"In the 2019-2020 school year, we invited the entire ASH community to participate in a reflection on where we are as a school and where we would like to go through reflection on our strengths, opportunities for growth, and our combined aspirations. In parallel, we considered the future of the workforce and the anticipated needs to meet emerging challenges. As a result, we launched the new ASH mission and vision. Our 4 Strategic Ambitions capture the priorities we identified for our work to help us grow toward our vision."
J. Courtney Lowe, Ed.D., Director
ASH AROUND THE GLOBE
HEAR FROM OUR DIRECTOR
Again in 2020-2021, COVID-19 dominated much of school life at ASH. Though we were able to have all students and most personnel on campus throughout the majority of the academic year, the period of learning from home just after the winter break and the period of hybrid learning immediately thereafter required an unprecedented level of agility from our staff, students and families. Despite these challenging learning conditions, we still were able to make several important strides as a school and continued to stay the course with launching and implementing the four strategic ambitions as part of our new strategic plan.
Across ASH, we continued our work and faculty training to implement an inquiry approach at all levels of learning, empowering student autonomy, curiosity and self-advocacy. We also regularly reviewed and added to our course offerings future-oriented curriculum and course options.
Supporting our strategic ambition of Being Well, Doing Well, we launched our Visible Wellbeing approach and formed a 3-year partnership with Professor Lea Waters (AM, Pd.D., University of Melbourne), which reflects our commitment to delivering wellbeing excellence for our entire community: students, staff and parents. Over the course of the year, we explored visible wellbeing through a small Discovery at ASH Team, measured our community wellbeing, and planned for implementation.
We also purchased the Deylerhoeve property across our Main Campus consisting of 10 hectares of green space, which will help us to expand our programs. Our vision is to further transform the Deylerhoeve’s natural environment into an attractive ecology for flora and fauna, enriching the spatial experience in support of inquiry, experiential learning and community enjoyment.
The year ended with a small financial loss in operations due to the continuing softening of enrollment in the elementary school ages. Though we continued to grow in the high school and made several building improvements to accommodate this growth, overall our numbers were still down in comparison to pre-pandemic years. We went into the summer holiday making plans to mitigate against any further drop in enrollment due to the ongoing COVID pandemic and the continuing regional drop in young students seeking places in international education.
J. Courtney Lowe, Ed.D.
OUR LEARNING JOURNEY
Exploring Hands-on Innovation in our Home Economics Class
“From the days of hunter-gatherers to the molecular gastronomy of today in the world of food, innovation is ever-present. In the Home Economics classroom, there is a balance of old and new technology. I teach using skill videos and live demonstrations. Technology, like Pear Deck, makes my slide presentations interactive so that students remain engaged even when they are not moving around the room. It also leaves students with artifacts of the lesson that they can refer back to at home to cook for their families.” - Ms. Monroe, MS Home Economics Teacher
“Often students begin their new school year with a bit of trepidation due to the new language, culture, friends, etc. The role of the EAL teacher is to work with students, teachers and families to make the transition as easy and stress-free as possible. We try to integrate students into their new classes and teach them the social skills and language they will need for the first few months of school. We also help them deal with culture shock and reassure them they are doing great and that they will be fine.” - Mr. Hirsch, ECC EAL Teacher
Wellbeing in EAL Classes
Meaningful Learning in our Special Education Program
“In the beginning of the school year, we harvested 17.9 kilos of grapes and made our very own jam. Additionally, we also harvested the lavender in the garden and will be making candles with the lavender. Our students are currently involved in the reimagination of the ASH garden, in hopes of creating an outdoor green cafe that has a focus on sustainability. We are currently designing how to best use the space in our greenhouse so that we can provide beverages, seating, and storage.” - Ms. Herold, HSSE teacher
