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Message from our Superintendent

Competition &  Leadership

Dear ASFM community,

I think in my last letter people confused my discussion of wastewater COVID monitoring as a sign I was increasing the focus on testing just at a time when we are emerging from the pandemic; this was not the intention. My goal is to phase out testing all together. I want to get ASFM out of the PCR testing business. Full stop. Punto. Still, we will need your help to do that.

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. Our teachers are not thinking as much about COVID and PCR testing as they are working in teams to revise instructional units for 2022-2023 to improve consistency of learning outcomes and assessment criteria so that we can better diagnose and respond to the learning needs of each of our students. Today is a Professional Development day and teachers and administrators will NOT be talking about COVID; they will be talking about how to improve learning results.

How do we feel about the fact that our COVID positive cases are a little higher this week than they were last week? How do we feel about the fact that the city of Hong Kong has been brought to a standstill because COVID returned and is now raging through the city? Are we so lucky here in San Pedro that COVID will not return? Do we believe that? How do we feel about the fact that we don’t know what the lasting effects of COVID might be? Please sign up to come to our Parent Association meetings where we are debating the answers to these questions and many others. Together we will rise, but only with a shared vision for the future.  
Click here for interesting articles related to COVID in the world.

norway_athlete

Did you know that we hosted our first visiting teams for both volleyball and soccer games yesterday afternoon? Right now team tryouts are happening so that we can send teams to forthcoming ASOMEX tournaments. There are at least 40 students signed up for gymnastics. Ballet is rocking with lots of students. What’s the Spanish expression? Sin miedo al éxito. We go forth to compete and have fun. Life is looking more and more normal. I love the winter olympics. Did you know that Norway earns a disproportionate number of medals given their size? They are among the countries with the most medals. The Norwegian government crafted a document called “The Childrens’ Rights in Sports” stating that “children should have a positive experience every time they participate in sport.” The result? Norway earns more medals than most every other country in the world. 

On Monday of this week we recorded 0.5% COVID positivity rate in our PCR pool testing program. Last Monday we recorded 0.2%. While these numbers are so low we could conclude that the change is statistically irrelevant, I think we should stay alert and continue to test, but at a lower level. Rather than testing a random 50% of our school community we will test a representative sample of just 30% next week. This move means you will pay less. You can help us continue to reduce the percentage by going to the priority tent in the ELEM garage if you think you have symptoms. Because we are testing so many fewer people we will be able to eliminate retesting on Tuesdays. High five! Together we make progress.

Harvard University invited Jacinda Ardern to be their Commencement speaker for this graduating class of 2022. In 2017, at age 37, she became the youngest woman in the world to become a head of government (New Zealand). In 2018 she became the world's second elected head of government to give birth while in office (after Benazir Bhutto). Have you read about her? The president of Harvard described her this way: “From climate change and gender equality to COVID-19, she has modeled compassionate leadership that has brought together empathy and science-based solutions to address the most challenging issues of our time.” She is arguably the most successful leader worldwide in managing her country through these challenging times and she leads with fidelity to science-based solutions and empathy. We endeavor to do the same by collecting data, analyzing it and making decisions based on what we learn. 
Check out George's curated list of leadership books.

This afternoon our Model United Nations class is hosting a conference that will extend through the weekend. In the Sundial magazine I wrote about what I believe is the origin of trustworthiness. Trustworthiness comes from demonstrating a high level of Credibility, Reliability and Intimacy. The more we can demonstrate our evidence based worthiness in these areas the more our community (you) will trust us. All of this breaks down when our own orientation becomes too Self-Oriented. I want to reduce testing on campus and the expense it entails while ensuring we maintain the highest level of credibility, reliability, and intimacy with you. I think, but I am open to debate, that keeping some level of testing, wastewater COVID surveillance, for example, is sensible and is probably what Jacinda Ardern would do.

Finally, our bus company, LOGO, is ready to take sign ups. Here’s the link. There is no question that having fewer cars coming to campus would help with overall traffic congestion and since our COVID numbers are relatively low, let’s go back to using buses. 

Onward,

George