Thursday, May 30, 2013

6 Years Olds Melting Hearts While Singing

Can you imagine more than 60
6-year olds organized,  and singing on the stage? This can be true only in dreams or in the concerts that are organized by Ms Lastovych. She managed to organize a series of concerts for the elementary students in which more than 60 students sang at the same time and showed moves that corresponded with the lyrics. This just sounds impossible to organize, but nothing is impossible when you love your job,  an example that Ms. Lastovych proves.

All of the students were singing the songs and dancing at the same time, while the auditorium was filled with smiling parents filming their children. Tones of flowers and compliments were all sent towards Ms. Lastovych, but she deserves it like no one else because while some parents have a hard time organizing one or two kids just to sit down, she managed to organize 60 children to perform on the stage at the same time.

Thankful parents and children will never forget those moments, and let us all appreciate and wish inspiration to teachers who manage to organize such events!

By Anastasiya Zamula

Track Meet and School Picnic

KIS High School Team
This past Friday and Saturday, the 24th and 25t,  KIS hosted an invitational track meet. Three other schools, PSI and KCA from Kiev and the QSI School from Yerevan, Armenia, attended the meet along with KIS. The competition included both track and field events on both the middle school and secondary levels with 138 student athletes participating in the track meet in total.  

KIS Middle School and Secondary Track Teams and Coaches

Track Events:
Field Events:
-          100m (MSG, MSB, HSG, HSB)
-          200m (MSG, MSB, HSG, HSB)
-          400m (MSG, MSB, HSG, HSB)
-          800m (MSG, MSB, HSG, HSB)
-          1500m (MSG, MSB, HSG, HSB)
-          3000m (MSG, MSB, HSG, HSB)
-          4x100 (MS, HS)
-          4x400 (MS, HS)
-          Shot Put (MSG, MSB, HSG, HSB)
-          Long Jump (MSG, MSB, HSG, HSB)
-          Triple Jump (MSG, MSB, HSG, HSB)

Secondary - 4 x 400m Relay
KIS was the overall winner of the meet for both middle school and secondary combined with many Kozacks winning and placing their events and even setting several new track and field records at KIS. Several Kozacks were awarded metals for being the top athletes in their various age and gender groups. Maddie  and Isabella tied for 3rd place and Kanako got 1st place for middle school girls. Arturo came 2nd overall for middle school boys. Sasha Rovinska came in 2nd overall for the secondary girls and Haider got 3rd and Michael Curry got 1st overall for the secondary boys.     
Michael Curry getting "pumped" for his next race.
After the overall victory of the KIS track team and the award ceremony on Saturday, there was the annual school picnic. There were many different booths that had various games for kids to play such as sack races, and tug-o-war, as well delicious food, and music for everyone to enjoy, to which all of the proceeds went to various fund raisers. At the end there were raffles for the different spring/summer baskets that each of the elementary classes put together.  The festivities included a huge bouncy slide that the younger kids could climb and slide down that became very popular over the course of the day. A D.J., dancing, and even a flash mob at one point entertained the audience, and just an overall good time had by all.  

By: Tim Roby

Monday, May 27, 2013

20th Anniversary: Technological Progress

Living in the 21st century makes it essential for everyone to be familiar with technology and KIS isn't an exception. 20 years ago KIS had hardly used technology in any way, while today no one can imagine KIS without the Moodle.

Originally, Moodle was a middle school innovation that became extremely useful during the H1N1 crisis in Ukraine when the school was closed for about 3 weeks. Prior to the epidemic, Moodle usage was low. During the week before the H1N1 crisis, less than 2000 logs were recorded on the Moodle. Once the schools were ordered to close because of the fluenza, the weekly log on November 16, 2009 peaked at 100,697. Mr.Snyder was the actual mind behind the idea of introducing KIS to the Moodle system. Other schools adopted the system due to the H1N1 crisis. 

