Thank you to our wonderful PTO for Saturday’s International Fair. As always, it was a great opportunity for our community to enjoy some quality time together. Thanks, PTO! Don't forget to take a look at the photos which will be uploaded on the school Facebook page by the weekend.
The next big social event being planned by the PTO will be the celebration of the school’s 40th anniversary, scheduled for some time later in the spring (late April, early May). If you are interested in help plan this event, please do not hesitate to contact the PTO at email@example.com.
The Klingenstein Center Heads of Schools Program I recently attended the Klingenstein Center’s Heads of Schools Program (Jan 22-Feb 2) in New York City. Each year, the Heads program provides around 20 heads of independent and international schools the opportunity to reflect, re-energize and grow professionally through a series of seminars and workshops guided by some of Columbia TC’s top faculty (Dr. Pearl Rock Kane, Dr. David T. Hansen and Dr. Sonya Douglass Horsford). My fellow heads made up a strong group educators from an interesting array of US independent and sister international schools in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. We came out of the sessions with renewed energy and plenty of exciting ideas to take back to our schools.
School visits The Klingenstein Center has an excellent reputation in the independent school community and leveraged this into a very enlightening series of school visits, both live and by Skype. The schools were very welcoming, and made themselves open to our prying eyes and probing questions, so we got some real insight into how each operated. Here are some of the more interesting schools we got to know:
Middle States Association International School Advisory Committee While in NYC, I also attended a full day meeting of the MSA-ISAC (Feb. 5). The ISAC is composed of eleven heads of MSA-accredited international schools who come together twice a year to review the Visiting Team and MSA Staff reports related to recent MSA Accreditation visits. At the meeting we reviewed 26 reports, and determined final recommendations on the accreditation status of 13 international schools to the MSA Commission, where the final decisions are made. The reports were shared in advance of the meeting and totaled more than 2000 pages, and I took the days between the Klingenstein program and the meeting reviewing and taking notes. Not quite light reading, but they did provide deep insight into the operations of a broad cross-section of sister schools, especially their strengths and areas for improvement. Together with the Klingenstein school visits, this experience provided much food for thought and reflection about our program here at AISB.
Final note on the pools I have written previously about the repairs the contractor is undertaking in our pools. Unfortunately, these have not been completed and we now anticipate a re-opening of the pools in early March. We will update you with more precise dates once we have them.
If your child will be absent due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances, please call the school (20224738) or e-mail Oumou Drame (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 7:30 am, to notify us.
In the case of an anticipated absence please contact Brad Waugh (email@example.com) to seek authorization and to allow the school to develop a remediation program for the missed classes.
AISB’s self-study for re-accreditation is now in its final phases.
Based on an intensive, 5-month examination of the school, our students, community and context, the school has identified three Objectives that call for growth in student performance in reading and mathematical thinking, and improvement in the ways that AISB plans, teaches and assesses the attributes of the Profile of Graduates.
You’ll find the Objectives and measures (in draft)here. If you are interested in learning more about the Objectives, please do drop us a note.
This week committees for Mathematics and English Language Arts are completing their curricular reviews. The results of their work will inform the Action Teams, whose job it is to compose detailed Action Plans for how that growth will be achieved. We are currently seeking more parent members for the Action Teams; if you are interested and able to join us, please be in touch!
Once the Action Plans are complete we will polish and submit our report (all 400 pages of it!) to MSA, and begin the process of gathering our baseline data.
MSA’s Visiting Team will arrive at AISB in this October.
College Counselling Corner
Our students' hard work is starting to pay off with many of our seniors already receiving conditional acceptance to Universities! They understand that the work is far from done however, they are excited at the opportunities that are coming up for them.
The Junior College Counseling after-school activity has officially started. All juniors are invited to come to my classroom Mondays after-school to start important work on their college application process. We will learn how to sign up and study for a TOEFL test and an SAT test. We will get started on developing online profiles to facilitate the university application process, and we will start a college list for every student that is attending. Starting the application process early ensures students are making the best choice for their post-secondary education experience.
Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this opportunity.
