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Superintendent Messages

Cognitive Load

I’ve been thinking about when an action you must do eventually becomes routine. At what point does an activity or regular function stop taking up cognitive space in your brain? I wonder.

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AI, Intelligent?

Welcome back to school! I’ve been thinking about what trends might be the most impactful in education. I read Klara and the Sun over the holidays.

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Time for Reflection

Are you ready for vacation? We are. Many teachers and the administration team like to make fun of the fact that I frequently find ways of inserting my favorite quote from Cicero, “Gratitude is not only the first of the virtues but the parent of all the others.”

 

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La Copa

This weekend I’m off to Atlanta for a teacher hiring fair, and as we enter the cycle of hiring for the next school year, I’m mindful and appreciative of the hard work that our current teachers are doing to bring new and improved learning experiences to our students.

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Intro of New Principals

It gives me great pleasure to announce our new principals for next year. This fall we ran a comprehensive international search for the Head Principal of ELEM and the Head Principal of MSHS.

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Performance Season

Did you see the Elem musical last week? Or any of the recent sports competitions? Did you know that over a 100 students and teachers participated in the TECHO project this past weekend? Did you attend MSHS parent-teacher conferences in the gym? 

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Grandparents

In today’s post I would like to talk about the influence of grandparents in our everyday life here in Monterrey.

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Change

This week, we’ve hosted our two finalist candidates for MSHS principal–we’re going to have a difficult decision because both candidates are excellent educational leaders.

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Character or Reputation?

"Kintsugi" is the art of repairing broken pots in such a way that a record of the breakage is preserved rather than not. This record enhances rather detracts from an object's beauty.

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Trust and The Golden Rule

Have you ever wondered what the most important sentence ever written might be? In light of recent events, I’ve been thinking about it.

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North Star

I’m not sure why, but when I can see the North Star in the night sky, I feel better. There is always comfort in knowing where you’re going. Growing up in northern New Hampshire on my parent’s farm, there was little ambient light so generally the stars shone brightly, so it was easy to find Polaris.

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Paying Attention

This week we had our first Eagle of the Month ceremony. It’s such a pleasure to hear of students’ accomplishments and the stories their teachers tell to illustrate those achievements.

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Coaching

Two important athletic events happened this past week: Kipchoge recorded, again, the fastest marathon ever in Berlin and Roger Federer retired. Did you happen to see the photo circulating on social media over the weekend?

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Stiff Upper Lip

Have you ever heard the expression “stiff upper lip” or “grin and bear it”? These expressions are a bit old fashioned, but I grew up hearing them from my grandmother.

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Open House and the Sundial

I started my “welcome to Open House” remarks by repeating our school mantra of “Take Responsibility, Meet Expectations, Go Beyond.”

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Meeting Expectantions & Two Queens

This morning, Thursday, September 9, I fist bumped almost every student as they entered MSHS. “Take responsibility,” this year is about attendance. By 8:30am this morning every student was in the building. Well done! I know the transition back to school is hard, but we can do hard things.

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Who's an Eagle?

As we approach graduation, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what it means to graduate from ASFM. I think this profile celebrates what we want and expect from our seniors.

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Wagon Wheel

This has been both an exciting week as well as a complicated one. Seventeen teachers contracted COVID, and virtually our whole English Department was absent for a few days. Fortunately, many are back at school today. Still, we are alarmed.

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Strongest Metaphor

As the school year nears its end the walls and halls come fully alive with images, sounds and activity demonstrating learning.

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Back to the Future

Like most of us, I am thinking a lot about the Escamez family and the sudden passing of Monica Rojas Zertuche, an ASFM mother with three children at our school.

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Newton and the NFL Draft

Is there a better image than the one below capturing the archetypical moment of scientific discovery when observation, sensation, and chance trigger insight? I’m following up on my Newton-ASOMEX letter sent just before Spring Break

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ASOMEX & Newton Laws

I’ve really never felt anything quite like the energy of an ASOMEX soccer tournament before. The crowds, the cheering, the competition, and the pure joy of being part of something so great. Community matters…a lot.

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Time to compete

I feel like I might jump out of my own skin because of my excitement for our first home ASOMEX tournament in two years! Do you feel that way too?

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Life of the Mind

Like many of you I travel to school on Alfonso Reyes almost everyday, but I have never questioned who is Alfonso Reyes. Randomly, my mom reported that she was fascinated by Alfonso Reyes’s writing and was now reading her second novel by him–he was a prolific writer. Naturally, I wondered whether he might have a message to help me with my Friday letter!

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Normalizing

School assemblies are back. Last week we met with the prepa students, and this week has been more focused on middle school.

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The Meaning of Life

Yesterday afternoon we received news that we can take off our masks outside and in open spaces. Hooray! At ASFM we will continue to wear masks inside the school buildings in order to comply with SEP regulations. Our official position is that masks are optional outdoors.

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Weight training

Do you have three favorite words? I’m always on the lookout for odd words that appear to have deep meaning that I’ve never heard of before.