With the collaboration of KIS teachers, the idea of Moodle grew into something more than just a way to submit your work to a teacher.  Mr.Snyder explains what Moodle is today:
Mr. Ron Snyder, Director of QSI Global Online Learning
Right now, all of the schools have access to a virtual learning environment based on Moodle. It is called the QSI GOLD (Global Online Learning Delivery) System. The IT team in Kyiv continues to help support its maintenance and upgrades. We have also started a full online school (my job) that offers students online classes in all QSI schools. Eventually, I want to build an online portal where teachers across QSI can share lesson plans, assessment ideas, etc. for all of the units and incorporate that into GOLD.
Here is a graph of how tough it was for KIS to adopt the Moodle system at first tries:
It's difficult to believe that today Moodle and technology in general plays such a great role in the academic life of our school with all of the online databases, email system to communicate with teachers, parents and students, and even the blog on which you are reading this article. New ideas are taking  our school to a higher level in order to make it better. Recently the school came up with the idea of giving out I-pads to teachers to help integrate more technology in the classroom.

KIS is continually taking steps to improve, and technology is another step forward.

By Anastasiya Zamula

Friday, May 24, 2013

Secondary Volleyball CEESA

This past Friday, KIS hosted the secondary girls’ varsity and junior varsity (JV) volleyball tournaments. Teams from various international schools from Europe including Prague, Istanbul, Warsaw, Bucharest, and our city, rival PSI. 

Junior Varsity B Team
Teams played against each other once, and then their records determined who played in the finals, third and fourth place game and fifth and sixth place games. Half of the games were played on Friday and the others, including the finals, were played on Saturday. KIS had three teams this year for the girls’ CEESA tournament,: two junior varsity teams(JV-A and JV-B), as well as a varsity team. The JV and Varsity tournaments were played as two separate tournaments. 

Junior Varsity A Team holding their 1st place trophy

All of the teams played great and had a wonderful tournament, each with their own shares of ups and downs. Watching the tournament became a series of these highs and lows. At some points, one would become more and more nervous as the other team began to close in on the other or the building up of  excitement as one of our teams began to come back from behind or take and gain more and more of a lead. Even when some of our teams lost they was never a dull game or a blowout; each game was a hard fought struggle to which the girls gave it their all. 

In the end, our JV-B team and varsity each got fifth in their respective tournaments. However, we were able to take home some hardware with the JV-A team winning 1st place in the JV tournament. Also, every year an all-tournament team is picked from all the varsity teams with each team picking someone to represent them as the best-overall team player from their team. This year Linda
Varsity Girls Team - Linda Lastovych (bottom most right)
Lastovych was the all-tournament player from our Varsity Girls team.

However, that’s not all that happened this past weekend. Secondary boys also had their volleyball CEESA in Moscow. They had a great start to their tournament with a record of 4-1 (4 wins, 1 loss) on the first day. Yet, sadly, they were unable to keep up this pace and came home with 4th place just after barely losing to Moscow for the 3rd place seat.

Hopefully you were able to watch part of the tournaments this year and if not, you are strongly encouraged to do on Saturday May 24th when KIS will host a track invitational. A school picnic will follow the track meet in the morning. A great time is had by all and it’s an exciting event to be a part of with a wonderful atmosphere. Lastly, we should give a big thanks to Mr. Curry, and Mr. Chapman for without whom, this tournament couldn’t have been the great success it was.

- Tim

Thursday, May 23, 2013

20th Anniversary: Generations of Inspiration

By: Nadia Rendon

"I had many dreams as a child. First I wanted to be a music teacher, then librarian, then work with dogs because I like dogs a lot, then an elementary teacher, translator, guide, a lot of things. Even a biologist and a journalist, but then I decided to go for math."

Mrs. Chemeris
Here at KIS, when you think of Mrs. Chemeris, you think of math. Over the 19 years Mrs. Chemeris has been teaching at KIS, she has gained the respect and care of her students and colleagues as a teacher. We recognize her as a math teacher now, but others may have known her in a different profession. Scientist, journalist, language teacher, and mathematician; Mrs. Chemeris has tried and succeeded at all, showing the world how more than one dream can come true in life.

