31 Mar 2021

AISB Student Leadership – Helping Students Find Their ‘Why’

Student leadership began to take shape at AISB in the summer of 2017 when the Vampires summer camp introduced the concept of student-coaches and leaders into the program. Our students and kids from the local community loved interacting and spending their time with high schoolers who made their summer a blast whilst teaching them many new things each day. This idea of student leadership was then furthered by a small group of exceptional students in that school year, when they began coaching under 11 football and leading some artistic courses, such as CCA (Co-curricular activity) painting. The success of these students and the winds of energy ushered into AISB then gave way to new ideas and planning for the newly formed CCA department in the 2018-19 school year, when we welcomed over thirty student leaders and these activities made up over 15% of our CCA program, which was also the…

24 Mar 2021

Co-curriculars Are Not Extra

The year was 2001, and I had just gotten hired at the American International School of Bucharest as a Secondary School Secretary.  The school was located in three different rented villas and the Secondary was on Calea Dorobanti, in a very elegant villa which was quite inadequate for the type of school life that we were dreaming of for our students.  I remember that Mr. Elliott, the Director of Athletics at the time, was one of the most dedicated and committed members of the faculty and still, sporting activities and “after school” activities left a lot to be desired, by virtue of lack of facilities (the building had no gym, there was a bubble that was inflated behind the building). In 2002 the entire student and faculty body moved into the current Pipera campus and the roots of a program that was going to offer our students the proper motivation…

17 Dec 2020

Being Grateful for Life As We Live It

In these times of such adversity, I would like to share a special piece of writing that I have always found sustaining. It was shared with me in life-changing circumstances, also close to Christmas time.  After teacher training in London, I took a volunteer assignment in Ghana to teach in the remote Western Region of the country, close to the border with Cote D’Ivoire. This was an extremely poor area in which people relied on cocoa farming. I was supposed to teach English in a new Secondary School, but the students rarely came. Primary education was hardly well-established in the area.  As the only white European for many miles, I attracted a lot of attention, often positive, sometimes aggressive, sometimes just amused. I would get a small audience to watch me wash my hair in a bucket outside my ramshackle home because my long straight hair was just weird for…

18 Jun 2020

The Nibble – the AISB Elementary Literary Magazine

Continuing in the tradition of last year, when we published AISB’s first ever ES Literary Magazine in June 2019… we are proud to announce the publication of the 2nd edition of the magazine - online! It has been an interesting and adventurous journey from the first day we met as a staff on December 6 in the ES Library, to the completion of the magazine in its digital form this week. We started as a Friday lunchtime CCA with a group of twelve 5th graders with the goal of publishing a hard copy magazine that could sit on the library shelves for students to peruse.  When school closed, on March 11, we thought there would be no magazine this year, until one intrepid 5th grader emailed us on March 20 with the message: “Dear Ms.Shona, Will we still continue the Lit Mag online? Have a good day, Juliet.” This one…

29 Jan 2020

Catch the “Fever” of Personal Projects

“To be honest with you I thought this was going to be one of those boring events that we have to attend just to be polite. Instead I witnessed an extraordinary event full of passion from both teachers and students. Not often  (or never?) do you see 15 or 16 years old kids with everything on their minds but school so involved in a project. It was a huge surprise for me to see the passion and the ‘fever’ they were having, while talking about their projects with kids from elementary school to grandparents. I know that the rules of a good essay say not to repeat words, but as you can see, I cannot avoid using ‘passion’ several times, because that was exactly what I felt from you and students!” - AISB Parent, Bogdan Dragomir.  In Grade 10 of any IB World School, you will see Grade 10 students…

15 Jan 2020

“Once a Vampire, Always a Vampire” The significance of Team-Building for Student-Athletes

Often modern day coaches are criticized for what some people consider outdated training methods. However, championship teams and greatness has always existed in sports, dating back to the times of ancient civilizations, the Roman gladiators, and even street ball at Rucker Park. What I am trying to say is that the methods of a "cantonament" which in Romanian refers to a retreat of the team from their normal environment is as relevant today to a team's comradery and performance as it ever was, it's all about location, timing, and the people involved believing in their goals. Allowing student-athletes the possibility to explore new environments, overcome challenges together, and be disconnected in order to connect is as prevalent today as it ever was! For the AISB Vampires, the team-building excursions represent a lot more than just a weekend get-away (more often than not in the beautiful Romanian country-side), they represent a chance for the team…

21 Nov 2019

AISB’s first student-written theater production, Brainstorm, picked up by The Bite

