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Conferences are Coming!

MS

 

PTSA Bingo was the place to be on Friday night! I look forward to hearing the final total for service funds raised, but we can anticipate good numbers as it was a full house! A big thank you to the PTSA for organizing this annual fundraising event and to everyone who attended!
 
Conferences
Our final MS Conference session of the school year will be on Tuesday, April 17. These parent/student/teacher conferences are intended to allow time for you to meet with each of your child’s teachers. Similar to the November conferences, teachers are available for brief conversations about your child’s learning. The best conversations will occur if your child is also present to participate in the discussion. Different from the November conferences, the location will be in teacher classrooms. Your first stop will be to your child’s mentor teacher to collect the Progress Report, and then you may visit any of the teachers. Teachers will be in their classrooms, with the exception of “specialist” teachers, and cross-divisional teachers, who will be in the Library.

Conference time is 7:45am - 3:45pm, with lunch from 12:30 - 1:30. You do not need to schedule appointments. I look forward to seeing you at AC on April 17.

Reminder: Student Absences
If your child will miss two or more days of school, for any reason, s/he must obtain a Pre-Arranged Absence form from the MS Office. The student takes this form to all teachers to discuss homework obligations, and then the form is signed by the MS Principal. Additionally, parents should call the MS Office as far in advance as possible to report these types of absences. Thank you.

Counselor’s Corner
Parent Expert Presentation: Drug & Alcohol Impact on Teens with Silvia Martins
Friday, April 20th 2:00 - 2:50 pm.

Dr. Martins is a psychiatrist and psychiatric epidemiologist, maintains a faculty position at Columbia University, and she is the parent of a third grader here at AC. She is an expert on depression, anxiety, drug use and smartphone addiction in adolescents. She has kindly offered her time for this parent organized event to meet with MS and HS parents to listen to and discuss your concerns. All high school and middle school parents are invited to her presentation and discussion.
 
This week in Cougar Time mentor groups had a lesson (view the lesson here) and lively discussions about gender roles and stereotypes. Middle school is a key time prior to puberty and high school when gender stereotypes are becoming more cemented and impacting future decisions such as subject and extra-curricular choices. Below you can find some conversation starters to explore with your adolescents:

  • The idea that gender stereotypes do exist and can be subtle
  • Where these messages come from
  • Jobs and roles for women and men both inside and outside the home: that these roles and personal decisions are not good or bad, but rather how stereotypes can reinforce or limit these options
  • Cultural expectations about feminine or masculine fashion, activities, and behavior
  • How gendered expectations have changed over-time (i.e. their generation compared with previous generations). One example of this is illustrated by this International Journal of Science article

With kind regards,
Sheryl

Sheryl Gruber
Middle School Principal
sgruber@cotopaxi.k12.ec
(593-2) 382-3270 ext. 2001

"We are responsible for being informed global citizens who understand and affect positive change."

 

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High School News

HS

Welcome back from the Spring Holiday. I hope you all enjoyed this special time of year here in Ecuador.
    
A few aspiring leaders ran for the office of President and Vice-President for the HS Associated Student Body on Monday. Congratulations to each contender for your fine speech and positive attitude to own our student experience. Well done!
    
Counseling Corner
We have a number of exciting opportunities and events coming up in April.
Baby Think it Over: Our teen-pregnancy prevention program will take place the week of April 16 - 20th, with a final prevention presentation on Monday April 23rd. This program is conducted each year with our entire 10th grade. For more information check out the LearningBac blog post in English and in Spanish.
10th grade parents are invited to a Baby, Think it Over information session on Thursday April 12th at 6:00pm in the Auditorium.

Parent Expert Presentation: Drug & Alcohol Impact on Teens with Silvia Martins
Friday, April 20th 2:00 - 2:50 pm
Dr. Martins is a psychiatrist and psychiatric epidemiologist, maintains a faculty position at Columbia University, and she is the parent of a third grader here at AC. She is an expert on depression, anxiety, drug use and smartphone addiction in adolescents.  All high school and middle school parents are invited to her presentation and discussion.

