August 25, 2017: Welcome to AISB’s 40th Birthday Year!



AISB Newsletter

Vol. 13.1 | August 25, 2017

In this issue: 



Welcome to AISB’s 40th Birthday Year!


Welcome to AISB’s 40th year of providing high quality education to Bamako’s international community. By a happy coincidence 40 is also the number of new students whom we welcome to our community this year.

There are a number of important announcements and invitations in this month's newsletter. Lots will be going on to build the school’s program this year:

  • Moving forward with the strategic plan
  • Preparing for re-accreditation
  • Extending our PE/swim, library, art and music programs which have new people and new resources to take advantage of
  • Continuing our implementation of standards-based assessment and reporting
  • Introducing new resources in our Grade 1-8 Math program
  • Giving students more opportunities for project-based learning - and taking advantage of our new MakerSpace

I am extremely happy to welcome you all to the 2017-18 school year at AISB. The school's numbers and program are growing steadily, the kids are glad to be back, and we're looking forward to a great year.

See you at school,
Brad Waugh


Welcome to new staff

Lola AyusoLola Ayuso
Lola Ayuso Carrizosa is Spanish. She has been living in Bamako since 2016 and this year she will start teaching Spanish to AISB students.
She studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of Murcia, PhD in Biosciences and Agro-Food Sciences at the University of Córdoba and she also holds a certificate of pedagogical specialization as a secondary education teacher by the Spanish Ministry of Education and a number of courses related to pedagogy.

She worked for six years in an agro-food research center until 2012 when she moved to Senegal with her family. Since 2012 she has worked sporadically in Veterinary Public Health in Spain and as a volunteer with NGOs in Dakar and Bamako. She likes to learn languages, to read and to travel; and she enjoys playing and learning with your children.


Ahmed GondoAhmed Gondo
Ahmed GONDO is Ivorian-American. Born and raised in Cote d’Ivoire, he later moved to the US, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to be precise. In the pursuit of higher education in more challenging setting, he attended Temple University in Philadelphia, double majoring in Computer science and Finance, and earning a Bachelor Degree from Fox Business School. Having spent about 4 years in the professional world, which included teaching Mathematics, he decided to go back to school. Less than Two years later, Ahmed graduated from Keller Graduate School of Management/DeVry University in Fort Washington, with a Master Degree in Information Management System.

Ahmed is not really a newbie at AISB. In fact, he has been teaching Math part-time at AISB since 2014, while managing NGOs’ Projects. Ahmed is just delighted to be back to the place he likes to call “the other family”.


Simone KammingaSimone Kamminga
Simone is from the Netherlands. She has lived in Bamako since 2004. Before that, from 1996, she lived in different West African countries. Simone managed her travel agency for cultural travel through West Africa for 17 years and now runs a restaurant in Bamako. She’s a trained art teacher and hasn’t lost her passion for art while working in other fields.

Simone is excited to be the new high school visual arts teacher. She’s looking forward to challenge her students to produce great art work, introduce them to artist from different times and different places and to, where possible, make the link with contemporary Malian art and artists.



Michael KnazekMichael Knazek

Mike Knazek is coming to join the school all the way from Medford, New Jersey! Mike has been teaching in New Jersey for two years in Palmyra. After going to school for Marine Biology at Rutgers University, and then spending time in the field, he chose to enter the teaching profession, and received an M.S.T. from Rowan University.

Mike likes all things outdoors, and also travelling and meeting new people. He will be joining the school to teach high school and grade 8science, and is very excited.



Melanie MengueleMelanie Menguele
Ms Melanie Menguele is a wife and mom to a boy and three daughters: Benito, Leticia, Fabiola and Ivana.

