AIS Friday Flash

Friday, August 21, 2020

AIS Friday Flash - Head of School eCommuniqué (August 19, 2020)

Hooray for La Rentrée! A Message from the Head of School

Congratulations to all students and families on completing a great first week of school! A huge congratulations also goes out to our amazing faculty and staff for making this happen. Merci à toutes et à tous ! Please see the First Day of School eCommuniqué from the Head of School about the kickoff of our new school year, important details about our plans for coming back to campus, as well as preliminary information about our Back to School Night. As our community navigates this global pandemic, I would like to reiterate our school’s commitment to being informed, prepared, and safe. Thank you to all AIS families in advance for supporting these efforts by carefully reviewing the information in our Campus Opening Guide. Please take some time to discuss and practice some of our mitigation techniques with our children so that they will be prepared for a safe return to campus. Until then, I wish you calm, happiness, strength, and success in the weeks ahead!


Happy Birthday to Austin International School!

This year marks AIS’s twentieth (20th) year of serving the Austin community with world-class international education! Thank you all so much for being such an important part of our exciting journey and loving community. Keep an eye out during the year for different ways we will be celebrating twenty years of expanding minds and broadening perspectives with our amazing AIS students!


Distance Learning and Attendance

We understand that the shift to distance learning is different for every student. In fact, the same could be said for teachers and parents! While current conditions require us to kick off the year in distance learning, we want to ensure that families do not feel unduly burdened by this temporary shift in academic engagement. As an accredited academic institution, we are required to record attendance data. This year, however, schools will be afforded flexibility with attendance requirements. We wish to support all our AIS students and families by providing you with a certain level of flexibility under our new conditions. For maternelle and elementary students, any tardies or absences will be marked as “excused” during the August 19th to September 5th period of distance learning. For middle school students, any tardies or absences will be marked as “excused” during the first three days of distance learning (i.e., from August 19th to August 21st). At the end of the distance learning period, we will communicate any adjustments to our attendance policies with families. Regardless of the adjustment, please know that we will always place our students’ and families’ wellbeing at the center of those decisions!


New Pickup Procedures

Next week we will email you instructions and information about our easy PikmyKid App which will be utilized this year to facilitate our new drive-thru afternoon student pick-up procedures. Families will need to register in the app, review their pickup preferences, and assign other authorized users within PikMyKid. Lists from Renweb will not transfer over. AIS will provide video guides, instructional handouts, and will set-up training sessions to aid in our transition with this platform before on-campus learning begins. Stay tuned for more information.


Volunteer Opportunities

When we return for on-campus learning we will need several parent volunteers in the mornings and afternoons for drop-off and pick-up, especially for the first few weeks as we all get used to the new procedures. These shifts will be socially distanced stations outside of the building to help direct students safely to their outside class entrances. The sign-up links will be coming your way soon along with more information.


New Families Night-Mon., 8/31, 5:30 - 7:00 pm

We are so excited to welcome new families to the AIS community! Join us on Monday, August 31st at 5:30 pm for a special night for our 24 new students and 13 new families. We will have a short presentation, meet with the Parent-Teacher Organization, and Q&A session to get to know our school and provide a chance to visit with other AIS parents. Join us with this google meeting link.


Head of School Virtual Coffee-Thur., 9/3, 10:30 - 11:30 am

Join Jacques for a virtual Head of School coffee to launch the year and visit with other AIS families.


On-campus Walk-throughs-9/3 & 9/4, 1:00 - 4:00 pm

We will be hosting On-campus Walk-throughs from 1pm - 4pm on Thursday, 9/3 and Friday, 9/4. You will receive an email to sign up for a time on either day for your child(ren)'s walk-through. We want our students to be prepared for school and to feel comfortable with the new drop-off procedures and classroom set up before returning to campus. Please discuss the walk-through with your child and let them know that this is practice for their upcoming on-campus start date.

