This Year at TASIS: 2020

2020 has been a very tough year, but it’s also been one filled with remarkable achievements, heartening demonstrations of resiliency, and inspiring acts of generosity. As we celebrate the holiday season and eye the new year with optimism, we pause for a moment to look back at some of the highlights from the past 12 months at TASIS.

Introducing the New TASIS Crest

New Year, New Crest for TASIS

In January we were pleased to announce that the TASIS family of schools has adopted a new set of crests. 

Middle School Students Shine at FIRST LEGO League Robotics Tournament

Led by Middle School Science and Computer Science Teacher Amy Bloodworth and Middle School Math Teacher Claire Thomas, who co-founded the Middle School’s After-School Robotics Club in the fall of 2018, 15 students used the LEGO MINDSTORMS® platform to design, build, and program robots at a regional tournament at Centro Professionale Tecnico in Lugano on January 11. 

TASIS Represents Mali at Annual THIMUN Conference in The Hague

Since 1979, the TASIS Model UN program has helped the School realize Mrs. Fleming’s vision of creating “not international schools but international human beings.” 

An Ice Rink with a View

Late in January, we were pleased to announce that we’d soon be enhancing our campus with a beautiful synthetic ice rink designed to build community spirit and engage students in a variety of wholesome activities, including hockey, figure skating, broomball, and curling. The rink was installed the following month and has been put to good use by our Physical Education Department this year! 

62 Nations Represented at Parade of Flags

We kicked off our 25th International Week on the morning of February 10 with a lively Opening Ceremony that included the Parade of Flags, the presentation of Torch Awards, an IB Theatre presentation, and several outstanding music and dance performances. 

High School Students Lend a Hand in India and Kenya

Two Opsahl Global Service Program groups, Gram Vikas India and WISER Kenya, were able to depart for their service trips just before news of the Covid-19 outbreak in northern Italy broke late on the evening of February 22. The India group spent eight days working with Gram Vikas, an NGO that has focused on “expanding horizons through research, service, and experience” with the rural people of Odisha for nearly 40 years. The Kenya group spent the week in Muhuru Bay, where they worked closely with WISER, a boarding secondary school for girls.

Spring Academic Travel Endures

The timing of the news out of northern Italy on the evening of February 22 could not have been worse, as many High School Spring Academic Travel trips were set to depart early the following morning. Led by Academic Travel Director Natalie Philpot, the School scrambled to re-route all travel through Zurich and make other adjustments as needed. Most of the High School and Middle School trips were still able to run as planned, including High School Ski Adventure in Crans-Montana and Middle School Winter Adventure in St. Moritz.

TASIS Faculty Rises to the Challenge

Following the jarring news on March 7 that Italy was effectively closing Lombardy and 14 other provinces, the TASIS Board of Directors met with members of the administration for several hours on the morning of Sunday, March 8, and came to the conclusion that the best path forward would be to close campus as quickly as possible and move to a distance learning model beginning on March 16.

Our phenomenal teachers worked incredibly hard to make the best of a difficult situation and ensure that our students stayed on track with their studies throughout the spring.

From China to Ticino

Thanks to the compassionate efforts of TASIS families in China and Noble Wings Switzerland, 10,000 EU-certified surgical masks cleared customs in April and arrived in the hands of the Ordine dei Medici del Canton Ticino (OMCT). They were put to use immediately as Ticino grappled with the extraordinary challenges posed by the pandemic. 

The Tradition Continues: 7th Annual Beat the Bells Run Goes Virtual

The 7th annual Beat the Bells Run took place once again on May 1—only this year it was completed virtually by participants from around the world. More than 50 students, alumni, and current and former faculty members representing a wide variety of countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia took part in the fun. 

Athletes of the Year Announced

Athletic Director Masa Yo ’04 and Associate Athletic Director Alex Zanecchia ’02 hosted a virtual Winter Sports and Academic Year Sports Awards assembly for all High School athletes and coaches on the afternoon of May 15. 

TASIS Delivers Outstanding Virtual Spring Arts Festival

The 2020 Spring Arts festival moved online and included collaborative songs and theatrical performances, a live dance concert, instrumental and vocal recitals, a virtual art exhibition, and more. 

A Successful Reopening 

After more than two months of relying exclusively upon distance learning, we were thrilled to welcome Elementary and Middle School students back to campus on May 25. 

TASIS Presents the Indomitable Class of 2020

We honored 109 hardworking, courageous, and resilient students with a virtual Commencement Ceremony on the morning of May 30. 

TASIS Students Accepted to 164 Universities

With the help of a tremendous faculty and an exceptional College Counseling Office, students in the TASIS Class of 2020 were successful in gaining admission to 164 universities and colleges in 14 nations, with 66 offers extended by schools ranked in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education 2019–2020 World University Rankings.

Elementary School Musical Goes Virtual

Our Elementary School musical students were understandably disappointed when they learned they wouldn’t be able to perform their full musical this spring, but they rallied to create a virtual performance! 

A Look at the 2020 IB Assessments

The average score posted by the 48 TASIS students who obtained an IB Diploma in 2020 was 34.1, exceeding the worldwide average by more than three points. 

TASIS Students Excel on 2020 AP Exams

TASIS students scored a 4 or higher on more than half of the 178 Advanced Placement exams they took this spring, and 24 students earned AP Scholar Awards.

All Divisions Welcomed Back this Fall

From mandatory quarantines and a St. Moritz getaway to the return of sports and live classroom instruction, it was certainly an unusual start to the 2020–2021 academic year.

Influential Report Endorses the TASIS Approach

A new longitudinal study published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute concludes that increased instructional time in social studies and history is associated with improved reading ability, underscoring the ideas put forth by Professor E.D. Hirsch—the inspiration behind the TASIS Elementary School’s Core Knowledge Curriculum Series—more than three decades ago. 

2020–2021 TASIS Speaker Series Opens with Anna Kraczyna and John Hooper

The prolific scholar and critically acclaimed author delivered an address on the significance of Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio on the evening of October 14 and visited six English Literature classes the following day.

A Restructured Academic Travel Program

High School students and faculty chaperones traveled across Switzerland in October for adventurous weekends in Appenzell, Basel, and Engelberg as part of our redesigned Academic Travel Program this fall. 

Sweet November Dance Company Dazzles in Latest Fall Concert

Led by Julie Frazier-Smith, Sweet November Dance Company and guest performers from all three TASIS divisions pre-recorded nine choreographed dances in the Palmer Center and released the company’s 2020 fall concert on November 30.

A Memorable Holiday Season

Heavy snowfall in early December kicked off an unusual but heartwarming holiday season at TASIS. In lieu of its traditional Holiday Market, the TASIS Parent Association (TPA) created a beautiful Winter Garden on the Kay Hamblin Terrace that was used to host a number of smaller holiday events, including a Panettone Appreciation for Faculty and Staff on the afternoon of December 11. 

In place of the traditional Christmas Service and Elementary School Christmas Concert, many members of the TASIS community came together to create pre-recorded versions of these important annual events.

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