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ES Weekly Bulletin | April 13, 2018
Posted 04/13/2018 02:00PM

Sometimes the writing flows, sometimes it's like wading through concrete. But I keep showing up each day, whether the Muse joins me or not.

– Bruce Hale

Opta ardua vi humanitatis astra sequi.
“Desire to reach the lofty stars by the power of learning”

– adapted from Virgil

The above variant on the ad astra! (“to the stars!”) theme seems especially suited to TASIS in the 21st century. On one hand, there is the implied counsel to stretch oneself, to dream the impossible dream, and to set high standards, all of which were common exhortations of Mrs. Fleming’s. At TASIS, the small classes taught by dedicated teachers in exceptionally beautiful surroundings have always conspired to motivate students to strive toward new horizons of success.

On the other hand, the “power of learning” phrase helps keep the focus on learning, which is the common advice of such modern educational luminaries as Richard DuFour, Michael Fullan, and John Hattie, the latter going so far as to say that he never wants those involved in classroom observations to watch the teacher; instead they are to watch the students and look for evidence of learning.

But it is the use of humanitatis to mean “of learning” that is most interesting. The word (the possessive form of humanitas) refers to a certain kind of learning that reaches back through the Renaissance to the times of classical Rome and Greece. We might think of it as the kind of learning that produces and supports civilized life, both public and private. There is an inherent idealism in the word. Any and all subjects can be involved: science and mathematics, literature and languages, history and social sciences, arts and sports—all can contribute to this ideal of civilized learning.

It all depends on the goal or purpose. If those “lofty stars” are seen as wealth and prestige, or even particular professions and jobs, then humanitas may be the wrong word to refer to the kind of learning that is required. However, if the goal is cultivation of the mind, body, and moral character for their own sake or for the sake of others, then this is what used to be called a “liberal education,” the kind of education befitting a free citizen of a civilized society. A. Bartlett Giamatti, when he was President of Yale University, once said this to students who were concerned over a liberal education’s lack of a specific practical objective:

Fear not, you will not be impeded from making a living because you have learned to think for yourself and because you take pleasure in the operation of the mind and in the pursuit of new ideas. And you will need to make a living. The world will not provide you with sustenance or employment. You will have to work for it. I am instead speaking of another dimension of your lives, the dimension of your spirit that will last longer than a job, that will outlast a profession, that will represent by the end of your time on earth the sum of your human significance.

This is the kind of learning that Mrs. Fleming always had in mind, and it is the kind of learning that makes TASIS the school it is today.

– David Jepson, Director of Studies

Upcoming Events

Friday, April 13–Sunday, April 15 HS Spring Musical • Palmer Center
Tuesday, April 17 Grade 5 Shadow Day
Wednesday, April 18 ES Parent Coffee for parents of students entering grades 2–5 • 8:30, Casa Fleming
Saturday, April 21 TPA Spring Gala: Building the Future • Palestra
Wednesday, May 16 ES Parent Coffee for parents of students entering grade 1 • 8:30, Focolare
Thursday, May 17–Sunday, May 20 Spring Arts Festival
Friday, May 18–Sunday, May 20 MS Musical • Palmer Center
Thursday, May 31–Friday, June 1 ES Musical • Palmer Center

Upcoming ES Parent Coffees: Understanding Our New 2018–2019 Schedule

  • April 18 for parents of students entering grades 2–5 • 8:30, Casa Fleming
  • May 16 for parents of students entering grade 1 • 8:30, Focolare

Parents, please save the dates to meet with ES Head Theresa Cullen Hill and ES Assistant Head and Italian Section Coordinator Guia Berera to learn about next year’s combined homerooms (and other changes to the academic program). These coffees will help to answer any questions and allow us to review next year’s schedule together.

HS Spring Musical Opens Tonight!

This year’s High School Spring Musical, Annie Get Your Gun, will premiere in the Palmer Center at 19:30 this evening. Additional shows will be performed tomorrow evening at 19:30 and Sunday afternoon at 14:30.

It is not too late to reserve your seats at

TPA Spring Gala Just a Week Away!

The TPA invites all members of the TASIS community to attend the “Building the Future” Spring Gala in the Palestra on Saturday, April 21, at 18:30. Guests will enjoy a splendid evening of refined dining, music and dancing, and an auction and raffle that will include exclusive holidays, unique experiences, and gorgeous jewelry. Seats or tables can be reserved here.

From Monday to Friday next week, Gala tickets and raffle tickets can also be purchased directly at Giardinetto (the small white building behind Hadsall) beginning at 8:00 each day. You may also stop by Giardinetto during these days to select your table and seat for the Gala. For more information, please contact Brunella Pignaton at (If you plan to attend the Gala alone, Ms. Pignaton will help you choose your seat.)

Please note that we will continue to sell Gala raffle tickets until May 7. Prizes will be drawn by Elementary School students at their May assembly.

A Visit from Bruce Hale

As part of the 2018 ES Book Week, acclaimed children’s author Bruce Hale visited on Tuesday and delighted three different groups of students with his energetic presentations in the Palmer Center. See more photos here.

TASIS Shuttle Bus Safety Regulations

Due to lingering safety concerns, we would like to reinforce the expectations for all shuttle bus riders. All students must follow the rules and regulations for shuttle use that are outlined in the TASIS ES Student Handbook. Please review these rules with your children and note that failure to follow the Shuttle Rules will be considered infractions. Three infractions per semester will result in the student not being allowed to use the Shuttle Service.

In particular, the use of seat belts remains a major concern. Please remind your children that seat belts must be fastened during the whole trip.

Additional notes about shuttle use

If a parent/guardian wishes to make changes to a child’s shuttle schedule for a particular day, he or she must notify the School via the Student Attendance & Transportation Request Form in the Veracross Parent Portal before 12:00 on the given day. (Please note that this form must also be used if a parent would like to authorize shuttle use for a student who typically does not ride the shuttle.)

Unless parents/guardians have completed the Unaccompanied Student Authorization Form, all ES students must be accompanied by a parent/guardian at the shuttle stop in the morning and must be greeted by a parent/guardian when they disembark the shuttle in the afternoon. If the parent/guardian cannot be at the pre-arranged pick-up/drop-off location on a given day, he or she must arrange for another adult to be with the child and must inform Shuttle Coordinator Ms. Svetlana Koreshkova directly at or 079 234 4378.

If no parent/guardian is waiting for a child at the afternoon drop-off location, no alternative arrangements have been made, and the parent/guardian is not reachable by phone, the shuttle driver will bring the child back to TASIS.

Thank you for your cooperation in helping us reinforce these important safety regulations. Please contact Ms. Koreshkova with any questions.

TPA Event: Private Guided Tour of Art Galleries in Lugano

The TPA would like to invite all parents to a private guided tour at the Monica De Cardenas Gallery and the Ravizza Gallery on Tuesday, April 17, beginning at 10:00. Those interested should plan to meet in the Sant’Abbondio parking lot at 9:30. Guests are welcome to join TPA members for lunch at La Cucina di Alice afterward.

Please email to ask questions or reserve a spot on the tour.

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