Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Staff, It was wonderful seeing so many of you at the PTO Halloween Carnival last Saturday. Students, parents and staff worked together - with some outside help from the US Marines - to put together an excellent event for the whole AISB community.
Many of the decorations were made by our students in the MakerSpace during Tuesday Free Play time, with patient guidance from our wonderful PTO. Thank you once again, to the PTO: with you, our community is stronger and more joyful.
AISB’s Foundational Documents AISB is a mission-driven school and, as such, is guided in all decision-making and design processes by our foundational documents. Our curriculum, the learning experiences we provide for students, the way we allocate our resources, the many kinds of activities we undertake and even the layout of our classrooms should be a reflection of the values and aims of the school. In the spring of 2016, the AISB Board of Trustees, with the participation of students, parents, teachers and staff, undertook a review of three of these documents - the school’s Vision, Mission and Values and Beliefs.
All students achieve personal and academic excellence, and engage positively with their local and global communities.
The American International School of Bamako engages students in an international, English-medium educational program based upon American standards, that encourages critical thinking and inquiry together with academic, social and personal growth. AISB welcomes students from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds and ensures that all students experience an innovative and supportive international learning environment, and are empowered to meet successfully the diverse challenges of an ever-changing world.
AISB's Values and Beliefs - in brief:
The AISB community values learning, respect, integrity, community, choice, and balance.
The AISB Profile of Graduates Last year, the AISB Board of Trustees led a process that brought together all stakeholder groups - students, parents and teachers - to review and propose revisions for a fourth foundational document, the Profile of Graduates. The Profile outlines our collective desires for the kind of people AISB students become: people who think, inquire, know, reflect and make decisions as collaborative, compassionate, open-minded and productive world citizens. Last spring the Board voted to approve an updated Profile of Graduates describing the attributes we strive to foster in our students:
Our students are the ethical, critical and creative thinkers of the 21st century and they require the social, emotional and intellectual skills, habits and dispositions essential for citizens of a just, participatory, sustainable and democratic world.
AISB students possess the intellectual skills and dispositions to be knowledgeable communicators who are able to think creatively and critically.
AISB students possess the personal skills and dispositions to be able to understand, self-direct, empower and regulate themselves.
AISB students possess the social and collaboration skills and dispositions to be critically open-minded, conscious of their intercultural and social context and able and willing to exercise social and civic responsibility.
One of the objectives that arose from our self-study for MSA accreditation is to embed the Profile of Graduates in all of the school’s curricular and extra-curricular programs. In the coming years we will be working to map the central elements of the PoG in our curriculum documents across the disciplines, alongside the current subject standards. This will ensure that we are explicitly teaching students these elements, as well as ensuring that we regularly assess students’ understanding and mastery of them. SImilar work will be done for our After School and Athletics Programs, and our advisory and Community Based Engagement programs. Regular updates will be published in the newsletter and in many cases parents will be able to read of their child’s achievement in the elements of the PoG in reports from teachers.
AISB Swim Meet
Welcome to the Winter Show
We are entering the busiest months of the year when it comes to College Counseling. If your student is looking at the United States for a school, the deadlines are often on or around December 1. In addition to a demanding load of classes, your 12th grade student should be working on the tasks below, in order to stay ahead of college application:
Continue working on the personal statement and application essays required by his or her colleges of choice.
Solidify his or her college list with safety, range, reach schools. With ALL DEADLINES written down and understood.
Create online accounts for all schools that she or he is applying to.
Contact teachers with teachers that he or she will ask for a letter of recommendation.
It can all seem overwhelming to students; but with counsel and time management, it is doable.
SAT: The December 7, 2019 SAT and Subject Test registration deadline is Nov. 8 and the late registration deadline is Nov. 26. December 7 SAT and Subject Test scores are available Friday, December 20, 2019.
From the Nurse’s Office: Health update from the Embassy
Dengue and Malaria This is the peak season for mosquito borne diseases such as malaria and dengue. The school sprays against mosquitoes and other insects during longer breaks to allow the for the insecticide to disperse while students are away from campus. We also recommend that families apply mosquito repellent of their choice on their children each morning before they come to school. They can also send repellent with their children to allow it to be re-applied during the day. (Parents of younger children should let the classroom teacher know if their child will need assistance with this.) While malaria is not transmitted during the day, dengue is. Malaria prophylaxis does not protect against dengue.
