A School With No Bells, Traditional Classes and Textbooks. ''Our Students Are Agents of Their Own Learning"
There are no bells and traditional classes, and English is virtually the only language you hear while walking down the hall. It really shouldn't came as a surprise, as the students come from over 50 countries. 'Our students are agents of their own learning. This is what makes us different from traditional schools,' says Agnieszka Świetliczko, Director of Marketing & Communications at ASW. This is what being a student of the American School of Warsaw looks like.
You can spot the ASW campus from afar among the detached houses of Konstancin-Jeziorna, just on the outskirts of Warsaw. The premises are guarded by security officers. The first things that catch your eye are buses parked next to the main building, used to take the kids to school and back and for the fields trips, and two flags - Polish and American - waving in the wind. When you cross the gate, it almost feels like you're no longer in Poland. Spacious parking lot, modern school building, football, basketball and - obviously - softball fields.
[EN & PL] OurKids.net
Our Kids Interview: Get to Know The American School of Warsaw
Our Kids: You’re not the only international school in Warsaw and not the only American school in Warsaw. What would you tell a parent who is interested in enrolling their child in an international American school in Warsaw to convince them that yours is the best?
Jon Zurfluh: It's a sense of the place. I think, looking at it through the lense of the parents I talk to who are considering us, you walk in the front door and get a feel for the place and you see it as a match. For us, because of our diversity, because of our broad range of programs, because of our non-selective enrollment, we tend to match more parents and more families than a typical school that may be focusing on a more narrow frame of curriculum or program delivery. So for us, it's a mixture of the IB three-program continuum school but still embedded in U.S. common core standards.
Our Kids: When I interviewed parents from your school, they emphasized this sense of community in your school. How do you make this community work?
Jon Zurfluh: When people come into our admissions, we have to try to explain to them that this isn't just about signing up your child, paying the fees, and walking away. This is about parents engaging in this, too. We are partners and we expect you to be part of this. We will facilitate it, e.g., when we have new families, we have ambassadors from various parent groups to guide them. We always have 10 languages used around the room, people are asking questions in their native tongues. Then that relationship continues.
At the core of what we do we recognize that we’re all in this together, that education is not just about teachers delivering to students, that it's about creating an environment of learning here and in the logical extension in the home to make sure that our kids have this robust experience that's more about life and less about the textbooks. We’re out there making change, doing good things and good work.
[PL] Property Design
Top of the Class With Ecological Badge. Only Three Schools in Poland Achieved Certification
There are only three schools in Poland with an ecologial certificate at the moment, two of which are LEED-certified, and one is BREEM-certified. "A sustainable building does not have to be certified. A certificate, however, is considered the cherry on the cake," claims Alicja Kuczera, the Executive Director of Polish Green Building Council (Polskie Stowarzyszenie Budownictwa Ekologicznego).
American School of Warsaw, the First Green School in Poland
It is the campus of the American School of Warsaw, located on Warszawska 202 Street in Konstancin-Jeziorna, that became the first green school in Poland. In 2012, a campus expansion has been completed by Skanska in accordance with LEED certification requirements.
American School of Warsaw is really ecological. The building has been fitted with a monitoring system making sure an alert is sent whenever CO2 concentration in any of the rooms rises above acceptable levels. In order to lower the usage of drinking water, rainwater is used for sanitary purposes. There is a system for controlling and optimizing the lighting, and a wind turbine that produces energy for the new building along with a solar power installation used to heat water.
Theater, Swimming Pool and COVID-19 Testing Station. This Is the Reality of the Most Expensive Schools in Poland
The American School of Warsaw is one of the most expensive schools in Poland. Yearly tuition fee is starts from 60,000 PLN. It's an international school with students origination from 50 different countries. ASW offers International Baccalaureate Organization Programs on all three levels: IB Diploma Programme, the IB Middle Years Programme for students aged 11 to 16, and the IB Primary Years Programme for children aged 3 to 12.
