International School of Belgrade Finishes The Basketball Season

It was a bittersweet end of our season as we lost in the finals 53-57 to the American International School of Zagreb. Their star player scored 44 points, including all of their 15 points in the fourth quarter. He will be playing for South West Oklahoma State next year on a NCAA Division II scholarship. The boys played great all weekend, winning four games including defeating the host school, the International School of  Latvia in the semifinals in three overtimes. We had a super season with 14 wins and 6 losses, matching last year’s record. We also won the Sofia, Bulgaria Invitational Tourney last month. We will be losing our leading scorer and a good rebounding forward, but everyone else will be back. We will also get some new players coming into the team. We should be strong again in 2011-2012. It was a very enjoyable season and I would like thank the players, Coach Sands, Athletic Director Damian Hart, for their efforts and cooperation. I also want to thank Nadia and my family for supporting me with the extra time I put in with the team.

The Dragons Win Bulgarian Basketball Tourney

“March Madness” is a nickname referring to the end of the basketball seasons. The American universities and high schools complete their seasons in the month of  March. I am a coach of the high school boys’ basketball team at the International School of Belgrade. March Madness started a bit earlier for us as we won the basketball tourney this weekend. It was hosted by the Anglo American School of Sofia, Bulgaria. We played against four private schools in Sofia over two days of competition. Yesterday afternoon we defeated the Sofia Christian Academy in the finals, by a score of 53-49. It was a great weekend of basketball and besides having fun, we improved as a team. We are preparing for our Central and Eastern European Schools Association (CEESA) basketball championship in two weeks in Riga, Latvia. The Dragons are now 9 wins and 5 losses for the season. We have 2 more games and then we are off to Latvia on March 9th.

Ollie With the Trophy

I also made is a father-son weekend by taking Oliver on the trip. The little guy was a trooper and was patient during all of the games. We went to Burger King three times and swam in the hotel pool. He would sit on the bench next to me and draw pictures. I would then have to run him out to the school’s playground between games. He was a fan favorite there and everyone knew his name. He is a charismatic little fellow with a ton of energy! It was nice to be with him alone and not with his brother and sister. Oliver kept wanted to get food or toys to take back to Belgrade  for his big brother Owen.

The People I Work With Everyday

ISB Administration Team - 2011

I am fortunate to work with outstanding people. I’ve really enjoyed the professional sharing, support, and camaradarie of the administration team at our school.  We’ve all had different experiences in education and are from different parts of the US and the world. This diversity of experiences and backgrounds has really helped me improve and grow as an educator. I appreciate the support, honest feedback, and trust we have.

From left to right are school director Eric Sands, lower school principal Tim Moynihan, IT director “Bane” Nikolic, Business Manager Zhana Hasanovic, yours truly, and MS Coordinator, Mark Noonan.

Bill At Work

Opening Day Speech to Student Body

I love refering to myself in the third person. I have very few photos of me at work on the blog. This photo was taken at the opening assembly on the first day of school in August. It was a very hot day and the sun shining directly into my eyes. Below are my notes on the opening speech. It is not exactly King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, but maybe it will be interesting to someone in the future.

I would like to welcome all of you to the official start of the 2010-2011 school of the International School of Belgrade High School.

I would like to start today’s Opening Ceremony by introducing this year’s faculty. When I call your name, please stand and acknowledge the audience. (see list)

In our fifth year of existence, this is the most international that we have been. This year we welcome 97 students from at least 28 different countries. I say at least, because if you dig a bit below the surface, you will find in many families, several different passports or cultural influences. To start with we have students from Poland, Australia, Serbia, USA, Montenegro, Romania, Germany, Israel, India, Sweden, Russia, Canada, Belarus, Italy, Czech Republic, Turkey, Norway, New Zealand, Austria, Slovakia, China, Hungary, France, UK, Slovenija, Croatia, and Denmark. There are probably a few I missed due to some of your complicated backgrounds.

We embrace this diversity and believe it makes for a richer educational environment. Not only are all of you students, but you are also all teachers, because we learn from each other. All 97 individuals are valued here at ISB High School, and we look forward to what you can contribute to the life of the school. Two values in our ISB mission statement are “open mindedness” and “global responsibility.” With such a diverse cultural environment, it is very important that we keep these two values in our consciousness.

I would like to welcome the 16 new students to the High School. A special welcome to Jessica, Emma, Marko, Sezgi, Rebeka, Mateja, Jonathon, Rachel, Rachel, Seth, Rakel, Hanna, Jordan, Chincia, and Stine.

I highlighted our diversity; I would also like to acknowledge our appreciation for our host country, Serbia. All of the expatriates here today, enjoy living in Belgrade and being part of the ISB community. Much of that is due to the kindness of the Serbian people. The Serbian students and teachers are our intimate connection to the local community. Serbia has a long and rich cultural history, and all of us upon leaving Belgrade, will be ambassadors for Serbia. On behalf of the international community here today, hvala, for welcoming us to Serbia and accepting us as friends and colleagues.

I would also like to direct a message to the class of 2011. Your senior year is a crazy, wonderful, exhilarating ride. You will be applying for universities, preparing for the IB exams, and entering a new stage of your lives. It can be stressful and I want to assure you that you will be fine. Not only do you have the support of all of the faculty and your parents, but you also have the support of your classmates. Some of you have been here a long time, others, it is your first day, but you will need to help and be there for one another. You also have a lot of eyes watching you with the lower grades. Remember that you are the role models here and set the tone for the school. Have a positive attitude, try your best, and as the third part of our mission statement says, strive for excellence. Keep in mind also, that time goes by quickly, so savor your time with your parents, siblings, and friends this year. Come May of next year, there will be many changes.

Speaking of seniors, I would like to introduce one of them, student council officer, Anna Turner.

 As the Principal, it is my job to protect the learning environment here at ISB. We want everyone to feel secure and be able to concentrate on learning. There are a few points of emphasis I would like to make regarding the Parent-Student Handbooks you received in your mailboxes this morning.

Absences / Tardies – 6 classes missed

Backpacks / Purses –

Locker Usage –

Personal Electronic Devices (cell phones, iPods)

Dress Code – tank tops

I want to note that I will be working with the Student Council to support student life here at the school. It is my goal to have a better school store (Party Services). We will also be placing the coffee and chocolate machine in the store for student access during breaks. We will continue to have a senior privilege of leaving campus during lunch break (after permission forms are signed). 

ISB Faculty Photo 2010-2011

Above is the my school’s faculty photo taken during the orientation week. What an amazing background! The photo was taken on our high school campus and I have the pleasure of working in such a beautiful environment. There is something about big trees.

Nadia is in the front row towards the right side of the photo and I am in the back row in the suit and tie.

ISB Easter Picnic

 

We had a great time Saturday at the annual ISB Easter Picnic. Ocean is shown above with the Easter Bunny and his helper. It was a beautiful day and the volunteers from the PTSA and US Steel did a wonderful job in making it a fantastic and fun event. Despite the economic recession, US Steel still does have a significant presence at the school and it was nice for them to run this event for the kids.

Ollie Does the Obstacle Course

Third Place in Sofia, Bulgaria Tourney

Showing Off the Medals

This weekend the ISB basketball team finished third out of six teams in Sofia, Bulgaria. We were short-handed as you can see with only 7 players making the trip. We also had 4 freshman on the tourney squad. The kids really played well and we lost to the eventual tourney champion in overtime. They played five games in two days. They used the same format as in CEESA events with a running clock, only stopping for free throws and dead balls in the last minute.

We all had a great time. It also gave me a chance to see an old friend from my village in Michigan who lives in Sofia. Overall a fantastic weekend.