Thank you, Veronique Mayer firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest Speakers Needed for Mother Tongue Week
On March 12 – 16, AISB will be celebrating Mother Tongue Week. The aim of this event to come together as a community to acknowledge and celebrate our linguistic diversity. As part of the activities planned for the week, students will attend workshops to discuss the importance of mother tongues in their lives. Parents are invited to join the discussions and share their experiences.
If you are interested in taking part in these workshops, please contact Abdel Hacko Yattara at email@example.com. Your participation is strongly encouraged!
Grade 11 Internship: Heartfelt thanks to our community sponsors
Each year, AISB Grade 11 students spend one week outside the classroom, in the community-based internship of their choice. This program, initiated in 2013 by AISB students themselves, offers our juniors valuable opportunities to reflect upon their life paths, apply their skills, and make authentic connections between their learning and the world around them. Students describe the Internship as one of the most valuable (and daunting) learning experiences of high school.
Internships vary considerably in their shape, but each one entails a considerable commitment of time, focus and energy on the part of our community partners. Our sponsors allow our students to engage meaningfully with the workplace and their fellow workers, offering sensitive, supportive mentorship and valuable opportunities for learning and reflection.
We would like to thank our community partners very sincerely for their generosity and support in taking on our student interns. We couldn’t do it without you.
This year’s community sponsors included:
Ms. Marie Saade, Specific Salon et SPA
Mrs. Mehmuna Schumann, Afro Fashion
Pr. Lamine Boubacar Traoré, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Dr. Hamet Pierre Touré, Clinique Pasteur
Mr. Song Bo, Huawei Mali
Mr. Massa S. Sidibé, AGETIC
Mr. Abdoul Aziz Kanta, Technologie House
Interns undertake a process of self-reflection after their return to school, in which they consider all that they have learned about themselves and the world during the week. This year, in addition, we asked the students to provide us with short summaries to share with the community. They give a nice sense of the variety and the value of the internship program.
Summary of the placements
Aissa Touré: Clinique Pasteur Chade Van de Fliert : United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Efia Sawadogo: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Kshitij Kumar: AGETIC Lu Jiahao: Huawei (telecommunication company) Michael Nzungize: Technologie House Shameilah Schumann: Specific Salon et SPA Vivian Peng: Afro Fashion
Aissa: Aissa did her internship at Clinic Pasteur in Bamako. During a week, she worked in different parts of the clinic. She also observed doctors, nurses, surgeons and pediatricians. While working at this hospital, she realized that working in the medical field is not easy, because it takes a lot of hard work and tolerance to treat a patient.
Chade: Chade did her internship at UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) in ACI 2000. She found it to be highly interesting and she is even more encouraged to pursue a career at the United Nations. Chade learnt many things about the society in which she lives in that she didn’t know before. Chade would also like to have another internship at UNFPA or at the United Nations in the near future.This was an educative and exciting experience for her.
Efia: Efia did her internship at the UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, a non-governmental organization. Efia said that the internship was an eye opening experience. She enjoyed seeing how things work in the development work field. She hopes to one day also do work to help better people’s lives, and believes working at the UNFPA was a good start. Overall she had a really good and educational time.
KK: KK did his internship at AGETIC, Agence des Technologie de l’Information de la Communication. KK stated that the internship was an extremely unique experience. He was able to learn more about his potential future career, and also did some work in the area. He also states that he wishes to work more in this area.
Lu: Lu did his internship at the Huawei, a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company. Lu said that the internship was an eye opening experience. He met some customers in Orange and Malitel and learned some simple knowledge about how server works. He realized that working in Huawei is not easy, everyone worked very hard. This was an exciting and meaningful experience for him.
Michael: Michael did his internship at the Technology House, a technology company. His internship was very enriching because he was able to learn more about his future career and got to work in the field to get a bit of experience on how things work. He hopes to keep increasing his knowledge in this field in order to be able to get at the level of actually making a change in the world of technology.
