Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Staff, The winter break is fast approaching and we are all looking forward to having some time to rest, relax and celebrate with family. The year has already been busy and productive and we can expect more of the same in the weeks and months ahead. Here are some important dates to keep in mind:
Our annual Winter Show will take place on Wednesday, December 13th at 1:30pm in the MPR. There will be performances by students of all ages. Please join us.
Friday, December 8 is the Baptême Holiday and there will be no school that day.
The last day of classes before the Winter Break - and the final day for this round of After School Activities - is Friday, December 15th. School will resume on Monday, January 8th.
The second quarter (and first semester) ends January 24th, and high school students will be sitting semester exams and submitting term projects after the holiday. Exams run from January 22-24, and you can see the schedule here.
The PTO-AISB International Fair is scheduled for February 10th. If you are heading home for the break don’t forget to pick up food and clothes that you will need for the Fair! If you know of anyone who would like to donate some nifty prizes for the tombola draw, please let the good folks of the PTO know (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Looking far ahead to the start of the 2018-19 school year, the first day of classes is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, August 14th. The calendar will be finalized at the January meeting of the AISB Board of Trustees.
As one of their goals for 2017-18, the AISB Board of Trustees committed to developing a Board communication protocol to clarify and improve communication between the Board and the members of the AISB Association. (Every AISB parent and teacher is a member of the Association.) One product of this effort is a new section of the school’s web page dedicated to Board news. While some pages are still under construction there is already a lot of information there. Please take the time to check it out by looking here. You can navigate the Board sub-pages using the menu on the left side of the page.
We wish you a happy and restful holiday. See you at school, Brad
Seeking AISB Ambassadors
AISB is accepting applications for the 2018-19 school year.
If you know of anyone interested in joining AISB, please feel free to point them in our direction. Here are some ways you can do that:
Our Registrar Our registrar, Mariam Keïta, is happy to assist new families by answering questions about the school and the admissions process - in French or English! Interested families can contact Mariam by email (email@example.com) or phone (2022-4738).
The School Website and Facebook page Families can find out about the admissions process, the school's academic program, and much more, by going to aisbmali.org. A nice view of our community is available at the school’s Facebook page.
The School Brochure Our AISB brochure is another way to share information about the school. If you would like copies of the brochure for your workplace or community hang-out, please do be in touch. We'd be happy to provide you with some.
Cours d'anglais pour les adultes/English Classes for Adults at AISB
Our program for adults helps develop your English by focusing on speaking and listening abilities. Our classes are open to all levels of fluency, even complete beginners.
Days and times for classes are flexible and will depend on the needs of those who register. Also feel free to ask about our after school classes for kids.
Notre programme d’anglais pour adultes développera vos compétences linguistiques en mettant l’accent sur l’expression et la compréhension orales.
Les cours sont ouverts à tous niveaux, même pour débutants ! Nous pouvons proposer jours et heures selon les demandes et/ou effectifs. Les formulaires d'inscription sont disponible à télécharger. Pour toutes informations: firstname.lastname@example.org ou appelez au 188.8.131.52
English classes for non-AISB students
Children’s English Classes at the American International School of Bamako (AISB)
Application forms are available here. Classes have begun for 2017-18; however we are happy to start up new sections whenever we hear from enough interested families, and kids can join in part way through the year.
AISB’s MSA re-accreditation process continues at full pace. The Accreditation Planning team met December 5 to review AISB’s Profiles of the School and Organizational Capacity, and set objectives for the coming seven years. MSA’s protocol requires that a school identify a minimum of three objectives, two of which result in improvements in student performance, and one of which results in improvement in the school’s organizational capacity.
Based on their analysis of the Profiles, the team identified Mathematics and Reading as the focus areas for student performance objectives. In these two key areas AISB students typically match or exceed slightly US student norms; but the team agreed that the idea of “excellence”, which our mission calls for, demands a higher goal.
For the Organizational Capacity objective, the team has determined that by embedding the values of the Profile of Graduates explicitly in AISB’s curriculum, we will better support our students in achieving the values, dispositions, knowledge and skills that the Graduate Profile espouses.
These Objectives are designed to work in concert with the curriculum goals of AISB’s strategic plan, which are:
Strategic Goal 1: Curriculum and Staff To ensure that the school’s curriculum, and instructional, assessment and organizational practices foster deep and authentic learning aligned with the AISB Graduate Profile.
