Even with the fall break, October was a busy month and there are no indications that things will slow down anytime soon.
The Accreditation Visit AISB students, teachers, staff and parents packed themselves into the MPR to listen to the the MSA Visiting Team oral report at the end of their visit from October 8-11th. The report was exceptionally positive and included many references to the strong sense of community we enjoy here at AISB. It also noted the strength of the school's educational program, financial management and strategic planning process. The Team concluded the report by stating that they whole-heartedly recommend that the school's accreditation status be renewed until 2026.
Halloween Carnival The hard-working volunteers of the PTO have been tirelessly planning the Halloween Carnival that will take place this Saturday, November 3rd. There is still time to come help decorate the school during the Parent-Teacher Conferences on Friday, November 2nd. Many of the decorations were made by our students in the MakerSpace during Tuesday Free Play time, with patient guidance from the PTO. Please come join the fun on Friday as we prepare for one of the highlights of the AISB social calendar.
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.
AISB's Vision: All students achieve personal and academic excellence, and engage positively with their local and global communities.
AISB's Mission: 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 This year, the Board will review 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. And while we think the Profile has served us well, we also believe it is important to bring parents, students and teachers together to ensure that the Profile continues to reflect our desires and is relevant to the world we face today.
If you would like to be part of the review process, please let me know by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Report Cards and Parent-Teacher Conferences
Report cards will be sent home on Thursday, November 1st and Parent-Teacher Conferences will take place on Friday, November 2nd. You should have received an email inviting you to use our online system for booking your meeting times earlier this week; please contact Mr. Marcus Tanner (email@example.com) if you are having difficulty making your bookings. There will be no classes on Friday, but students are encouraged to join their parents for the conferences.
Here are some important upcoming dates:
Tuesday, November 27th: Monthly meeting of the AISB Board of Trustees at which, among other things, the recent fall MAP testing results will be presented and discussed.
Monday, November 19th
Tuesday, November 20th
Monday, November 26th
Our annual Winter Show will take place on Wednesday, December 5th from 1:30-2:45pm in the MPR. There will be performances by students of all ages. Please join us.
See you at school, Brad
Don't forget - school holidays are around the corner!!
November 19th, 20th, and 26th are school holidays.
From the US Embassy: staying healthy in Bamako
Recently we asked our Regional Medical Officer whether he had any particular “seasonal” advice for the AISB community, about staying healthy in Bamako. He did! And here’s what he said:
October is peak malaria month for the Bamako region; recent RMO emails have included reminders for embassy people to take their prophylaxis medication, and use bed-nets and insect repellent. Malaria is 98% preventable with these measures.
Bednets and insect repellent also help against the other insect borne diseases such as dengue and chikungunya. Lassa fever is spread by rats, which are everywhere here; if you do have a rat problem then getting a cat is probably the best solution.
All embassy personnel are vaccinated against meningitis, as should anyone in the Sahel; as we live in the meningitis belt (and this is meningitis season).
Rainy season is Mali’s closest equivalent to flu season; it’s also the peak diarrheal illness season, so it’s a good time to remind people about food safety, and to be cautious with anything not well cooked. (Everyone should be soaking their fresh produce in a bleach solution).
Thanks once again to our good friends at the US Embassy.
Fall MAP Testing Results
Students in grades 2-9 sat the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests earlier this month, testing in the areas of Reading, Language Usage and Math. A second round of MAP testing will take place in April 2019.
MAP results help us to understand each student’s instructional level, and to measure students’ academic growth throughout the school year, and from year to year. Teachers use data from the MAP tests to inform their instructional planning, and MAP results also play a role in evaluating the effectiveness of the school’s curriculum.
If your child is in grades 2 - 9 his or her teacher will share your child’s full MAP reports with you at the Parent-Teacher Conferences on Friday, November 2nd. For those unable to attend Friday’s conferences, results will be sent home with your child. You’ll find more information about parent resources and MAP testing at www.nwea.org.
Parent-Teacher Conferences: Please Come!
Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held this Friday, November 2, here at school. These conferences provide an excellent opportunity to meet with your child’s teachers to share observations, discuss your child's learning in greater depth, share strategies for supporting learning and above all, celebrate your child's successes.
Here are some suggestions for the sort of questions you might find useful at your conference:
Does my child seem happy in class? Alert, engaged? What kind of learning does he enjoy most?
What does my child do well? What are her areas of strength, as a learner? What struggles does she face, in meeting the challenges of school work?
What does my child need in order to develop further? What can we do at home to support his academic growth?
Does my child face particular challenges in class beyond that of his school work?
There will be no school for students on conference day.
We look forward to seeing you there!
We are entering the busiest months of the year when it comes to College Counseling. 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
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 totally doable. Please speak with your son or daughter about these tasks and encourage them to consider attending the College Counseling Workshop for 12th graders as an After School Activity on Wednesdays in Quarter Two.
Caps and Goggles
Water safety – that is, being safe in and around the water – is an important part of AISB’s swimming curriculum. In particular, of course, we want our students to be safe in and around the school pool.