Throughout her career, Mrs. Chemeris had always studied math: from a basic level up until her post graduate degree in the applied mathematics department of Shevchenko University; however, despite pursuing mathematics, she wasn't always good in math. "I started to like math in seventh grade, but in fifth or sixth grade I was struggling with math to tell the truth. But then in seventh grade I changed schools and I had an awesome teacher."

After this teacher's positive influence on Mrs. Chemeris, she became good in math and was even able to share first place with unbeatable Moscow in math competitions during the Soviet Union: something that had never occured before. Mrs. Chemeris described this teacher to be her "teacher of life" and till this date remembers him, and sometimes tries to apply his teaching methods in her classes.

At the same time, Mrs. Chemeris enrolled in a second education: journalism. "I worked during the day with math, and journalism in the evening. I worked hard",she giggled, "I came home very late." Her hard work payed off since later she obtained a job in journalism writing articles about Kiev landmarks and history, became a math teacher, and even had a position as a scientific employee. Working as a mentor in her university, she was exposed to, and enjoyed working with, young people. "I made life lasting friends. One girl who I helped is still my friend and was even there for my wedding."

Mrs. Chemeris and the 2012/2013 Secondary Math Counts Team
"My first years teaching in KIS, I was actually a Russian and Ukranian teacher", Mrs. Chemeris reflected. Mrs. Chemeris also taught math when there was opportunity, and as administration witnessed her expertiese in the mathematical field, they shifted her area of focus, and so she became the math teacher we have all come to know and love.

Her favorite part of teaching is watching students grow, celebrating the smallest to biggest of her students' victories: from passing a test for the first time to getting accepted to good universities to study math. " I am so proud of my students who have reached a high level of education and obtained succesful careers" she stated, and she hopes to be as influential to her students as her life teacher was to her, helpnig them achieve their many life long dreams.

20th Anniversary: Our Registrar

Even if there is darkness, this one Ukrainian lady will light up KIS no matter what. This lady loves bright colors, especially yellow, and she is always energetic.

Ms. Bogush was born in Ruzhym, a small town in Ukraine. She lived in her hometown until the last 3 years of her schooling, then she went to a boarding school. It was a school with an expectation of higher level. She had to pass exams to be accepted. After finishing high school, she went to university and received a degree as a teacher of Ukrainian language literature and English.

A friend invited her to be the receptionist at KIS. Coincidentally the reception use to be where Ms. Bogush's room is now. After working as a receptionist for about 3 years, the position of registrar became avaliable, so she decided to apply. Ms. Bogush has been working at KIS for 10 years

When I first came here, there was total of only 180 students and the list of students would fit on one A4 paper. But this year, we have 727 students. When I first came, there was only an elementary building operating and the secondary building was in process. After my second year here, the secondary building was finished. Later on, the middle school building was added, secondary containers were added and the new gym was added.

Ms. Bogush loves reading, running and she participated in 5K race for the first time this year. Also she loves swimming and watching American TV shows and movies, that is how her English improved.

"KIS is quite dynamic," said Ms. Bogush. "Something new happens every year so I never get bored working here." She said, "My future is KIS."

By Brian Jung

Thursday, May 16, 2013

20th Anniversary: Teachers as Constants in a World of Change

"Ms. Natasha, is there only one may I go to the bathroom?" said one of IE teacher Natasha Kuzovleva's first students. Once upon a time, the KIS campus was located on the left wing of a Ukrainian school in downtown Kiev. Ms. Natasha's class was located right next to the only bathroom on her hall. "The little girl was surprised because high school students would come during our class" she explained. "The first thing we taught our students was 'May I go to the bathroom', so she had an image that the phrase 'may I go to the bathroom' represented the actual name for a bathroom.

