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

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 & 8: Shadow Day
Wednesday, April 18 Grade 5 Parent Shadow Day
Saturday, April 21 TPA Spring Gala: Building the Future • Palestra
Tuesday, May 1 Grade 5 Pizza and Movie Night
Thursday, May 17–Sunday, May 20 Spring Arts Festival
Friday, May 18–Sunday, May 20 MS Musical • Palmer Center

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

Academics: EAL Film Program for MS EAL Beginner Classes

EAL Beginner students are required to attend the last film session on Friday, April 20, from 15:45–18:00 and on Saturday, April 21, from 10:00–12:00. In an effort to create closer alignment between our EAL and English courses, the EAL Beginner Classes will be seeing Romeo and Juliet (Zefferelli) instead of Alice in Wonderland (Burton). Romeo and Juliet is rated PG just like the other approved films. Both the EAL Beginning and English 6 classes are reading Romeo and Juliet, and they have had the opportunity to work together on small sections of the play. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Guarnieri Rosso.

MS Assemblies and Advisor Meetings

On Wednesday, April 11, MS students watched the dress rehearsal of the High School Musical, Annie Get Your Gun.

During the Advisor block on Thursday, April 12, grade six students had their final Shadow Day meeting, grade seven students had their regular advisor meetings, and grade eight students met our MS Proctors to hear about their HS experience (academics, expectations, travel, athletics, performing arts opportunities, etc.).

Transition Meetings and Activities Begin Next Week!

Shadow Day will be held on Tuesday, April 17. Grade five students will spend part of the day with students in grade six, and eighth-grade students will be with the ninth-graders. MS Student Council and the Event Planners Service Learning group will host the annual Shadow Day activities and assembly for students in grade five. Please check the Shadow Day schedules for grade five and grade eight.

Eighth-Grade Parent Meeting: The next MS Parent Coffee will be devoted to the 8th-to-9th grade transition and will be held on Wednesday, April 18, from 9:30–10:30 in Casa Fleming. The Academic Program and Student Life will be discussed.

Pizza and Movie Night for Fifth-Grade Students: On Tuesday, May 1, from 16:00–18:45, the MS Event Planners Service Learning group will host a Pizza & Movie night for grade five students in the Belvedere Salon. It’s a fun and welcoming activity, providing a chance for fifth-graders to meet and get to know some of the Middle Schoolers.

Grade Five Parent Shadow Day: See Our Middle Schoolers in Action!

On Wednesday, April 18, the Middle School will host its first-ever Grade Five Parent Shadow Day! The event will include a guided tour of the MS facilities and classrooms. Parents will also be able to visit a variety of classes and experience life as a MS student. We hope you signed up for this new event!

Each group will meet at the Belvedere Salon at the starting time indicated.

Group 1: 8:00–10:00
Classroom visits:

  • Music 6
  • Beginning Italian
  • Science 6
  • Beginning German

Group 2: 9:15–11:15
Classroom visits:

  • Arte 7 (Italian Section)
  • MS Snack Time
  • Lingua 6 (Italian Section)
  • Math 2
  • PE 6

Group 3: 10:15–12:15
Classroom visits:

  • Math 2
  • EAL Developing
  • English 6
  • PE 6

The MS Administration and MS Community look forward to welcoming you!

World Issues Service Learning Group

The World Issues Service Learning Group is getting ready for its trip to Geneva April 19–21. They will be visiting the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum. Please see the itinerary and packing list.

After-School Sports and Activities

MS Weekend Climbing Club: The spring edition of the TASIS MS Climbing Club will have its first outing on Sunday, April 15. The participants will meet at 8:45 in the main TASIS parking lot (next to the Gazebo) and will go climbing indoors at the Evolution Climbing Gym in Taverne.

The MS Track & Field team will participate in the invitational tournament at ISBasel on Thursday, April 19. The athletes will depart at 8:00 and return in the evening around 20:00. GO TIGERS!

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 Middle School 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.

Middle School students enrolled in the shuttle service are allowed to ride the shuttle bus home without additional notice from their parents, but any bus route changes must be reported 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.)

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

Dress Code for Moving-Up Ceremony

The MS Moving-Up Ceremony for 8th-grade students will be held on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 5. For this formal event, students in grade eight must respect the dress code requirements listed below. A dress check will take place in mid-May. If you are unsure about the instructions below, please contact Ms. MJ Breton.

Dress requirements:


  • Dress (dress-code length—not more than one hand above the knee)
  • Or skirt (dress-code length—not more than one hand above the knee)
  • Or pants
  • Dressy top
  • Pashmina or scarf might be needed (shoulders must be covered)
  • Shoes: high-heel shoes may not be higher than 5 centimeters


  • Pants
  • Jacket
  • Shirt
  • Tie
  • Belt
  • Dress shoes
  • Boys may wear the TASIS suit (tailored trousers and jacket)

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.

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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