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MS Weekly Bulletin | September 14, 2018
Posted 09/14/2018 12:00PM

Founder's Day

It is very, very important for an institution to remember why it’s here and where it came from, and that’s what today is all about.

– Headmaster Christopher Nikoloff at yesterday’s HS/MS Founder’s Day Assembly

How do you start a school?

For me the recipe is simple! Find a beautiful property, both house and surroundings, for young people need and deserve to be surrounded with beauty. It’s like a security blanket that will always remain with them, no matter what the rest of life may bring. Fill this setting with young people from all over the world, because the world has become so very small. Fill all their waking hours with commitment to study, sports, the arts, and responsibility to others. Instruct—stretch them in all areas. They don’t know the amazing potential they have! Place in this “house” very special human beings as teachers, friends, counselors, and role models, people who have a sense of the excitement of life and learning–of the huge challenge this world presents, and above all, great faith in their young charges. Sprinkle and cover the whole wonderful concoction, basting frequently with generous portions of TLC–tender loving care!

Believe me, it’s a foolproof recipe!

– TASIS Founder M. Crist Fleming in an interview with John Amis in 1990

Upcoming Events

Monday, September 17 MS Class Outings
Tuesday–Friday, September 25–28 Visit from FCD Prevention Works
Thursday–Friday, October 4–5 Yearbook Portraits
Monday, October 8 No classes for MS and HS
Friday–Saturday, October 12–13 Family Weekend
Wednesday, October 17 MS Parent Coffee • 8:30, Casa Fleming
Sunday, October 21 Fall Festival Brunch
Thursday, November 8 Parent Book Club • 19:00, Casa Fleming (register)


Schedules: This weekend we will be making placement changes for some students in Math and English/EAL classes. As we balance classes for size and gender equity, we may need to move students from one section to another. Please have your child check his or her schedule in Veracross on Monday morning for possible changes.

New Teachers: We are happy to welcome Patricia Scully, Kathleen Wilga, Dan Tripps, Irene Sourlantzi, and Jack Morton to our Middle School Faculty. Ms. Scully is joining us from Stamford, CT, where she was teaching High School Mathematics. She will teach Math 4 & 5 this year. Ms. Wilga joins us from St. Louis, MO, and will be teaching 6th- and 8th-grade English. Mr. Tripps is coming from Minnesota and will be teaching 6th- and 8th-grade History. Ms. Sourlantzi was teaching English and Greek in Greece. She will be working as our MS Academic Intern for the year. Mr. Morton will work as the Administrative Intern. He was previously working at Sherborne International School in its residential life program.

MAP Testing: MAP testing will continue this week with EAL classes testing in Reading and Language Usage. Individual MAP reports will be sent home in early October.

How to Request Tutoring

Families seeking additional academic support for their children may want to consider requesting a tutor. The TASIS Tutoring Parent Authorization Form can be accessed directly at You will be prompted to enter your Veracross username and password and will be taken directly to the form once you do so.

Once received, we will try our very best to find the right tutor for your son or daughter, but please be aware that due to changes in schedules and tutor availability throughout the year, it may not always be possible to find a tutor immediately—or at all in some cases.

If you or your son or daughter would like to discuss tutoring needs in person, please contact Tutoring Coordinator Stephanie Chevalier at to schedule an appointment.

MS Assemblies and Advisor Meetings

On Tuesday, September 11, we talked about the meaning of Service. Service Learning is an integral part of the TASIS curriculum, inspiring students to think beyond themselves and assume active roles in improving society. Please read the letter below from Ms. Breton regarding Service Learning and this year’s groups.

On Wednesday, September 12, advisors shared some facts about our Founder, M. Crist Fleming, and talked about next Monday’s class outings.

On Thursday, September 13, we held our Founder's Day Assembly to honor Mrs. Fleming.

Founder’s Day and Class Outings

The High School and Middle School held a special Founder’s Day Assembly yesterday afternoon to celebrate the incredible life of M. Crist Fleming, who founded TASIS in 1956. The assembly included inspiring remarks from Headmaster Christopher Nikoloff, an engaging story about how Mrs. Fleming’s life intersected with history (narrated by three high school students), impressive speeches from current and former TASIS students, several excellent musical performances, and the annual tradition of tossing yellow rose petals into the fountain in the MCF Piazza.