Create a curriculum that supports student learning
Ensure that student learning experiences are authentic and foster engagement and deep learning
Adopt assessment, grading and reporting practices that accurately measure, describe and support student learning
Ensure that our organizational practices support student learning.
The next step for the APT is to craft the working of the Objectives to ensure that they are achievable, measurable and worthy; following which the team will appoint Action Teams to design the plans for achieving the Objectives over the next seven years.
Like to get involved? As always, we would like to express our appreciation for the members of our community who have stepped forward to get involved in our re-accreditation process. If you’re interested in taking part we’d love to hear from you. More voices means a better process! Contact Véronique Mayer, Kelly Owens, Renée Comesotti or Marcus Tanner.
January 2018 HS Exam Schedule
It seems early, but some students are already asking for study guides for the January exams. It’s probably true that exam period looms large in most student minds, no matter how nonchalant some might appear!
Because exams can become a source of anxiety, it’s important that all students develop healthy, productive and empowering approaches to exam preparation and study in general.
It’s also important for students to keep in mind that although exam-preparation and exam-writing skills are an important part of a student’s toolkit, exams are only one of many ways we measure student learning at AISB.
As exams approach, you can help your child to maintain a balanced approach to study, rest and recreation. This will help them succeed in their work and increase their sense of empowerment as learners.
Help your child succeed. Here’s what you can do to support your child in preparation for exams:
Allow plenty of time and a quiet environment for study.
Encourage your child to make a reasonable study plan that includes clear and achievable goals -- otherwise, studying can feel like an endless, unconquerable mountain. Remind your child that his or her teachers can help to identify study priorities and plan their time effectively.
Encourage your child to eat well and maintain a healthy schedule that includes plenty of exercise.
Keep an eye out for studying that doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere -- it could be a sign that your child needs some help from a teacher, or that she or he needs a break.
Remind your child that we don’t learn when we are exhausted – it’s important to get enough sleep. Brains need rest as much as bodies do.
And most importantly:
Remind your child that exams, although important, aren’t everything. There are many ways to demonstrate what you know, understand and are able to do.
The MakerSpace continues as a lively hub of creative spirit. Our store of cardboard -- an ever-popular building material-- is dwindling, and we are currently seeking
Small broken appliances to disassemble and reassemble. Got a broken lamp? Our students would like to try and fix it for you! (no promises, though.)
Plastic bottles (well-rinsed, please)
Like to drop into the MakerSpace some afternoon? All are welcome Tuesdays from 2:50 until 4 o’clock.
AISB Quebec Trip
AISB Quebec Trip,by Clara Saiel
This spring break was unlike the others. We had the exceptional opportunity to go on a trip with the school to Quebec, Canada. This trip was the occasion to reinforce our French and to learn about the Quebec culture. We had a great time starting March 23rd when we were at the airport to March 31st when we came back. Every part of the trip was perfect. We did many enjoyable activities that taught us many things. We started our trip in Montreal and then went to Quebec City. We were accompanied by two guides who stayed with us the whole trip Mary and Wendy. From all the activities we did, there were some strong moments that marked me more than others. The snow sledding, the Sugar Shack, and the poetry night were for me the strongest moments in our trip. Even though we weren’t always all together and close, in those moments the group wasn’t divided we were all together sharing the experience.
The snow sledding was magical. For some of us it was the first time seeing snow. Having the opportunity to touch and feel it was unforgettable. We spent the whole day in an amusement park just sledding down the snowy hills and screaming of fright with our friends. Although we were intimidated by the first and easiest hill, we managed to reach the Everest ride. The most terrifying of all the rides. You had to go up a set of slippery stairs to reach the Everest which was built on a wooden structure. As we sled down the Everest, we could feel our stomachs drop. We felt the adrenaline. Some of us had an overdose of snow, we tried the white powdery snow. After sledding until late afternoon, we visited the ice hotel which was in the same site as the sledding park. This hotel was amazing. It was all built from ice. It had to be destroyed and rebuilt every year. The hotel had a theme every year. This year it was the circus. The walls were full of carvings and sculptures of acrobats and lions. Inside the hotel it was -5 degrees Celsius. It was even colder than outside. Ice is a good insulator and keeps the cold inside. This is necessary to keep the hotel from melting. We finished our visit in the bar of the hotel having a drink out of a cup made from ice. This experience was memorable.