Born from a Malian-German family, she worked as an office manager at the German Cooperation (GTZ) in Mali for 3 years before leaving the country. She is very pleased to be back in town after 14 years spent abroad. Melanie discovered her passion for teaching while staying in South Africa. She then graduated from the University of South Africa (UNISA) with a degree in Early Childhood Development. She worked as a preschool teacher in Pretoria for two years, as an English and pre-school teacher in Yaounde (Cameroon) for three years, then as a pre-school teacher in Germany for two years and, until recently, in Bamako for one year. She is happy to join AISB as the new PreK 4 teacher this coming school year.

Her hobbies include sport, movies and spending time with her lovely family. She is fluent in French, English, German and Bambara. She is really passionate about early childhood education and firmly believes that ECD is the best investment in a child’s future. Her favorite quote: “A day without laughter is a day wasted!”.


Terae SoumahTerae Soumah
Terae Soumah is a native New Yorker. She has a BA in Creative Arts in Therapy and an MS in Special Education. She has worn many educational hats and her experience includes self-contained special education classroom teacher, resource and teacher support, MS/HS English literature, grade 5 teacher for 7 years, elementary art teacher, drama teacher and elementary school coordinator.

She’s worked at public schools in New York and Florida and international schools in Kinshasa and Abidjan. Terae loves traveling, learning new languages and being creative. She first came to Africa in 2001 to study dance in Guinea. Since then she has visited Kenya and Uganda and lived in Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Terae enjoys guiding students on their journey to discovering the world around them and helping them develop their personal voice- whether through poetry, stories, language, dance, art, music….or even math.






Welcome our New Food Services: East of Eden

eoeEast of Eden would like to take this opportunity to present our restaurant. Our restaurant is specialised in catering and canteen services at home and at the office. Our kitchen serves African as well as Western food. We have a good understanding of international hygiene requirements, which is very important in hot countries like Mali.

Kees-Jan van Til is the owner of East of Eden and Aminata Niang is the designated manager for AISB. You might have seen us the last two weeks serving students and teachers. Our experienced cook Basile Anago is from Benin and he is assisted by three ladies; Dina, Kady and Oumou.

Our objective to serve diverse but good quality and nutritious meals. Not only because it is good for our children, but also because it is part of a broader learning process that we and the school started this year. In the new school garden, we will grow our own vegetables and fruits and students will participate actively in growing, picking and even cooking harvested produce! Learning to eat the right food cannot start early enough and is, in our vision, the starting point of a healthy and well balanced life.

Bon appetit!!!


Calendar of Important Upcoming Events

Tuesday, August 29       7:30: Pre-K Back to School Open House
 19:00: Kinder – Grade 12 Back to School Open House      
August 31-September 1        Tabaski holiday – no school
Monday, September 4  Q1 After School Activities (ASAs) begin. Sign up next week.                  
Thursday, September 7  7:30 Elementary Assembly with Grades 4/5
Friday, September 8  Secondary Community-Based Engagement Day
Saturday, September 9  PTO Welcome Back to School BBQ at AISB
Friday, September 22  Malian Independence Day – no school
Monday, October 2  Teacher in-service day - no school


Accreditation at AISB: Calling All Stakeholders

As part of their commitment to excellent education, international schools like ours participate in ongoing processes of reflection and self-improvement. Perhaps the most important of these is our Accreditation process, which we undertake in partnership with Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA). We are proud to be accredited by Middle States; they are an organization dedicated to high-quality education and fostering schools’ growth, and MSA guides the self-study processes of fine schools, colleges and universities all over the world.

One of the key characteristics of the MSA Accreditation is its focus on stakeholder involvement. Our Self-Study and goal-setting processes will bring together the entire community, including the voices of all stakeholder groups - that is, students, parents, teachers, staff and administration -- and, we hope, of all individual stakeholders.

In short: we need you.

Structure of the Accreditation Process
The Accreditation process is conducted in teams and groups, each of which takes responsibility for some part of the process. The Accreditation Planning Team creates the structure for the self-study, strikes the various Committees and Action Plan Teams and, using the results of the Committees’ work, sets growth Objectives for the school. The Committees and Teams a) create Profiles of the school, b) gather data to determine whether, and to what extent, AISB meets MSA’s standards in each of 12 key areas, and c) create and implement the Action Plans for Improvement. The Internal Coordinators support the committees in their work, ensure that the process happens in an orderly way.