College Counseling Corner
12th Grade Parents: Please attend our very important parent meeting on April 12th at 8am. There we will discuss important subjects such as how to obtain a study visa as well as how to handle “letting go” of your little girl or boy who is now about to study in another country for university.
By April 1st, your son or daughter should have received a majority of their responses from universities.  If your son or daughter intends to study in the United States, you must make a deposit and decision by May 1st.  Decision time has come - good luck!
On Tuesday, Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will be visiting us at lunch.  On Thursday, EHL (Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne) will be visiting us as well. 
Finally, 11th Grade Parents.  In order to take the SAT on May 5th, your son or daughter must register by April 6th.  

Cougar’s Corner
No games this week, practices run on regular days.

Garth Wyncoll
HS Principal

 

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Social Media, Uniforms, and Conferences

MS

 

After a restful long weekend break, we are excited to return to life in the AC Middle School!
 
Uniforms
Thank you to parents who ensure that your children wear the AC uniform each day. In order to encourage all students to wear uniforms, we will take a two-pronged approach for the rest of the school year. Students who do not wear the uniform on a given day will spend 5 minutes with their teacher at the beginning of lunch. All students who wear the uniform every day from April 2 until the end of the school year will receive a reward. Students received this information at our March 26 assembly, and it is also posted in the Student Bulletin on Edmodo. AC uniforms are required Monday - Thursday. Fridays are “free dress,” within the general dress code expectations.

Conferences
Our final MS Conference session of the school year will be on Tuesday, April 17. These parent/student/teacher conferences are intended to allow time for you to meet with each of your child’s teachers. Similar to the November conferences, teachers are available for brief conversations about your child’s learning. The best conversations will occur if your child is also present to participate in the discussion. Different from the November conferences, the location will be in teacher classrooms. Your first stop will be to your child’s mentor teacher to collect the Progress Report, and then you may visit any of the teachers. Conference time is 7:45am - 3:45pm, with lunch from 12:30 - 1:30. You do not need to schedule appointments. I look forward to seeing you at AC on April 17.

Counselor’s Corner - Social Media and Self Image
Last week’s Cougar Time included a lesson and lively discussions in mentor groups regarding social media & self-image. Social Media has its many advantages but for adolescents living in the age of selfies, self-worth and self-image have become more impacted than ever. With snapchat filters teens can cover up pimples, whiten teeth and even contour their facial features to look slimmer with the swipe of a finger, curating a new image of themselves to post to the social media world. The idea of what is real and what is fake becomes blurred. A simple “like” of their photo is actually not so simple,  and teens end up feeling ranked, judged and comparing themselves more than ever to others. Even as adults we may find this happening for us as we peruse our Facebook account. However, for adolescents going through a time when peer opinion and development of identity are at their height, these have significantly different effects.
 
So what can parents do? Ask your kids their opinion of the ways people modify their own appearance online. Get them to think about: Why do people do it? What do they gain, and from whom? Who decides what is beautiful? How do they feel before and after posting a picture of themselves? Most importantly, normalize these thoughts and questions for them, and allow them to become aware of their own responses. Sometimes just naming a feeling as normal can make a teen feel less alone.
 
I encourage you to read this article by Common Sense Media on how social media has become a toxic mirror for adolescents. At the end of the article are two links to tips for talking about social media and body image with your daughters and/or your sons.

I hope to see you at the PTSA Bingo Night on Friday! This fun community event provides important service funds to student projects and is a great way to stay connected with AC families!

With kind regards,
Sheryl

Sheryl Gruber
Middle School Principal
sgruber@cotopaxi.k12.ec
(593-2) 382-3270 ext. 2001

"We are responsible for being informed global citizens who understand and affect positive change."