Many of us will remember the “blurry eyes” we had as children, after swimming in chlorinated water. Nowadays we are very aware of how important it is to protect young people’s eyes; standard practice in education requires that children wear a sunhat or ball cap with visor while playing in the field, and swim goggles in the pool. Swim caps are also strongly recommended, since they allow us to be more visible to other swimmers, and reduce chlorine damage to children’s hair.
For these reasons, we ask that all children wear a swimming cap and a pair of goggles for PE swimming.
We know that it is not easy to find swimming caps or goggles in Bamako. We ordered a large supply of swimming caps and goggles for the beginning of this year; these are already gone, however! So, we’ve ordered more swimming caps, which will soon be available for purchase at the school store. In the meantime, if your child does not have a swimming cap, we will lend him or her one to use during the PE lesson. We also know that swimming caps can be difficult for children to put on, especially if they have long hair. But don’t worry -- we are always here to help children with their caps if they need us. In fact we get a lot of practice with that!
Please don’t hesitate to be in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about our swimming program.
Secondary Report Cards
First quarter is now completed, and report cards will be sent home with students on Thursday, November 1. Secondary parents may also access their child's report cards online, via FOCUS.
Understanding Secondary Report Cards The primary purpose of reporting student progress, at any good school, is to support students’ learning. To this end, reports should provide students and parents with clear and accurate assessments of the skills and understandings students have mastered by the end of the reporting period. Reports should also provide specific information about the student as a learner, to help students recognize their important strengths and empower them to target areas for growth. Detailed information about their child as a learner also provides parents with insights into what they can do to support their children’s learning. Reports can also allow teachers to share suggestions for learning strategies that may assist the student in becoming a better learner.
The particular design of AISB’s Secondary report is the outcome of a general movement in education, and a discussion of several years’ duration at this school, that has moved the school toward assessment and reporting designed to serve student learning explicitly. In achieving greater clarity and a more student-centered focus for our reporting system AISB places itself amongst excellent schools at the forefront of student-centered innovation in education.
Most importantly, our students themselves report that they find their narrative comments clear, accurate and helpful to them.
About grades In addition to their narrative comments, students in MS receive summative performance descriptors -- “grades”, in short -- that summarize their performance level on the individual standards. You’ll find a discussion of the descriptors here. HS students receive standards-based narrative comments along with the familiar A-F “letter grades” that summarize their performance in the course as a whole. You’ll find a fuller discussion about standards, grading and assessment in HS here.
As you look over the report with your child it's important to keep in mind that report cards, though important, offer only one window on your child’s learning experiences at AISB.
We invite you to consider the following:
Help your child understand that, while they are useful indicators, grades are a not the most important thing. The comments section of your child’s report provides deeper insight into what your child is learning and doing in class, the successes and challenges he or she is encountering, and suggestions that might help your child learn more effectively. It is important to remember that many students suffer from grade anxiety, which can interfere with their learning. Focusing first and foremost on the letter grade or indicator your child has received can exacerbate this kind of anxiety, and can direct your child’s attention away from what matters most. Try to keep the focus on learning, rather than the external measures of it.
Take this opportunity to start – or continue – a dialogue about learning: Ask your child what she or he enjoys about learning—what makes learning most effective, what sorts of ideas are most engaging—and what implications these strengths and preferences have for his or her life choices. Grading measures only some aspects of a child’s intellectual and personal growth; there are others, not easily quantified but well worth recognizing. It’s worth asking your children how they feel they have grown lately, and about challenges they have faced and how they have met them. Their answers might surprise you.
Ask your child about what we can do — school and parents, working together as a team — to support his or her learning. Student academic success is closely linked to a strong and cooperative relationship between home and school. This relationship can look very different for students of different ages and personalities, and depends also on family circumstances. Some children appreciate more parental involvement in their schooling than others do. And as students grow older and more independent, parent involvement -- though still important -- evolves considerably.
Report cards are an important way to help our students understand themselves as learners, recognize their accomplishments, and find new direction for the future. As we conclude this quarter we congratulate our students on their many successes in learning and growing.
After School Learning Support
What is it? The After School Learning Support Program is a learning environment that offers flexible levels of support for all students. It is a great opportunity for students to receive help with homework, review concepts taught in class, collaborate with peers, complete overdue assignments, or get ahead on something new.
Where does it take place? Students and volunteer teachers meet in the library.
When is it offered? After school help is available Monday-Wednesday- Friday from 2:45-3:50. Students can attend as many or as few days per week as suits their individual schedules. They can choose to attend weekly or drop-in as needed.
Who should attend? All students in grades 6- 12 are invited to attend after school learning support. As well, teachers may suggest an elementary student for after-school learning support. Occasionally, a teacher may suggest a student attend after school support to benefit from extra instruction in a particular subject or help with a specific concept or skill. In addition, students may be required to attend if they are behind in their classwork or are in danger of failing a course.
How do students sign up? Sign up online is available for regular, weekly attendance until Nov. 10. Otherwise, students can also just come to the library after school and sign in per day.
If you have questions about the After School Learning Support Program, please contact Terae Soumah (email@example.com). We’ll be glad to hear from you.
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. So we need your help. If your organization is able to sponsor a student for this internship program, please contact Terae Soumah at firstname.lastname@example.org. This program would not be possible without our community partners, and we thank you sincerely.
You can read a brief description of the program and some student responses from previous year’s internships here.