The Self-Study Report will be completed by March 2018. Following its submission, in October of 2018 the school will host a Visiting Team of educators from MSA schools worldwide, who will examine the report and the school to ensure the report’s accuracy, and ensure that the goals are rigorous, worthwhile and will be achieved by the Action Plans. If they find that all is as it should be, MSA will award re-accreditation, to last for the next seven years.

AISB Accreditation Needs You!
At this time we are seeking volunteers from the community --including students, parents, teachers and staff -- to join the Accreditation Planning Team (APT) and the committees for the Self-Study. The APT will begin its work in the second week of September; one the first responsibilities of the APT will be to strike the committees for the self-studies, who will begin their work shortly thereafter.

These groups will require varying time commitments; we expect that the APT will meet no more than 8 times during this school year. Committees will probably meet about the same number of times (depending on the committee) but over a shorter time frame, typically 4 to 8 weeks.

The work is not easy! But it is straightforward, and -- even better -- it is fascinating, highly rewarding, and essential to our continuation as as an excellent school. By participating you help AISB to remain, and to grow, as a school dedicated to fine education and well-being of students.

If you would like to get involved in this stage of the proceedings, please complete attached form (English and French). We will do our best to match people’s interests and availability to the tasks available.

If you have questions about accreditation generally or about AISB’s accreditation process, please drop us a note and we’ll be in touch with you. You’ll reach the Internal Coordinators at

We hope to hear from you!

AISB Internal Coordinators
Veronique Mayer, Marcus Tanner, Kelly Owens, Renée Comesotti


Back to School Open House August 29 - All Welcome

This year’s Back to School Open Houses will be held Tuesday, August 29. Parents and students are cordially invited to meet the faculty and staff, visit classrooms, and gather information about learning at AISB this year.

  • Pre-kindergarten Back to School Open House Morning runs from 7:30 to 8:10 in the Pre-K classrooms.
  • Kinder-Grade 12 Back to School Open House Night begins at 19:00hrs, concluding by 20:30hrs.

We look forward to seeing you all.


You’re Invited! Elementary Assemblies

All parents of Elementary students are cordially invited to attend our Elementary Assemblies which take place every second Thursday in the Music Room.  The first assembly will be held Thursday, September 7th and is hosted by our Grade 4/5 class. We hope to see you there!

Elementary Assemblies for Semester 1

September 7th: Grade 4-5
September 21st: Grade 3
October 5th: Grade 2
ctober 26th: Grade 1
November 9th: Kindergarten
November 23rd: PreK 4
December 7th: PreK 3



College Corner

Welcome back everyone!

We have some important dates coming up in terms of standardized testing which a very important elements of the college application process.

12th grade parents: SAT and TOEFL testing dates and deadlines
The SAT testing date at school will be Saturday December 2nd, 2017. Students must log on to their college board accounts to sign up for the test.

The TOEFL testing date is Saturday September 16th, 2017 at the ACI-2000 location. Students must log on to the ETS (educational testing services) website in order to sign up for the test. This is a first come, first serve testing site and there are limited seats.
There will also be a SAT test at the school on Saturday November 4th, 2017. The sign up deadline for this test is Thursday October 5th, 2017. If you have not yet set up a meeting with me to discuss your child’s college future, please do so at your earliest convenience.

10th and 11th grade parents: PSAT and NMSQT Testing
Your student will take the PSAT/NMSQT here at AISB on Wednesday October 11th during the regular school day. This is an excellent opportunity for your student and if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to communicate with me. Most importantly, this is not something that your child should be studying for. It is a practice opportunity provided by AISB to give your student an idea of what type of score they can expect when taking the actual SAT later in the Spring.