The Sugar shack was another part of the trip that I really enjoyed. Canada is well known for their production of maple syrup. We went to the sugar shack, a place were maple syrup and maple syrup goods are produced. There, the owner of the sugar shack explained the origins of maple syrup and how it was used by the natives. He also told us about the process to make maple syrup. First, you make a hole in a maple tree. Second, you put a pipe into the hole that is attached to a bucket. Next, you let the sugar water drip into the bucket until it’s full. Finally, you collect that water and boil it into maple syrup. After this explanation, we had the opportunity to buy maple syrup goods. We bought maple butter, maple tea, maple popcorn, maple cookies, maple candy, and many other maple products. After a visit of the sugar shack ,we had a traditional dinner in the sugar shack. We were encouraged to add maple syrup in everything we ate even the soup. After an excellent meal came the best part, the dancing. Our guide Mary taught us a traditional dance that we all learned and enjoyed doing. This moment was my favourite of the trip. Everyone was close and danced together we were one united group. We tasted one last maple syrup good before leaving. We went outside and stood in front of a wooden tube that held snow. Maple syrup was poured into the snow we had to wait 15 seconds. Then we could wrap the sticky maple syrup around our sticks. It was delicious. This was one of those days you never forget.
In Quebec, we stayed in a hostel that was part of a school. This hostel receives groups from all around the world like us. On our last night in the hostel, we had the privilege to meet some of the students in that school for a poetry night. A very reputed Quebec poet also assisted. The poems we shared were about identity. We shared a part of us in those poems. We gave the students there a glimpse of who we were and how we felt. In order to show them a part of the Malian culture, we brought some Malian tea with us and served it to them. They were delighted and liked it very much. This night was the opportunity to exchange with those students and meet people from other cultures. I’m very thankful for having such an opportunity.
This trip to Quebec was also a French immersion trip. It was to reinforce our French skills. Their French there is absolutely not like ours. They have many funny expressions and they invent some words sometimes. I’m personally not a fan of their accent and wouldn’t want to speak like them. There are some expressions that I particularly found funny. For example “C’est Correc’ “ is their way of saying something is good in our French we say, “c’est correct”. Quebec French also takes many words from English due to the fact that they were colonized by the British. For example they call yogurt “yogurt” like in English when we say “yaourt” in French. Even though their accent is special it’s a part of their culture and it’s what makes them who they are.
This was my first school trip and I had a very positive experience that I would repeat without hesitation. Not only did we learn, but we bonded with each other. I highly recommend Quebec as a destination to anyone. This trip took a long time to be organized and waiting for it was endless, but worth it. I’m very thankful to Mr. Yattara and Mrs. Laliya who gave us their time and effort. I look forward to other trips and opportunities like this one.
Le Voyage Scolaire d’AISB au Québec, by Malika Keita
Le voyage au Canada était une expérience extraordinaire. Nous étions 23 élèves que représentait le Mali, et nos autres nationalités. C’était un long voyage, nous sommes partis du Mali à minuit trente pour un voyage de sept heures du Mali en Turquie. Après nous avons pris l’avion d’Istanbul à Montréal, ce qui a pris dix heures de vol considérées très longues pour la plupart d’entre nous. À notre arrivée personne ne pouvait cacher son enthousiasme. Nous avons rencontré nos animatrices Marie et Wendy à l’aéroport. Elles étaient tellement contentes de pouvoir enfin nous rencontrer, nous qui venons de si loin. Nous avons dormi dans une auberge de jeunesse et le lendemain nous sommes partis en bus pour le Québec. Au Québec, nous logions dans une auberge, qui était aussi une école, l’Auberge du Mont.
Tout le long de la semaine les activités s'enchaînaient. Nous avons fait en une semaine ce que des personnes font en deux ou trois semaines. Une des activités préférées des élèves était la glissade sur neige. Cette activité se passait au Village Vacances Valcartier. Nous avions des bouées que nous transportions partout pour glisser sur des pistes de neige. La neige était quelque chose que la plupart d’entre nous n’avions jamais vue. Il y avait tellement de neige au Village Vacances Valcartier que c'était l'occasion pour s'amuser dans la neige, faire des bonhommes de neige et des batailles de boule de neige. Il y avait des pistes de tous les niveaux et c’était définitivement une des activités phares de ce voyage.
