June 6, 2017: Happy Summer



AISB Newsletter

Vol. 12.9 | June 6, 2017

In this issue: 


happy summer

From the Director: Happy Summer!

Dear Parents, Faculty and Staff
This is the final newsletter for what has turned out to be a very busy, productive and successful 2016-2017 school year. AISB has much to celebrate: although the school lost a bit in student numbers, the strength of our academic and co-curricular programs continues to grow. If you would like a closer look at how we have grown in these areas, I invite you to take a look at the First Annual Academic Report to the AISB School Community. This year AISB students achieved academically at levels above international and American national norms as measured by, for example, school-wide MAP scores; and they did it in a safe and happy learning environment. Our students continued to engage meaningfully with the broader community through an increasing variety of service learning projects.

Our PTO continued to play a central role in building a healthy school community by organizing some wonderful community building events such as the Welcome Back BBQ, the Hallowe’en Carnival, the International Fair and Teacher-Staff Appreciation Day. This year also saw the PTO set $1500 aside to support student-led projects within the community. I would like to thank all the executive members of this year’s PTO: Vinisha Nankani, Marie-Florence Astoin, Wilma Ensing-Blom, Rajni Jensen and Hawa Dansira.

I hope the summer break provides everyone with a well-deserved opportunity to rest and recharge for an even bigger year of growth in 2017-18.

It is also that time of year at which we bid a fond farewell to the members of our AISB community who will be moving on to new beginnings. Our graduates will be sent off triumphantly, diplomas in hand, to embark upon the next big steps in their academic and life paths. We celebrated their achievement first at the Senior Walk Through this past Friday and then, more formally, at the graduation ceremony on This Thursday, June 9th.

We also have a number of faculty and staff members leaving us to move on to new endeavors. We bid a fond farewell to:

  • Wilma Ensing-Blom (Admin Assistant/Registrar)
  • Laura Forgie (Secondary Art, Drama and Library
  • Namakoro Keïta (Driver)
  • Souleymane Koné (Library)
  • Sarah Lapidus (HS and Grade 8 Science)
  • Roger Ntoya (Teaching Assistant)
  • Blessing Okudawa (Teaching Assistant)
  • Binta Traoré (Business Manager)
  • Lysha Wasser (Admin, College Counselor, Secondary Humanities)
  • Kourtney Wessels (ESOL Coordinator)
  • Rod Wyrick (Learning Support Coordinator)

Whether in the classroom as educators, or by providing other essential elements needed to build a supportive and stimulating learning environment for the students of AISB, these folks have made our school a better and stronger place. We thank them sincerely for their service and wish them all the very best.

The Next Two Weeks
Below is a brief outline of what to expect for the last two weeks of school.

June 5-7 – HS Exams (Exam Schedule). Regular school hours in MS and ES, with some special events you will have heard about from teachers.
Thursday, June 8th – Regular school day for ES and MS, with some special events you will have heard about from teachers. Grade 9-11 students are not required to attend school however all graduating students are expected to be at school by 8:00a.m. for a special graduation breakfast and a graduation practice. They need to arrive for the ceremony by 5:30p.m. on the evening of Thursday, June 8th.
Friday, June 9th – All students should come to school as usual on Friday. There will be final class and divisional activities, and report cards will be handed out. A short whole school assembly will begin at 11:20am, including songs and brief farewells; parents are very welcome to attend. Students will be dismissed from the assembly at 11:45.

I offer a special thank you to all our teachers, assistants, admin and support staff for the work they have done on behalf of our students this year.
The school office will be open throughout the summer holiday from 9:00-3:00 each day, except for public holidays.

I wish you and your family a safe, happy and relaxing summer vacation. School recommences on August 15 for the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

See you at school!

Brad Waugh
American International School of Bamako

 Join the PTO

We are extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated and hard-working group of parents leading our Parent-Teacher Organization this year. These are the folks who pulled off the excellent Welcome Back BBQ, Hallowe'en Carnival, International Fair and Staff Appreciation Day. Not to mention their great work supporting student initiatives through the PTO Student-Led Project Fund. The bad news is that these folks will not be with us to make sure next year's PTO is as active. If you would like to make sure that the AISB community continues to have events that bring AISB families together please contact the PTO (pto@aisbmali.org) to let them know. In particular, they are looking for a team of pragmatic, fun-loving folks who will start planning for the Welcome Back BBQ, tentatively scheduled for September 9, 2017. Please drop them an email and volunteer for this so we can start next year off right.


