October 6, 2017: AISB’s Foundational Documents: Learning, Respect, Integrity, Community, Choice, Balance



AISB Newsletter

Vol. 13.2 | October 6, 2017

In this issue: 


New Friends

From the Director: AISB’s Foundational Documents

AISB is a mission driven school and, as such, is guided in all decision-making and design processes --including our current accreditation review--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 -- even the layout of our classrooms should be a reflection of the values and aims of the school.

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 provides a high quality international, English-language educational program based upon American academic standards, which fosters academic excellence and personal growth. AISB provides an innovative, supportive learning environment that welcomes students from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds, empowering them to meet successfully the diverse challenges of a 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 - in brief:

AISB students grow to think, inquire, know, reflect and make decisions, in the service of becoming collaborative, compassionate, open-minded and productive world citizens.

MSA Accreditation Update

After much planning and anticipation, AISB’s process for re-Accreditation with the Middle States Association is finally launched! The Accreditation Planning Team (APT) has met to develop the re-accreditation plan and strike the Committees for conducting the Self-Study. The APT struck a total of 9 committees, and several of the committees began their work. Also this week, teachers completed their initial review of MSA’s Standards for Educational Program and Assessment and Evidence of Student Learning.


We have recently sent out MSA’s Standards Survey for Parents, and we urge families please to complete their surveys.


The Survey is available in English and in French.  Click the link to find the survey in the language of your choice.


We thank Ms. Martine sincerely for her translation of the survey, and Mme Assetou Monneret for her kind assistance.


During the month of October, the committees will conduct their reviews of the evidence of how, and to what extent, AISB meets MSA’s 12 Standards. The information and analysis the committees produce will be presented to the APT, who will use it in establishing a series of objectives in student performance and organizational capacity, for the next seven years.


Like to get involved?  Great!

Stakeholder input is a key element of accreditation with MSA. We send our sincere thanks to those parents and students who have stepped forward to participate in this important process. We have a long list of student volunteers (yay, students!) but not as many parents (yet). If you are interested in learning more or getting involved, and you have not yet completed the Interest in Accreditation survey, send a quick email to accreditation@aisbmali.org, or stop Kelly Owens, Véronique Mayer, Marcus Tanner or Renée Comesotti in the hall. They’ll be delighted to hear from you.

And don’t forget to complete your survey!


We are pleased to welcome some new staff members.

  • Krishanthi Ekanayake, who joins Sira Diarra as a co-teacher of PreK 2
  • Charlotte Griggs and Maimouna Samake, who join us as Teaching Assistants
  • Veronica Bawa, who joins us as an intern in the front office

We are glad to have them on board, and I know you will make sure they experience the warmth and welcome of the AISB community.

See you at school,



A Reminder from the PTO

Please join us for our annual Halloween Party on October 28th from 6:30 – 8.30 pm, with fun activities for all: a trick or treat parade (from 6:30-7:30 pm), a haunted house (hosted by the US Marines), a scary room made by our creepy grade 10, a spooky bouncy castle, a scary lab, face painting and a gorgeous Cake walk. East of Eden, and Mr. K’s Burger will take care of the finger food. And of course there will be drinks available.


Every member of the AISB community is welcome! And so are your friends. The entrance fee is 5000CFA per person (3 tickets for food or drinks offered). You can sign up for tickets (and to volunteer) by returning the completed forms sent home with your child.

We hope to see you on October 28th!! The PTO team. (pto@aisbmali.org)

Please notre that BEBE LINA will host a Halloween costume sale for kids and adults at AISB on the following dates :

Monday, 23 October from 1-4:00pm
Tuesday, 24 October from 1-4pm

​Don't miss it !

Spirit Week is coming... the week leading to Halloween!!!!

Monday: Comfy Day
Tuesday:Crazy Hair Day
Wednesday: Nerd Day
Thursday: Opposite Day
Friday: Formal Day

More details to come...


Board Presentation to Association Members on the financial state of the school

October 25th 6:30pm-7:30pm in the Library

Please come join us at the meeting to hear the financial report and to get an update on the school’s efforts preparing for our re-accreditation visit next fall.


Attendance and ASAs

Picture1If your child is absent from school due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances, please call the school (2022 4738) or e-mail Oumou Drame (odrame@aisbmali.org) by 7:30 am, to notify us.

If you know in advance that your child will be away from school, please inform Brad Waugh (bwaugh@aisbmali.org).