Shameilah: Shameilah did her internship at Specifics, a beauty salon. Her internship was an unforgettable experience and a great chance for her to learn new things about beauty and makeup. Shameilah learned new and interesting ways to create beautiful looks and blend the perfect colors and tones on the skin. She hopes to become even better now that she comprehends why some things she tried did not work and how to fix certain things. She loved her internship and wishes she could have spent more time at her workplace. As she enjoyed herself, she hopes the school can take the decision of making the intership week two weeks due to the amazing moments she had.
Vivian: Vivian did her internship at Atro Fashion. She saw how connect a blueprint to a product. Vivian enjoyed this experience because she got a new dress which created by herself but buy one from a shop. During this internship She think about so much, human makes everything they want by their knowledge and hands so they development so far, and even now, they are still doing it. Vivian said this dress will be the her favorite one in the wardrobe, because nothing can be better than you owen labor achievements.
HS Grades in a Standards-Based System
As you know, AISB has for the past three years been improving and extending our standards-based approach to grading and reporting. This gradual process has resulted in a significant shift throughout the division in how we teach and assess students, and in how we report the results of assessment, and many of of our high school classes now use a fully standards-based system to evaluate student progress.
A standards-based approach does not mean that a school “gives no grades.” On the contrary: standards-based reports allow for clearer, more specific grades. Many standards-based high schools use some form of descriptor, such as the Proficient, Progressing Well or Needs Development (indicators we use in middle school) and provide a separate grade for each key standard. Others use the familiar letter grade system (A, B, C and so on) and provide a summary grade for the course, with information about student mastery of individual standards in a narrative comment. This is the model we currently use in High School.
But what does a letter grade mean, in a standards-based system? In essence, the letter grade is a summary of the extent and quality of a student’s performance during the assessment period -- typically, the eight-week quarter. In a standards-based system we do not “average” student performances over the the quarter, to calculate a grade; rather, we look holistically at the student’s work in entirety, and assign a grade based upon the most relevant, most current and best information available. With each assessment, a student is able to demonstrate his or her mastery of the standards -- that is, of the knowledge, skills and understandings currently being taught and assessed.
How do we assign grades? Students receive feedback on their progress, (often in the form of a formative “grade”) on an ongoing basis, and they use this information to determine where to focus their energies and improve their learning. Towards the end of the assessment period (the unit or quarter) teachers look holistically at each student’s work and evaluate the extent to which the student has demonstrated mastery of the unit standards. Quarter and semester grades, like unit grades, are not assigned according to averages or “scores” but rather on a holistic evaluation of the student’s mastery of the standards and readiness to move on to new material.
What counts as an “Assessment”? Everything that a student does to provide evidence of his or her learning counts as an assessment. This might include comments made during a class discussion or informal written practices, more formal assignments such as projects, seminars, presentations or essays, or traditional pencil-and-paper quizzes and tests. AISB students are encouraged to view their regular assignments both as opportunities to learn, and to demonstrate evidence of their learning. Furthermore, students are encouraged to take every opportunity to demonstrate where their mastery is improving, and may re-submit assignments or propose new ways of demonstrating their learning whenever practical.
What are Summative and Formative Assessments? Formative assessments are those assessments that take place during the learning process. Teachers use formative assessments to gather information: to gauge students’ learning, to determine where students need more practice or re-teaching, where they might have misconceptions or are ready to move on to more complex work. Formative assessments are an opportunity for the teacher to provide feedback, and for the student to learn. Formative assignments may take the form of practice sets, discussions and classwork, assignments and “homework” of many kinds. Formative assessments are not used to determine a student’s grade, except where an assessment incidentally provides the best and most relevant insights into a student’s learning for that assessment period.
Grades are assigned based upon summative assessments. These are the assessments that take place after a student has had multiple opportunities to learn, practice and reinforce his or her learning -- typically at the end of a unit or set of units. Summative assessments are typically substantial, and ask students to apply all that they have learned in a unit or a given assessment period. In this way, summative assessments demonstrate the “sum” of a student’s learning for that period.