Seatbelts All passengers -- children and adults-- aboard school vehicles are required to wear their seatbelts at all times when the vehicle is in operation. This is a good practice that we also recommend to our families when in their personal vehicles. In fact, not only should you ensure that your child wears a seatbelt, but you should make sure that all other passengers in the vehicle do the same. In case of an accident, your body becomes a dangerous projectile that can injure your child! Some statistics on the safety benefits of wearing a seatbelt can be found here. Be prepared for our security personnel to ask you to put on your seatbelt, if they find you not doing so while in the school parking lot.
HS ToK and Project Class: Targeting Critical and Creative Thinking
AISB’s Theory of Knowledge Program: Cognition and Metacognition The study of knowledge is a tradition that predates Socrates. Understanding the nature of knowledge and how we acquire it is a key feature of an education for the 21st century, and it lies at the core of excellent systems of education all over the world. As a philosophical discipline Theory of Knowledge is known as epistemology, the formal exploration of how we know what we know.
At AISB, Theory of Knowledge has been taught as two semester-long courses since 2017.
Why Theory of Knowledge? A key purpose of ToK is to empower students to practice metacognition: that is, thinking about thinking. Understanding how they learn allows students to make informed decisions about how to adapt their learning in order to learn better and more. Increasingly, strong academic programs have students’ metacognition residing at the core of their approach to teaching and learning.
AISB offers two one-semester Theory of Knowledge courses. ToK I: Cognitive Neuroscience of the Adolescent Brain (aka “Teen Brain), and ToKII: Epistemology. AISB’s ToK curriculum is organized around seven strands: Critical Thinking, Knowledge, Perception, Language, Logic and Reason, Emotion, and Ethics, each of which offer students powerful tools for interpreting their experience of the world, and determining the direction of their own paths through it.
Theory of Knowledge 10: Cognitive Neuroscience of the Adolescent Brain is more informally known as “Teen Brain.” Teen Brain is a science-based overview course in brain and cognitive science with a particular emphasis on understanding the young adult brain. This course is designed to help students understand the role of brain function and development in shaping their perceptual, emotional, social and intellectual lives. Students in the course also acquire a range of practical, brain-based strategies for improving their learning and building their intellectual and emotional well-being, and getting the best out of their teen brains. Teen Brain is followed by a one-semester Project course, in which students apply their understandings about learning and the brain, in creating a project of personal relevance.
ToKII is students’ formal introduction the philosophical examination of the nature and scope of knowledge, both generally, and within the disciplines. Students in this course explore the relationship of knowledge to such concepts as belief, truth and justification. The overarching question in any Theory of Knowledge course is “How do we know what we know?” Students investigate the ways we acquire knowledge, the scope and limitations of different types of knowledge and learning, the relationship between knowledge and ‘ways of knowing’ across the disciplines, and how it all works together to create a framework for our understanding of the world.
The course concludes with an extended investigation of knowledge within the disciplines, exploring some of the essential questions that lie at the heart of the “areas of knowledge.” Understanding the role of such concepts as proof, beauty, strength, value, in defining knowledge within and across the disciplines helps students know how to challenge existing knowledge frameworks and create new knowledge.
On Thursday, October 17th, the AP Human Geography class had the pleasure of visiting the West African Headquarters of ICRISAT. We began the day with an interesting lecture about what ICRISAT does here in Mali and a great explanation about genetically modified organisms. Then, we had a coffee break and headed out into the fields.
Two highlights of being in the field were learning about their weather stations and how ICRISAT is monitoring climate change here in Mali. Also, seeing first hand the difference between improved agricultural practices and traditional ones.
The students, and teachers alike, were invigorated to see and learn more about the positive work that AISB parents are doing to help people living in the Sahel. Thanks to ICRISAT for the great visit!
Don't forget - school holidays are around the corner!!