The 2018 Founder’s Day Assembly

The celebration of Mrs. Fleming’s life will continue on Monday, September 17, with the annual Class Outings—a cornerstone of the TASIS experience since the early days of the School, as Mrs. Fleming was known to pack picnic lunches, load students into buses or vans, and head up to the mountains. Students in grade six will spend time in Gandria and Lugano, students in grade seven will visit Monte Tamaro, students in grade eight will hike Monte San Salvatore, and all students will end the day with an outing at the UBS Sports Center. Please note that there will be no after-school activities that day.

Please review the packing list below and see the itineraries for more information about these class outings.

Suggested packing list:

  • thin jacket
  • backpack (to carry the school lunch and a water bottle)
  • water bottle
  • healthy snacks (fruit, cereal bar, dry fruits, etc.) or any special dietary needs
  • hat
  • sunscreen
  • swim suit
  • swimming cap (mandatory for the pool)
  • pool towel
  • pool shoes
  • CHF 10 maximum
  • ping-pong paddle and balls
  • fussball

Clothes to wear: PE uniform, sneakers

MS Service Learning Program

Service Learning combines the aspects of serving the community and understanding the needs of our environment while constantly learning new skills. The Middle School Service Learning Program reflects the School’s overall commitment to encouraging sound human values alongside academic excellence.

In the Middle School, Service Learning helps students develop their leadership, organizational, and citizenship skills while helping the TASIS community and local organizations. It develops a sense of independence, builds a strong work ethic, instills awareness and empathy, and encourages the value of service.

Service Learning is integrated into the weekly schedule, and participation in the program is awarded with an effort grade. Groups are organized by grade level, which helps us tailor each project to the different interests and skills of each age group.

Grade 6 focus: Hands-on service and support for projects within the TASIS community

Grade 7 focus: Support for local organizations

Grade 8 focus: Global awareness and support for global issues

Some groups are also available to students in multiple grade levels.

All groups meet on Tuesdays from 15:20 to 15:50. Some groups lead a Middle School assembly and may also participate in projects outside the meeting times.

Descriptions of the 2018–2019 Middle School Service Learning groups can be found on the Service Learning page on the TASIS website (click on the MS Service Learning tab).

Please feel free to contact Ms. Breton with any questions.

MS Parent Coffee on September 19

The first MS Parent Coffee will be held on the morning of Wednesday, September 19, from 8:30–9:30 at Casa Fleming. We will discuss the MS Program.

Additional MS Parent Coffees to add to your calendar:

  • Wednesday, October 17, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (Topic: Academic Travel)
  • Wednesday, November 14, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (MS Digital Citizenship, with Mr. Venchus)
  • Wednesday, December 5, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (MS Transitions and Changes)
  • Wednesday, January 23, time TBD, Belvedere (ES/MS Transition meeting in the evening for 5th-grade parents)
  • Tuesday, February 5, 19:30–20:30, Palmer Center or Monticello (College Counseling in the High School, including the IB/AP programs and course selection)
  • Tuesday, February 19, 19:30–20:30, location TBD (Digital Citizenship)
  • Wednesday, March 13, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (Meeting with School Counselor Ms. Waters)
  • Wednesday, April 3, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (MS/HS transition meeting for 8th-grade parents)

Upcoming Sports

Date Event Location Time
September 15 Middle School Boys Soccer: ISSL Tournament Home 9:00
September 29 Middle School Cross Country: SGIS Championships ICSZ 11:20

If you have any questions regarding the After-School Sports and Activities Program, please contact Mr. Jack Morton, the MS After-School Program Assistant Coordinator.

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.

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

Email Communication between Teachers and Parents Through Veracross

Please note that the Veracross system allows teachers to send messages to parents through its portal. Often these messages have an email address that looks something like If you receive an email with such an address, you may use the “Reply” feature to write back to the teacher. But please know that this email address is system-generated and is only valid when you are using the “Reply” function. If you save this address as a contact (or if your iPhone automatically does this), it will not work if you use it to send a new email.

If you need to write a new email to a teacher (meaning you are not replying to an email already sent to you), please check to make sure you are sending the email to the teacher’s TASIS address. The standard format for a TASIS email account is, and you can always refer to the Faculty and Staff directory if you’re unsure.

Upcoming Visit from FCD Prevention Works

Dear Parents,

As part of our health education program and ongoing commitment to prevention and wellness, we have invited prevention specialists from FCD Prevention Works to join our community. They will be at TASIS from September 25–28 and will work with all Physical Education classes in grades 6–10 and with groups of students in 11th and 12th grade.

In addition, parents of all Middle School and High School students are invited to attend an open meeting in Monticello 1 (on the main TASIS campus) on Wednesday, September 26, from 19:00–19:45. Parents will have an opportunity to speak with an FCD representative about substance use at TASIS and how to engage their children in conversations about prevention. Tea, coffee, and snacks will be provided.