  • PS-GS: During your child's scheduled walk-through, you will practice parking in the Maternelle parking lot and dropping your child off at their classroom door. Parents will be required to remain outside the classroom as the teachers and assistant teachers welcome the students in the classroom and give them a short tour to familiarize them with their new school environment. Walk-throughs will be done in small groups, with physical distancing reinforced, by scheduled appointment only.
  • CP-4è: During your scheduled walk-through, you will practice dropping your child off under the portico in front of the school, and the teachers will then walk your child to their classroom entrance and give them a classroom tour. Parents will be required to remain in their vehicles while students complete the walk-through with their teachers. Walk-throughs will be done in small groups, with physical distancing reinforced, by scheduled appointment only.

Be on the lookout for information on sign-up and parking!


Back to School Nights-9/3 & 9/4, 5:00 - 7:15 pm

We will be hosting two Virtual Back to School Nights on Thursday, 9/3 for Cycles 1 & 2: PS-CE2 (PreK3 to 3rd Grade) and Friday, 9/3 for Cycles 3 and 4 (CM1-4è). Parents will join an important info session at the times below hosted by our Head of School, Jacques Weber, and our Principal, Emily Hopkins, followed by break out virtual meets with your child(ren)'s teaching team. The schedule is as follows:

Thur., 9/3, 5:00 - 7:15 pm: Cycles 1 & 2

  • Cycle 1 (PS-GS)
5:00-5:30pm Parent Google Meet with Jacques & Emily
5:30-6:30pm Google Meet with your child's teaching team
  • Cycle 2 (CP-CE2)
5:45-6:15pm Parent Google Meet with Jacques & Emily
6:15-7:15pm Google Meet with your child's teaching team


Fri., 9/4, 5:00 - 7:15 pm: Cycles 3 & 4

  • Cycle 3 (CM1-CM2)

5:00-5:30pm Parent Google Meet with Jacques & Emily
5:30-6:30pm Google Meet with your child's teaching team

  • Middle School (6è-4è)
5:45-6:15pm Parent Google Meet with Jacques & Emily
6:15-7:15pm Google Meet with your child's teaching team


At Back to School Night, you will learn about:

  • Your child's on-campus schedule;
  • The academic program for their grade level
  • Differentiation and teaching methods used in class;
  • Behavior expectations and classroom policies;
  • Resources used by the teachers and students;
  • How your child is assessed;
  • Communication with the teaching team;
  • What to bring to school;
  • Parent involvement and how you can help your child;
  • Anything else the teaching team would like to share!


Back to School Night: Questions for the Head of School

In order to best address questions from families over Google Hangouts, this year’s Back to School Night meetings with the Head of School will be broken up by cycle. In advance of this meeting, you are invited to send your questions to the Head of School via a Google Form. Your questions will be used to tailor a presentation that addresses as many of your burning question as possible during the initial remarks from Jacques. Please take some time to watch the First Day of School eCommuniqué from the Head of School, as many of your questions may be answered in that video. ¡Hasta pronto!


Labor Day/School Closed-Mon., 9/7

The school will be closed (no virtual classes) in observance of Labor Day on Monday, September 7th.


First Day of On-Campus Learning-Tue., 9/8

We can’t wait to see you all in person! Under our current plan, we will be ready to welcome students and families back to campus on Tuesday, September 8th! Stay tuned for more information about drop-off procedures, which are also summarized in our AIS Campus Opening Guide.


Save the dates

We will continue to build out our school calendar and will update you with more event dates as they approach.

  • 8/31 New Families Night
  • 9/3 Head of School Virtual Coffee
  • 9/3 Back to School Night: Cycles 1 & 2 (PreK3 - 3rd)
  • 9/4 Back to School Night: Cycles 3 & 4 (4th - 8th)
  • 9/7 Labor Day-No School
  • 9/8 First Day of On-Campus Learning!
AIS Friday Flash - Principal eCommuniqué (August 21, 2020)