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MS Weekly Bulletin | September 6, 2019
Posted 09/06/2019 04:51PM


The beginning is the most important part of the work.

- Plato

I would like to welcome you to the 2019–2020 school year! I want you to know that as Mrs. Fleming said in her "foolproof" recipe for a school many years ago, our goal is to "stretch" the students in our care in the areas of study, in co-curricular activities such as athletics and the arts, and in service to others. In short, we aim to develop students in the timeless arenas of the true, the good, and the beautiful, as scripted on our M. Crist Fleming Library (Verum, Bonum, Pulchrum), or as Aristotle categorized, the intellectual and moral virtues. We thank you for entrusting us with this important responsibility and look forward to another wonderful year in Montagnola!

– Christopher Nikoloff, Headmaster

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, September 11 TPA Coffee and Conversation • 9:30, Villa Principe Leopoldo Hotel
Thursday, September 12 MS/HS Founder’s Day Assembly 
Monday, September 16 MS Class Outings
Wednesday, September 18 MS Parent Coffee • 8:30, Casa Fleming 
Wednesday, September 18 TPA Welcome Lunch • 12:00–14:00, Casa Fleming
Monday, September 23 Consular services for American citizens • 16:30, Palmer Center
Thursday–Friday, October 3–4 School Portrait Days
Monday, October 7 No classes for MS/HS (ES has classes that day.)
Thursday, October 10 Autumn Aperitifs • 18:30, The View (Lugano)
Friday–Saturday, October 11–12 Family Weekend

Please refer to for a more comprehensive look at upcoming events.

Key Contact Information

Headmaster Christopher Nikoloff:
Lower School Head Tim Fitzgerald:
Middle School Dean of Student Affairs MJ Breton:
Middle School Assistant Svetlana Koreshkova:
Director of Residential Life Thomas Lill:
Middle School Dorm Head Matthew Beckwith Laube:
Italian Section Coordinator Guia Berera:
Learning Resource Director Andrew Rhein:
School Counselor Mary Cate Hauenstein:
TASIS Nurses:
TASIS Shuttle Coordinator Svetlana Koreshkova:
TASIS Parent Association (TPA):

Please refer to the Faculty and Staff Directory on the TASIS website for additional contact information.


A New Start!

The Middle School community was excited to welcome returning students and get to know new students and their families on Opening Day and Orientation Weekend. The first week of school has flown by, and the MS students are slowly getting used to the routine. If you have any questions regarding our program or concerns about your child, please do not hesitate to contact the MS administrators, your child’s Advisor, or your child’s teachers. 

The first day of school started with a Welcoming Assembly. Topics covered included Student Life (safety and security, electronics policy, Student Handbook, etc.) and Academics (EAL and Math placement, homework, and Veracross). 

On Tuesday, September 3, the students had team-building advisor activities to get to know one another.

On Wednesday, September 4, our assembly was about our Founder, M. Crist Fleming, and the history of TASIS

During our MS Advisor block on Thursday, September 5, the groups reviewed the After-School Program options, and the students made their choices for the fall activities season.

Academics: MAP Testing

Over the next two weeks, all Middle School students will participate in MAP testing. MAP assessment comes from the US educational organization, Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). The tests allow us to determine your child’s instructional level and to measure academic growth throughout the school year—and from year to year—in the areas of Reading, Language Usage, and Mathematics.

Students will take three separate tests on separate days. If your child is absent on one of his or her testing days, make-up tests will be arranged. Testing will start next Tuesday, September 10, in Math. English will follow during the week of September 16. Your child's teacher will provide the specific dates. This test is not part of your child's grade for the course.

Since each MAP test is individually tailored for the child, there is no way to study for the test. To best prepare your child, make sure he or she does the following:

  • Get a good night of sleep.
  • Have a nutritious breakfast.
  • Come to school with a positive attitude.

This should be no different than any other school day.

Individual MAP reports will be sent home in early October. There will also be a parent information meeting in October to explain the results.

