Dear AST Families and Friends,
We hope that everyone enjoyed their 10/10 holiday this week. Next week, we are hosting our Fun Run on Monday and conferences on Friday. Both will be valuable events for our students and our community.
I would also like to invite any parents who wish to be involved with volunteering at our school to join the PA meeting on Thursday, October 15th, at 2:00 pm. We have two significant events where traditionally our parents have had a very positive impact. The first is the Halloween Activity time on November 2, and the second is the Thanksgiving Celebration on November 21st. If you are able and willing to help, this is an optimal time to come be part of the Parent Association.
Finally, I want to share a few resources that are potentially valuable to our school community, as well as your family at home. The first is a blog called Screenagers: Tech Talk Tuesdays. This is a blog follow-up to a documentary about the impact of screen time on kids in general and teenagers specifically. The blog is written by Dr. Delaney Ruston. There are two specific recent blog posts that I want to point out.
The first is about the screen time monitoring and parent controls in the new Apple IOS. The post describes how a family can set up the parent controls and then limit screen time in general or even by an application. It would be very helpful to the school if social media apps like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat were disabled during the school day. It would also be good for sleep patterns if, at an agreed upon time of the night, the phones were simply disabled on school nights.
The second post is about breaking the habit of texting our kids during the school day. At school, the vast majority of teachers collect cell phones when the students come into class and return them at the end of the block. This means that for the majority of the school day, students do not have their phones in their possession. This is a deliberate attempt to help the students remain focused on their academic work during class. We have discussed ways to collect and hold the cell phones for the entire day, but so far we have not found a way to feasibly do that. Further, during lunch, we have told students that the phones and other devices must stay put away until the food is finished and the area is cleaned up. This lunchtime change has resulted in better socialization and decreased exclusion. So, we would echo the message that Dr. Ruston shares in this blog post about parents not communicating in this manner during the school day, if at all possible.
The second resource that I want to talk about is a specific opportunity for high school students. I met with representatives from InvestInEducation. They are a British organization committed to connecting students with real-life practitioners in a meaningful, hands-on way. They have been running workshop experiences since 2012, and they are now expanding to offer sessions in Hong Kong for those interested in becoming an investment banker, a doctor, or an engineer. They offer one-day sessions in November, one-day sessions in March, and five-day sessions over the summer. We have not yet sent students to any of these sessions, but the organization’s goals, analysis of internships, and core ideas are solid and well organized. I believe that this would be a tremendous opportunity for students looking for positive experiences to help them both grow personally, and to add to their college application profile.
Have a great weekend,