The American International School of Bucharest presents "Brainstorm" by arrangement with Nick Hern Books. "Brainstorm" is an Original Playscript developed by Ned Glasier, Emily Lim, and Company Three, with original material devised by the AISB cast. The play will premiere at the AISB Theater on Thursday, November 21 at 18:00 and another performance is scheduled for Friday, November 22 at 16:30. The first ever script to be written by AISB students, 'Brainstorm' explores the concept of teenage identity, by tackling the subject of daily teenage lives and emotions of different individuals of various ages. Join us to watch this moving rendering of adolescent day-to-day story, as told and acted by our very own AISB students! Lauren D., reporting for AISB's newspaper, the Bite, has picked up this story and tells us all about 'Brainstorm' at AISB. Check out an excerpt below and read more at:

07 Nov 2019

 Valuing our Mother Tongue

This past weekend, Secondary students organized a Mother Tongue conference at AISB - an excellent initiative that was really valued by all the students, parents and teachers involved. AISB is making great effort to value world language and provide more opportunities for students to study their mother tongue.  Charlemagne, the medieval French king, once said that "to have a second language is to have a second soul". Our language and ways of communicating shape our experience of the world profoundly. There are over seven thousand world languages, and each offers a unique way of experiencing human communication.    Ask a fluently bilingual person what happens when they switch languages and they might say that they think differently, move differently and even adopt a changed persona. If you speak many languages, you may be able to switch cultural codes when you travel. However, so crucial is language to our sense of identity…

03 Oct 2019

Experiential Learning: Here’s Why It Works

In Secondary we have two weeks (September & May) that we have purposely designed to use Romania as a platform for learning to build community and provide lifelong memories. Successful communities must be nurtured intentionally, and thus need purposeful opportunities to meet new people, foster relationships, and build perspectives. At AISB we do this in multiple ways - through our classroom engagements, advisory / homeroom program, co-curricular program (sport, arts, activities, service, outdoor education), student leadership training & opportunities, and through our experiential weeks. This year we have added our newly co-created house system to this listing. Our students continue to gain experience, skills and confidence in advocating for and leading initiatives to help us become a more safe and inclusive learning community. Our student councils, service groups, student-led activities, and The Bite newspaper are all great examples of this empowerment in action. As our goal is to help our…

12 Sep 2019

Our Game of Stereotypes

In these early days of school, we find ourselves introducing ourselves a lot. Of course, the conversation starter is often, ‘And where are you from?’ Then we refer to our place of birth and our passport(s) to describe ourselves. For many of us, these labels feel inadequate. We become part of a game of stereotypes. We rarely have time – even if anyone is listening - to describe the intricacies of our culture and personal experience. It’s just easier for me to say, ‘I’m English’. We want to give others something easy to relate to, even if this can be at the expense of the truth.  We have a complicated relationship with the concept of stereotypes. On the one hand, we know that the word itself is a pejorative. It is wrong to stereotype other people and put them into a two-dimensional box. Yet, our brains are excellent pattern recognition…

28 Aug 2019

Cultures and Learning at AISB

International schools are truly remarkable human communities. Every school day, young people from all over our world walk through our doors bringing from home different languages, different habits for speaking and listening and very different social and cultural values. Every year, this extraordinary diversity is re-defined and renewed as over two hundred new students join our community. For some new families, AISB will feel familiar – another international school in an international life. For other families, who have moved from their home country to Bucharest, the norms of AISB may feel very strange indeed.  We are used to measuring this diversity in numbers of nationalities on campus. We have sixty flags represented at AISB. Yet, I don’t believe that such a number does justice to the richness of perspectives in our school. Our cultural diversity is so much more interesting and relevant.  Culture is one of those words in the…

13 Jun 2019

The Secret to Authentic Learning Experiences in PE: Grade 1 Create Own Activities

The mission of PYP PE at AISB is to prepare, engage, and inspire all students in the skills, knowledge and attitudes that will enable them to experience the joy of movement throughout their lives. The experiences that learners have in PE during their time at AISB should reflect this mission and as such will be a balanced blend of: Active Living: Learners are challenged and supported in acquiring the movement skills that will allow them to participate actively in a range of physical activities. Learners understand the  concepts, and strategies that will enable them to  confidently, competently and creatively engage in a range of physical activities, including using their physical capabilities to explore the natural environment. Interactions: Learners develop and use personal, interpersonal, behavioral, social and cognitive skills and strategies to promote a sense of personal identity and well being. Learners are competent in building and maintaining positive relationships which…

