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Message from our Superintendent

Summer plans: Back to the Future II

Dear ASFM community,

Miles for Smiles

This past weekend ASFM hosted two fun events: Marketplace and Miles for Smiles. I had no idea we had so many young entrepreneurs; before leaving the ELEM covered parking area Alexandra and I had spent all of our cash! Our ELEM students are very good at sales. Then, on Sunday Alexandra and I along with about 1000 other participants, ran in the Miles for Smiles races. As I struggled up the hills on the course (OMG, there are so many hills!) I could not help but think about Eliud Kipchoge who is the fastest marathon runner. Kipchoge ran the fastest marathon in Berlin in 2018 finishing with a time of 2:01:39 which yields a mile pace of 4:38.4– can you imagine that? Most of us could not run that fast for one mile or even a few hundred yards and he did it for over 26. I looked for a few quotes from him to help me understand what his secret might be and whether his perspective might help us finish out this school year. Here are a few:

Eliud Kipchoge

Kipchoge is well known in running circles for writing careful notes about his runs and his physical state. He says he never overextends himself in training as he’s always intentional about saving his energy for when it matters–always strategic. He says:

  1. “When you write, then you remember.”
  2. “Only the disciplined ones in life are free. If you are undisciplined, you are a slave to your moods and your passions.”
  3. “It’s not about the legs; it's about the heart and the mind”

This last quote, is not his, but he liked to say it:

  1. “The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today.”

As we look towards the end of the school year, there’s no question we are short on time and that our “legs” may hurt, but the real story is making sure we bring our full heart and mind to bear on the challenges of finishing the school year with a strong performance.

Last week I started a theme of “back to the future” because as we move forward we are prioritizing values that were more obvious 10 years ago. We are insisting all students are “meeting expectations” as a minimum standard. School attendance must be at 95%, and if it should fall below 90%, we will insist on making up the time on the weekends. We are re-establishing high expectations within a strong and supportive community. I think that Kipchoge’s quotes above give strong guidance on how to win at the race of school: “it’s about the heart and mind” and “only the disciplined ones in life are free.”

This summer starting on June 20, we will be opening our Center for Personalized Learning (CPL). CPL will run our Eagle Summer Academy as well as continue during this school year to offer unique additional educational opportunities–we want to expand the menu of choice while at the same time providing a center where students can get additional support. Here are a few of the strands you will see in our Center of Personalized Learning:

  • A higher level of competitive athletic  opportunities. We are in the process of building a Tigres Academy soccer camp as well as co-hosting with Tigres 3 Showcase  (scouting) events. Overtime we will broaden our sports options to include such options as Martial Arts & Rock climbing.   
  • Entrepreneurship (Columbia University, inhouse Entrepreneurship program)
  • Innovation/STEM
  • Fine and Performing Arts (Specialized Theater programs, Specialized Arts classes, Specialized and Individual Music classes)
  • Academics (Remediation programs, Harvard Medical School programs, Microcredentials, Exchange programs, College Prep Programs, SAT Prep Programs)
  • Well being (Speech Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Mental Health Therapy)

This summer CPL will offer a few different courses for students who need to make up credit as well as a few enrichment opportunities.  I’m happy to announce that Florenne Santarelli will be the head of CPL, and she will be forthcoming with our official course offerings for this summer.

While the end of the school year is approaching fast, there are still games to be played. There's a volleyball tournament here at ASFM this weekend as well as a few other competitions later in May (  Please come support our athletes!

Sometimes parents comment to me that ASFM needs to have a greater social impact for good in the world. While this is always true for all of us–we can always do more–recently I’ve been so impressed with what we are doing now. Miles for Smiles and Techo are good examples of ASFM’s commitment to making the world a better place. Techo has one more build coming up where they will be building ten new homes and they’ve already raised $680,000 towards that effort. There are over 134 ASFMers signed up to volunteer so when you see Romina Maldonado please thank her for being an excellent student leader for this effort– supported by profesora Sara Bivin, of course!

On the COVID front, I’m heartened to see that our local authorities are lifting mask requirements in prepas, among other places.  The tricky part for ASFM is that our Middle School students are mixed with our High School students so we will have to wear masks until the end of the school year, I’m afraid. On the PCR testing front, we continue to have low community transmission rates and on Monday of this week we established a zero positive rate within our on campus community. Data has always informed our strategy and our next steps. We continued testing despite calls to end the program because we continued to record positive cases. As a result of having achieved a zero rate of positive cases,  we have decided to end our COVID-19 testing program before the end of the school year. Next week will be the last week of testing. As of May 23, we will not be testing. Hurray! We will, however, continue with symptom checks as well as monitor the viral load of our gray water. I hope that this announcement does not feel like an invitation to engage in risky behavior–please make good choices.

Finally, did anybody notice that on Sunday of this past week (in the USA) and then again on Tuesday in Mexico, we celebrated Mothers’ Day? Where would we be without mothers?! As a small token of our appreciation for mothers please be on the lookout for a gift from our Parent Association and ASFM to you. Let’s face it, without mothers we would never win at the race of life!

Onward, George