Parent Coffee

Thank you all for coming and sharing your stories and ideas. As I said, what is truly interesting about our themes today is that we all have some sort of access to the conversation. Whether we are professionals at leaving or someone that has remained at AES for the bulk of their child’s education, we all are a part of these community transitions.
I’m always touched to see students and parents bring forth the impact of their cultural identity into the conversation regarding a big move.

Here is the presentation for your reference

PDF of Gains and Losses handout (click below)
Transition Handout Info

PDF of the MS lesson plan. Feedback is welcome as we plan to continue to develop how these topics are presented to students.
MS Transition Lunch Session Guide 2018

Neither Here Nor There – Trailer
*Updated Note: I reference the trailer as I know that this short documentary is highly regarded and used by other schools. What I did not realize is that is features an AES teacher. In the afternoon (after giving this presentation) I was invited to a conversation with HS teachers where we viewed the entire movie. The audience consisted of educators who have raised TCKs and some that were raising TCKs. It should be said the viewing of the movie and of the discussion that followed was very emotional, which emphasizes the importance for us to be aware of the challenges presented to cross-cultural children, as well as celebrating the many benefits provided to them.


I mentioned this TED Talk in our presentation. While not everybody might not identify with his talk I think that this talk might be quite relevant for many.

A mother’s blog about raising Third Culture Kids

Libby Stephans is a Cross-cultural consultant that works with families and schools. During my training with her, she always urged us to not use the term TCK. While I don’t think that there is a problem with the term but I think it speaks to the benefits of having individuals develop a conceptual understanding creates their own framework for how they think about themselves.

Here is a link to Marilyn Gardner’s site. There is some of her work that I do not find applicable for myself or our student population but she is definitely a worthy resource. We reference her work that is largely based on the work of David Pollock.
Transition – Building a RAFT

For a recommended read on Third Culture Kids see the link below
Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds

If you have additional resources that you would like me to post on this blog, please email me and I would be happy to share them.

Grade 8 HS Transition

For anyone that might have missed the May 7th HS transition night for parents, here is the presentation.

If you have any questions regarding your child’ds transition to HS, please feel free to contact me directly.


Student Health and Wellness Parent Coffee April 19th

Thank you to everyone for coming to last weeks parent coffee.
I wanted to make sure that this slideshow was available to you as the resources embedded are quite useful.

Starting conversations with your children can be very difficult but leaning on some of the videos embedded in this presentation are a good way to introduce the topic. As indicated in the slideshow it’s best to not have these conversations started in a big, grand way, rather it should be a part of everyday conversations.

Regarding the data from our bullying survey, we will update this site with more information today and throughout the week.

Thank you,
Jonathan and Karin

Parent Coffee Feb 22, 2018

Thank you all for joining last weeks parents coffee. The topic of empathy and kindness are always going to be paramount on my mind as MS counselor as it is such an important part of development throughout the MS years.

Below is the presentation but I will be posting more info including websites referenced in the presentation.

Additionally, as a continued response to online behavior unsupportive our school’s mission, the counseling team took some time to deliver a lesson on bullying and cyberbullying. Below is the presentation that we used.

Of course, the conversation with students and parents regarding how we commit to our mission, both on and offline, is something that I am interested in continuing. One lesson that we have been discussing comes directly from and is one worth sharing with parents. Click here 6-8-unit3-cyberbullyingcrossingtheline for this lesson in order to continue the conversations at home.

HS Course Requests

Thank you for coming last night for our 1st parent session regarding HS course selection. Please find below the presentation from last night’s session.