"The main goal of the IB Programme is to help the students become versatile. Our students have acess to much broader set of tools than they would in other educational programs. We offer courses in psychology, economics, photography, computer science or global politcs, which are not included in the curriculum of the majority of other schools," says Agnieszka Świetliczko, ASW's Director of Marketing & Communications.
American School in Poland Maintains On-Site Teaching Despite the Pandemic
The American School of Warsaw in Konstancin-Jeziorna is one of the few schools in Poland that was able to maintain on-site teaching despite the pandemic and the regulations by the Polish Ministry of Education.
It's business as usual at ASW. Cars and busses arrive at the gates, students and teachers show up at the campus every day. The classes, including arts and athletics, take place as scheduled.
When asked about it, Agnieszka Świetliczko from the American School of Warsaw stresses that the school operates in affiliation with the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and maintaing on-site teaching is possible due to precautionary procedures and measures that include having all ASW students and employees tested twice a week. "Both the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the local Sanitary-Epidemiological Station have been informed by the Embassy on the COVID-19 procedures and our plans for the future," reads an email from ASW Communications Department, stressing that the regulations of Polish Ministry of Education are not applicable to the American School of Warsaw.
US Vice President Pledges Support to Ukrainian Refugees at American School of Warsaw
US Vice President Kamala Harris visited with a group of Ukrainian refugees during her trip to Warsaw, Poland, for a discussion about their experiences, saying Thursday that their conversation would help inform how the US can best support those leaving Ukraine.
“The conversation we will have this afternoon will help inform me, the President of the United States and the American people about what you have experienced so that we can best support you and your families,” Harris said.
She continued, “You’ve been through so much. And the people at this table represent over a million people who must be seen, their story must be known, so that we as a community of people around the world can support you.”
Harris met with seven people who have fled Russian aggression from Ukraine, including a Ukrainian advocate for persons with disabilities, a Moroccan university student, a professional film producer from Odessa, a Senegalese community leader and teacher, a LGBTQIA+ rights activist from Kyiv, and a Ukrainian energy expert and her young adult daughter, according to a White House official.
She thanked the group for "your willingness, your courage and your time.”
[EN] The Hill
VP Kamala Harris Meets with Ukrainian Refugees in Poland at American School of Warsaw
Vice President Harris on Thursday met with seven displaced people from Ukraine in Warsaw, Poland; over a million people have fled Ukraine since Russia began its invasion of the country.
Harris thanked the participants for “your willingness, your courage and your time to have this important conversation” to start the roundtable discussion in a classroom at the American School of Warsaw.
The participants included a Ukrainian advocate for persons with disabilities, a Moroccan university student, a professional film producer from Odessa, a Senegalese community leader and teacher, a LGBTQIA+ rights activist from Kyiv and a Ukrainian energy expert and her daughter. Two government officials and a translator also joined the discussion.
“The conversation we will have this afternoon will help inform the president of the United States and the American people about what you have experienced so we can best support you and your family,” she said.
[EN] TVP WORLD
Help Without Borders: American School of Warsaw
Over 1.5 million refugees have already come to Poland after fleeing the war in Ukraine. The numbers continue to swell by the day – with no end in sight.
The TVP World’s first guest today was Jon Zurfluh, Director of the American School of Warsaw. “What we did is became an organisational hub for hundreds of families that were taking in the refugees,” he said, describing the school’s recent activities amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.“We are a funnel now,” he added, pointing out that the school is currently “bringing things in, bringing things out and getting them directly to the refugees.”
Maria Daifoti, President of the school’s Parent Teacher Organisation, the programme’s second guest, emphasised the importance of the aid provided by ASW families, students and teachers.
“They have brought donations and supplies,” she explained, adding that all the gathered goods are transferred directly to the Ukrainian refugees in need. “We need to help them,” she stressed.