A part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, FCD is a non-profit organization that provides substance abuse prevention education for schools. Since 1976, they have taught over a million students of all ages. Their mission is to do the following:

  • encourage and support the non-use of alcohol and other illegal or illicit drugs during the growing years
  • empower young people to make healthy, responsible choices regarding alcohol and other drug use
  • teach students and adults how to recognize the early warning signs of substance abuse and to intervene appropriately
  • educate students, parents, teachers, and administrators on the physiological and psychological effects of alcohol and other drugs
  • promote awareness of drug addiction, including alcoholism, as a progressive, chronic, and often fatal disease
  • provide educational communities with the guidance and training necessary to implement comprehensive, effective approaches to substance abuse prevention

FCD prevention specialists are highly-trained professionals who have achieved long-term recovery from alcohol or other drug addictions. This unique perspective enhances the credibility of their message and provides students with role models for happy, healthy, drug-free living. The FCD prevention specialist will present a parent workshop to offer support and guidance in helping your children enjoy a drug-free adolescence. Some of the topics to be addressed include the following:

  • effective ways to communicate with your child about drugs and drug use
  • up-to-date facts about current drug use and trends
  • what to say about your own experiences with alcohol and/or drug experimentation
  • how to spot early warning signs of trouble and effective ways to respond

This program presents a perfect opportunity for discussing alcohol and other drug-related issues with your children. Parental involvement is crucial to our efforts to reduce the risks teenagers face. We want our students to hear from both school and home that we are concerned about alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use by adolescents, and that we are committed to keeping our children safe.


MJ Breton
Middle School Dean of Student Affairs

KC McKee
High School Dean of Students

TPA Mountain Trekking on September 18

The TPA welcomes all parents to join them for a Monte Brè-to-Monte Boglia trek on the morning of Tuesday, September 18. From the summit (1,129 meters), the beautiful panorama opens up over the Lugano Bay.

The group will meet in the Sant’Abbondio parking lot in Gentilino at 9:30 (or at 10:00 on Monte Brè). The trek is two hours from Monte Brè to Monte Boglia. Please bring your own lunch and water. The group will return to TASIS by 15:00. Please send an email to to confirm your attendance or ask any questions.

Additional details about the routes:

  • From Lugano-Cassarate, ride up on the funicular to Monte Brè. Beyond being considered one of Switzerland's sunniest regions, it also offers a spectacular view over the Lugano Bay, the Alps, and Monte Rosa.
  • From Brè village, walk to the north along the road that leads to the basin of Pontivo. From there, the ascent along a comfortable and well-signposted trail begins. You will arrive in the area of Carbonera (1,033 meters), where you can refresh yourself at the fountain before starting the ascent to Monte Boglia.

Franklin University Students Available for Hire

A list of Franklin University students who are available for babysitting, tutoring, cleaning, yard work, and other odd jobs is now available in the Parent Portal (in the All-School Resources folder) and can be accessed directly at this link: Franklin Students Odd Jobs List.

Cybersecurity Symposium at Franklin University

Members of the TASIS community may be interested in attending an upcoming event at Franklin University. Please see the university’s announcement below:

We live in an increasingly networked world, with technology infiltrating in our daily lives, and the presence of artificial intelligence anticipating and facilitating our decision making, influencing our behaviors, and changing how we interact with each other.

To learn more about how technology has penetrated business, law enforcement, cybersecurity, and societal development, we would like to invite you to attend the upcoming fourth consecutive edition of the Cybersecurity Management Challenges (CMC) Symposium in the Nielsen Auditorium at Franklin University Switzerland on Wednesday, September 26, from 9:00–18:30.

We are honored to have the Mayor of Lugano, the Honorable Marco Borradori, open the Symposium. Among the distinguished guest speakers will be Michal Hershkovitz, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Israel in Bern; Bernard Benoit, General Manager at White Noise/Kudelski Security; Ilia Kolochenko, CEO and Founder of High-Tech Bridge in Geneva; and Luca Gambardella, Professor and Director of the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence (Manno, Switzerland).

They will complement more than 30 other distinguished experts in the area of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics, and cryptocurrency presenting during the event.

The symposium will be moderated by Davide Gai and co-organized by Luca Tenzi, Security Integration Officer at International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Please visit to learn more about the program and register for the event.

The symposium, promoted by Anchorage Group in partnership with Franklin University Switzerland, has received the patronage of the City of Lugano as well as the support from numerous sponsors and partners.

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