Although it is commonly said that the only constant in life is change, here at KIS, the case is different. Over the last 20 years KIS has been submerged in change: there are now 10+ bathrooms, the facilities have moved and expanded, the technology has been updated, and the student body has increased. Despite these improvements, the one thing kept at a constant are some of the staff.

Ms. Natasha has been working for the KIS community for about 19 years making her a constant in the ever-changing KIS community. This occurrence however would not be happening had sudden changes not taken place in her life. At the young age of 15, Ms. Natasha had two interests: learning English, and learning chemistry, but having to support her mother caused her to enter university one year earlier to study English at a deeper level. "I can't say that English was my first choice. If I hadn't entered university that year, I would have tried Chemistry the next year, but I don't regret it because my teacher career has been splendid." After gaining experience in the fields of teaching and interpretation, in the pursuit of a higher degree of education, Ms. Natasha came to Kiev and finally to KIS.
A part of KIS since 1993, Ms. Natasha has been a witness to most of KIS's evolvement. Up until now she can still remember relocating to the Svyatoshin area, the creation of the tennis courts, even teaching the first Korean students of the school. In her opinion, the most important change that KIS has gone through is the creation of more opportunities "Now we can do more than what we used to. Our teachers are having more professional developments. It wasn't like that in the beginning. I feel like we are moving on and it will be more refined, more beneficial for the students because teachers are aware of the constant development of the mode of thinking, and we are aware that the paradigm of education is changing. We are doing everything we can to meet the needs of kids."

"Time flies so fast, and when you look back you realise how many changes you have lived through, and it's just an amazing feeling." Ms. Natasha reflected about her experience as a teacher in an international community. "I've met so many people who come and go, and I communicate with many of them, keeping in touch with a few. It's like I'm a part of the whole world here. I have this feeling like I'm involved in the lives of many people." And indeed, she is involved.

Ms. Natasha's Classroom
Throughout our education, we will go through many ups and downs. By the time it has ended we will look back and realize how many changes our environment, as well as ourselves, have gone through. In the near future we will look back, and we might not remember what
our teachers taught us, whether it be the quadratic formula we learned in our Algebra 2 class, or the numerous poems we had once memorised for English. We will, however, remember the people who tried to teach us. Because in the world of rapid change that we live in, it has been our teachers who have remained constant: always there to help us, to inspire us, and to watch us grow. And even if our minds do forget, our hearts will always remember.
As Ms. Natasha once said, "I think that many of our graduates or the students that I taught will not remember me, but that's okay. It is normal and we tend to forget many things. They may not remember my name but I am sure the general feeling of comfort, of fun, of safety, will be remembered."

By: Nadia Rendón

20th Anniversary: Mr. Zeegers: The Unpredictable Life

Mr. Dan Zeegers
MS Math

Mr. Zeegers is well-known for being a demanding teacher at KIS. Good discipline and good work ethic are his top priorities. "Boredom" though, is not a word associated with him. His former student, Maryna, remembers only 5 years ago, "Mr. Zeegers would amaze us all with his chicken dance... the way his arms turned into wings and the way he could re-form his body to the shape of a chicken!"

This interesting story may be drawn back to the days of youth when he was an adventurous boy, living in America, and working at Walt Disney World. He was enjoying his life and had no intention of moving to any country, more so, Ukraine.

When he was younger, Mr. Zeegers used to live in different states, born in New York, lived in Florida, California, and even on an island off of Florida. "We got to swim on the beach every day," he recalled, "and, wow, life was really beautiful." 

One of his first jobs was waiting tables at a restaurant at Disney World. There, he worked along side older female staff members who, as he said, "kept pinching my cheeks and pulling on my ears all the time." Later, he became a boat tour guide in the Disney Park. He was required to give a serious lecture on how plants grew without soil. But guess what? "It was such a boring speech that I just couldn't stand saying it, so instead I would tell jokes all the time... And then, of course, I got in trouble," he confessed.