Academics: MS Help Centers

Help Centers: Middle School Help Centers will begin on Monday, September 16. Each teacher will be available once a week during lunch recess. Please see the schedule below.

Day & Time Class Teacher Location
Monday 12:35 - 13:05 English Ms. Wiens Belvedere 2
Ms. El-Manadily Belvedere 3
Tuesday 12:45 - 13:10 German Ms. Meister Alba Upper
Technology and Coding Ms. Bloodworth Campo Pioneer
Music Ms. Rubb MS Music Classroom
Wednesday 12:45 - 13:10 Math Mr. Alava Campo Pagani
Ms. Scully Campo Pioneer
Ms. Thomas Campo Science Left
French Ms. Noseda Alba Upper
Ms. Philpot Alba Lower
Art Ms. Bellini / Ms. Hurst MS Art Classroom
Thursday 12:45 - 13:10 History Mr. Tripps Alba Upper
Italian (second language) Ms. Avaldi Alba Middle
Storia Dr. Bianchini Belvedere 3
Ms. Perani Belvedere 2
Lingua italiana Ms. De Bianchi Alba Lower
Ms. Perani Belvedere 2
Friday 12:45 - 13:10 Science Ms. Bloodworth Campo Science Left
Dr. Merritt Campo Science Left
Dr. Sinnathamby Campo Science Right
EAL (English as an additional language) Ms. Guarnieri Rosso Alba Lower
Ms. Sartorelli Alba Middle
Dr. Merritt Campo Pagani

School Supplies: 
We try to make our suggested school supply list as comprehensive as possible, but individual teachers still may require some specialty items for their classes. Your child has been informed about these items.

MS Daily Schedule

Visit to download a JPG version of the schedule for your phone or a PDF version to print.

MS Advisor Lunch Schedule

MS Advisor Lunch follows this rotation:

  • Mondays: Dr. Brett Merritt, Dr. Kelly Merritt, Mr. Beckwith-Laube, Dr. Bianchini
  • Tuesdays: Mr. Alava, Ms. Perani, Ms. Sartorelli, Ms. Frazier-Smith
  • Wednesdays: Mr. Morton, Dr. Sinnathamby, Mr. Tripps, Ms. De Bianchi
  • Thursdays: Ms. Scully, Ms. Brown, Ms. Wiens/Ms. McTigue, Ms. Meister
  • Fridays: Mr. Frazier-Smith, Mr. Yo, Ms. Rubb/Mr. Mendes, Ms. Avaldi-Bianchini 

Questions about Advisor Lunch or the Advisor Program? Feel free to email Ms. Breton or your child’s Advisor directly.

MS Attendance 

To inform the school of an absence (for the full academic day, single classes, or after-school activities), please go to the Student Attendance & Transportation Request area of the Veracross Parent Portal as soon as possible and provide details of the absence. Please be specific, make sure to choose the correct date, and always provide the reason. An absence may only be excused by the School, which reserves the right to determine whether an absence is excused or unexcused.

  • Tardy: If the student is late in the morning, provide what time he or she will come to school.
  • Partial Absence during the day (some classes missed due to a medical visit, family emergency, document renewal, etc): Provide the time when the student has to be dismissed and the time he or she will return to school—or specify the classes that will be missed in the notes field.
  • Early Dismissal: Provide the time the student has to be dismissed and note whether he or she will be back for an after-school activity.
  • Whole-Day Absence and Multi-Day Absence: If a student is sick for more than three days, send a note from a doctor explaining the circumstances to

If you have any questions regarding the attendance records or need assistance in reporting the absence in Veracross, contact

Fall Term After-School program

All after-school activities will start on Monday, September 16. Placements will be posted on the bulletin board in Belvedere next Tuesday, September 10. If you have any questions regarding the After-School Program, please contact After-School Activities Assistant Coordinator Mr. Mendes.