 

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Creating opportunities from puddles

ES

April is here!  I hope you enjoyed a wonderful time with your children over the Spring Break.  This morning, children’s voices warmed up our school during recess.  It is such an inspiration to watch your children’s intelligence as it unfolds through their play, their learning and their connections.  When observing, we see how impactful relationships are and we want to thank you for listening to your children’s expressions and connecting with them.  

On a different note, I wanted to ask for your support in two main areas:  The first is related to school dress code.  Please help your children to meet the dress code expectations.  While a coat of your choice is acceptable, shirts and sweatshirts and sweaters should all meet the guidelines and have the school logo.  The second is related to toys and the now popular World Cup albums and exchangeable stickers.  Please make sure your children leave toys and the albums and stickers/cards at home.  Teachers will also remind students about these two areas.

I look forward to seeing you here for Bingo Night on Friday beginning at 5 p.m.!  

Paola de Pereira
ES Principal

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Elementary News

ES

 

Congratulations K-5 on an incredible talent show! What a show!

This week there are many learning opportunities for students and faculty.

Thank you to those parents who attended the Director Candidates presentation and provided your Elementary School parent perspective.

Paola de Pereira
ES Principal

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High School News

HS

Senior students are now in prep mode. Most of the IB curricula has been covered and teachers are now beginning to provide mock exam feedback, opportunities to practice exam skills and have students freshen up on year I material in order to be primed for success come May. These next six weeks often make a difference of a full point on an IB exam. Use your time well and good luck!

Attendance for Seniors is extremely important during this phase. We will continue to be vigilant and ask for parental/guardian support as well. If a Senior leaves campus during the school day it must be for a valid reason (Dr visit, Visa work, etc). Thank you for your support.

Uniforms
Seniors have earned the right to wear comfortable study clothes for the remainder of the school year. Underclassmen, while we acknowledge are working hard, have yet to achieve this status. Please ensure your child comes to school in the school uniform until exam week in June.

Counseling Corner
During this past week our seniors were taking Mock Exams and for many of them their stress level was high. As we finish our 3rd quarter, working on stress reduction is key for all of our students to be able to manage challenges and move forward, sometimes called “resilience.”  You can check out some tips from Harvard University to teach your children and also model good stress management yourself!

  • Meditation or deep breathing:  helps lower blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, and stress hormones.
  • Reframe it:  Try to focus on the positive side of a situation.
  • Lean on your social network: Share your stress or worries with trusted friends and family.
  • Cultivate positive thinking:  Write down or tell someone three positive things each day.
  • Laugh more: Really! Laughing can also decrease stress hormones in the body and build up your immune system to keep you healthy.
  • Be optimistic: Envision a positive, or successful outcome.

IB Corner
The Mock exam week for the seniors is over, but there are still some Mock papers taking place in class this week. Good luck everyone!

College Counseling Corner
We have a big week coming up with 14 universities visiting us in total!

Indiana University and Loyola Marymount University visiting us on Monday, Loyola University of New Orleans visiting us on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday the Linden Fair rolls in.  

The Linden Fair will include Ball State University, Johnson and Wales University, La Roche College, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University, St. Peter's University, The State University of New York at Buffalo, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Rhode Island.  

Finally on Friday, the University of Vermont and Marymount Manhattan College will pay us a visit.  All these visits will occur in the High School Commons during High School Lunch, 11:55 a.m. - 12:35 p.m.  

Looking a little farther ahead, 12th grade Parents, on April 12th, I will be presenting on the “Transition to University.”  This presentation will focus on the visa process, the transition for both students and parents, and college life.  I hope you will be able to attend at 8 a.m.  

As always, feel free to contact me at lwasser@cotopaxi.k12.ec if you have any questions or concerns.

Cougar’s Corner
Congratulations to our swimmers who participated in the weekend Meet at Rancho. Swimmers put in three good days of competition. Well done! This is the first time our swim team has been invited to the Rancho Meet - Coaches Braganza, Stacy, Wyncoll and Villacis must be doing something right!