You will find summative letter grades defined for a standards-based system on this document. The descriptors are rather technical, although we have tried to avoid jargon; we’ve tried to strike a balance between accuracy and clarity -- not such an easy task, actually. You’ll find a discussion on the standards themselves in the October 6 newsletter.
Please don’t hesitate to come and chat with us about our standards-based approach and the ways in which it supports your child’s learning. We’ll be glad to see you.
Mystery Readers in PreK
We value reading books and storytelling as a very important part of our daily routine in Pre-K2. In fact, we think stories are important to everyone! and we are hoping you will join us. Beginning this week, we are inviting parents, grandparents or any family members to our classroom, to come and read a book or tell a story to the children.
It would be great if we can have a "Mystery Reader" twice a month. You can pick a day that is convenient to you but, please note that the time has to be anytime before 11.30 am as some of the children leave at that time.
We would appreciate if you can let us know whether you or any family member is willing to volunteer, and then we can arrange a date.
We are looking forward to having you in our class, and more importantly the children will be excited. Please join us!
It all started last year, in seventh grade, when we were proposed to create a little house for an animal of our choice. We presented to the class and debated on which animal we were going to choose. First we thought a dog could be a good fit for the school but the space given would have been too small, then we thought a baby crocodile would be cute and original for a school, but due to the lack of water and the space given (not to mention the creepiness of having a crocodile at school), it wouldn’t work. Finally we picked the best and the cutest animal of them all that fit perfectly in the environment given. It was not too big and not too small, it was just right. We finally chose the rabbit.
The next step was to create, in groups, mini versions of a rabbit house of our choice that could fit well into the environment given, keeping in mind that it had to be imaginative and creative for kids to dream with the rabbits. We spent an incredible amount of time creating scaled models of rabbit houses in math, but finally we presented all of the models to the pre-k students who finally chose the design that was a cute rainbow castle with a little bridge for the rabbits to play. Once all of the designing part was sorted out, we presented to Mr. Waugh our ideas and the total cost of the house, plus the paint, the cost to purchase the rabbits, the food, the help of a carpenter, the vaccinations and the monthly medical care. Mr. Waugh accepted with pleasure, and we right away started building, painting, and sharing a sense of community.
The final result looked exactly like we wanted it to look like, the rabbits loved and dreamed in their new space but not as much as the kids who couldn’t help to caress the rabbits hopping around in their castle. Recently we got great news that we now have the pleasure to announce: five of the cutest baby rabbits in the world were born a few weeks ago in the rabbit habitat. The baby rabbits hop around and sometimes hide in the holes their parents have created. If you haven’t seen these little rodents you are missing something, you can go check them out at any time.
Grade 8 field trip to Gallery Medina
The eighth grade field trip to Gallery Medina and the National Park was an exhilarating experience for all us. Our class was able to grow an appreciation for Africa’s rich cultural tapestry through photography. At the same time we grew more aware of issues such as segregation, gender inequality, and political uneasiness.
A photographer that strongly caught my attention was Osborne Macharia (which was displayed at the Gallery Medina). He is a Kenyan photographer that associates his images with general conflicts such as racial integration and equality and politics. Moreover, his core principles are culture, fiction and identity. One of his images that was really powerful to my eyes was a woman that had knives as her hair. That particular image blends in his desire for fiction and identity. In my opinion the knives represent the oppression of women throughout the world, and especially around parts of Africa.
Another artist which I grew fond of was Lassie King Massasy. King is a Malian musical artist and activist. I remember looking at his images then making a remark to Mr. Owens, “It’s funny these days what people perceive as art.” As I said this, he laughed with me and then told me to look at it with an open mind. I’m glad he told me to, because through this advice I was able to see the magic in his photography. King’s goal seemed to be to draw out a “Modern Africa.”
He would take pictures of random moments of the day in Bamako that were usually not even noticed, and make memories of them. His images sent out vibes of happiness, love, and a desire to move forth.
__ Demba Hacko Yattara
6th Grade Advisory Field Trip to Orphanage Ashed
Grades 6 and 7 took a trip to a local orphanage, with the Grade 6/7 advisor, Ms. Isabelle Thomazeau-Pépin. Here are some of their observations.