Please note that the first session of activities will end the week of October 9-13. The second round will start on November 6.

We encourage parents who have talents to also offer activities.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the After-school activities coordinator, Ms. Yaa Obeng (yobeng@aisbmali.org), if you have any questions.


College Counseling Corner

Hello AISB College Seeking Community

We are about to enter the busiest part of the college application process. Many of our seniors have done hours of work getting themselves ready to face the challenges ahead. In order to make sure that you and your child are on the same page, you may want to have a discussion with them about their college application progress. Here are some guiding questions:

  1. How far along are you in your studying for the SAT test?
  2. Have you taken the TOEFL test yet? If yes, did you achieve the minimum requirements for the schools you would like to apply to?
  3. Do you have a solid list of safety, range, and reach schools?
  4. Have you asked your teachers for letters of recommendation?
  5. What is your progress on your personal statement?
  6. Have you started filling out college applications yet?

Remember, the SAT test is on campus Saturday, October 7th. You must be on campus at 7:30am and you can expect the test to last until approximately 1:30pm. Make sure you have a calculator, a number 2 pencil, a piece of photo identification and your admission ticket.

Our juniors will be taking the PSAT on October 11th during the school day. They will need to have a number 2 pencil and a calculator for the test. This test gives insight on the student’s progressing towards the SAT and where they should be focusing their study efforts over the next year. It will soon be the time for juniors to set up a meeting with me to discuss how they can start getting prepared for their college applications!

Thank you and as always, please contact me if you have any questions.

Véronique Mayer


Keeping Kids Safe: Child Protection at AISB

Keeping children safe is every school’s first responsibility. This responsibility begins with providing a safe environment for learning at school and extends to protecting children from harm at home and in the world beyond. To this end, AISB has policies and practices that support us in maintaining a culture of Child Protection. Our approach is based on the powerful framework developed by the Association of International Schools in Africa. The AISA approach embraces three broad strategies:

  1. Build and maintain a school culture of protection, through
    1. Teaching child empowerment, respect and humane regard
    2. Educating and empowering students to protect themselves from harm
    3. Hiring and screening staff appropriately
    4. Ensuring staff understand and comply with policy and procedures related to Child Protection
  2. Build Child Protection into school policy (see AISB’s Child Protection Policy statement, below)
  3. Establish effective procedures for handling, reporting and responding to signs and disclosures of possible abuse.

AISB faculty engage in regular trainings, workshops and formal discussion on Child Protection and its implications for the classrooms and culture of the school. AISA’s Child Protection Curriculum is designed to teach students how to protect themselves from harm, and is implemented in an expanded form in AISB’s Child Protection Curriculum, at all levels.

In addition to the planned learning experiences, we help students learn to protect themselves through teaching the importance of self-worth, safety awareness, efficacy and empowerment, in children’s everyday experiences of the classroom, through school routines and norms, and in their relationships with adults at school. The AISB Board of Trustees has formalized the school’s measures for child protection in the policies that govern the school. Parents should be aware of AISB’s Child Protection Policy and its implications.

AISB Child Protection Policy
Child abuse and neglect are violations of a child’s basic human rights and as such present obstacles to the child’s education as well as to their physical, emotional, and intellectual development. Schools fill an institutional role in society as protectors of children.

Educators, having the opportunity to observe and interact with children over time, are in a unique position to identify children who are in need of help and protection. As such, educators have a professional and ethical obligation to identify child abuse and neglect and to take steps to ensure that the child and family avail themselves of the services needed to remedy the situation.

All staff employed at the American International School of Bamako must report to the Director all suspected incidences of child abuse or neglect whenever the staff member has reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered, or is at significant risk of suffering, abuse or neglect. Reporting and follow up of all suspected incidences of child abuse or neglect will proceed in accordance with the procedures outlined in the AISB Counseling Crises Manual. Furthermore, cases of suspected child abuse or neglect may be reported to the appropriate employer, to the respective embassy in Bamako, to the appropriate child protection agency in the home country, and/or to local authorities.

This policy will be distributed to all staff annually and be included in the application packets to families. Training, guided by the contents of the Counseling Crises Manual, will be provided on an annual basis to ensure the AISB staff is informed and educated about child protection issues, indicators of abuse or neglect, and how to respond to disclosure of abuse or neglect. Every effort will be made to implement hiring practices to insure the safety of children. In the case of a staff member reported as an alleged offender, the Director will conduct a full investigation, keeping the safety of the child as the highest priority. (Approved: May 2014)

Based on Child Protection Policies from Lincoln Community School, Accra, Ghana and the American School of Bombay, Mumbai, India.