“This collaboration is important to me because it helps us meet our vision at ASH where students are confident with their skills, taking control of their learning by doing "meaningful work" and able to apply those skills and learning in a "real world" context. Seeing the students "owning" their learning and being so engaged and invested is a good example of what teaching and learning in 2021 should be.” - Mr. Coyle, MS Design Teacher
ECC and MS Collaborate on Greenhouse Project
Professional Development on Inquiry
“In the sessions with Trevor MacKenzie, we are able to support our collective interest in exploring Inquiry with staff, as a means to reconnect with what's exciting about learning - the questions, the curiosity, the unknown.” - Ms. Lay, Director of Curriculum
“One of my main takeaways from this exploration of inquiry is to trust the students to take responsibility for their learning when you challenge them with more open-ended and exploratory problems to solve.” - Mr. Lovgren, MS Mathematics Teacher
“We learned about the 6 pathways to wellbeing that Dr. Lea Waters identified in her research. The bulletin boards are a first step (and hopefully one of many ways) to make them visible at ASH.” One of these boards was in support of emotions literacy, inviting “students, teachers and staff to a playful exploration of how they are feeling right now. We ask everyone to take a moment to check in with themselves and to place a pin onto the board next to the feeling that resonates best at the moment.” - Ms. Morf-Teter, Teacher
Our Path to Visible Wellbeing
“Students learn about famous leaders and achievers by reading various biographies, having discussions in class and they then choose one biography to focus on. They generally read a Big Head Book and take notes while they read about them. Students then dress up as that notable person and deliver the speech. We created the website so we could still share the hard work and this was shared via Seesaw. The students practiced in costume before their own classrooms and received peer feedback before they had their final filming.” - Ms. Mattson
Sound Investigation and Recycled Orchestra
“The young musicians moved creatively and listened to Vivaldi’s spring. We noticed how Vivaldi used a variety of string instruments in his composition and we wondered… We watched a short clip featuring the recycled orchestra and we learned that some communities don’t have access to professional violins, cellos and violas. However, they have music in their spirits. They use what they find in their surroundings to make their own instruments. There is so much for our young musicians to learn from Cateura’s recycled orchestra.” - Ms. Vicario Andrade, Music Teacher
“In 2019, as we began exploring ideas coming from the community around the future direction for ASH, we also found strong alignment with the ACE Learning Pathway from NEASC. Seeking accreditation from a partner organization who values principles over compliance, in addition to providing excellent foundational school standards, has allowed us to look at continuous learning and development alongside this process. Our school plans and vision are very much aligned to the NEASC ACE Learning Pathway for accreditation.” - Ms. Lay, Director of Curriculum
ASH Receives Accreditation from NEASC
An Exploration of Space
Purchase of the Deylerhoeve Campus
“This project is great for students to understand how designers work. Designers are often commissioned to work from a theme, organize their time to meet a deadline, plan their ideas to meet the goals of the project, ask the client questions and connect to other subject areas. So many students who are passionate about space exploration and combining this interest with a love of art and design is a thoughtful challenge.” - Ms. Rhodes, Art Teacher
“Our vision is to further transform the Deylerhoeve’s natural environment into an oasis of tranquility and inquiry supporting experiential learning and community enjoyment. By enriching the campus with landscape elements that fit into the cultural history of the Horst zone, we aim to create an attractive ecology for flora and fauna, thus increasing the biodiversity and ecological value and enriching the spatial experience.” - Dr. Lowe, Director
OUR COLLECTIVE IMPACT
ASH Prioritizes Community Wellbeing
As part of our community-wide strategic planning process in 2019, ASH has identified schoolwide wellbeing as a key strategic project in implementing our new mission and vision. In response to our community’s input, and mindful of the extra challenges faced by our community due to the pandemic, we’ve launched our “Being Well, Doing Well” initiative and formed a 3-year partnership with Professor Lea Waters, AM, Ph.D. of the University of Melbourne. Dr. Waters is a world leader in positive education whose research-based Visible Wellbeing approach has been implemented in more than 100 independent and international schools across the world. Working directly with Dr. Waters, ASH will be the first Visible Wellbeing school in Europe and will be established as a Lighthouse School for wellbeing in the region.