Thanks to AISB's 2016-17 School Board Trustees

AISB is fortunate to have such a supportive and involved parent community. Due to the change in status of US Embassy families announced last summer, we began the year short four members on the AISB Board of Trustees. Happily, our parents stepped up when called on and four members of our community volunteered to fill the breach. Thanks is due to Birhanu Zemadim Birhanu, Yaya Yattassaye and Julien Bouzon for their work as interim trustees. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank our 2016-17 elected board members for their hard work in the service of student learning:

Johan Andersson - Board Chair
Marie-Claude Legault - Vice-Chair
Wouter Dobbelaar - Treasurer


Meet AISB's 2017-18 School Board Trustees

Board Chair: Johan Andersson

Nationality: Swedish

Brief Biography
Our family arrived in Bamako from Sweden in January 2016 so we are new to both the country and the AISB community. My wife works for the Swedish Embassy and we will be here for at least one more year. We have two sons (5 and 9 years old) who both attend AISB.

For the moment I’m not working but I have 15 years experience as a project manager and business developer for different governmental agencies in Sweden. During these 15 years I’ve lead several projects (both small and large ones) with the aim to streamline operations through process- and IT-development. I have also worked with policy development for different IT- and business development departments.



Board Secretary: Julien Bouzon

Nationality: French
Brief Biography
I grew up in France and graduated in political science. I also possess two master's degrees in European affairs and economics. My studies took me to Paris, but also Austria (Vienna), Poland (Warsaw) and the USA (Brown University - Rhode Island). I now work as team leader in governance and economics for the Delegation of the European Union in Bamako. Before moving to Bamako in September 2016, I spent 3 years in Burundi and 5 years in Kenya in the same capacity. I am the proud father of 3 boys, namely Paul (almost one year), George (3 ½ years) and Bastian (7 ½ years). Both George and Bastian go to AISB.

Claudia Hrubesch
Nationality: Austrian
Brief Biography
My name is Claudia Hrubesch and I’m Austrian. We came to Mali in September 2015 where I’m working as head of finance and administration in a GIZ program.
I have quite a broad background having studied comparative literature, French and German as a foreign language and a professional career with different core areas like teaching and University lecturing, cultural management, the management of development projects and administration and finance.
Before coming to Mali we were living in Senegal where my daughters grew up so far. Both are attending AISB. The younger one is in her last year of Primary School, the older one is in Middle School.


Boubacar Sidibé
Nationality: Malian-American
Brief Biography
As a native of Bamako, I have a vested interest in all areas that produce a positive change in the country that I know and love. After completing high school, I decided to study abroad in Agadir, Morocco, where I obtained a degree in business administration. In the years following, I relocated to the United States of America to further my education, and currently hold multiple IT certifications (A++, Net+, CCNA, Security+) from Georgetown University; bachelor’s degrees in the fields of economics and finance (University of the District of Columbia). In addition, I’m a recipient of a graduate degree in financial management and accounting (University of Maryland). Currently, I’m working as a Corporate Tax Inspector for the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

It was not an easy decision to leave the comforts of the U.S to reside in a developing nation after 8 years working for Conservation International, but I made a promise to myself long ago that I would use the education that I received abroad to better my nation. My two daughters both attend primary school in Bamako, and my youngest is a student at AISB.

Daniel Tiveau
Nationality: Swedish
Brief Biography
We arrived in Mali from Cameroon in Aug 2015. I’m the father of two AISB students, Ivar who will start Grade 1 in August 2017 and Sofia who will start PreK3. I work as a program specialist on natural resources, climate change and governance at the Swedish Embassy. I have a master’s degree in forestry and I have been working in West and Central Africa for the last 17 years, both for the Swedish government and for international organizations. I don’t have any previous experience from school management but I have a lot of experience from different kinds of steering committees overseeing large projects run by African national public institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. My previous involvement in various strategy processes may also be useful.


 Othniel Yila

Nationality: Nigerian
Brief Biography
Othniel Yila has worked in the development field for the last 25 years – with expertise in managing teams, research, monitoring and evaluation of programs including the development of M&E plans, evaluating multi-country large-scale development and humanitarian programmes, including in fragile and post-conflict environments. His expertise has seen him manage exciting and complex projects mainly focused on climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, food and nutrition security, peace and conflict management, health and sustainable sanitation.

