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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

category archive listing Category Archives: School

Band Concert – both kids in HS now!

Alea and Breck perform in their first HS concert together. Breck is in the Concert Band (red batik stripe) and Alea is in the Wind Ensemble (blue batik stripe)

Back in the saddle

School’s back in session, and what better way to get things going than with the kids? Here they are, grades 11 and 9 – both in high school this year!!

Alea and Breck before the first day of school, August 2013

Pi Day 2013

Pi Day t-shirts!

Pi Day teachers @ JIS (this is why St. Patrick’s always gets lost in the shuffle). Memorization contest at lunch – top finishers were 161, 252, and 468 digits of pi – by 6th and 7th graders!! Pretty crazy…

Midsummer’s Night Dream

JIS Middle school production of a Shakespeare classic!


Not the real softball I’m coaching, but the fun softball we’re playing. Teachers face off against the girls’ varsity team on Tuesday nights, and it is a real hoot. Sometimes they win, sometimes we win, but it is always a lot of fun. Here’s a fun team picture at the end of one of our evenings!

Yes, we scored 11 runs in one inning...

Band Bash

Alea's all smiles! Breck a'grinnin!
At the big Band Bash tonight!
Electronic City!
The Band Bash was great, but this is my favorite shot of the night. Here was my view of the entire event – how many electronic recording devices can one section of the audience hold?!

Team ‘Murica!

UN Day is always a fun opportunity to dress up (or down, depending on your taste for patriotic clothing). The best part about things is the PTA-hosted food bazaar, which is a hugely delicious smorgasbord from all over the world, with all the moms trying to outdo one another.

Here is a group shot of our USA contingent – and when you notice it, I just want to say I am NOT the one responsible for the Photoshop Fail in this picture!!

Nothing like a little North American excess!

Back in Business!

Wow – what a summer break. I mean seriously, if there have been no posts since June 10th, how crazy is that?!!

Well, ok, having a lack of internet did contribute just a little to the lack of action, but now we are back in Jakarta and hopefully raring to go. I’ll see about posting some pix from the summer, as well as from activities since we’ve been back, once the school year routine settles down.

Speaking of the school year – today is the first day, and you know what that means!! Alea and Breck’s traditional “first day of school” picture. So here they are, in all their 10th and 8th grade glory!

Last day of school!

Breck and Alea on the last day of school, June 2012 (the end of his 7th grade and her 9th grade year)It is here, and we are off running. Here’s the schedule of events:

  • half day of school for students – Alea and Breck home at 12
  • Elementary staff meeting and school cleanup for Susan noon to 3, then a taxi ride to the main JIS campus
  • Middle school staff lunch (complete with – ahem – “refreshments”) for Dave from noon to 3
  • All Staff meeting from 4-6: who knows what this entails?
  • Susan and kids get picked up for airport drop off – 6pm
  • Dave gets picked up from staff “after party” – sometime later than that.

Whoo hoo! But at least we did have the chance to take our traditional “last day of school” picture. Check out how much the kids (and the morning glory!) have grown compared to our shot at the start of the year.

You can also see all their school year pictures here

Good stuff, Maynerd!

Dodgeball madness!!

The end of the middle school year is here, and what better way to top things off than through an all-school game of dodgeball! We are split up into “Volcano groups,” and we spent the afternoon of the last full day throwing things at each other. Our volcano – Salak – made it to the finals largely on the strength of Breck’s “savior shot” that freed the whole team from prison right as we were on the verge of being eliminated. We then went on to crush Krakatoa in the finals for the title and to hang on to our championship belt for the year!

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube DirektDodgeball Madness @ JIS

Cleaning up

Wow – what a week. Since the last post we’ve had parties, packing, projects, finals, food poisoning, giardia, and rubella (German measles). Susan and the kids blast out of Jakarta the evening of the last school day, while I have the responsibility of representing the Stutz family at the variety of farewell happy hours and parties that afternoon (darn).

As I was taking down the room today, I ran across some signs that have been hanging in various classes for the past few years that the kids made. Alea’s is from when she was in Pre-Kindergarten in Honduras, and Breck made his for me when we moved to India. I’ve had them in all my classes since they were created, and thought I needed to make sure I scanned and saved them!

From Alea, 4 years old - "Daddy I love you this much" with spread arms
Alea’s picture is about a meter wide and resembles where her arms would be if she were stretching for a hug. Her entire class made them for Father’s Day (which is celebrated in March in Honduras).

From Breck, 7 years old - "Don't use a calculator to cheat (use your brian)" Love the creative spelling!

Breck’s was a sign he made one afternoon in Mumbai, when he came in and we were talking about knowing math facts versus using a calculator. He decided my students needed a warning sign, so he created one for them (with a creative spelling of “brain.” Maybe that was a shout out to his uncle!)

