Taipei American School has been chosen as one of only three Safe Passages Across Networks (SPAN) Honorary Partner Schools worldwide for the 2020-2021 school year.
Over the last few years, TAS has invested time and energy into conversations around the SPAN concept, which focuses on the transition needs of students, parents, and educators worldwide. This initiative has been Supported by HOS Dr. Grace Cheng and led by US Counselor Ryan Haynes, US Dean of Students Dr. Daniel Long, MS Counselor Lori Richardson Garcia, and LS Counselor Cindy Teeters, in close coordination with HR Director Carol Chen and HR Assistant Director Anne Tsao. This team has worked in all three divisions to make improvements to many aspects of our transition program for students, parents, and teachers.
Whether you are an "arriver," a "leaver," or a "stayer," these faculty members have worked tirelessly to make sure you will have support for your journey at Taipei American School. We are honored to accept this invitation as we continue to refine our vision for student, parent, and faculty transitions. TAS is always trying to improve our transitions care programming. TAS recognizes the importance of arriving, staying, and leaving well. It’s important to remember, in order to arrive well, one must leave well.
Safe Passages Across Networks (SPAN) is founded and chaired by Drs. Douglas W. Ota. TAS hosted Ota several years ago to start our school down this path. While here, Ota led an EARCOS weekend workshop sharing recent research in cognitive neuroscience and counseling to identify areas that students will most likely struggle with during times of transitions. He also led advisory workshops in the upper school and met with our counseling and college counseling departments.
As one involved in transition work with our school community, Upper School Dean of Students, Dr. Dan Long, explained that this Partner School designation is an acknowledgment from SPAN about the good work that our community has committed itself to over the past few years. It is also a sign to internationally mobile families and potential faculty that if they choose to make a home here at TAS, they will receive support for their arrival and eventual departure.
In the largest study ever performed in the history of educational research by John Hattie, of the 138 factors that affect learning the single greatest negative impact on how much students learn is whether they have to move. Therefore, it is a vital importance schools pay attention to transitions and devote the time, energy, and resources to ensuring students, faculty, families transition well. If students do not transition well, optimal learning will not take place.
"We want our students, parents, and faculty to transition well," said Long. "Because if you are supported well during transition, you end being a healthy, well-adjusted individual."
Since Drs. Ota's original visit, the school has been hard at work to intentionally curate a more seamless transition experience for arrivers, leavers, and stayers. Dr. Long says that this third category - the stayers - has been a particular area of focus of late because they are a historically often overlooked segment of school populations.
In November of this year, events will be hosted for the TAS stayers to thank them for their support of other people within our community as others have arrived and needed support or left them behind as they move away from our community.
"The stayers are the backbone of our community," said US Academic and Personal Counselor, Ryan Haynes. "They help define our school culture and help others adjust successfully to our community once here."
We hope that our entire community will continue to delve into these conversations at school and at home. By taking a comprehensive approach and working together as a community, the transition needs of every person on campus can be addressed in ways that lead to healthy, positive adjustment.
For more information on SPAN, please visit its website: https://www.spanschools.org/