Global Impact Program
"This program gave me a new perspective on problems. I am a person that would confront and solve problems, not working around the problem. The biggest issue right now is the pandemic. If we can’t end the pandemic, we can do our best to work around it, and adjust our plans to fit the situation." - student
If you would like to hear more from the individual programs. please click on the links below:
Student-led Initiatives Support our Refugee Community
“I have lived in a lot of different countries around the world. I have seen a lot of poverty, especially when I was in the Middle East. I could see the effects of immigration and fleeing war and how that affected refugees. I have participated in the refugee cafe in Wassenaar for over two years now. Offering my support, maybe a cup of coffee/tea or a nice treat, playing a game, having a conversation with them, is, I feel, the least I can do.” - Kiera, Student
Operation Shoebox: Serving the Wider Community
“Operation Shoebox is helpful to people in need because it gives them the necessities they can't always afford. It also helps the homeless shelter who already pay for food and shelter and thus cannot afford to pay for toiletries as well. When the homeless receive the shoeboxes, it is always a nice surprise and is not only useful but also lifts their spirits especially during these difficult times. Being homeless is extremely challenging and can come with shame at times which is why it’s so important to help people feel valued and appreciated.” - Anouchka, student
Inquiry-led Learning Leads to Innovation
ECC's Design Lab: Mr. Rynearson heroes the design process based around “TMI” - think, make, improve, and we saw this in action with a kindergarten class busy building house models for their elephant Mabel.
Upper Elementary's Creation Station: Together with Mr. Spackman, students start with programming animations and games, then move on to working with small robots and micro-bit computers. Using empathetic design, students program a tamagotchi-style virtual pet for their peers.
Middle School's Maker Space: Mr. Coyle uses the Design Thinking Process, based on the Stanford model in which students empathize, and only then, begin defining, ideating, prototyping, testing and sharing. Students bring their ideas and designs for pollinator houses to life, as they began to build models and use the various tools in the space.
The Hague International Model United Nations Conference
“The (ASH) MUN club this year is the largest it has been in a while with almost 60 delegates meeting for an hour each week to discuss global issues and debate how to solve them. One of my favorite things about MUN is the global perspective that it provides. There is no other place where you represent a country while also conversing with people from a group this diverse. Although I haven't actually been a delegate since middle school as I acquired leadership positions instead, the spirit of MUN, being surrounded by people who are passionate about global issues and want to make a difference, is still so captivating.” - Claire, student
Think Tank on Race, Diversity and Privilege
“We assembled during the summer of 2020 to explore and address issues of equity at American School of The Hague. In consideration of the broad and sometimes disparate ways that issues of diversity and privilege manifest and are experienced in our community, the Race, Diversity and Privilege think tank identified four core areas for more specific study and divided into smaller sub focus groups: 1/ Race; 2/Gender & Sexuality; 3/ Mental Health & Disability; and, 4/ Home Languages.” - Ms. Laskowski, HS English Teacher and one of the co-leaders of the think tank
In Pursuit of Sustainability
“SustainASH is a HS club that actively advocates for sustainable living and awareness within the ASH community and beyond, as opposed to a purely educational approach. We hope to give the pursuit of sustainability a more positive and enthusiastic spin rather than appealing to fear, so as to resonate with young activists as well as general community members. In addition, we introduce and promote service opportunities allowing teachers and students to participate in local and global activism. Through our actions, we hope to inspire others to be more aware and make eco-friendly choices on a continuous basis.” - SustainASH Team
Creating Opportunities for Inclusion
“Last year we began the IncludeASH club with the purpose to promote inclusion and to provide special education students with a safe space where they have the opportunity to socialize and hang out with other high school students while participating in fun activities. This idea originated when we realized that students in special education have limited opportunities in high school. Our supervisors, Ms. Gardner, Ms. Romains and Ms. Butleel, kindly offered to support us, help us adapt activities to the students' needs and supervise the activities.” - Maria and Belén, students
HEAR FROM OUR BUSINESS MANAGER
ASH has a long history of healthy financial performance. Our income is predominantly driven by school fees and our expenses are largely related to professional staff compensation. This means that our income is largely correlated to our enrollment. 2020-2021 saw a small financial loss in operations due to the continuing softening of enrollment in the elementary school ages and the decreased family mobility related to the pandemic.
Our cost structure, projected income and reserves are under continuous monitoring by the school’s finance team and the Board of Trustees. Major investments may impact our cost structure. We are therefore especially vigilant with regard to our projected income and enrollment.