Standards-Based reporting at AISB

Our grade 6 and 7 students are now fully immersed in a standards-based approach for learning and assessment, in all subject areas. In every subject, core and specials, students work with the standards to better understand the nature of what they are learning and recognize their achievements. Clear, specific feedback from teachers is allowing students to target specific areas for growth and improvement. And through guided self-reflections, students are also able to identify patterns in their learning across subject areas, which which guides their efforts and growth in more purposeful ways.

A standards-based approach allows students, teachers and parents to recognize exactly what students can, and can’t yet, do. This information is helpful and empowering for everyone.

But what is a standard, actually?
A typical standard has several components:

  • The Strand: The significant area of knowledge within the subject area into which the standard falls.
  • The Standard: The goal; the view to future learning; the essential skill, knowledge, understanding or disposition that a student will master by the end of grade 12. Since standards are developed over many, or sometimes all, grade levels, they help schools ensure that students build knowledge, understandings and skills in a coherent way over time.
  • The Grade-Level Indicators: The grade-level goal for the standard; the the particular contexts in which, at this grade level, the standard is learned, practiced and demonstrated. At the indicator level, the standard is often broken into individual components that will be targeted individually in students’ learning experiences at this grade level.

So for example, here is a standard from the Grade 7 Mathematics curriculum:

The Number System

Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division to divide fractions by fractions.

Grade Level Indicators

  • Apply and extend previous understandings of addition and subtraction to add and subtract rational numbers
  • Describe situations in which opposite quantities combine to make 0
  • Understand p + q as the number located a distance |q| from p, in the positive or negative direction depending on whether q is positive or negative. Show that a number and its opposite have a sum of 0 (are additive inverses). Interpret sums of rational numbers by describing real-world contexts.
  • Understand subtraction of rational numbers as adding the additive inverse, p - q = p + (-q). Show that the distance between two rational numbers on the number line is the absolute value of their difference, and apply this principle in real- world contexts
  • Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract rational numbers.

Some indicators are taught and mastered within a single quarter. Others take much longer, and may play an important role in the course throughout the year. Standards may be introduced at the beginning of the year, or later; and may be taught and assessed throughout the year or for only a portion, depending on the curricular area and the needs of students. Regardless, standards “spiral” -- that is, they recur in the curriculum, year after year, at increasing levels of depth and complexity.

Teachers assess students’ learning of all the standards, formatively during the learning process and summatively once the study of a given standard is concluded, gathering evidence of a student’s learning and performance and building a holistic picture of the student’s learning, identifying specific areas of growth, strength and challenge for each student.

There are 6 strands, 20 standards and 52 indicators for Grade 7 Mathematics. By the end of the year, Grade 7 students will have demonstrated learning in all these areas.

But...isn’t that too much information?
The challenge for educators is to provide students and parents with good information, that is, a balance: enough information to be helpful and specific, but not so much that they drown in detail. Students make use of the whole standard in their classroom learning -- strand, standard and indicators -- but not all at once. Standards are often re-written in student-friendly language for use in the classroom, and are sometimes abbreviated or paraphrased on report cards, to make them more useable for students and parents.

What to expect on the report card
This quarter Grade 6 and 7 teachers will share specific information about students’ performance on the indicators, in the narrative portion of the report. As in previous years, teachers will target those indicators that will be most helpful in describing individual students’ learning, in the comments section. In addition, students will receive a summary grade consisting of Proficient, Progressing Well or Needs Development, for each standard for which they have been summatively assessed this quarter. A discussion of exactly what kind and degree of learning each performance descriptor describes may be found below.

By the end of the year, students will have received a grade reporting their progress in all the course standards.

When we work together students learn better. For more information, discussion or enthusiastic testimonials, contact your child’s teachers or Brad Waugh (bwaugh@aisbmali.org). We’ll be delighted to hear from you. More to come!!!


New ES and MS Performance Descriptors: What’s in a name?

In order to better support student learning within a standards-based system, and in light of research and current best practices, AISB is pleased to share with you our revised performance descriptors for Elementary students and students in Grades 6 and 7.

The purpose of the descriptors is to support student learning and empowerment, and to summarize student learning as clearly as possible for students and parents. From our work with students and our research into other schools’ reporting systems, we feel that these new descriptors will do a better job of indicating a) the way AISB teaches and measures student progress, and b) the way students of different ages learn.

