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Message from our Superintendent

The Meaning of Life

Dear ASFM community,

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. 

On Tuesday ASFM celebrated International Women’s Day. Shortly after meeting with the student leaders of multiple clubs, many of whom are female, I read this article in the Harvard Business Review (When Women Leaders Leave the Losses multiply) about women in leadership positions. I believe ASFM is helping to open the door to expanded opportunities for women, but most importantly I believe that school needs to inspire the connection between students and teachers, between artists and athletes, between quants and writers and between administrators, faculty and parents. School exists as an integrated ecosystem, and educators must constantly work to encourage relationship building between all the members of the community. Community matters, and inclusion and transparency are key to its health. Sincerity and care for others allow all community members to learn and flourish. Strong relationships between students, faculty, parents and administrators should be at the heart of any school. Whether the topic of the day is women or any other group, our job is to ensure that all people in our community feel that they BELONG in our community. Please help me ensure that our community puts the needs of others above the needs of the individual. 

On the subject of “community,” I’m pleased to announce that for the first time in two years student assemblies are back. This week we met in the auditorium with all of the 9th graders and then all of the 10th grade students. It’s amazing and scary to me to recognize the fact that our 10th grade students, for example, were last together in the auditorium as 8th graders. Imagine the academic difference between what we would normally expect from an 8th grade student versus a 10th grade student. These two grades are light years away from each other in terms of academic maturation. Our message to both generations was simple: roughly 80% of success is just showing up. We are working hard to tighten our focus on academic achievement, and the first order of business is to ensure we have our students in class so they can achieve. In addition, our SEP "inspectoras" have made it clear to us that in order to progress from one grade level to the next a student must have an attendance record of at least 80%. We have students at risk of failing because of attendance. Assembly presentations: Grade 9 AssemblyGrade 10 Assembly

I continue to struggle with what can be done about our traffic situation. I’ve decided, wrong or right, that traffic is not a problem but rather a dilemma, and as such it will just have to be endured. We can’t fix it unless we go to mandated busing, like Mexico City has required of schools there. We currently have 80 families that have expressed interest in riding the LOGO buses, but only four families have paid. We have enough students to run two buses on Monday.

We will do our best to ensure orderly traffic on campus. If we see cars parked in the wrong places or cutting in line, we will remove driving privileges on campus. On Tuesday of next week, the Parent Association will be helping to direct traffic during the pick up time–please support their efforts to help all of us have a stress free entrance into school. Here are four songs I like, maybe they’ll help lighten your mood while you wait:

"Don't Stop Believin" (Journey)
"Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (Elton John)
"With or Without You" (U2)
"Let It Be" (Beatles)

What favorite tune would you add?

Finally, our beloved city of the larger metropolitan area of Monterrey is facing serious environmental challenges ranging from horrible air quality to a dangerously low supply of water. I ask you and all of us to do what we can to address these serious challenges. We are happy to host Mayor Miguel Trevino on Monday next week when he will be speaking with the 6th grade about our current environmental challenges. Just as managing the COVID pandemic has forced us to work together, so must we act with continued shared responsibility for addressing our current environmental situation.  What would it take to reduce traffic to campus by 50%?

Onward, George

PS Ukraine. 

I can’t help but add a final comment about Ukraine–it’s on my mind most of the time these days. There is such pain and suffering in the Ukraine so I thought I would give you something beautiful to think about that comes from there. The origin of the famous musical “Fiddler on the Roof” comes from stories written by Sholem Aleichem who emigrated from Kyiv to NYC in 1906. He was known in his day as “Jewish Mark Twain” because of his sense of humor and because he used a pen name.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes from him on three different themes:

  1. THE MEANING OF LIFE: "Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor."
  2. WHEN THINGS GO WRONG: "No matter how bad things get, you've got to go on living, even if it kills you."
  3. THE PEACEMAKER: “You see, my friends. There is no pleasing everyone. It's hopeless to even try, and the more you play the peacemaker, the less peaceful things become."

I really don’t know much about Ukraine, but I’m trying to learn more. I like to look for connections through writers I admire which is how I discovered Sholem Aleichem. What connections might you make to this part of the world?