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Message from our Superintendent

Weight training

Dear ASFM community,

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. Here are three favorites: syzygy, chiasmus, and kairos. All three are pretty cool. The word syzygy just looks cool as well as probably misspelled. It means perfect alignment. For example in a solar eclipse you have a perfect alignment of the sun, moon and earth. Chiasmus is a figure of speech meaning a reverse parallelism like when John McCain said “we were elected to change Washington, DC but then we let Washington change us.”

“We set out to manage covid, but then covid changed us”, George Stewart

Finally, my favorite for this moment at ASFM, kairos.  Kairos means the right, critical moment to take action. I’ve always thought that if I could have any super power, it would be perfect timing. Think about it.If you could make every decision with perf ect timing, you would never fail. Kairos means that timing is everything. Kairos is the essence of prudence and prudence is to many philosophers, like the ancient Greek philosopher, Thomas Aquinas, the "cause, measure, and form of all virtues." Kairos frames our moment now at ASFM regarding so many things COVID related.

When do we end PCR testing? When will wearing a mask no longer be necessary? When will our full complement of sports return? When will life be normal? When can our second grade teachers remove their masks? When or will the third wave of COVID come to San Pedro? I feel like “kairos” is particularly directed at ASFM because the road to immense problems is paved with good intentions and bad timing. For now we will continue to exercise prudence and do what we said we would do. We are decreasing the percentage of people we PCR test, which also decreases the cost, while keeping in place masking, despite our fatigue. Unfortunately, SEP requires a strict adherence to wearing masks. We will endure. Your children will endure, and you must too.

Masks on off

On Monday of this week we tested 30% of our school population, and from this we learned that 0.3% positivity rate in our pools. This is very low. We believe that after the April spring vacation (Semana Santa) will be the last time we PCR test a large portion of the school population.  As we move from pandemic to endemic, I feel like we are also saying that addressing COVID will increasingly be something that families must manage on their own. It’s reasonable (prudent?) to expect a third wave of COVID in San Pedro. Kairos. Are we ready? Kairos.

Athletics

On campus yesterday we hosted multiple visiting teams for soccer games. I loved watching the kids compete. In the near future we will have tournaments in Guadalajara, Tampico, ASF as well as hosting our own ASOMEX soccer tournament.  Athletics are waking up, and it’s exciting to see.  Even ELEM will be competing starting on March 8. I’m so enthusiastic about these tournaments that I’m going to try to go to Tampico–anybody want to come with me?

DA VINCI

Another sign of things returning to some level of normalcy is we will be having our parent-teacher-student conferences next week. While this will be a virtual event, you will be discussing what’s happening during a normal in-person learning environment. We are talking a lot about building a stronger culture of evidence and collaboration around learning objectives. These themes of evidence and collaboration will be ones you will hear about more over time and will be topics you talk about during your parent-teacher conferences.

Tiger

I want to leave you with a metaphor that I think speaks well to this moment in time. School is like weight training. As you train you can lift heavier and heavier weights. The weights in 9th grade are not as heavy as they are in 10th grade, but when you arrive, you’re ready. As I walked around the soccer fields I could see that while we were competing valiantly, we were also a little tired. As I listen to teachers, parents, and students I hear stories where the “weight” of school seems a little too heavy. But here is the reality. In 2020 school started removing the weights. In fact in each subsequent year more weight was removed–suddenly even attending Zoom class hardly mattered!   School lost its rigor, and as the rigor returns now, our muscles are not used to the weight.

I always sign off my letters with “onward” because I want you to know that we look forward. We will not be trapped by our fatigue or the weight we must lift, but rather we meet the challenge and look forward because we have important work to do.

Onward, George

PS If you can use any of the three words introduced in this letter in an email to me, you’ll get extra credit!


LINKS:
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3162650/hong-kong-expert-investigating-whether
https://elpais.com/sociedad/2021-12-02/de-la-alfa-a-la-omicron-como-las-variantes-del-coronavirus-se-impusieron-o-se-quedaron-por-el-camino.html
https://www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/local_situation_covid19_en.pdf
https://www.thinkglobalhealth.org/article/how-hong-kong-coping-tremendous-omicron-wave
https://www.dw.com/en/covid-digest-hong-kong-mulls-lockdown-amid-omicron-wave/a-60940750
https://fortune.com/2022/03/02/how-contagious-is-stealth-omicron-covid-subvariant-immunity/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/es/post-opinion/2022/01/25/variante-omicron-covid-19-fin-pandemia-vacunas/