  • MS Football/Soccer Boys (competitive/twice a week): Mondays & Wednesdays, 16:00–17:30. Meeting point: outdoor soccer field at 16:00.
  • MS Football/Soccer Girls (competitive/twice a week): Mondays 16:00-18:00, Wednesdays, 16:00-17:30. Meeting point: outdoor soccer field at 16:00.
  • JV Girls Volleyball with HS girls (competitive/twice a week): Monday/Thursday, 16:00-17:30; Tuesday 17:30-19:00 (Only for 7 and 8 graders). Meeting point: outdoor soccer field at 16:00.
  • MS Boys and Girls Cross Country (twice a week): Mondays and Wednesdays, 16:00-17:30. Meeting point: outdoor basketball courts at 16:00.
  • MS Lacrosse: Mondays, 17:30-18:30. Meeting point: outdoor soccer field at 16:00.
  • MS Book club: Tuesdays 16:00-17:30. Meeting point: Campo Pagani at 16:00.
  • MS Glass Painting: Tuesdays, 16:00-17:30. Meeting point: in front of Campo Science at 16:00.
  • MS Dance: Wednesdays, 16:00-17:00. Meeting point: Dance studio at 16.00.
  • MS Theater: Thursdays, 16:00-17:30 (ends on December 6th). Meeting point: Palmer Center, at 16:00.
  • MS Ensemble: Thursdays, 16:00-17:30. Meeting point: Coach House 2 at 16:00.
  • MS Choir: Tuesdays, 16:00-17:30; this activity is a year-round commitment. Meeting point: Coach House 2 at 16:00.
  • MS Weekend Climbing Club: September 22 and 29, October 20 and 27. Meeting point for first session on September 22: TASIS parking lot at 8:45.
  • MS Robotics: Tuesdays, 16:00-17:00 (From September to February). Meeting point: Campo Science Right Laboratory at 16:00. 
  • Private Vocal or Instrumental Lessons: Please contact Performing Arts Department Chair Ms. Samantha Forrest.

NOTE: Students will change into their sports clothes, if required, after meeting the activity leaders.

Founder’s Day 

On Thursday, September 12, from 15:10–15:55, we will hold a special assembly in the Palestra to honor the incredible life of TASIS Founder M. Crist Fleming. There will be an alternate schedule that day:

On Monday, September 16, we will hold our annual Class Outings in remembrance of Mrs. Fleming, who loved the natural beauty of Switzerland. Grade 6 will go to Gandria, grade 7 will go to Monte Tamaro, and grade 8 will go to San Salvatore. Students will have regular classes (blocks A,B,C,D) from 8:00 to 11:20 and early lunch at 11:20. Please see details below. 

What to bring: 

  • backpack (to hold everything listed below)
  • water bottle (the school will not provide water bottles)
  • healthy snacks (fruit, cereal bar, dry fruits, etc.), or any special diet snacks
  • sun hat
  • sunscreen 
  • CHF 10 maximum
  • thin jacket

What to wear: PE uniform, sneakers 

GRADE 6 - Gandria-Lugano 

11:20 Lunch in De Nobili
11:45 Check-in at outdoor basketball court
11:55 Departure
15:45 Arrive at TASIS

GRADE 7 - Monte Tamaro

GROUP A: Advisor groups of Ms. Perani, Ms. Rubb/Mr. Mendes, Dr. Kelly

11:20 Lunch in De Nobili
11:40 Check-in at outdoor soccer field
11:50 Departure
15:45 Arrive at TASIS

GROUP B: Advisor groups of Mrs. Frazier-Smith, Mr. Frazier-Smith, Dr. Merritt

11:20 Lunch in De Nobili
11:40 Check-in at outdoor soccer field
11:50 Departure
15:45 Arrive at TASIS

GRADE 8 - San Salvatore

Group 1: Advisor groups of Mr. Alava, Dr. Bianchini, Ms. Avaldi, Mr. Laube 

11:20 Lunch in De Nobili (after 6th and 7th graders)
11:50 Check-in and hike Instructions (safety and expectations) at Science Lab Left
12:05 Departure
15:40 Arrive at TASIS

Group 2: Advisor groups of Mr. Yo, Ms. Sartorelli, Dr. Sinnathamby, Ms. Scully

11:20 Lunch in De Nobili (after 6th and 7th graders)
11:50 Check-in and hike Instructions (safety and expectations) at Science Lab Left
12:10 Departure
15:40 Arrive at TASIS

MS Parent Coffees 2019-2020

The first MS Parent Coffee will be held on the morning of Wednesday, September 18, from 8:30–9:30 at Casa Fleming. We will discuss the MS Program.