To summarize the main points, the current selection of courses is restricted to electives. The selection has to be for two semesters worth of elective choices (0.5 + 0.5 = 1 full elective) which could be a 1-year elective or two, semester electives.
Thinking about Middle School this is similar to your child taking Photography (0.5) and Ceramics (0.5) versus taking Strings, which is a full year of credit.
What is important to know is that graduation requirements dictate that your child is required to have 1.5 credits of Fine Arts, while computer science electives are not required but contribute to the overall 5.5 general electives that are required.
Regarding the 5.5 credits of general electives that are needed, please know that once credit requirements are met for a given department, your child may continue to take classes in that department but the course credit goes to the general elective requirements. For example, there are 1.5 credits of PE that are required for graduation. While this amounts to 3 semesters of PE classes if your child is able to take additional PE classes the credits are counted towards the general elective credit requirement as the 1.5 credits have already been met.

Click on the Course Catalog below, which contains course descriptions, grad requirements, etc. to download the PDF.

Motivation Through the MS Years

Thank you all for coming to our sixth Parent Coffee of the year.
Student motivation is a massive topic and can encompass many different frameworks and philosophies. While there is lot’s of research that discusses motivation, it seems very difficult to measure therefore even more difficult to make direct correlations between motivation and outcomes. Even more difficult is to know how exactly to motivate your young teenager.

As you know from previous Parent Coffee topics a great first step is asking questions to your son/daughter. Asking “why” questions always runs the risk of being met with a frustrated teen, but making communication as consistent, supportive, and non-judgmental, will always serve your family.

Article from the economist titled “Teenagers are Better Behaved…”
I think that this is a fascinating article that seemingly tells a story of how children are spending less time engaging in negative and risky behavior, but also examines what the reasons (and motivations might be) regarding these changes in behavior.

Additionally here is the link to the handout that was on the table during the presentation on factors on motivation.

Executive Function in the Middle School Years

Thank you to everyone for coming to our Parent Coffee to discuss what executive function, or executive skills, are and how they develop/fluctuate through the MS years. 

As I prepared for this presentation I was very please to find some of the research presented by Dr. Zelazo who asserts that increases in frontal lobe activity (which can be correlated to growth in the frontal lobe which occurs during puberty) can have a negative impact on executive skills. As he says in the article linked below, “…more is not always better; sometimes too much communication can create confusion (just as too many chefs can spoil potentially good broth), and fewer synapses may be associated with more streamlined and more efficient communication among neurons.”

Click here for the 4 part series on executive function.

Here is the presentation if you would like to review it. As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. If you have any suggestions for future parent coffee topics you can share them using this form.


171117 Parent Coffee – Executive Function

Mindset, as examined by Yale researchers


This is a very engaging talk and while it is not specifically about children Dr. Crum does sight the work of Carol Dweck regarding Growth Mindset in schools. Changing our mindset regarding intelligence and learning from something that is fixed to something that is malleable and influenced by our mindset.

As Dr. Crum contends, we are just beginning to discover the power that mindset has in the way that we respond to learning, stress and even aging.

Our mindsets matter!

Parent Coffee Sept. 31, 2017

Click here for Parent Survey 
Thank you very much for your time and attention

Upcoming Parents Events
Sept. 14th / WoW Parent Coffee
Sept. 27th -29th / Parent Teacher Conferences
Nov. 16th / Parent Coffee w/ Counselors
For a complete view of upcoming parent events please consult the Master Calendar and look at weekly Tiger Tales.

Additional Resources

Concerns about back to school

Discussing Violence in Media 

Discussing News and Media 

Calculator Recommendation for HS

As per the Course Catalog, all students in an Integrated Math class in the high school are required to have their own graphing calculator for use in class and on homework. If families would like to purchase these while traveling during the summer, they should follow these guidelines.

RECOMMENDED for IM (Integrated Math) courses:

TI-nspire CX  (Be certain that it is NOT the CAS version as this version is not allowed for use on IB examinations.)

These will be for sale in the AES store in August, but are cheaper if purchased in the US at about $125.

Also acceptable:

TI-84 Plus (or TI-84 Plus c  or  TI-84 Plus Silver Edition)  For students who already have a TI-84, this model is also suitable for the IM courses. A limited number will be available in the AES store in August.