Veronique Mayer
AISB College Counselor



The PTO Annual Back-to-School BBQ


On Saturday, September 9th the Back to School BBQ will take place - organized by the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). We invite you all to come and join us. The BBQ will start at 13.00 hrs and we expect it to end around 15.00 hrs. The Back to School BBQ is the time to welcome new families to AISB and to get reacquainted with the parents you met in years past!

Children attending AISB and their parents will receive food tickets free of charge. To have an indication of how many people will attend the BBQ we kindly ask you to confirm your presence with Mrs. Oumou Dramé. You can do that by phone (20 22 47 38), email (, in person, or by returning the form we will send home on Monday, August 29th. Please make sure you do it by Tuesday, September 5th in order to receive your free tickets. Tickets will also be available for purchase for food and drinks at the BBQ.

An event like this cannot be organized without your help. Please consider giving us 45 minutes of your time to help, in one or more of the following:

- Sell food/drink tickets  
- Serve food
- Help to clean up
If you want to help, please tell Mrs. Oumou Dramé as well!

We hope to see you on September 9th!



AISB MakerSpace: A dynamic learning environment

When working on the development of the latest AISB Strategic Plan, the community identified a need for a space within the school to allow students to work on practical, project-based learning tasks. This led to the development of AISB’s MakerSpace, located upstairs next to the Library.

MakerSpace is not a “course” that students complete - it is an environment, for project-based learning to support student outcomes. The MakerSpace encourages creativity, design-thinking, individual and collaborative projects; it is a space for “making”: a high-energy learning environment for creative, hands-on experimentation, exploration and problem-solving activities, with encouragement and a wide range of tools and consumables provided.

The MakerSpace is based in the well-founded belief among educators that all students are creators, and should be encouraged to use what they know to solve problems through real-life design and building experiences.

The MakerSpace is already equipped with hand tools (saws, pliers, side-cutters), soldering irons and a 3D printer. There’s also an assortment of consumables, like glues, tape, zip ties, wire and sandpaper. To make sure everyone stays safe, eye and ear protection, gloves and aprons are also provided.

In the MakerSpace students design and create, tinker, pull things apart to see how they work, and re-use components from one object to create another. For example, in the MakerSpace you might find students in the process of disassembling a common household machine to figure out how it works, then combining the parts from several small machines to create an entirely new one.

With this in mind, families are invited to contact us to discuss items they may no longer require or are unserviceable that we could use for activities in the MakerSpace. Hand tools, nails, screws, bolts glue, wire - these all come in handy as well, and we’ll happily receive donations of these items.

Got a skill, interest or passion that you would be interested in sharing with students? It might be in electronics, woodwork, construction, design, prototyping, robotics…...the list is almost endless. We would like to hear from you!

MakerSpace is not a new idea, and is found in good schools around the world. If you would like to find out more about the Maker movement and what it does, check out these links:

Enquiries about the AISB MakerSpace can be directed to Marcus Tanner at




Standards-Based education at AISB

As you know, AISB has been moving steadily in the direction of standards-based instruction, assessment and reporting, for the past several years. Standards-based approaches empower students, helping them understand themselves as learners, encouraging them to take advantage of many and varied opportunities to learn and to demonstrate their learning, and to focus their efforts on what matters most. This initiative, which emerged from our last accreditation process, is in keeping with current best practices in teaching and learning and will serve our diverse, dynamic student body well.

This year’s grade 6 and 7 classes will operate using a fully standards-based model for instruction, assessment and reporting. Those parents with students in Elementary are already familiar with a standards-based approach in reporting. In Middle School, the standards-based approach engages students more directly in the process of unpacking and addressing the standards themselves.

We encourage you to find out more about this initiative at AISB. We are pleased to re-run, below, one of the articles from last year’s newsletter, exploring the rationale and philosophy of standards-based approaches in detail. And teachers are looking forward to talking with parents about how a standards-based approach will help student learning on Welcome Back night. Hope to see you there!