Nous sommes allés également à la Cabane à Sucre où l’on produit le sirop d’érable. Nous en avons profité pour faire des achats de sirop d’érable et d’autres produits. Le même soir nous sommes allés manger au restaurant de la Cabane à Sucre, c'était une soirée très agréable parce que nous avons appris une danse traditionnelle du Québec avec notre animatrice Marie. Ce qui a marqué ce moment c’est que nous avons pu être un groupe uni. Tout le monde est venu danser et a fait de ce moment un moment unique.
En outre, nous avons passé un après-midi au Cirque du Soleil. Là-bas nous avons fait des groupes et nous avions tous un coach qui nous faisait naviguer et essayer les différents types d’activités que le cirque avait à nous offrir. Nous avons pu faire des acrobaties, du monocycle, du trapèze, du trampoline, de la jonglerie et encore plus. Il y avait aussi une soirée poésie où sept élèves ont pu partager un poème sur l’identité avec des élèves de l’école où nous logions. C’était une expérience assez forte en émotion, et nous avons rendu nos accompagnateurs très fiers.
Ce voyage nous a apporté beaucoup de choses en tant que personnes. Il nous a appris à être plus matures, parce que quelquefois les animateurs ne pouvaient pas s’occuper de tout le monde en même temps. En ces moments là, on apprend à se contrôler et essayer d’aider. Nous avons aussi appris à s’adapter par rapport à la culture des Québécois. Quelquefois leurs étaient différentes de ce que à quoi on est habitués au Mali. Nous nous sommes adaptés et nous avons appris plus sur leur culture et leur histoire. Une grande partie du Canada c’est leur accent français et la façon dont ils changent les mots. Pour certains d’entre nous, leurs accents étaient insupportables mais encore une fois, nous avons fait des efforts pour s’y adapter. Cette expérience nous a permis de renforcer nos liens entre amis et accompagnateurs. En vivant ensemble pendant une semaine les gens autour de toi apprennent à te connaître mieux et des amitiés encore plus fortes se construisent. Je voudrais remercier Mr Yattara et Mme Ba pour nous avoir accompagné et rendu ce voyage inoubliable.
AP Human Geography to ICRISAT
On Thursday, November 9th, the AP Human Geography class visited the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics campus. The students learned more about the work ICRISAT does here in Mali and in other developing nations.
The researchers at ICRISAT shared their extensive knowledge of agriculture in the Sahel. Students were afforded the opportunity to ask many questions about crop rotation and grain and seed development. Maybe the highlight of the trip was learning about agriculture drones.
The students were able to visit the ICRISAT weather station on the grounds and learn about how ICRISAT is monitoring weather through weather stations across Mali. They also learned about the work they are undertaking to try and slow down the impact of climate change.
The AP Human Geography class visit to ICRISAT was a great success and will help students to succeed on the AP exam in May.
AISB 11th Grade Internship Week: We Need You!
GRADE 11 STUDENTS ARE SEEKING INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Each year, as part of their regular program of studies, AISB students in the 11th grade undertake a community internship placement of their own choice. The internship program allows students to observe professionals in their working environment, to investigate their obligations and potential as workers, to learn about workplace safety, and to gain valuable practical training and experience.
At this time, students are exploring appropriate placement options and we need your help. If your organization is able to sponsor a student for this internship program, please contact Abdel Hacko Yattara at email@example.com. We thank you sincerely.
You can read a brief description of the program and some student responses from last year’s internships hereand the year priorhere.
Thank You for a Successful Career Day!
AISB had its inaugural Career Day on Wednesday, November 22. Professionals in different lines of work shared their occupation with our secondary school students. They provided young learners with first-hand knowledge of potential career paths and answered various questions regarding their professions.
A very special thank you to all the presenters. Their willingness to share their expertise will impact our students for years to come. They helped inspire them to reach for their dreams and prepare for college, career, and citizenship. Well done!