Jessica Ashun, Grade 6:
Our trip to the orphanage taught me how lucky we are to be safe in our homes with our parents. As soon as you enter you will see a bunch of kids so happy to see you knowing that you brought them some stuff. The thing that I think is quite interesting is that the kids don’t let the fact that they have been abandoned ruin their fun. It was a very touching and inspiring trip and I personally think it was the best trip I have ever gone to.
Elya Monneret, Grade 6:
The field trip to the orphanage ASHED was really interesting. When we arrived, the children run to us with big smile on their face; they seem to enjoy their life. The orphanage was not that big but it was enough space for all the children plus, it’s well organized. It was wonderful to see children playing, having fun after all they pass truth. We saw how children enjoy everything that they had. In conclusion, I just want to say ASHED is a new family!
Dior Seye, Grade 6:
The orphanage was an opportunity to see how children without family lived. Children seemed to have a good time. As soon as we went out of the bus they ran to us and started to hug us. They did not have a lot of space and it is very crowded but there was a happy atmosphere. Kids were dancing and singing in a circle. It was the best trip I ever went to.
Die Klassenfahrt zu dem Waisenhaus war sehr gut. Wir haben gesehen wie sie miteinander umgehen. Sie haben nicht sehr viel Platz aber es ist sehr schön für die Kinder. Sie haben dort Babys die noch nicht 40 Tage alt sind. Sie sind wie eine große Familie.
Denise Singoeie, Grade 6:
The 6th grade advisory trip to the ASHED orphanage was a unique and insightful trip, I personally think this was one of the best field trips I have ever had because we got to see how all the children act like a family and actually enjoy spending time together they make up rhymes and sing and dance to them. It was beautiful to see how much fun the kids were having but to me the best part was when all the kids came running to our bus and the second we got out they started hugging us and it was great. I would like to give a big thank you to Kadia Dem for helping the children.
Isis Lefay, Grade 7:
Notre journée à L’orphelinat était une belle sortie. Nous avons vu les conditions de vie des plus pauvres que nous-mêmes et comment ils vivent. Ils sont toujours de bonne humeur, dansent et chantent et il y a un bonne atmosphère. Nous avons bien aimé cette sortie et je pense que les orphelins aussi.
Nuestro viaje al orfanato estaba una buena salida. Nuestro hemos visto las condiciones de vida de los más pobres que nosotros y como ellos viven. Ellos son siempre de buen humor, bailar y cantar y hay un buen ambiente. Nosotros tenemos esta salida y yo pienso que los huérfanos también.
David Tabo, Grade 7:
J'ai bien aimé la sortie à l'orphelinat ; il y avait beaucoup d'enfants gentils et certains étaient drôles. Ont s'est bien amusé avec eux, on a fait des dessins, on a joué à des jeux collectifs. On a vu la propriétaire de l'orphelinat, elle était vraiment courageuse parce qu'elle n’était pas si riche mais elle pensait aux enfants. Elle les aime comme ces propres enfants. Elle était vraiment contente des cadeaux qu'on a offerts, elle nous a bien accueillie. J'étais vraiment surpris.
I liked the field trip at the orphanage. There were many kind and funny kids. We really had fun with them, we did drawings, we also played collective games. We saw the owner of the orphanage she was very courageous, because she was not rich but she was still thinking about kids. She likes the kids like her kids. She was really happy of the presents we gave them, she welcomed us. I was really surprised.
AP Human Geography Visits Sogho Sogho Bon Bon
On Thursday, January 25th, the AP HG class had the opportunity to visit a local candy factory, Sogho Sogho Bon Bon. During the trip, students were afforded the opportunity to learn about industrialization and development in Mali. The students were able to see first hand the differences between bulk-gaining and bulk-reducing industries.
Students asked questions about site and situation factors and began to better understand the placement of factories in Bamako. Finally, the students were given lots of samples to take home to share with friends and family. Visiting Sogo Sogo Bon Bon was an excellent way to end our unit on industrialization and development, as we were able to see the theories we learned about in class first hand.