Understanding “Standards-Based”: an important movement in education

Education is always evolving, and for most of us, our children’s learning experience in school is quite different from what we experienced growing up. At AISB, we are continually examining our educational program in light of current research, with a view to providing the best learning experiences for our students.

An important current trend in education is the movement toward what is commonly known as “standards-based” reporting of student achievement, with the goal of providing students and parents with better-quality, more helpful information about students’ learning and achievement. Students are better able to learn, and parents are better able to help them, when they are given clear information about exactly what students can do now, and can’t do yet. But traditional systems provide limited, and often misleading, information about student achievement that can obscure a student’s actual abilities and impede their learning.

The problem with “traditional” grading systems the full article



Tech Talk

At AISB, we have a number of online tools to help share details about your student’s learning.

Focus: This is our student information management system. Focus has details about each student such as contact details, attendance and grades. As a parent, you are able to access this system as well. There is one username per family, which will provide access to all the children in your family enrolled at AISB.

For students in Elementary school, you will be able to access the system to check personal details and attendance records. If you have students in Middle School or High School, the information accessible to you also includes their gradebook, and the last report card that was published.

At the time of writing, we are updating details in Focus, and not all parent login details are not yet ready. We will inform families when we have finished the updating process.

Google Classroom: Intended for secondary school classes, this is a platform for delivering content and resources, encouraging discussion and sharing assessment tasks. This makes it possible for students to easily check back and review work already covered; they can submit work, and receive important notices from their teachers. If a lesson is missed, details about the work that was covered can be accessed.



Class Blogs: These blogs are prepared by each of the teachers in the Elementary School. They typically contain a summary of the week’s learning, successes and celebrations, as well as details of upcoming topics and events. Suggestions for supporting your student’s learning at home are occasionally also provided.



At the Parent Night on Tuesday, 29th August, I will be available to speak with parents about these online services, as well as other information technology related matters like BYOD and our new MakerSpace. You are also very welcome to contact me via email (


The AISB Library and Follett

The AISB Library collection is managed using Follet Destiny, a very powerful tool that allows you to explore our collection wherever you are connected to the Internet.

You can access AISB’s Destiny system here; a link is also provided on FOCUS and the AISB website. Once you are on the page, you have different search options, as shown below. No login is required.

Parents are welcome to check out novels from the library for their personal reading, as well as other resources for sharing with children.


“Reading Rockets”: Reading Tips for Parents
Reading together with children is a great way to encourage their reading skills –and, even more importantly, their love of reading. And it’s a great way to spend time together as well. This link takes you to “Reading Rockets,” a great resource for parents interested in fostering good reading habits for children.

Contact Ms. Yaa ( if you have any questions.


Store orders 2017-18

In order to simplify your back to school tasks, the school runs a small shop where you can find all the supplies the teachers ask their students to bring to school.
To avoid last-minute stress and line ups at the store during the first week back to school, we strongly recommend that you drop your orders in advance at the reception desk or send them by e-mail to the following address:

You will find on our website the complete list of required supplies per class. There is also an online order form, which gives the prices for the items. To use the online form, you can either print it and fill it in by hand, or you can download a copy from the “File” drop down menu and select “Download.”

We thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.



Chers Parents,

Afin de vous simplifier la tâche, l’école tient une petite boutique ou vous pouvez trouver l’ensemble des fournitures demandées par les professeurs à leurs élèves.
Pour éviter le stress de dernière minute et l’attente en début d’année, nous vous recommandons vivement de penser à déposer vos commandes à l’avance à la réception ou à nous les adresser par mail à l’adresse suivante :

Vous trouverez sur notre site web la liste complète des fournitures requises par classe. Il existe également un formulaire de commande en ligne avec le prix des articles. Pour utiliser le formulaire en ligne, vous pouvez l'imprimer et le remplir à la main, ou vous pouvez télécharger une copie dans le menu déroulant "Fichier" et sélectionner "Télécharger".

Nous vous remercions d’avance pour votre compréhension et votre diligence.



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