Monday, 02 June 2014 07:50

Teacher Recognized by U.S. Embassy

Third grade teacher at Tashkent International School receives award.

Valeria Laitinen, grade 3 teacher at Tashkent Internationl School, was honored this month at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent with a certificate of appreciation presented by U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Uzbekistan George A. Krol for “outstanding contributions to the community and sincere dediation in building and sustaining a U.S. Girl Scouts Overseas Program and the positive impact the program has had on the Embassy Community and children of Tashkent International School.”

Ms. Laitinen founded the Girl Scout program at TIS in 2011 with 16 girls in two troops - Brownies (grades 2 and 3) and Juniors (grades 4 and 5).  The program has since added a Daisy troop (kindergarten and grade 1) and a Cadette troop (grades 6 and 7) and has grown to more than 60 girls representing 16 nationalities.  

The mission of the Girl Scout program is to build “girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Over the past three years the girls at TIS have worked on a number of projects that helped them to build leadership skills, develop empathy and develop inner-strength. They have also had many opportunities to help others. Examples include:

  • Initiated and maintained a paper recycling program at TIS
  • Learned how to knit and then made two quilts (made of knitted squares) that sold for more than $1,000 at the TIS Spring Ball live auction in 2013
  • Raised more than $600 for UNICEF Philippines following the devastating typhoon
  • Engaged in cooperative games with girls from a local school
  • Developed a cross-grade buddy reading program in the elementary school – Junior Bronze Award project 2012-2013
  • Raised money for local families with HIV positive children in need of medical and in-kind support – Junior Bronze Award project 2013-2014
  • Raised awareness about how plants can help clean the air through a poster campaign and by selling plants at Arts in the Park at TIS
  • Worked on dispelling harmful stereotypes about girls and boys though posters and skits
  • Interviewed prominent women in the community to learn about careers
  • Maintained a pen pal program with UK Brownies in Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Learned first aid from U.S. Embassy Nurse Practitioner
  • Hiked the mountains outside Tashkent – first time for some of the girls to be in the wilderness
  • Campout at school and bonding with all four troops
  • Learned to cook a variety of hot and cold foods
  • Explored science with a number of hands-on experiments
  • Interviewed female science teachers to explore the role that women play in scientific exploration and discovery
  • Explored the history of female athletes and gender issues in sports
  • Learned songs and music to teach to other troop members

Tashkent International School, an International Baccalaureate World School, is a not-for-profit, independent, co-educational day school located in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in the heart of Central Asia. The school has more than 490 students from 45 countries in preschool through grade 12. TIS is the only school in Uzbekistan authorized to offer all three IB programmes.

For more information, contact Angie Cairns Kuschel, head of marketing and communications, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (+998 71) 291-9670. To learn more about TIS, visit