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MS Weekly Bulletin | September 7, 2018
Posted 09/07/2018 03:00PM

The most important day of a person's education is
the first day of school, not Graduation Day.

– Harry K. Wong

My first boss in education, a middle school principal in the Hayward, California, public school system, used to say that if you do not have butterflies in your stomach on the first day of school then you may be in the wrong profession. Over the course of Opening Weekend and the first week of school at TASIS, I saw our students, teachers, and families on campus aglow with the excitement of a new school year that holds the promise of growth, challenge, and reaching our full potential. I want to thank the TASIS Community for such a promising beginning: "Well begun is half done," as Aristotle is credited with saying. It is my sincere hope that everyone in our community is stretched in the arenas of truth, goodness, and beauty—words emblazoned across the M. Crist Fleming Library for the whole world to see—so that together we can proudly and humbly do our part to make the world a better place. All the best for a great 18–19 school year!

– Christopher Nikoloff, Headmaster

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, September 12 TPA Lunch • 12:00–14:00, Casa Fleming
Thursday, September 13 Founder’s Day Assembly
Thursday, September 13 Consular services for American citizens • 18:30, Palmer Center
Monday, September 17 MS Class Outings
Wednesday, September 19 MS Parent Coffee • 8:30, Palmer Center (Topic: MS Program)
Thursday–Friday, October 4–5 Yearbook Portrait Day
Monday, October 8 No classes
Friday–Saturday, October 12–13 Family Weekend
Wednesday, October 17 MS Parent Coffee • Casa Fleming
Sunday, October 21 Fall Festival Brunch
Thursday, November 8 Parent Book Club • 19:00, Casa Fleming

Key Contact Information

Headmaster Christopher Nikoloff:
Middle School Academic Dean Tim Fitzgerald:
Middle School Dean of Student Affairs MJ Breton:
Middle School Assistant Svetlana Koreshkova:
Director of Residential Life Thomas Lill:
Middle School Dorm Head Tommaso Angelitti:
Italian Section Coordinator Guia Berera:
Learning Resource Director Lisa Crandell:
School Counselor Pamela Waters:
TASIS Nurses:
TASIS Shuttle Coordinator Svetlana Koreshkova:
TASIS Parent Association (TPA):

Please refer to the Faculty and Staff Directory on the TASIS website for additional contact information.

A New Start!

The Middle School community was excited to welcome returning students and get to know new students and their families on Opening Day and Orientation Weekend. The first week of school has flown by, and the MS students are slowly getting used to the routine. If you have any questions regarding our program or concerns about your child, please do not hesitate to contact the MS administrators, your child’s Advisor, or your child’s teachers.

The first day of school started with a Welcoming Assembly. Topics covered included Student Life (safety and security, key bracelets, electronics policy, Student Handbook, etc.) and Academics (EAL and Math placement, homework, and Veracross). Enjoy the inspirational video that was shown during the assembly: Color Your World.

On Tuesday, September 4, we had a second assembly that included information about our Founder, M. Crist Fleming, and the history of TASIS. The Magnificent 7—the timeless values TASIS stands for—were also presented: Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, Compassion, Humility, Service, and Vision.

On Wednesday, September 5, we reviewed the After-School Program options, and the students made their choices for the fall activities season. The roster lists are posted on the Belvedere Bulletin. If you have any questions regarding the After-School Program, please contact Mr. Morton.

During our MS Advisor block on Thursday, September 6, the groups discussed school expectations, including dress code.


MAP Testing: Over the next three weeks, all Middle School students will participate in MAP testing. MAP assessment comes from the US educational organization, Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). The tests allow us to determine your child’s instructional level and to measure academic growth throughout the school year—and from year to year—in the areas of Reading, Language Usage, and Mathematics.

Students will take three separate tests on separate days. If your child is absent on one of his or her testing days, make-up tests will be arranged. Testing will start next Tuesday, September 11, in Math. EAL will follow during the week of September 17, and English classes will start testing on September 24. Your child's teacher will provide the specific dates. This test is not part of your child's grade for the course.