[EN] The International Educator
American School of Warsaw for Ukraine
For the past couple of weeks, we all have been horrified by the news and images coming to us from our eastern border after Russian troops invaded Ukraine. Over a million refugees have now crossed the Polish border, leaving their lives, family members, and the belongings of their lives behind. They arrived in Poland only with hopes for a better future one day.
With the outbreak of the war and when the first refugees arrived at the border, the phrase "Polish hospitality" took on real meaning. In large cities and small towns, Poles rushed to support those in need. They opened their hearts and their homes.
The American School of Warsaw community followed closely. From the very first minute, when it became clear that there were people in need, our community started helping under the leadership of the Service-Learning Coordinator and in a strong relationship with Polish Non-Government Organizations, which have been our partners for many years. Many of our families have welcomed people into their homes. Others help by donating money and goods to support refugees from Ukraine. Students and parents continue packing countless boxes filled with donations from American School of Warsaw (ASW) families.
What started out as an ordinary helping hand reaction quickly turned into an aid campaign we called #ASWforUkraine. We created a dedicated website https://www.aswarsaw.org/community/aswforukraine where we collect information from both sides, those in need and those who offer their help. Our website is robust and includes regularly updated accounting of our work. There, we also collect money. Through ASW Foundation we set a Rally Up donation which allows us to build a long-lasting financial reserve that will be used to pay for food, gas, transportation, and support for the refugees as needed.
Warsaw Is Stepping Up for Ukrainian Refugees
The volunteers of Grupa Centrum are supported by firefighters, rail employees, and scouts. Ordinary citizens also come to put their best skills to work helping refugees. In the crowd of disoriented travelers and their suitcases, I see a bunch of people dressed as Disney characters, the already-famous Dinosaur of the Central Station, and a couple of clowns, who treat refugee children with candies.
“I’m actually a teacher at the American School of Warsaw,” says one of the clowns, whose name is David. “But I come here as often as I can, recently with my new French friend — also called David.” He laughs and points at a man talking to a refugee boy. “I came here from Seattle, where I work as a farmer,” says David Two. “Talking to you now is the longest time I’ve taken for myself in a week.”
[EN] Kitsap Sun
Bremerton Chef Joins Ukrainian Aid Efforts by Feeding Refugees in Poland
David Amar, a chef from Bremerton, was ready to join the war in Ukraine before his wife stopped him and suggested another option.
"You're a chef. You don't know how to use a gun. You know how to use a knife. Why don't you just go cook?" Amar's wife, Clara Grahn, asked him.
"So I'm like OK, cool," Amar said.
Amar posted on Facebook saying he wanted to cook for Ukrainians. Through a friend who has a connection in Poland, Amar was able to fulfill a volunteer position for the American School of Warsaw — a chef to cook for about 60 to 80 Ukrainian refugees hosted by Polish families in Warsaw, the capital of Poland.
Originally from France, Amar saw images of Ukrainian refugees walking in the cold on TV and felt obligated to return to Europe, he said.
[EN] Vineyard Gazette
American School of Warsaw Teacher is Helping Ukrainian Refugees
Bill MacKenty, his wife Dagmara and daughter Jana live in Warsaw, Poland. Bill was born and brought up in Edgartown. Twelve years ago, he and Dagmara moved to Warsaw, where Bill is a computer science instructor at the American School of Warsaw. Since Covid started, Bill updates us weekly on Facebook about what is happening around them. Now it is the war. They are living firsthand with refugees coming into Poland and doing what they can to help. They have taken in a woman named Anna and her nine-year old son Dennis, who just arrived from over the border. They are two of the two million refugees who have come into Poland.
Their goal is to get Anna and Dennis acclimated so they can get an apartment. Anna is a seamstress and they have provided her with material so she can sell some clothes. Dagmara is teaching English to Dennis. Anna shows them videos of her area being bombed and reports to them in the morning saying, “people could sleep last night” or “it was very hard last night.”