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Welcome to the 2023-2024 School Year

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
– Will Rogers

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year at AAS-Sofia!

Today marks the end of the first full week of school. Many students (and quite a few staff) get used to sleeping in a bit later (or a lot later) through the summer, and as we wrap up the first full week of school, it is obvious that we don’t all have our bodies back on the school schedule: there are many people dragging themselves through the day and looking forward to a Saturday sleep-in.

It has been a delightful first 9 days of school (1/20th of the school year)! We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the new year. The fun energy of the first day of school with students coming (many bearing flowers) excited (and a bit nervous) for the new school year; the PTO Back To School Barbecue (thank you PTO!); the new track and football field; the new MS/HS Café; the seniors leading the AAS song at the whole school assembly; and most importantly seeing old friends and meeting new friends-to-be.

On top of all that, our students perform exceptionally well academically: once again doing better than most schools in CEESA and the world.

I have worked in schools for a long time. As I begin my 10th year in Sofia, I am still struck by the special place that is AAS-Sofia.

While there is much right, very right, with AAS, there is always room for improvement. This year we are working on the accreditation process for the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools (NEASC). We are also in the midst of our International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) reauthorization process. Further, through our work with NoTosh through the 2022-23 school year, we have strategic goals for the next few years. All of this work is about improving. You will hear more about these initiatives in the weeks and months ahead.

Another area of improvement we are focusing on is how we treat each other at AAS. AAS has a reputation for being a positive and welcoming place. We want to build on that and ensure that every student, staff member, family member, and guest who comes to AAS feels respected and welcome: they feel that they belong. This requires intentional action of teaching young people how to be kind, the impact of the language they use, and how to be respectful even when (especially when) they are frustrated or disagree with someone.

The skills of empathy, active listening, and working effectively with a team are essential life skills as our students get ready to move on to college and/or the workplace. We teach these skills now in order to make AAS a safe place of belonging and to prepare students for their lives beyond AAS.

In our efforts for constant improvement, your input is invaluable. Please share your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and compliments anytime with the AAS team. Specifically you can reach the members of the Leadership Team via the emails below.

Dr. Tim Fries (Director) tfries@aas-sofia.org: for anything to do with anything

Mr. Eric Burnett (MS/HS Principal) eburnett@aas-sofia.org: for anything related to the Middle or High School

Dr. Matt Horne (ES Principal) mhorne@aas-sofia.org: for anything related to the Elementary School

Ms. Angela Assed (Director of Learning and Curriculum) aassed@aas-sofia.org: anything related to teaching, learning, and curriculum

Mr. Joe Gorski (Director of Student Support Services) jgorski@aas-sofia.org: anything related to Learning Support, English as an Additional Language, or Counseling Services

Mr. Daniel Kilback (ICT Manager) dkilback@aas-sofia.org: anything related to technology

Ms. Asya Alexandrova (Marketing and Communications Manager) aalexandrova@aas-sofia.org: anything related to communications, marketing, or admissions

We look forward to hearing from you about anything on your mind.

In the meantime, we look forward to a splendid 2023-24 school year!

“The safest principle through life, instead of reforming others, is to set about perfecting yourself”
– Benjamin Haydon

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