Since each MAP test is individually tailored for the child, there is no way to study for the test. To best prepare your child, make sure he or she does the following:

  • Get a good night of sleep.
  • Have a nutritious breakfast.
  • Come to school with a positive attitude.

This should be no different than any other school day.

Individual MAP reports will be sent home in early October.

School Supplies: We try to make our suggested school supply list as comprehensive as possible. Individual teachers still may require some specialty items for their classes. Your child was informed about these items.

MS Daily Schedule

Visit to download a JPG version of the schedule for your phone or a PDF version to print.

MS Attendance

To inform the school of an absence (for the full academic day, single classes, or after-school activities), please go to the Student Attendance & Transportation Request area of the Veracross Parent Portal as soon as possible and provide details of the absence. Please be specific, make sure to choose the correct date, and always provide the reason. An absence may only be excused by the School, which reserves the right to determine whether an absence is excused or unexcused.

  • Tardy: If the student is late in the morning, provide what time he or she will come to school.
  • Partial Absence during the day (some classes missed due to a medical visit, family emergency, document renewal, etc): Provide the time when the student has to be dismissed and the time he or she will return to school—or specify the classes that will be missed in the notes field.
  • Early Dismissal: Provide the time the student has to be dismissed and note whether he or she will be back for an after-school activity.
  • Whole-Day Absence and Multi-Day Absence:If a student is sick for more than three days, send a note from a doctor explaining the circumstances to

If you have any questions regarding the attendance records or need assistance in reporting the absence in Veracross, contact

Shuttle Bus Service

The TASIS Shuttle Service is offered to all TASIS families at no extra charge. You must submit a new sign-up form for each child every school year. These forms (and more information) can be found at

Dismissal Process: Notes from this Week

Thank you for your cooperation in helping us make the dismissal process better and better each day this week! Together we are ensuring a safer environment for the whole community.

As we continue to tweak and improve this process, here are a few suggestions you may find helpful if you typically drive to the main TASIS campus to pick up your child:

  • If the parking lot next to Hadsall is full when you come to pick up your child, you may want to try the lot on Via Matorèll (see map below).
  • If you would prefer to avoid the busiest pick-up period, you may want to consider waiting in the cemetery lot (across from Sant’Abbondio) until you see the Romantic Tour buses going down the hill. At that point you can drive up to the TASIS campus and pick up your child without much hassle.

Advisor Lunch Schedule

MS Advisor Lunch follows the following rotation schedule:

  • Mondays: Dr. Brett Merritt, Dr. Kelly Merritt, Ms. Bloodworth/Mr. Morton, Ms. Scully
  • Tuesdays: Dr. Bianchini, Ms. Avaldi-Bianchini, Ms. Sartorelli, Mr. Yo
  • Wednesdays: Ms. Perani, Ms. Meister, Mr. Tripps
  • Thursdays: Mr. Frazier-Smith, Ms. Frazier-Smith, Ms. De Bianchi
  • Fridays: Dr. Sinnathamby, Ms. Sourlantzi, Ms. Reimer, Mr. Alava, Ms. Wilga

Questions about Advisor Lunch or the Advisor Program? Feel free to email Ms. Breton or your child’s Advisor directly.

Fall Term After-School Sports and Activities

All activities except MS Boys Lacrosse start on Monday, September 10. After-School Sports and Activities assignments are posted on the bulletin board in Belvedere.

