Tirana International School

November 1, 2017


Important Dates


1 - Parent Teacher Conferences (8:00 am - 12:00 noon) - No school for students

2-3 - TIS Professional Development Days - No school for students

10 - University Visit - Wabash College

12 - TIS Brunch at Sheraton

13 - University Visit - Hult International Business School

13 - 17 - FALL into Reading Week

17 - Last day to order Scholastic books!

16-19 - MS CEESA Robotics competition at TIS.

20 - University Visit - John Cabot University

24 - Albanian Day at TIS

27-29 - Albanian National Holidays - No school for students


Director's Desk

In light of school being off for students the next few days as teachers have professional development, I wanted to take the time to highlight how our educators continue to grow throughout the year.  It is important to understand that teaching is both a science and and an art.  It is a science because there are techniques that teachers learn that help them to teach literacy skills, identify student difficulties, and daily assess the progress of students, just to name a few.  But teaching is an art as well since educators must learn to balance the level of challenge for each child in her room.  The entire process of education is incredibly complex and teachers grow in their skills through training, practice and reflection.  TIS teachers have 7 inservice days per year to dedicate to their craft:  3 before the year begins in August, 3 throughout the year, and 1 after the last day of school.  But these times are not enough as constant improvement and reflection is necessary.  Parents that would like to know more about how our teachers grow are welcome to stop by my office at any time and look through some of the books that we use.  One final note on this subject - please know that when you send me articles about educational practices I read them.  So if you find something interesting during your own research, please send it my way.

This week for our training, we are all traveling to Montenegro to join three other QSI international schools.  Our main focus will be on reading instruction, first aid and cooperative learning strategies.  In addition, our teachers will lead workshops for others in their areas of expertise.  

Looking Forward,

Robert Jackson, Director



Ben Shifrin and Heather Robinson will be presenting to the TIS staff on the topics of How We Learn to Read and Cooperative Learning.  Ben is the head of the Jemicy School, one of the top reading centered private schools in the US.  Heather comes from Texas and has a rich past as a teacher, administrator and trainer on cooperative learning strategies.  


TIS Presenters in Montenegro

TIS will not only learn a lot at the upcoming conference, but they will also share their knowledge on a number of topics:

Besnik Zylka and Jessica Fox – Using Lego WeDo sets to enhance STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) in the classroom.

Stephanie Smith –Writing letters of recommendation for graduating students.

Eva Dauti – Fall into Reading and Summer Reading Challenge programs.

Erin R. Doak, Gjinovefa Velaj, and Eljona Pulaha – Teacher communication to leverage student success.

Natalie Collova – Think Central Resources for literacy and math

Denise Tramblay – Helping preschoolers with self-regulation

Mistina Loontjer – Online Resources for classroom collaboration

Technology in the Intensive English and Forgein Language classroom

Carla Grossman – Preparing for the transition to web-based MAP testing.


Book Study

This year TIS teachers are going through a book study of Doug Lemov's strategies in Teach Like a Champion.  Lemov did research on master educators, who consistently raised the academic level of students beyond other teachers, and found that these individuals shared some learned techniques.  So far we have talked about how they accurately check for understanding in the classroom and how to create a culture of error, where students are open about growth areas.  Feel free to ask your child's teacher what they are learning/mastering this year!


Weekly Research

Several of our staff receive a weekly research report called the Marshall Memo, which provides a 4-5 page executive summary of the latest in education from top journals and news sources.  Recently teachers read the latest findings on the impact of cell phones of children and then used that article to discuss the issue with students.  


August PD

Each summer we meet for three days of Professional Development to help remind us of important procedures and best practices for the year.  One important workshop is led by our counselor, Stephanie Smith.  She instructs staff on the importance of child protection by outlining warning signs and proper reporting structures when they suspect neglect or abuse.


Summer Studies

Many of our educators take time during the summer to improve their qualifications and expertise in certain areas.  Over the last few years, several teachers have taken part in Advanced Placement training for our secondary AP program.  In addition, one teacher has participated in the JOSTI Technology in Education program for two years, helping us to bring appropriate tech into the class.   


Scholastic Book Order

The October/November Scholastic book order has begun!  As in the past, families can order and pay for books online so that they can be bundled and shipped directly to the school at the beginning of December.  This is a great way for parents to encourage reading and even get some winter gifts for their children.  Follow this link and order your books before November 17.