Leysin American School Blog

Letter from the Head of School - December 2015

Posted by Marc-Frédéric Ott, Ed.D. on 13/12/15 08:26


Dear Parents,

As I am writing to you, students are in the middle of their semester examinations and will soon be ready to travel home. Our faculty are finishing their tasks and looking forward to attending the Staff Holiday Dinner, which is the last school event of this calendar year. As the holiday season begins, it is an excellent time to reflect on the first semester and I would like to share a few highlights:

  • Founders’ Day (Sept. 9): I shared the history of the school and Mrs. Sigrid Ott’s life since she co-founded LAS. It was her 99th birthday and she was very touched by the warm welcome from the LAS community.

  • LAS Alpine Institute: Under John Harlin’s leadership, the LAS Alpine Institute is connecting our students to the beautiful local environment through initiatives involving the Science department and outdoor activities. (The photo above is from an AI excursion.)

  • Fall Cultural Trips (Oct. 18 – 24): All the trips were successful and the students all enjoyed the experience. The grade 10 students can now say, “I survived Outward Bound.” This trip has become a rite of passage for all 10th

  • Athletics (Sept. through Nov.): All our sports teams competed well this season. A special congratulations to the Girls Volleyball team for making 2nd place at the ADISR tournament.

  • Visual & Performing Arts (December): Recently we had the privilege of seeing and enjoying the wonderful performances of This is a Test and The Static and the Winter Concert and Art Exhibition. It shows how much talent we have among our students in the creative arts.

  • Holiday Banquet (Dec. 11): the students were very well dressed and all enjoyed an excellent meal with their Faculty Families. The banquet ended with a wonderful performance by Ana Clara M. ‘16, Jakub L ‘16., Sultan A. ‘16, and Dravid C. ‘16. We also had the privilege of hearing a short speech by my grandmother Mrs. Sigrid Ott. The students truly appreciated it.


As the semester comes to an end, we are actively preparing for the next one. Here are a few announcements for the second semester:

  • Return Dates from Winter Break (Jan. 9 or 10): Please make sure your child returns back to LAS on Saturday or Sunday, January 9 – 10. We want students to start class on time on Monday morning so that they do not accumulate unexcused absences, which will affect their grades.

  • Ski Season (Jan. 14 - March 16): The winter season started early this year. We had over 50 cm of snow a few weeks ago allowing the opening of several lifts in November. A number of students were very excited to start skiing and snowboarding early this year. The winter schedule, which includes skiing and snowboarding on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, will begin at the start of the semester and will end at Spring Break. Our avalanche awareness program has already begun and it will continue during the semester. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful environment which permits us to offer an excellent mountain sports program, however, there are risks associated with these sports. The school works hard to make students aware of these dangers and we ask you please to support us by addressing this topic with your child. We look forward to a safe and memorable ski season.

  • Family Winter Week ( 8 – 14): The purpose of this event is the following: (a) reunite parents and their children in the school setting, (b) learn more about our community (teachers, administrators, dormitory staff), (c) share information about LAS programs and school development. We encourage parents to arrive on Monday, Feb. 8th. The program will take place Tuesday through Thursday and it will include a full tour of the school, reception with faculty and administration, entertainment by students, and a formal school banquet. Parents can check out their children as of 15:35 on Thursday after class for the long weekend. Students are expected to be back by 21:00 on Sunday, Feb. 14th. A reminder that parent-teacher conferences will only take place on the morning of Tuesday Feb 9th, as per the email from Ms. Emma Dixon.

This spring, we will increase our recruitment efforts for the new Middle School Program that launches in August 2016. The middle school will be an autonomous academic unit of LAS for grades 7 and 8. For more information on the Middle School, please click here

As a global community, we often find it difficult to build strong social relations between our parents. The problems are related to distance, language and cultural differences. Thanks to the initiative and effort of one parent, we are planning to launch a Parent Forum. The Forum will allow interested parents to discuss various topics remotely every 4 to 6 weeks. If you are interested in participating in the Forum, please email Paul Majaukas ‘14P, ‘16P at pmajauskas@gmail.com.

This past November, I traveled to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Saudi Arabia to meet with alumni, current parents and prospective families. The bitterly cold temperatures in Kazakhstan were in stark contrast to the warm hospitality I received across Central Asia and the Middle East. At each destination, I had very interesting conversations with alumni and parents regarding the future of LAS: what is planned; how they see the school moving forward; and finally how our families and alumni can help the school continue to strive towards excellence as embodied in our mission statement.

Many have contributed or pledged their support through sharing ideas, referring new students and donating to the school. If you would also like to make a gift this Holiday Season, please email Mr. Benjamin Smith, Director of Development, at bsmith@las.ch.

In closing, thank you for your trust in the school and your support this semester. I wish you and your family wonderful Winter Holidays and an excellent New Year!


Kindest regards,


Marc-Frédéric Ott, Ed.D.

Head of School

Topics: Academics

Why Leysin American School?

Welcome to Leysin American School, a school with “family” values. Located in the breathtaking beauty of the Swiss Alps, Leysin American School has a history of nurturing talent and motivating students to succeed in education, sports and arts. We bring together students from around the world to create a campus community with a global perspective and a family atmosphere.

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