Family Picture
College life was not very rigid either. For 10 years, Mr. Zeegers kept going back and forth between work, education, and leisure. While earning his Business Management Degree at San Diego State University, he took some time off and enjoyed wind-surfing on the California beaches. "Between the combination of fun and finances and work, you know, school had to be only part time," he explained.

When Mr. Zeegers returned to Florida in 1993, he worked as a manager at a dinner theater. However, he was still not satisfied, and one day, he read a newspaper ad that changed his whole life - a school in Ukraine was looking for a person who would teach for 1 year. Young and enthusiastic, Mr. Zeegers was interested in a country he knew nothing about. After some research and negotiations, he accepted the job.

Leaving everything behind, Mr. Zeegers arrived in Ukraine for what he thought would be only a year. Life, though, had its own plan for him. "And then I met my wife... And then I fell in love with her... And then I didn't want to leave her..." he admitted. Suddenly, a year became almost 20 years.

Throughout these years numerous things have changed in his life. Evidently, instead of becoming a successful businessman, he established a close bond with teaching. He went from being a PE teacher, to teaching middle school, to elementary,
and back to middle school. As he reflected, one of his brightest educational experiences was in the elementary:
Teaching Elementary Students
Elementary was fun because it's not like working with high school kids or middle school kids where their brain is all like scrambled eggs, right. You're dealing, in ten-year-olds, with kids who just are like giant sponges. And they just want to learn everything. And they want to make you happy. And no matter what, if you teach them, they're happy. And they want to do the best. And they are all competing to be the best.

When questioned about his future plans, Mr. Zeegers stated his views, avoiding guarantees:
"Life is really unpredictable. Like I come across kids all the time who think they know what they're gonna do when they get older, and I just laugh at them because I had no idea where Ukraine even was and here I am sitting  for 18 years. So what am I gonna do when I get older? I don't know."

By Olexandra Rovinska

Thursday, May 9, 2013

20th Anniversary: Ani Yoseliani

By: Tim Roby

This year Kiev International School is celebrating the 20th Anniversary. The school has come a long way since 1992 and in order to get a better, and a real feel of how far this school as come, KIS Today decided to do a series of interviews of people who work, study, and overall have been a part of this school for many of those 20 years. Who better to ask then a student who has attended KIS from first grade all the way to her senior year of secondary school, 12 years, Ani Yoseliani.

KIS has evolved over these 20 years of its existence, from  small beginnings, both in the sense of size of our facilities, and people, (students, staff, parents), to the KIS community that we know today. When asked about what the school was like before, in her earlier years of attending KIS, Ani shared that it was “weird to look back at my childhood and realize that I am still in the same place” because  KIS has changed so much. Ani described one specific change when she remembers looking out of a window at this “giant fenced area where we (young students) thought ghosts lived.” That was the beginning of a new soccer field that students began playing on not even a year later.

Ani Yoseliani.
When asked specifically about what differences she had seen as she moved from grade to grade she talked about how she remembered moving to the next grade level in elementary being a “very big mile stone”. She talked about how you would always be preparing for the next step whether it was middle school or secondary school and “in constant fear that it was going to be terrible and hard”. However, she then went on to say that embracing change is something that we do very well at KIS as a whole.
“I think that is what this school does best, is preparing you for the fluidity of life…that’s the best lesson I have learned here, life changes.”
I then asked about her final impressions of KIS, now that she is leaving to go off to the next step in her life, as compared to that of her first impression of KIS. She responded in saying that her final impressions were overall of a good and thankful nature. As compared to her first reaction of going here 12 years ago when she said she cried a lot because she thought her parents would never come back for her. I then asked how that changed since then, and she responded in saying “I don’t cry anymore, hahah.”

So here’s to all those who have graduated, are graduating, and will graduate, whether they have been here for 12 years, or even just 1 or 2, and also to the 20 great years of KIS and hopefully many more to come.