Until 17 February 2015, Othniel served as Deputy Director and Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Africa Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, he continued as SEI Associate (18 February 2015 – 17 February 2017). Othniel has a multidisciplinary background in social, environmental and natural resources management with a specialty in public policy. He has extensive international experience working in co-operation with a variety of development organizations, academia, national authorities and industry and has held 5 full-time positions in 5 five countries (Nigeria, Thailand, Fiji Islands, Tanzania and Kenya). He has a B.S and M.S. from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria and holds a PhD from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Bangkok, Thailand.

Yila’s youngest son Tim is member of the Class of 2029, daughter Michelle, Class of 2026 and oldest son Obed is in the Class of 2020. His wife Jummai is a Scientist with ICRISAT.


US Embassy Representative (Non-voting): Andrew Wiener
Nationality: American
Brief Biography
Andrew Wiener is a career member of the senior Foreign Service of the United States of America and a retired colonel in the US Army Reserves. He is a graduate of the US Military Academy and Army War College. Andrew has served on numerous community service boards during his career, that includes service in Germany, Belgium, Iraq, Greece, Russia, and Australia. He is married to Ioanna Toytziari and he his two children, Maria and Dimitri, who are lieutenants in the US Coast Guard.





AISB Director (Non-voting): Brad Waugh

Nationality: Canadian

Brief Biography
Brad Waugh is a native of Vancouver, Canada and came to Mali as the Director of AISB in July 2015. His work as an educator began in Canada and, since 2001, has taken him to Bolivia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nepal. He is a passionate teacher of mathematics, physical sciences and Theory of Knowledge, and has taught students from grade 8 through post-secondary. His previous work in school administration has included posts as a secondary school principal, whole school principal and deputy director. Brad enjoys bringing students, teachers and parents together to develop dynamic, student-centered learning communities. He and Renée Comesotti have two daughters, Ceilidhe and Kieran, both graduates of international schools and confirmed third-culture (adult) kids.


AISB Students Recognised at AISA Art Challenge

Three of our students were awarded a participation certificate in recognition of the outstanding artwork they submitted for the AISA Art Challenge Committee.

Congratulations to:

Ihcene Hadid

Denise Singoeie

Mame Seye

Mame Seye Gr 7 AISBamako Page 1



Winners can be viewed on the AISA site at http://www.aisa.or.ke/connecting/aisa-news/item/749-2017-aisa-art-challenge


Staffing Plans for 2017-2018

We have been busy planning for the coming school year. We expect to start the year with close to 170 students; but as you know, this could easily change over the summer. Below is our staffing plan for the coming year, based on our current enrollment expectations.

Elementary Class Teachers:

PreK 2 – Brenna Wongue
PreK 3 – Attie Van Den Berg
PreK 4 – Melanie Menguele
Kg – India Thomas
Gr. 1 – Julie Gibson
Gr. 2 – Janet Stewart
Gr. 3 – Don Johnson
Gr. 4/5 – Maggie Fezekas

Secondary School Advisors:

Gr. 6 Advisor– Isabelle Thomazeau-Pépin
Gr. 7 Advisor– Bill Owens
Gr. 8 Advisor–– Mike Knazek
Gr. 9 Advisor–– Aiza Mbaye
Gr. 10 Advisor–– Kelly Owens
Gr. 11 Advisor–– Abdel Yattara
Gr. 12 Advisor, College Counselor– Véronique Mayer

Secondary Teachers:

Grade 6 & 7 Math & Science and Grade 8 Health – Véronique Mayer
Grade 6 &7 English & Humanities; Grade 8 English – Bill Owens
HS English – Renée Comesotti
HS and Grade 8 Math; Computer Science – Aiza Mbaye
HS and Grade 8 Science – Mike Knazek
HS Humanities – Kelly Owens

Specialist Teachers:

ESOL – Laliya Ba
French – Ousmane Barry, Isabelle Thomazeau-Pépin & Abdel Yattara
Spanish – Lola Ayuso and Yaritza Font Suárez
Elementary Art – Laliya Ba
Secondary Art, Drama and Dance – Terae Soumah
I.T. Director– Marcus Tanner
P.E. and Athletics/Aquatics Coordinator– Amadou Ba
Music – Yaritza Font Suárez
Learning Support – Terae Soumah
Library – Yaa Obeng


2017 - 2018 School Calendar

AISB 2017 2018 1


Share the wealth

We have been receiving applications from families wanting to join the AISB community in August 2018 and, as I have mentioned before, our parents and students are the best ambassadors for the school. You have experienced first-hand the warmth of the AISB community, the dedication of our teachers and the bright minds and articulate voices of our students. By sharing your experience with new potential families you help our community grow and you help families find the right school for their children.
If you know of anyone interested in joining AISB, please feel free to point them in our direction - the sooner the better, as some of our classes are approaching capacity.
Here are some ways you can do that:

Our Registrar
Our registrar, Martine Mourot, is happy to assist new families by answering questions about the school and the admissions process - in French or English! Interested families can contact Martine by email (mmourot@aisbmali.org) or phone (2022-4738).