Out-of-this-world band concert

Breck’s final concert of the year (ok, it was technically a VPA – Visual and Performing Arts – presentation) featured a fun ending. It combined a few of his favorite things – playing the trombone and Star Wars. Their last song was “Duel of the Fates,” the iconic choral tune from Episode I – the Phantom Menace.

To make the effect complete, the director used a lit wand as a baton (resembling a mini lightsaber) and clips from the movie played in the background. The choir even got into the deal, coming down to sing the vocals (which, according to Wikipedia, is part of an old Welsh poem rendered in Sanskrit. Don’t ask me, I’m just repeating what I read).

All in all, it was a pretty fun evening, and it certainly got us thinking about blasting off out of here in just a few short weeks!

The song starts off with Darth Maul on screen and the band blasting away    The choir joins the act and sings along

Mathcounts tourney

Here are some images from the tournament and trip. I was really proud of the kids – well behaved, and they placed 33rd out of the 56 teams there. They were noted as the second-most improved team there – yay!!

Mathcounts National competition

Hints for State Department team coach:

  • Everything at the hotel is expensive! Bring all the supplies you can
  • An outgrowth of the previous hint: see if you can arrange a shopping trip to a local Target or Walmart to stock up on supplies for back home. Try to contact other overseas schools’ reps (DoDDs, Guam, etc)
  • Bring printed-out tests for practice, pencils, sharpeners, and blank (scratch) paper
  • The last breakfast of the tournament is just cereal and croissants – don’t get up if you don’t have to!
  • Bring lots of pins – try to get national flags, PTA support, etc

It’s a small world after all

So I’m off on the Disney World adventure this afternoon. Two of our Mathcounts students were among the 4-highest scoring of all international schools, and (since one was the overall highest scorer) I get to be the official State Department Overseas Schools team coach! The award includes an all-expenses paid trip to Orlando, so we are heading out tonight.

As I was getting all the last-minute paperwork in order, I started thinking about the huge distances involved in this travel. We fly from Jakarta to Seoul, then to Chicago, then to Orlando. At the end of the tournament, we return via JFK (New York) and Seoul. I added up the distances involved in all the different legs, and got a total of 21,954 miles. Since the circumference of the earth at the equator (according to Google) is 24,901 miles, we are traveling 88% of the way around the world.

That made me curious as to what would be on the exact opposite place on the planet, and my curiosity led me to this (unscientific) site. It turns out that we are pretty close to being exactly across the planet from Bogota, Columbia, and that not many other places match up with other land masses. Checking it out, we were almost directly across from the USA when we lived in Mumbai, but because we were in the same hemisphere it shortened things up a bit.

The other side of the world

In any case, it is time to hit the road for more than 36 hours of total travel time – one way! I leave the house at 5:30 pm on Tuesday and figure to get into the Disney World hotel around 7:30 pm Wednesday in Orlando – or 6:30 am Thursday back in Jakarta.

Jet lag city, here we come!!

JIS ESP Trip 2012

Breck and I had a chance to go with our respective grade levels on an “Extended School Program” – what we called in India “Week Without Walls.” He took off for the beauty of Bali, and I headed into the terraced rice paddies near Bogor.

It was a week full of adventure and learning with 200+ 6th graders, and  – while I am glad to be back – it was a lot of fun! Here are some shots from the week (the same ones posted earlier on Facebook). Enjoy (and envy me as I now prepare for my trip to Disney World!!):

Dancing Queen

Alea participated in the school’s dance production this week – Step Up 4 – and we had a great time going as a family. I got to see both productions (1 in the afternoon and 1 in the evening), while Breck and Susan just got to see the evening performance (Breck was actually at his very first tennis experience, which he apparently loved and is excited about continuing!).

Congratulations to Alea as she worked hard for a good cause, moving it on stage with her GK Club members!


He must be on the front stage

And now it is Breck’s turn. He was cast as the lead character in one segment of the middle school production!! He is The Man (no really, that is the character’s name) in the play “Could Things Be Worse?” Basically he complains about his life, and his rabbi sets him up with a whole bunch of new troubles at home just to prove that there is plenty more terribleness that could be going on, and to convince him that he doesn’t have it so bad.

I’m not sure I agree with the overall message (which I take to be “hey buddy, even if things are rotten, just accept them rather than trying to take action to improve, since there is always a way for you to be more miserable”), but it is a cute play anyways. Check him out in the gallery below; opening night is Friday and we are all excited about seeing him in action!

Keep us posted!

That title doesn’t just apply to this entry (which it does, as you’ll see), but also to the general state of our blog. I have been remiss in the past few weeks in terms of keeping everything up-to-date, and I do apologize to both our readers out there. It is a beautiful Sunday afternoon, after a rainy morning, and I plan on sitting out by the pool with some chill music in the background and a cold drink in the foreground. Hopefully I’ll be working on a few posts as well, and schedule them to take place during the week. Let’s see if that happens…

But for the news of the day: this morning, we received an email from our head of school regarding a post that appeared on the “International Schools Review” website last week. He stressed that, while the language in the entry was alarmist, our school works in close conjunction with the appropriate ministries in Indonesia and has had no indication of any drastic changes coming for next school year.

