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The Talking Head

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Being Inclusive and Welcoming

Last weekend many of us at ICS were challenged to think about the new US president’s restrictions and limitations on refugees, immigrants and visitors from specific countries. His decree certainly seems to herald a troubling change to US policy and practice. We wonder where it may lead in the future.

I am writing this message to declare that ICS Addis remains an inclusive school community. We welcome children, families and employees of different spiritual beliefs, with differing ethnicities, cultures and orientations. We are proud to be educating children from more than 70 countries—including a few on the new president’s list. We affirm our belief that the best way to create a peaceful, ethical world is when people from many cultures are learning, playing and working together. We believe that international schools like ICS can be models for how the world should behave.

One heartening note in all this is the courageous response of millions of people in the USA and in other countries. Many people found their voice, or took action. Writing or calling US government representatives, standing at airports, providing free legal assistance, writing dissent letters, donating money for refugees or stranded travelers, and many other actions are important.

We can all think of examples in history when terrible things happened, and good people remained silent. “It won’t happen to me,” is an unacceptable response to discrimination.

The words, decisions and actions of a few people in power in the USA are not always indicative of the spirit of the American people. We want our children to learn to be courageous. Perhaps this is a time for the adults in the ICS community to model their courage. Don’t be afraid to ask your children about what is happening, or to let them know your own thoughts and feelings. Don’t be silent. And, I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions on this topic in the coming days and weeks.

Saying Goodbye

Nurse Renate Tejiwe began working at ICS Addis in June 1994. She helped us establish many good health services over the years, such as training students, teachers and other staff to be certified First Responders, or hiring nurses and doctors to accompany our WWW trips in Ethiopia.

Renate is retiring early, on 9 February 2017. I know that many people in our community will want to stop in and say “thank you” before she leaves us.

How’s the School Doing?

The 2015–2016 school year marked many important milestones for ICS Addis. We launched our first Annual Fund campaign and established an investment account for our Scholarship Endowment. The community collaborated on the Master Plan and the new Sports Pavilion is rising out of that process. Our reauthorization study for the IB Diploma Programme (DP) in the high school was successful. We completed our self-study for the IB Primary Years Program (PYP) in the elementary.

Our Annual Report for 2015–2016 is published now, and is being sent home to all families this week. It is a colorful testament to the hard work of our teachers and support staff, and to the accomplishments of our school programs. It includes many indicators of our school’s quality regarding learning, participation and finances. This year we are also sending home a healthy variety of brochures about some of our programs at ICS.

I hope you will enjoy reading and learning more about what ICS is doing. I also welcome feedback about other school indicators or reports that you feel may be valuable for us to consider in future annual reports. This Annual Report—and previous reports—are also available on our website’s Parent Downloads page.

Community Breakfasts!

On the last Thursday of every month, ICS teachers and support staff gather for a “Thankful Thursday” breakfast. Eating together is a great way to celebrate regularly and to say thanks to people who work hard behind the scenes to make ICS a safe, welcoming school.

On the first Wednesday of every month we also invite parents for a Community Breakfast. In January and February our Latin American and South African groups fed many parents (and a few administrators!) amazing cultural breakfasts. Wow! Who will outdo them in March or April? Administrators will be to say hello to parents and answer questions you may have.

Our next two Community Breakfasts are on 1 March and 5 April. Put them on your calendar now!