisa Tojner 10E

    Here you can read a story that one of our students shared with the community: Nikhil John (6A) "My Jeremy...".

    Hope you enjoy it and we look forward to next year's competition!

     

    Project Centipede

    Project Centipede is a long-running charity project at VIS, started by VIS's founding director, Maurice Pezet. Vienna International School plans to donate hundreds of consumable items, sanitary products, and stationery items (pens, pencils, erasers, notebooks, etc.) to Romanian orphans and foster-care families between May 18th - June 10th, 2020.  

    This is a whole-school project, and we are asking families to assist in the donation of food, sanitary products, and stationery items within their Homeroom/ Advisor groups.

    There will be collection points along the mall where students can put their donations for the orphans in banana boxes.

    It is also possible to donate money online if you are not coming back to school or have left the country because of the current COVID-19 situation. The online donations are going to The Milk Project, which supplies orphan children between 0-4 years old in Sinmaritn with ½ liter fresh milk each day. The milk is supplied by a local farmer, so the money remains in the community. This farmer is also a foster parent for some of the orphans.

    Bank account data: 

    • Projekt Tausendfüssler-Project Centipede, Bank Austria 
    • IBAN: AT19 1200 0006 0713 3501 BIC: BKAUATWW

    Donations can be designated for the “VIS Milk Project” or, because of the current corona situation, the organizers also take donations for the banana boxes. Same bank account, but designated for “VIS Banana Box”.

    A team of Grade 11 students are coordinating and leading the collection as their charitable CAS project and all the donations will be taken to Sinmartin, Romania, to be distributed among the nearly one thousand children in need that Project Centipede supports. In April 1990 the little ones in Sinmartin received their first colorful box – a colorful sack of hygiene items - from us at VIS and since then, with your help and generosity, we have given children in need these little joy bringers every year. We have been supporting this charity for 30 years and we thank all VIS families and teachers who can make contributions to this worthy cause. 

    Please visit the Projekt Tausendfüßler website https://www.centipede-vienna.org/centipede for further information about the project.

    Dear VIS Community members,

    3 weeks ago we have started our initiative to support MAHER FROM HOME. We have set ourselves an ambitious goal: We wanted to raise 10,000 Euros. Not an easy task, we thought, keeping in mind the challenges and difficulties we all had to face. Needless to mention again that the challenges and difficulties in other places of the world are no less severe – looking at the grand scheme, we think it is fair to say: even more severe.

    In the light of this it comes with a HUGE THANK YOU to all you as we announce today that we are truly close in making our goal. We have collected 9435 Euros so far !!!!!!

    Congratulations and Thanks to all. We are certain that we will be able to make the remaining 500+ Euros and more than ever we are certain that you will be standing with us, supporting our upcoming initiatives in the future as well. Because together we truly are making a difference for MAHER.

    With only 1 EURO we support 1 CHILD for 1 DAY.

    THANK YOU !!!!!!!! 

     

     

    Leaving VIS This Year?

    Every year the VIS counsellors like to offer a 'Leaving Well' information session to those families leaving VIS at the end of the school year. This presentation looks at how to support your family, both in leaving VIS and starting again in a new location. The session will focus on how to build a 'R.A.F.T' to support your family in this process. We will also look at some of the challenges that the current situation may add to the transition process.

    The session will occur on Tuesday, 26 May at 09:00 via a Google Meet. Please confirm your attendance using the following link. An access code for the Google Meet will be shared with you after you register.

    For questions or more information, you can also contact us directly:

     

     

    Latin Classes

    Dear Parents / Guardians,

    This year's beginner Latin classes 2020/21 will take place Mondays from 15:30 to 17:10. Latin classes are taught in English, based on the international course program of the Cambridge Latin Course.

    The curriculum of the 4-year Latin program at VIS starts in Grade 7.

    The Diploma at the end of Grade 10 is officially recognized as Austrian Matura Equivalence in the subject Latin.

    Latin is also a prerequisite for the study of certain subjects at university, especially in Austria (law, medicine, languages, history etc.) Grades for Latin are given as in other subjects and are included in school reports as an external grade. The costs per semester are approx. € 250 – 350, depending on the number of participants. Please find further information here

    If you wish to take Latin classes, please register ASAP by sending an email directly to kerstinstevens(at)hotmail.com.  

    Best regards,

    Kerstin Stevens

    Message from the Libraries

    We hope you have enjoyed the books you have had at home!  Now it is time to bring them back.

    All Primary Library books and classroom readers will need to come back to school and be decontaminated for 72 hours.

    Boxes will be provided outside the Library for the Library books. Boxes will also be provided for the class readers on the Grade 1 – 5 corridors. Students are to place their items in the boxes on their way to their classroom. There will be helpers to assist the students with this process. For those in ELC and Grade Primary – your books will be collected from the classrooms.

    Secondary students can drop their Library books in to the boxes outside the Secondary Library.

    If you have chosen not to return to school, you can drop your books off at the gate between 09:30 and 11:30.

    Please use the links below to search for books in your libraries, and then use the online-form so we can prepare the books for you to pick-up from school.

    You can also bring back your current Library Loans, however these items need to be returned in a closed plastic bag. Thank you!

    You can search for books that are available from the Primary Library catalogue here.

    Please use this form to request items from the VIS Primary Library Catalogue for collection from school.

    Books will be made available for in-person collection, and you will receive an email notification confirming the day/time (see choices below) and details for pick-ups.

    Collection days: Wednesday from 11:30 - 12:30 and Thursday from 14:30 - 15.30.

    Please search for Books, Magazines and DVDs that are available from the Secondary Library Catalogue here.

    Please use this form to request items from the VIS Secondary Library Catalogue for collection.

    Books will be made available for in-person collection. You will receive an email notification when your books are ready to pick-up from the Security Gate.

    Thank You, VIS Staff!

    Thank you to everyone who contributed to "The Big Thank You Project" initiative. Nearly 100 submissions of videos, images, and personal messages were submitted, and our teachers and staff have a memorable video that shows our appreciation for their amazing efforts throughout the 9 weeks Home Learning Quarantine. Please click here to see the video!

    With 634 members, PTA VIS Facebook page continues to be active during this COVID-19 crisis. Please join if you haven't already and connect with PTA news and updates pertinent to our entire community!

    Transition season (SUMMER) is around the corner and that means that VIS will be getting many new students joining us in the Fall.

    We really need your help in welcoming these families to our VIS community.

    Please fill out this form to be added to the volunteer database and find out more information about being a welcome volunteer within the New Family Programme.

    We count on the volunteers of our VIS community to welcome new family members into VIS.

    Thank you for your support. All grades and nationalities wanted!

    The Book Club Has Gone Virtual! 

    If you wish to join in on any of the Book Club meetings, please request to join the Faceboog group "VIS PTA Book Club Group" or simply send an email to: chiaramolteni(at)outlook.com.

    May's book is: “A woman is no man” by Etaf Rum.... a brave, heartbreaking and inspiring novel, a must-read for those of us who wish to know more and get a better understanding of what being a woman truly means in a controlling, traditional world.

    The next book club will meet next week Friday, 29 May, time and location TBD (we are thinking about possibly an outdoor meeting!).

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    Change Contact Details

    In case you change your contact details (adress, telephone numbers or email adresses) please notify the school by email change(at)vis.ac.at so we can centrally update the information accordingly.

     

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