QISSA:            3/19    Varsity @ Home, JV @ Einstein
                        3/21    Varsity @ Menor, JV @ Home

Swim Team:    3/23    Swim Clinic w/Megan Romano
                        3/24    Swim Clinic w/Megan Romano
                        3/25    Swim Clinic w/Megan Romano

Garth Wyncoll
HS Principal

 

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Lifelong Learning

MS

 

In a school setting, we keep student learning and well being at the forefront of every decision. To foster a growth minded culture and imbue an ethos of lifelong learning, all community members are offered personal and professional growth opportunities. This week at AC our faculty and staff have several such opportunities. Spanish teachers will meet with a language consultant, our learning support team will delve into “Supporting and Measuring Growth For Students with Learning Differences,” Teacher Leaders will attend a workshop on school leadership, and several of our faculty will be presenting at and/or attending the AASSA Educators Conference here in Quito. It is an exciting week of growth, with experiences tailored to help us refine our practice of personalizing learning for your child.
 
From the MS Counselor
Continuing on with our theme of emotions, we have been working with all Middle School students during Cougar Time to learn the skills to identify and manage strong emotions. The learning targets for this week's lesson were for students to be able to identify a list of coping skills to practice with, become more aware of their emotional responses, and to reflect or reframe the situation before reacting.
 
As the article Adolescence and Processing Painful Emotion suggests, schools should "offer middle school students a class in understanding emotion and emotional self-management."  At Academia Cotopaxi we recognize the importance of Social-Emotional learning which is why we use Cougar Time to address these needs. When you get a free moment this week, please read and use the information in this article to help you connect with your child and open up a conversation about emotions.
 
I hope you have a delightful week.
With kind regards,

Sheryl Gruber
Middle School Principal

sgruber@cotopaxi.k12.ec
(593-2) 382-3270 ext. 2001

"We are responsible for being informed global citizens who understand and affect positive change."

 

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Elementary School

ES

Photo: Collaborative art expressions based on play and synergy

This is a busy week for our elementary students and families.  We have kicked-off with the visit of the first candidate for director position.  As he toured our elementary, Bill Kralovec (candidate for Director of AC) noticed that children were happy, working collaborative, and teachers were active and enthusiastic.  It is always great to see observers describe the amazing learning that happens in our school.

On Tuesday, March 13, we will host an Inspiration Project Showcase for grades 3-5 beginning at 8:10.  Thank you for supporting your children to pursue their passions and develop their personal interests.  Then, on Wednesday, March 14, students who are in the Talent Show will have a dress rehearsal at 3:10.  Please make sure that if your child is staying for the dress rehearsal, you have completed a Change of Transportation Form.  All students staying for the dress rehearsal must be accompanied by a parent.

Third Grade students are gearing up for their PYP presentation on Friday, March 16.  All Third Grade parents are invited to attend.  The PYP assembly will begin at 8:10 a.m.  All PYP assemblies have an inquiry focus and highlight the different PYP profile attributes.  These student designed and student implemented assemblies provide a wonderful opportunity for children to showcase their learning, and for other students to learn from their peers.  If you would like to read more about the PYP (Primary Years Program), we invite you to browse the IB PYP website.

I look forward to seeing you here for the (Director of AC) candidate presentations.  Your elementary perspective on the candidates is truly important for the future of our school.  

Paola de Pereira
ES Principal

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High School News

HS

Congratulations to our Fine and Performing Arts students and faculty for putting on such a great Arts Festival last week. Students had orchestra and drama performances and our art students displayed their efforts. Well done to all!

