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  • International Christian School of Vienna is currently closed and our Distance Learning has started in all grade levels.
    We plan to reopen on Tuesday, April 14.
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A Church Bulletin as a Valentine’s Day Gift?

A Church Bulletin as a Valentine’s Day Gift?

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Today is Valentine’s Day. At school, Candy Grams are being distributed, with staff and students receiving notes of love and encouragement from their classmates and colleagues. The tradition is for couples to spend the evening at a fancy restaurant or to buy red roses and candy as gifts. There is debate of how it actually got started, but no matter its origins, it is known around the world as a day to tell your family and friends that you love them.

In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Corinthia, he writes an entire chapter about love. He begins by saying that even if we have amazing spiritual gifts, have huge amounts of faith, or live a life of serving others, if we do not love others, then everything we do is just a bunch of useless noise. It means nothing. He then goes on to describe what true love is: it is patient, kind, not envious or boastful or proud. It is not self-seeking or easily angered. It doesn’t keep track of when people hurt us or delight when evil wins out. “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” The Apostle Paul ends the chapter by stating that faith, hope, and love will remain. But the greatest is love.

So, today on Valentine’s Day, remember that it’s not about how good your spouse makes you feel. It’s not about that expensive piece of jewelry or fancy dinner. It’s about what you can do to show others that you love them. Tomorrow, my husband and I are flying to southern France to check out the spots where the Impressionist artists painted. There are museums and historical sites throughout the area that Greg will enjoy. I must admit that I’m not that much of a museum person. Greg can spend 30 minutes staring at one painting, while I’ve already walked through all three floors of the place, and I’m ready to leave. When we try to go site seeing together, he will focus on one small interesting thing, while I peruse the whole area and take in the ambiance of the place. We experience travel differently. This can prove to be a challenging or humorous experience, depending upon how you look at it. After being together for 40 years, we are still learning to appreciate each other for how God has wired us. I really do enjoy planning trips that I know Greg will enjoy. This is one of those trips. He loves to see ruins and museums. I enjoy gardens and the sea. Focusing on how we can please the other person is the best way that we can demonstrate our love for each.

What can you do this coming week to show your family and friends how much they mean to you? Do they need to hear you say that you love them? Do they feel special when you go out of your way to do something for them that they like? Or do they feel best when you give them a personal gift? This morning, Greg gave me a framed church bulletin. Now, that sounds kind of weird for a Valentine’s Day gift. It’s a church bulletin that my dearest friend recently gave to me from when we were in middle school. It’s from my father’s church in New York, and it is like a microcosm of everything that I loved while I was growing up. Greg said that it includes just about everything that I always talk about. That gift is very special to me because of the sentiment behind it. Who else can say they got a church bulletin from their husband for Valentine’s Day? ☺ Maybe you can do something like that for your loved ones this week.

I wish you all a wonderful Energy Break as you spend extra time together.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, EdD
Director

Re-enrollment for 2020-2021

Re-enrollment for 2020-2021

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Dear ICSV Parents,
It is already time to re-enroll your students for the 2020-2021 school year. As you may have noticed this year, our classroom space is at a premium, so it is essential that you communicate your desire to return as early as possible. February is the month when current students can reserve their spot for next year. Beginning in March, new students can then enroll. Please let us know as soon as possible if you are definitely not going to be here in the fall. We would hate to turn away a deserving student because we believe there is no room in their particular grade or class.

This week you should have received an email about re-enrollment, the new Tuition and Fees Schedule, the 2020-2021 School Calendar, and your re-enrollment form to complete. We are pleased to say that we were able to keep the increase in tuition and fees at a very low rate again for the fifth year in a row. Depending on your child’s particular grade, the rate of increase will fall right around or below 3%. Student Support fees have also been kept to a modest 2.8% increase. We are excited to be able to offer Learning Support services to our high school students beginning next year. We are in the process of interviewing potential applicants for our Learning Support Department. We believe that this will allow us to better meet the needs of all of our students. We will also be able to manage student accommodations for students with an individual education plan or accommodations plan. These students will be enrolled in our program for a minimal fee, allowing us to ensure that their accommodations are being met even if not taking a class with one of our specialists.

You have also received the 2020-2021 official calendar. I would like to point out a change in the Thursday schedule. We will be forming Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in which our teachers will participate on Thursday mornings. PLCs are an opportunity for teachers to collaborate and work towards improved student learning by identifying key issues in their specific grade or class. PLCs are designed to give teachers time to focus on how they can specifically improve student achievement. These sessions will be held every Thursday morning, as indicated in light purple on the calendar. If you need to bring your child to school at the normal time of 7:50 or later, we will provide supervision until classes start at 8:50 instead of 8:30. There will be no additional charge for this service. I would also like to point out that there will be fewer half days for teacher professional development next year because of this new model.

God is doing amazing things at ICSV! We are excited as we look forward to the 2020-2021 school year. It is our desire to continue to partner with you as your child grows in Christian character by providing a high quality, individualized education.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, EdD
Director

 

What Do Our Actions Say?

What Do Our Actions Say?

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My U-bahn ride each day is a time when I am quiet, and so I believe that God uses that ride to show me things that I would normally miss. On a recent trip, I was sitting facing backward on the aisle. Across the aisle from me was a young man listening to music and checking his cell phone. When we made a stop, a high school student entered the train. I noticed him looking around, and when he saw the man sitting across from me, he quickly walked our way. He had a huge smile on his face, obviously relieved that he had found someone that he knew. The man who was intent on his cell phone briefly looked up and acknowledged his friend. But then he immediately looked down again, ignoring the new passenger.