10 Jun 2019

Grade 5 Students Put Together the First Elementary School Literary Magazine

A group of Grade 5 students met weekly every Tuesday at lunch to put together this amazing publication: AISB’s first ever Elementary School Literary Magazine!  They went through the whole process of publishing - from requesting student work from teachers, to photographing artwork, from learning about how to publish something in a GDPR friendly way, to surveying ES students to come up with a title for the magazine… and finally to the actual nitty-gritty work of designing the layout - font, color, etc. It was a wonderful and sometimes frustrating journey for us all! My heartfelt thanks to the fantastic 5th graders that made this possible… thank you Liam, Maria, Evelyn, Alexis, Demir, Alexia, Matthew, Maya, Albert, Erica, Nina, and Colleen.   .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom:56.25%; height:0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;}

Student Coaching: Above & Beyond

As a coach, there is no prouder moment than when a child you coached spreads their wings and takes flight! I am a firm believer in the situations when students one day surpass their teachers, because of the accumulated knowledge of the elder, mixed with the evolution of the game throughout eras, students become vessels of information, skill, and modern understanding. Our student coaches are a perfect example of those who have chosen to take flight! As their confidence increases lesson by lesson, they are allowing themselves to make mistakes, trust instinctively-made decisions, and react to the needs of their team players. It is a beautiful thing to behold as a coach – the fact you have contributed to this person’s overall character development, and now they are willing to keep growing by passing their insight on to younger players. They are a new generation of Vampires who have the…

20 Mar 2019

Ilinca P: An Inside Look At How Personal Projects Keep On Giving

The MYP personal project is a student-centred and age-appropriate practical exploration in which students consolidate their learning throughout the programme. This long-term project is designed as an independent learning experience of approximately 25 hours. The personal project formally assesses students’ ATL skills for self-management, research, communication, critical and creative thinking, and collaboration. International Baccalaureate MYP Subject Brief Even though Personal Projects are the crowning jewels of the MYP years, parents often wonder what makes MYP Personal Projects worth all the effort and time. Ilinca P. (Grade 10) is here to explain how her Personal Project evolved, and how it grew into much more than she had initially planned: --- My personal project started off as a passion more that anything. I wanted to write a book about Romanian Medical Myths for a very long time and this was my opportunity. People responded very well to it, and miss Jennifer Stevens…

26 Mar 2018

The Power of Passion and Perseverance

In the 1969 movie ‘True Grit’ there were some memorable lines from the phlegmatic John Wayne, who personified the conversational drawl of western cowboy movies. There were many memorable quotes from this movie: Lawyer Goudy,       “I believe you testified that you backed away from old man Wharton” John Wayne,           “Yes, sir” Lawyer Goudy,       “Which direction were you going?” John Wayne,           “Backward. I always go backward when I'm backin' away” I am not a great fan of the 2010 remake as no one can deliver lines quite like John Wayne, but pertinent to this newsletter was another quote that was always stuck a note with me: “I was born game and I intend to go out that way” In past Newsletters, I have written about the skills your children will need to accomplish successful, future professional lives – teamwork, communication skills,…

21 Jan 2016

Freedom of Speech

About a year ago I wrote something on free speech, that was published, if I remember correctly, in 'The Underground’, but it seems to have gone largely unheeded. So without succumbing to the temptation of repeating myself, I will state my thoughts in a wider context and perhaps be rather more explicit in my expectations. Although we are in Romania and governed by their laws, I was intrigued to see what ‘free speech’ meant in an American court of law as described in the First Amendment. The Court has clarified through their past decisions many interpretations of the concept of freedom of speech enshrined in the Constitution, one being that it does not “… permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration.” (Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988)) What does this mean for any articles written within the school’s…

09 Jun 2015

Thank you!

As the year draws to a close, the successes of the Graduating Class of 2015 mellow, and sights are set on the school holidays, trips away, camps, and lazy summer days, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the support that you have given Jann and me during our first year at AISB. I have been amazed at the community’s commitment to the success of our school, and there are two particular groups that I would like to single out to thank. Firstly the Board of Trustees at AISB, who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that the campus is adequately resourced and who earnestly executed their fiduciary responsibilities. As the Chair of the Board, Matthew Werner has guided us through many lively debates and brought stability and purpose to the decision-making process. He will be sorely missed and I would like to…

01 Apr 2015

Changing times

I recently attended the annual conference for our regional organization, CEESA (Central and Eastern European Schools Association). For me, these events are not just about hearing engaging keynote speakers, but they are also opportunities to network with colleagues in our region, which stretches from Vienna to Almaty. In one particular workshop, the presenter alluded to a challenge that we all face: what do we preserve of traditional educational practices and what changes do we engage as we move into the future? Through the IB curriculum we encourage students to be creative and innovative, see patterns and form, make connections, and learn how to think. We strive to create an educational environment that acknowledges the individual nature of the learning process and develop a curricular program that promotes freedom of expression within a supportive environment. However, as we upgrade our pedagogical approaches to student learning and make changes that promote new…