Counseling Corner - Last week I shared with you information on adolescent brain development, decision-making, and understanding of others’ perspectives. While high school students are developing their abilities to understand others they are also highly focused on their peers. This is a great time in their lives to help your children think beyond themselves and toward developing purpose in their lives. Check out this article from Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, which summarizes research the latest research on how to:

1. Support teens’ beyond-the-self interests
2. Discuss values and character strengths
3. Facilitate activities that enhance empathy and perspective-taking
4. Expose teens to diverse perspectives
5. Model empathy and prosocial behavior as an adult

IB Corner - Seniors are taking their IB Mock exams this week. Good luck to everyone!
Juniors have now selected their Extended Essay topic and they all have a supervisor. The Extended Essay is a 4000 word research paper that all full IB DIploma candidates write. This is a big time commitment and we wish them all the best for this IB core component. Juniors have also been busy working with Mr. Cadenas and Mr. Voeller to run the annual K-5 Talent Show this Friday-come watch and support our Elementary School students!

College Counseling Corner - A very busy week here at Academia Cotopaxi!  We will have three universities visiting us on Monday, a Canadian College Fair on Tuesday, and another College Fair on Wednesday.  Please take a look at our College Counseling Calendar for more details.  11th graders are highly encouraged to take the TOEFL iBT this year and register for the May SAT.  Mr. Wasser will be doing a site visit at the European Business School in Barcelona on Thursday and Friday.  He will be checking email at lwasser@cotopaxi.k12.ec. Our 3rd Session of the College Counseling Workshop will take place on Monday.  Our 2nd Session topics are available here.  

Cougar’s Corner -

Girls Basketball
3/12    @    4:00pm    Friendly             Varsity @ AC vs Los Pinos
3/13    @    4:15pm    QISSA                Varsity @ AC, JV @ Alliance
3/14    @     3:30pm   Torneo América Latina    Varsity @ América Latina
3/15    @    4:15pm    QISSA                Varsity @ AC, JV @ Menor

Boys Soccer
3/13    @    4:15pm    QISSA                Varsity @ AC, JV @ Alliance
3/15    @    4:15pm    QISSA                Varsity @ AC, JV @ Menor

Swimming @ Club Rancho San Francisco
3/16    @    6:00pm - 9:00pm                
3/17    @    8:00am - Until it’s over...

Have  a great week!

Garth Wyncoll
HS Principal

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Fine Arts Festival

MS

Phenomenal (very remarkable, extraordinary)! This is the word that best describes Fine Arts Festival for a multitude of reasons. Student engagement, faculty dedication, performance calibur, collaboration, risk taking, and more! The Festival was successful because of each one of our incredible faculty members - their willingness to offer workshops, lead students, conduct city wide ensembles, and model flexible thinking was remarkable. Next time you are on campus, be sure to thank them for providing these special days of experiential learning for your children. It was a true example of our school community coming together to promote learning. We are also grateful to the PTSA and parent volunteers for providing snacks, leading workshops, and supporting the event!
 
From the MS Counselor
In the Middle School, it's always important to remind ourselves of the significant amount of changes our students are going through, not just physically and hormonally, but socially as well. I'd encourage you to read this article, Social Challenges of Middle School, on the social challenges your children might face during the middle school years, and how you might be able to provide some support. And, speaking as the school counselor, I want you to know you are not alone in this process.

As a reminder, Friday, March 23 is a half day for students. All students will be dismissed at noon and should leave campus. Thank you.
I hope you have a delightful week.

With kind regards,
Sheryl

Sheryl Gruber
Middle School Principal

sgruber@cotopaxi.k12.ec
(593-2) 382-3270 ext. 2001

"We are responsible for being informed global citizens who understand and affect positive change."

 

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Academia Cotopaxi is engaged in re-defining a contemporary approach to education. Find out more about our whole child approach that attends to the multiple needs of our students.

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Academia Cotopaxi is accredited by various organizations including the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education, the New England Association of Schools & Colleges and the International Baccalaureate Organization.

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The aim of the School Counseling program at Academia Cotopaxi is to promote the personal, social, emotional, career, and academic development of students through a child-centered and developmentally appropriate school wide vision.

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