Dear AST Family and Friends,

We just have a couple of quick updates and then a lengthier message about the AST Parent Association meetings.

The 2018-2019 Year at a Glance calendar has been posted. We do not expect any significant changes. This is very useful for vacation planning around the academic calendar.

The first air filtration machines have been deployed to classrooms. We have about 80% of the machines placed that we think we need. We will be regularly monitoring air quality in the classroom spaces and comparing it to outdoor air quality and reassessing how well our actual need is being met. The first data points are optimistic. We are committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all of our students and now that includes much of the air within closed classroom areas. We are still researching potential solutions for the larger spaces as well, but the complexity of solving the AQI issues within those spaces is much greater.

Have a great next week,

Anthony

 

Parent Association

I have learned a lot about parent associations over the past years. I came to AST with a pretty solid grasp of the purpose and activities of an American parent association. What I have learned more about now is the difference between these and the Taiwanese parent associations. At AST, we continuously walk that line between American and Taiwanese customs and cultures, and we attempt to bring the best of both worlds into our environment. That requires an open conversation about those differences and a look at our specific situation.

An American parent association is focused on service to the school community. Primarily, it organizes fundraising events for school projects and initiatives, and coordinates volunteer efforts that support the daily operation of the school. Being part of the parent association is not so much a place of prestige there, but rather it is a commitment to helping create the best learning environment possible for children.

At AST, when our parent association was formed, we had an additional need. Our parents needed a regular forum for communicating with the Director. They wanted time set aside to share their thoughts and concerns and to ask questions. This is not an uncommon purpose for a Taiwanese parent association and this need still exists today. So, when another avenue wasn't available, this became a secondary objective of the AST Parent Association (PA) and its meetings. The downside of this is that the parent association has developed a bit of a split focus and the primary goals of supporting school initiatives and volunteering have been overshadowed by the need for the forum to communicate with the Director. It has not been uncommon for the ‘Time with Mr. Keen’ on the PA agenda and Q & A to consume all but five minutes of the meeting time.

With the creation of Tea Time with the Directors, parents have been given a clear, new time and place to come in and talk to the Directors. It allows that conversation to be focused on those questions, concerns, and ideas that the parents bring forward. In fact, that is the only agenda item for the Tea Time.

Based upon this, Mr. Keen and Ms. Tung will no longer be regularly attending the parent association meetings. They may be invited in to speak about a specific event or initiative, and they will join in just long enough to help share the needed information related to an event that is necessary. But, for the majority of the meeting time, they will not be in attendance. This is not because we do not value what the parent association is doing. Rather, it is because we very much value it, and we want our wonderfully supportive parents to have the time that they need to plan and organize their own agenda for our school.

親愛的AST家庭與朋友們:

這星期的週訊我將先很快的提到兩件最新校務事項,隨後大部分的篇幅則是我對AST家長會月例會的一些想法。

首先,2018-2019學年的行事曆草稿已公布於學校網頁。對於重要的日期如開學與放假日,我們不會有所更動,希望這份行事曆對於您下學年的假期規畫有所幫助。

另外,學校購置的第一批空氣清淨機這星期已送到各教室。約有八成的機器目前已配置在我們認為必需要有空氣清淨機的地方了。我們會繼續偵測校園內空氣品質的變化,包括室內與室外的差別;所裝置的設備是否符合空間大小的需求等。到目前為止,我們偵測到的第一手數值顯示都很樂觀。學校的使命是要提供給同學們一個安全、健康的學習環境,所以現在也將空污問題列入我們的考量。我們將盡可能的持續研究解決空氣品質不良的複雜問題。

預祝大家有個很棒的下星期!

校長

金安東

 

家長會

過去幾年來,我從 ‟家長會ˮ 學習了很多。在進入AST時,我很有把握清楚一般在美國境內學校家長會的目的和活動運作。而現在我則對於台灣學校家長會與美國家長會之間的差異也有些許認知。 在AST,我們總在美國與台灣風俗和文化並行之間前進,並希望將雙方面所擁有的優點、長處全納入我們所在的環境裡。因此我們需要開誠布公地討論那些風俗文化的差異,並檢視我們處境的具體情況。

在美國,家長會都是聚焦在如何服務學校社群,家長會主要是為學校專案活動募款,並協助提供志願服務者支援學校日常運作需要。家長會的成員,不為個人名望,純粹配合、協助學校給予孩子們最好的學習環境。

在AST,我們的家長會除了與美國的家長會有相同的目標與活動外,還多了一樣美國家長會所沒有的需求,那就是與校長溝通的平台。家長們希望利用家長會開會時間與校長分享他們的意見與想法以及提出疑問。這樣的需求在台灣並不奇特,而且確實有所需要。因此,若沒有其他的場合讓家長們與校長一起會談,便會成為AST家長會開會時的另一項要務。如此一來,家長會的例行會議可能會為了與校長的溝通而無法專注執行家長會原本支持參與學校活動與志願服務同學們的主要目標。這也解釋了為何在家長月會中, ‟校長時間ˮ 與臨時動議幾乎要佔去全部會議時間,而不是原來預定的5分鐘。

隨著我們另外創設了與校長茶敘的會談,家長們其實已有了更合適的時間和場合來學校與校長們進行會談。在與校長茶敘時,家長們可以提出對學校的疑問、關心、與建議,且我們設定這茶敘會議的唯一目的,就是設定讓家長可以專注地與校長們對談他們關心的議題與建議。

依照這樣區分模式,Mr. Keen與Ms. Tung為了讓家長在家長月會時有更多時間討論活動與服務事項,今後將只應邀列席家長會,說明學校活動或校務訊息,而不固定參加家長會開會。且我們希望家長們多利用與校長茶敘時間,提供寶貴意見給學校。兩位正、副校長都很珍惜家長會與家長們對於學校的支持,也希望家長們在家長月會時有更充裕時間自主討論各項服務與活動。