List of presenters: ComSgt Maj Thomas S Dr. Ramadjita Tabo – Agriculture Engineer Dr. Jules Bashi – Medical Doctor Dr. Cheick Modibo Diarra - Astrophysicist (NASA) / Mechanical Engineer Fenke Elskamp – Expert in Development NGO Sector Joyce Fernandes de Pina – Reporter (UN) /Communication Specialist Mehmuna Schumann – Fashion Designer Officer Sanir Catic Binta Traoré – Finance Manager Ander Timité – Magician Youssouf Sakaly – IT Specialist Andrew Wiener – US Diplomat Sidi Yattara – Coach and Canada Immigration Consultant Mah Sere Keita – Public Health Professional Captain Seydou Sangaré – Pilot
“Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu’un long discours”--20th Century Artist in Residence
For the last eight weeks, the 20th Century history class has had the pleasure to work with their teacher Kelly Owens and an acclaimed Malian photographer Lassine “King” Coulibaly. The students learned more about photography and how to take better pictures.
Students were asked to take photos of their everyday lives in Mali, just like Dorothea Lange did during the Great Depression in the United States. Some chose to focus on school, because they spend more time here than they do anywhere else. Others went out into their neighborhoods and took pictures of where they live and play. The photo essays are a great way to see Bamako through the eyes of our students.
Next time you are at school, look out for their work and read their artist statements to see what Bamako means to the 20th Century History class.
Griots on AISB’s Campus
Did you know that we have two griots on staff here at AISB? Ms. Oumou and Sory, a bus driver, are both griots. The 9th grade African History class has been learning about the importance of griots in West African history. Students have had the opportunity to see griots in action both online and in person, and were able to ask questions to one of our very own griots, Ms. Oumou.
Students are tasked with becoming a griot representing one of the medieval West African empires-Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. The students will need to learn more about an important aspect of one of the kingdoms and write a historically accurate song where they can share the history of their kingdom while learning more about the beautiful culture of our host country.
Student-Led Conferences are Coming!
This spring, Elementary and Middle School students will hold Student-Led Conferences rather than the traditional Parent-Teacher Conferences. SLCs empower students to take responsibility for their own learning and encourage students to reflect on their work and on themselves as learners. Students identify strengths and areas that need further improvement. Our ES and MS students have already begun preparing in the first quarter for the SLC in the spring by setting goals, collecting evidence, and reflecting on learning and growth.
A SLC is different from a traditional parent-teacher conference. Students are responsible for leading the conference. Students lead parents through the conference by showing work samples, discussing and reflecting on growth as a learner and possibly demonstrate a new skill. Teachers are present to support students if needed. Before SLCs, teachers may help students set or reflect on goals, but do not take the lead as they do in a parent-teacher conference.
Student-Led Conferences will look different depending on the age of your child. In the lower grades, SLCs may have stations for students to rotate through in a specific order or the teacher may guide student when it is time to move on. As students get older, they take more responsibility for the management of their time. All students will share work samples from throughout the year. Work samples will not only show the students’ best work, but examples of their strengths and areas of growth. You will see and hear students reflecting on their learning process and work. Parents may participate in a game, or you may see your child demonstrate their learning.
More information regarding SLCs will be included in future newsletters. If you are interested in learning more about SLCs now, please contact your child's teacher or take a look at A Guide to Student Led Conferences.
And of course, parents are always welcome to schedule a "grown-ups" meeting with their child's teachers at any time. Contact your child's teacher directly, or call Ms. Oumou to set up a meeting.
Four brave eighth graders from the performing arts class staged a mini-concert in the foyer on Wednesday afternoon. They sang an original song composed to express their views about the wealth inequality here in Mali. While a few technical elements may have gotten in the way, their message was clear: "we’re all human beings and we need to help each other".
Stop Poverty! Keep your eyes open for some eye-catching fashion as 8th graders Soraya and Clara send a message about the fate of our future if we don’t do something about plastic bag usage!
"Stop Poverty", by Oumar, Emmanuel, Sadia and Mohamadou
Big cars / Fancy phones
Iphone, Samsung, Techno
Walking barefoot / No communication
Luxurious clothes /Wasting food
I don’t care, throw it away
Torn clothes / Malnutrition, got nothing
Sleeping in my big mansion / Wasting money, buying whatever I want
Shoes, TV, Cars, Watches
Need shelter, sleeping everywhere / Disease, malaria, no medical care
Big universities / Medical care whenever I need
I go to the pharmacy everyday
No or low education/ Need help, injured, sick
No worries / Family vacations
Just worrying / Trying to make a living every single day
Good job / Travel every weekend
Private jet, business class
We’re all human beings, we need to help each other out Stop Poverty!