On the other hand, he also used the entry as a “teachable moment” – the sort of opportunities which provide a learning experience in a real-life situation. As we move into a digitally-infused educational environment, it becomes even more important for us to help kids “question authority,” or in this case, question “on who’s authority?” this anonymous posting was made. Heady stuff for a Sunday morning, to be sure, but one that made for an interesting discussion around the Stutz breakfast table!

In any case, we will be sure to keep posted as (if?) anything develops from this. My gut feeling, based on nothing, is that – even if such a law is enforced – our school is so highly international in character that it would have very little impact.

Article text:

In 2013 an alarming education policy will take effect in Indonesia. The new legislation, Peraturan Pemerintah Republik Indonesia Nomor 17 tahun 2010, has far-reaching implications for international educators wishing to teach in Indonesia. Here are the basics of the legislation as explained to ISR:

1. “National Plus Schools” [nat’l curriculum + internat’l curriculum, eg: Cambridge] will now be called “International Schools.” This means that for every foreign teacher there must be 3 local Indonesian teachers. Foreign teachers will only be allowed to teach English and NOthing more, as all other subjects will be taught by locals.

2. Schools currently called “International Schools” will become “Foreign Schools.” NO Indonesian citizens will be allowed to attend these schools.

It appears international teachers in Indonesia will be relegated to teaching ESL.

(Just FYI, here is the response from a teacher at one of the other international schools located in Jakarta)

11/11/11 at 11:11:11

It goes to 11My homeroom class was so excited about today’s date that they requested to stay an extra minute after class ended to watch the clock count down to the time noted. We all started cheering and applauding when the time hit 11:11, and eleven seconds later the crowd really went wild. I guess you could say we turned it up to 11, right?

High fives all around, and lots of big smiles on the way out.

I love teaching middle school!

Captivating technology

Our school is moving towards a technology-rich environment, and many of our kids own the latest in digital tools. The pace of modern change, however, is such that there is no way any one person (or group of people) will be able to keep up with all the latest trends.

One of our fellow teachers had an enlightening moment earlier this week. He walked into the library to find a group of students excitedly poking and prodding at something on one of the desks. When he headed over to where they were, he could hear the chatter as they tried to figure out how it worked. They couldn’t believe that something as cool as this new device existed.

Once they actually got the thing running, there even was a little bit of pushing and shoving to be the “next in line” to give it a go. He snapped a few pictures of the kids “fighting” over the privilege of using the machine, and shared them with us. I am always reminded of how lucky we are to live in days of such modern convenience, and how quickly the world changes around us.

(and of course the photos are used with the photographer’s permission, and kids’ faced blurred because they are, well, kids)

Halloween 2011

Not much going on in Jakarta, other than a middle school social, but WOW!! Did Breck ever go all out as an Orc Zombie:

Breck Halloween 2011 - scary zombie!

First Day of School in Jakarta

Here we go again!!

Breck and Alea by the new morning glory we planted in front of our Jakarta homeNot too much to post, just the yearly picture of Alea and Breck heading off to their first day of school at JIS.

We’ve planted a morning glory in our front yard, and Susan’s big plan is to take a picture of it each year – let’s see how it grows!

And as always, our previous school photos can be seen over on the webpage

What a small world

Setting things up for the classroom the other day, my principal stopped by with a high school teacher (known here as “Speck”). He has been at JIS for many years, and was the driving force in getting the MS science building (at which I am teaching) all revamped and remodeled.

When I introduced myself, he paused for a minute and then responded, “I taught some kids named ‘Stutz’ a few years ago at my last school before JIS. Their names were Karla and Rob.” It turns out that he had been my sister and brother’s teacher, in Amman, Jordan, twenty-three years ago. He’s been here in Jakarta since, and he still remembered them by name!

When we got the schedules last night, guess who was listed as Alea’s science teacher this year…


BatikIt seems that the unofficial shirt of Indonesian men is made from Batik material. It is loose, airy, and apparently super comfortable to wear. We see people wearing it all around the city, and our administrators make a habit of putting it on quite often (and looking very sharp as well, I might add).

The school is in the midst of taking a reflective look at itself. In addition to it being the 60th anniversary this year, the mission and vision statements were revamped in a “Dream Summit” held at the tail end of last year. One of the really cool ‘extras’ that came out of that whole process was a decision to embody JIS symbols in a batik pattern specifically designed to personify the school.

Rather than try to explain myself the process, I’ve attached a pdf (rather large at 5mb – I apologize) that describes all the thought and symbolism that went into the design. I can’t wait for it to come out on banners and shirts – that will be an absolutely awesome way to jump right in to the school culture.