The look on the student’s face immediately changed from joy to despair. There was a visible change in his body language, as he slowly sat down, leaning forward with his head hanging toward his lap. He had been so pleased to find someone whom he obviously had considered a friend only to find that he was being completely ignored. I wondered if the man with the cell phone realized what his action had done at that moment.

I got to thinking about whether I have ever done something like that. I remembered when I first became a school administrator over 15 years ago. I was frequently interrupted while I was in the middle of completing some paperwork. The person didn’t always knock or even excuse themselves and ask if this was an okay time to come in. Many times, they just walked in and started talking. At first, I was so intent on finishing up what I was doing that I would continue my typing until I got to a good stopping point. I didn’t mean to be rude or anything – well, at least that’s what I told myself. I was super busy, and time was precious.

One day, God spoke to me about what my actions said to those whom I supervised. It was obvious that I considered my task more important than what they had to say. I repented of my selfish attitude and actions and made a decision to change. In front of my desk I set up some chairs facing each other. Every time someone walked into my office, I immediately got up from my desk chair and walked around my desk. I invited them to have a seat, and I sat down facing them, giving them my full attention. This action changed my relationship with those whom I worked. Just one small change made a big difference.

Have you thought if you are doing something similar with your children? Or your spouse? Or someone at work that loves to interrupt you? Do you keep reading that post on your phone? Do you continue to check Facebook or email? Or do you put it aside, physically move closer to the person who has entered your space, look them in the eye, and talk with them? Had the man on the U-bahn taken his earbuds out of his ears and closed his phone, his young friend would have begun his day feeling appreciated and accepted. Instead, he went off to school rejected and alone. Let’s take every opportunity that we have to invite others into our space and show them that they are valued and loved. I believe that even such a small gesture can change a relationship or change someone’s day. Give it a try!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, EdD
Director

 

We Have Awesome Students at ICSV!

We Have Awesome Students at ICSV!

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We have awesome students here at ICSV! They never cease to amaze me with their thoughtfulness and encouraging words. Let me give you an example. A couple of weeks ago, I went over to my husband’s classroom at the end of class to ask him something. His middle school computer elective class had just ended, so students were leaving the room. One of his students will be gone for about a month. As they said goodbye to each other, the student told my husband, “I’m really going to miss this class.” Now, that’s something every teacher wants to hear! 

Next, another student pointed out that a panel had been moved under one of the computers. He told my husband this, as he knew it was amiss, so he wanted to make sure my husband knew. He then said, “thank you so much for class.” I’ve been in education for 35 years, and I can tell you that it is not often that a student will take the time to thank their teacher for the class. At ICSV, I’m happy to say, this is not a single occasion. Students frequently thank others for just doing their job. 

In December, the school enjoyed a staff dinner at Christmas. This year, the student ambassadors helped the Admissions/Advancement Office to run the event. They decorated the room with notes of thanks to every staff member and board member. They put together a short video with clips of students thanking staff members for their hard work and for what they mean to them personally. The students even were there to welcome everyone, to serve them, and to handle clean up. It was such a special evening.

As we begin a new year, and even a new decade, I want to encourage you that you are doing an awesome job parenting such wonderful students. We count it a pleasure and a privilege to partner with you in this huge job of raising up students who are equipped with Christian character. The Apostle Paul reminded the believers in Thessalonica when he said, “therefore, encourage one another and build one another up.” This is what our students are doing here at ICSV! Be encouraged!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, EdD
Director

 

Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours

Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours

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I stepped onto the U1 train for the first time in 2020 to head to school this morning. Amazingly, it was quite empty, so I took the first open seat to my right. As soon as I sat down, I noticed the strong odor coming from the man across from me. As I looked his way, I saw that he had a huge wine bottle hidden in his jacket from which he took a swig every once in a while. My initial thought was to move. But, my mind immediately went to the lyrics of a song that have been on my mind lately: “Break my heart for what breaks yours.” I stayed put.

Our eyes met, and he looked down at the bag that contained my lunch and a new pair of boots. I looked away and positioned myself so that I could see out the window. The beautiful pink and purple sky came into view. Then we crossed over the Danube. I looked at the birds and the ice. My thoughts were interrupted when his reflection came into focus in the window. He sat quietly and still, only moving when he wanted another long gulp of liquor. I blew my nose with a tissue I had in my pocket. He looked my way.

I wondered if he knew how badly he smelled. I wondered if he were hungry. Did he have a place to live? Had he spent the night riding the train? Was there something that I needed to do? I sat there in silence, looking outside and inside at the same time.

We reached the stop for the UN. I didn’t think I could take the smell anymore. “Breathe through your mouth,” I told myself. God kept telling me that this person needed to be treated with respect. Don’t move. I wondered if others had openly shown him contempt and disgust, treating him as less than a person. “Hang in there,” God said. Just two more stops. I noticed the bright lights of Donauzentrum. “Vapiano. Vapiano. Vapiano.” He took another long drink and pushed the bottle further inside his jacket. He zipped it up higher.

“Rennbahnweg.” I stood to go. He was still there as I exited the train. Where was he going? Would he ride the train all day? Would others stay as far away as possible?

When Jesus was on this earth, he said that “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Jesus was criticized for the people that he hung out with – the poor, the sick, the woman caught in adultery, the tax collectors, the Samaritans, the outcasts. He told his disciples and those that confronted him, “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matthew 9) 

The stench is still lingering on my clothing, and he is still on my mind. My prayer is that this one small act of treating him as a human being worthy of riding the u-bahn with me meant something. Or maybe, just maybe, God put him in that train for my benefit. 

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, EdD
Director

You can hear “Hosanna” sung by Hillsong here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ht5QvAMDMzE