Additional MS Parent Coffees to add to your calendar:

  • Wednesday, October 2, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (Health-related topics: vaping, e-cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol)
  • Wednesday, October 16, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (Topic: Academic Travel)
  • Wednesday, November 13, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (Topic: MS Digital Citizenship, with Ms. Bloodworth)
  • Wednesday, November 27, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (Topic: Setting and Achieving Goals for Middle School, with LRC Director Andre Rhein)
  • Wednesday, December 4, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (Topic: MS Transitions and Changes, with School Counselor Ms. Hauenstein)
  • Wednesday, January 15, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (Topic: MS Digital Citizenship, with Ms. Bloodworth)
  • Tuesday, January 21, 19:00–20:30, Belvedere Salon (ES/MS Transition meeting in the evening for 5th-grade parents)
  • Wednesday, February 5, 19:30–20:30, Palmer Center or Monticello (Topic: College Counseling in the High School, including the IB/AP programs and course selection) 
  • Wednesday, March 11, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (meeting with School Counselor Ms. Hauenstein)
  • Wednesday, April 1, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (MS/HS transition meeting for 8th-grade parents) 
  • Wednesday, April 29, 8:30–9:30, Casa Fleming (MS Digital Citizenship, with Ms. Bloodworth)

Join Us at Villa Principe Leopoldo on Wednesday

All parents are invited to the TPA’s first "Coffee & Conversation” at the Villa Principe Leopoldo Hotel on Wednesday, September 11, at 9:30 AM. Come to chat with other Middle School parents about student life, academics, activities, and more. You will also meet leaders from the Middle School’s Parent Support Committee (PSC) and learn more about the group (and how to join if you are interested).

We especially look forward to meeting all new Middle School parents! 

Please send an email to if you have any questions.

TPA Welcome Lunch on September 18

All parents are invited to Casa Fleming on the main TASIS campus between 12:00–14:00 on Wednesday, September 18, to enjoy a delicious lunch and hear from TASIS Parent Association (TPA) President Jennifer Hung-Zanarini about upcoming events and plans for the year.

Consular Services Offered at TASIS on September 23

We cordially invite all American citizens to a consular services event on the afternoon of Monday, September 23, from 16:30–18:30. To request an appointment, please send an email to

Representatives from the US Embassy in Bern will be on hand to offer the following services:

  • Passport applications
  • Consular report of birth abroad applications
  • Notarial services

There is no cost to attend the event, but fees may be incurred for consular services and are payable in Swiss francs (cash only). For more information about documentary requirements and applicable fees, visit the US Embassy in Switzerland and Lichtenstein website.

Save the Date: Autumn Aperitifs on October 10

Shuttle Bus Service 

The TASIS Shuttle Service is offered to all TASIS families at no extra charge. You must submit a new sign-up form for each child every school year. These forms (and more information) can be found at

Dismissal Process: A Few Tips

We understand that the after-school pickup process can be quite hectic and very much appreciate your patience as we strive to create a safe environment for the whole community. Below are a few suggestions you may find helpful if you typically drive to the main TASIS campus to pick up your child:

  • If the parking lot next to Hadsall is full when you come to pick up your child, you may want to try the lot on Via Matorèll (see map below).
  • If you would prefer to avoid the busiest pick-up period, you may want to consider waiting in the cemetery lot (across from Sant’Abbondio) until you see the Romantic Tour buses going down the hill. At that point you can drive up to the TASIS campus and pick up your child without much hassle. 

Disposable Water bottles

In our ongoing efforts to promote sustainability and limit the number of plastic materials on campus, disposable water bottles will no longer be provided by the School during after-school activities, outings, and trips. It is important that students bring their own reusable water bottle. 

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