  • MS Soccer Boys (competitive/twice a week): Mondays & Wednesdays, 16:00–17:30. Meeting point: Field (next to the gazebo).
  • MS Soccer Girls (competitive/twice a week): Mondays, 16:00–17:30, and Wednesdays, 16:00-17:30. Meeting point: Field (next to the gazebo).
  • MS Cross Country Boys and Girls (twice a week): Mondays & Wednesdays, 16:00–17:30. Meeting point: Basketball court.
  • MS Boys Lacrosse: First two practices on Thursday, Sept 13, and Thursday, Sept 20, from 17:30–18:30. Then on Mondays from 17:30–18:30 starting on Sept 24. Meeting point: Swings.
  • MS Cheerleading: Wednesdays, 16:00–17:30. Meeting point: Outside of Palestrina.
  • MS Glass Painting: Tuesdays, 16:00–17:30. Meeting point: Outside Campo Science Center.
  • MS Choir: Tuesdays, 16:00–17:30 (year-round commitment). Meeting point: Outside Campo Pioneer.
  • MS Theater (CHF 550): Thursdays, 16:00–17:30 (September to December). Meeting point: Palmer Center.
  • MS Weekend Climbing Club(CHF 575): Four Sundays (September 23, September 30, October 21, and October 28). Meet at 8:45 in the TASIS parking lot on September 23.
  • MS Robotics (650): Tuesdays, 16:00–17:00 (from September 11 to February 19). Meeting Point: Campo Science Right Laboratory.

NOTE: Students will change into their sports clothes, if required, after meeting the activity leaders.

Founder’s Day

On Thursday, September 13, from 15:15–15:55, we will hold a special assembly in the Palestra to honor our founder, Mrs. Fleming. There will be an alternate schedule on that day (see image below).

On Monday, September 17, we will hold our annual Class Outings in remembrance of Mrs. Fleming, who loved the natural beauty of Switzerland. Grade 6 will go to Gandria, grade 7 will go to Monte Tamaro, and grade 8 will go to San Salvatore. The details of the hikes will be shared in the next bulletin. There will be no after-school activities that day.

MS Coffee and Conversation at Villa Principe Leopoldo on September 10

All parents are invited to our first Middle School “Coffee and Conversation” at the Villa Principe Leopoldo Hotel on Monday, September 10, at 9:30 AM. We especially look forward to meeting all new Middle School parents! Please send an email to if you have any questions.

TPA-Sponsored Lunch at Casa Fleming on September 12

All parents are invited to Casa Fleming between 12:00–14:00 on Wednesday, September 12, to enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by Chef Fabio and the TASIS Kitchen Staff. TPA Co-Presidents Laura Colombo and Brunella Pignaton will present an overview of TPA events and plans for the year and answer any questions regarding the new structure of the TPA.

Town Hall Meeting and Consular Services for American Citizens on September 13

We cordially invite any interested American citizens to a Town Hall Meeting with United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Edward T. McMullen, Jr., beginning at 18:30 on Thursday, September 13. The meeting, which will be held in the Palmer Center on the main TASIS campus, will offer guests an opportunity to learn about the US Administration’s priorities and discuss Swiss-US relations with Ambassador McMullen.

Consular Chief Brianna Powers will also be on hand to accept applications for passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, notarize documents, and provide information about voter registration.

There is no cost to attend this event, though fees may be incurred for consular services and are payable in Swiss Francs (cash only). No appointments are necessary, and visitors will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Please visit the US Embassy in Switzerland and Lichtenstein website for more information.

Sign Up for the First Parent Book Club Meeting on November 8

In conjunction with the TPA, TASIS is pleased to introduce a new initiative for this year: a Book Club for parents. The first meeting will be held on Thursday, November 8. Following an optional dinner in De Nobili at 18:00 that evening, Headmaster Christopher Nikoloff will lead a guided discussion in Casa Fleming from 19:00–20:00.

The first book to be discussed will be Julie Lythcott-Haims' How to Raise an Adult, a New York Times bestseller that exposes the harms of helicopter parenting and sets forth an alternate philosophy for raising preteens and teens to self-sufficient young adulthood.

All parents are more than welcome to attend the dinner and discussion. Please take a moment to fill out this form to confirm your attendance. If you need help finding a copy of How to Raise an Adult, please contact TPA President Laura Colombo.

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