The School Website and Facebook
Families can find out about the admissions process, the school's academic program, and much more, by going to aisbmali.org. The school's Facebook page gives a nice sense of the feel of our community.


School Brochures
If you would like go a step further and distribute written information about the school to friends or work colleagues please get in touch with us and we will send some school brochures your way!

The brochure offers a nice introduction to the school and provides guidance on the admissions process.




For those travelling abroad this summer, you may want to take advantage of the larger number of shopping options available to look for swimwear for your child.

Although there's sure to be plenty of fun involved, students will chiefly be learning in the pool. So your child will need an active-recreation or sport swimsuit, rather than fashion swimwear: something comfortable that's suitable for racing, diving, paddling, lifesaving, conducting experiments, playing strategy games, or otherwise engaging in vigorous exercise.

Above all, pool-wear should be sun-safe wherever possible: check out this link to see some examples of "rashes" and other protective clothing that helps protect young people's skin from scrapes and harmful UV exposure.

There's a wide range of swimwear available these days for girls and boys, including:

  • board shorts and tops
  • "rashguard" or "rashie" tops for girls and boys, for better sun protection
  • workout swimsuits
  • water aerobics suits
  • regular one or two-piece suits (try to avoid very thin straps or around-the neck straps since these may be uncomfortable and/or impractical for exercising)
  • swim skirts
  • surfer-style "jammer" shorts and tops
  • swim unitards, long or short
  • water polo suits

Added sun protection -- rashies or t-shirts over suits -- is encouraged wherever practical. Students may also want goggles and swim caps.
We're looking forward to an exciting year of learning in the water. If you have questions about the pool or swim gear, please don't hesitate to be in touch.


Again, if you will be travelling abroad you may want to pick up some school supplies.  The supplies expected for student to bring to school can be found here on AISB web site. Parents can buy directly from the school store at the start of the school year and we will send more information out about this in early August.



BYOD- Which type of laptop should I get?

In 2017-18, the secondary school will continue the Bring Your Own Device program (BYOD). With a device that they are completely familiar with and control, student learning can happen anytime and anywhere; there are more opportunities for choice in the timing, mode (offline and online, applications used), location and pathways for learning.

Please follow these broad guidelines:

  • Each student in Grades 6 - 12 should be provided with a personal laptop
  • The laptop should be no more than three years old
  • Chromebooks, netbooks and tablets and smartphones are not suitable alternatives
  • Either Apple or Microsoft Windows as your operating system; this could depend on what other devices in your household use. Having the English version is easier for us to support.

The minimum technical specifications for new devices are:

  • 13” screen
  • Intel i5 / 1.6GHz processor (or AMD equivalent)
  • 4Gb of RAM (8GB is better)
  • 50Gb of available storage
  • Camera and microphone
  • Battery with 5 - 6 hours life
  • Windows (8.1 or 10) / Mac OSX (El Capitan or Sierra); English version is preferred
  • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint minimum)
  • Internet security software (eg Kaspersky, Bit Defender, F-Secure)

Other accessories to consider:

  • Portable hard disk drive, for backing up and archiving files
  • Sturdy case for transporting the laptop to school, and between classes
  • Extra power adapter
  • Wireless mouse
  • A way to personalise the laptop and make it easier to identify eg protective skins, keyboard covers

A downloadable summary is here, with a more detailed explanation of our recommendations here.

Some examples of laptops that meet our minimum requirements are shown below; this is not an endorsement for any particular model. The prices listed were taken from CDW (www.cdw.com) on May 2, 2017. It is certainly worth considering devices that exceed our minimum requirements, as they are more likely to be able to keep up with changing demands of operating systems and software for a longer period of time.
If you would like advice about a specific model of laptop, please feel free to contact the Technology Department.

laptop recommendations



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