Meet Onika, Former Parent Teacher Association President, Board Member since August 2020.
ISL is made up of close to 1’000 students and 300 staff who represent 63 nationalities
and speak 47 languages between them. And the other vital part of that diverse community are our parents.
Parents are encouraged to be a part of our community not only to benefit the school, but the parents themselves.
When Onika Williams Herman arrived in Switzerland in January 2018, it was her family’s first overseas move and the early days were tough. Onika had moved from full-time work as a cyber security attorney with the US government to a stay-at-home parent: “It took some adjustment and making new friends was another challenge.”
It was suggested to Onika that she become involved at ISL as a year-level representative – a parent who helps organise meetings and social events. Onika says a year-level representative is an excellent way to get to know the children, parents, teachers and the school quickly. Often there are two representatives per year level and Onika quickly became a close friend with the other parent.
Following her time as a year-level representative Onika joined the executive of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and was its president. Her motivation to become involved was a desire to strengthen the ISL community – to build stronger links between parents, teachers, the administration and students and to have a more open dialogue. “I just wanted to step up and try and make things better.” she said.
There are different ways to get involved at ISL. The PTA is great because it offers you the ability to get involved as much or a little as you want.Onika
Parents can volunteer to help organise one of the many events at the school, such as International Day, or join the PTA executive. The PTA executive committee had close contact with the school administration. “You are a bit more involved in the running of the school.” said Onika.
The PTA is only one of the many opportunities to contribute at ISL. If you’re willing and able, there are several ways parents can help at ISL, including:
- Assisting younger students with reading in English or French in the library
- Becoming a parent liaison, helping to introduce perspective new families to ISL
- Volunteering with the arts or music departments
- Volunteering as a welcome family to reach out to new ISL families to help with the transition and answer any questions
- Working with the principals and counsellors to introduce parent education sessions
- Becoming a cultural ambassador, a parent point of contact for parent groups with shared cultural identities and helping connect new families who identify with the group
- Helping with service opportunities in Switzerland or abroad – service is a school requirement for High School students.
Gradient Issue #1: The new magazine of the International School of Lausanne
In this issue we take a look at what the future holds for education, we discover the passion of a student who created her own record music label and meet the teacher who spends her free time circus training. You will experience 24 busy hours in the life of one of our families, meet some of our alumni and see how our secondary students are reacting to some of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.