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Competition & Leadership

Let’s celebrate the fact that we just completed our first full week of in-person learning. Let’s celebrate that teachers, administrators and staff are focused on improving the alignment of our instructional activities with our standards and assessments expectations with each grade level and between each grade level.

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Exit Strategy Part 2

I don’t know whether it’s my imagination or the truth, but each week seems to accelerate, and the only thing that seems to move faster is the rate of change in our own community. As we continue to distance ourselves from Omicron (0.2% positive cases in our pools and 0.5% overall positive in our community) we are rapidly adding more options to our school day.

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Exit Strategy Part 1

ASFMcron has crushed Omicron this week. We earned a 0.3% positivity rate, which means we have virtually no positive cases on campus; we are back to roughly the same positivity rate as we were in December just before the holidays.

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Constitution Day Weekend

I know if I were in the US and we had Monday off from school, my students would think that the holiday was to celebrate the winning team of the NFL Super Bowl. However, the Super Bowl is next week, a week later than usual, but we do have this Monday off.

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Omicron Part 3

We completed our 100th day of school this week, which leaves roughly 80 days left until the end of the school year.

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ASFMcron vs Omicron Part 2

There must be several Transformer movies because somehow Megatron kept coming back to life. Similarly, just when we think we’re winning against Covid we encounter a new challenge, and we are back in the trenches doing hand to hand combat, but we are winning.

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Omicron vs ASFMcron

Did any of you watch those silly Transformer movies? The bad guy transformer is Megatron and he wants to wipe out planet earth and his arch rival, Optimus Prime. Fortunately, Optimus Prime decides that humans are worth saving so he and his team battle Megatron to the death.

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Being Present is the best Present

This is my final letter to you all before the Christmas holidays. In my last letter I discussed the origin of the Grinch and ended my message by suggesting that this sneaky green “agua fiesta” creature is actually in all of us. Our challenge is making sure we always share the best, most generous part of ourselves on the outside–everybody will be happier. 

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Arts

We’re chasing down the last week of classes next week, and then we’re off to Christmas vacation; I think we all need a break.

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Los Tigres

Once I knew I would be moving to Monterrey I began to ask for advice about what life would be like as the new Superintendent of ASFM.

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Thanksgiving Travel

In my last letter I argued that Thanksgiving really should not be the only occasion during the year where we demonstrate our gratitude. On the contrary, let’s agree that practicing gratitude everyday makes us wiser, stronger and healthier as well as helps to lift the spirits of those around us. Together we rise!

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Community Matters

In this edition of 107 there’s a wonderful photo of kids eating, laughing, and talking around a table: “Dando gracias.” Thanksgiving is just around the corner and though we’ve had what feels like a lot of days away from school in November, I’m still ready for another long weekend--aren’t you?

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Love and Limits

It seems to always be the case that I'm in search of my Friday letter topic for most of the week, and then without fail by roughly 3pm Friday afternoon (why not earlier?) it hits me. 

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Long Term Planning for COVID

In my last letter I reported that COVID on campus was barely a topic as our PCR testing program once again proved that we have virtually no positive cases on campus.  Even after a long holiday weekend, we can report that we have no COVID cases on campus.

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Having Conversations

It’s the Friday before a long weekend and there are no students on campus, just the teachers, administrators, and staff. Today is a professional learning day, and we’re taking this moment to review and make meaning of the data we’ve collected over the last several months.

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Your Voice Matters!

I continue to ask for your input in the Strategic Planning Process (SPP). Your voice matters. In this letter, I hope to provoke you enough that I ensure you participate. Get ready.

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Re-launch

577 days, this is the first week we’ve had all of our students on campus.  Suddenly we recognize what school looks and feels like, and these impressions are comforting and make us optimistic about the future. It’s good to be back.

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Cautious Opening

Again, I’m writing to wish everyone luck with opening up our school to full in-person learning.  This is something we’ve been working on for many weeks.

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Random Testing

We did it! Again, thank you for committing to supporting our community by your willingness to adhere to the PCR testing program.

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Independence Day

At this week’s end celebrate not only completing three successful weeks of school but also Mexican Independence Day. I will return to Independence day in a moment, but first let’s reflect on this week.

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COVID Update & Self-Awareness

I’m happy to report that our rate of transmission continues to go down as we are now under 0.5%. ASFM campus is probably among the safest places in Mexico.

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Back to School - Mr. George Stewart

Together, we are rising.

We dared to open on August 9th because we believe that in-person learning is paramount for our students and for all students. The health officials closed us almost immediately, but all of you--parents, teachers, students and friends of ASFM--came together to fight for what we believe in. I’m so proud and happy to be part of this community. While it may be easy to cast blame on our local officials for our recent hardship, I would ask that we not do this.  Our local officials noticed, they listened and finally, with accurate information, supported our opening of school.  We thank them for their courage and willingness to listen.

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Welcome Back!

Earlier this week I launched the narrative of  “shared responsibility” for keeping our community safe as the key to reopening school for preliminary activities on Monday, August 9.

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