We have provided explanations of the descriptors, linked below. Your child’s teachers will also be pleased to provide you with specific illustrations from your child’s work, to show you just what we mean.

Our ultimate aim is for your child to be able to do that, too; look for next month’s article on Student-Led Conferences at AISB.

Elementary has adopted the indicators Independent Performance, Instructional Performance and Introductory Performance to describe student performance of the standards. An elaboration of the Elementary descriptors may be found here.

In grades 6 and 7, student mastery of the standards is indicated using Proficient, Progressing Well, and Needs Development. You’ll find an elaboration of the MS descriptors here.

“I can” statements
Empowering students to take ownership of their learning. You’ll notice that in World Languages and “specials” subject, students’ mastery of the standards is expressed using “I can” statements. These statements capture the essence of learning in those subject areas using language that helps students recognize and take ownership of their learning.


Learning and Homework at AISB

There is a lot of pleasure to be had in seeing our children seated quietly at the kitchen table thinking, writing, responsibly doing their homework -- and then announcing with satisfaction, “There! Done!” Helping your children with their homework can be a great satisfaction, and is also a great opportunity to learn about what’s going on in school.

Homework involves the whole family
But every child’s home situation is different, and every family has a different approach to homework and different beliefs about the role and importance of homework in the family’s daily life. For some families, working together in the evenings is an important and long-established family tradition. For other families, evening is when the family enjoys other kinds of learning and family time. Some see homework as a way for their child to learn responsibility while others see it as interfering with their child’s learning of other important things.

And in either case, homework can become the dreaded late-night “tears at the table,” when everybody’s too tired, and the only thing learned is that school can be a source of frustration for the whole family. Many parents--especially by the time students reach middle school-- get tired of reminding their kids to “just get it done.” Sometimes children can place a mistakenly high value on homework, becoming anxious about “getting it all right” -- which can be hard to do when the teacher’s not there to clarify things. A child like this might struggle for an hour or more on an assignment intended to take ten minutes.This can lead to added pressure for students and parents, that can ultimately interfere with some children’s willingness to learn.

Some children love the routine and sense of accomplishment they get from practicing their learning at home. Other children have worked and played hard all day; they did their learning during class, and are too tired to write a paragraph after dinner. Your child may be any of these -- or several of them, depending on the day.
All of this suggests strongly that a one-size-fits-all approach to homework will not be effective in a school that values the individual child.

But isn’t homework good for students?
Actually, the research is quite clear: statistically, “homework for homework’s sake” has little or no benefit on student learning at the Elementary school level. The benefits of traditional homework --worksheets, endless practice problems, and so on -- have more to do with providing structure for children who need it, and encouraging students to “get used to the idea” that they should be doing school work outside of school time. There is some indication that added practice benefits student learning, in some areas, but nothing to suggest that this practice needs to happen at home, rather than at school.

Every learner -- every child-- is different.
At AISB we recognize that every child is different. In fact, some Elementary students love their homework (we suspect these are the ones who will grow up to be teachers!), and benefit from it. Most children will benefit from homework occasionally, especially if that homework is designed to target their individual and specific learning needs.

Learning is for life, and balanced school-learning and home-learning is important to a learner’s development.
At AISB we want students to love learning, and to enjoy practicing what they have learned and sharing their learning with their parents and families. We also want students to understand that learning doesn’t stop when school stops; and we recognize that there is more to learn in life than the things we teach in school.
For this reason, we take an individualized approach to homework for our students in Elementary. We plan learning to ensure that, most of the time, your child does the learning and gets the regular practice she or he needs during school time. Where it seems that practice outside school will benefit the child, we assign it.

Good Homework
We don’t eschew homework entirely, though: indeed, home learning is part of learning throughout Elementary. In particular, reading at home can be a big contributor to young children’s developing literacy, and Elementary teachers encourage students and families to make reading a regular and enjoyable part of their evening routine.
Depending on grade level, your child may quite frequently have “home assignments” that are learning of a sort that is best done at home, and that will help her or him apply and practice skills they have learned, or extend their learning meaningfully. Interviewing a grandparent, reading to a younger sibling, investigating garden plants, reading a good book, writing in a journal, playing math games -- these are examples of the kind of meaningful, appropriate home-learning work that will benefit most children’s growth.
And you can help, too. Inviting your child to make the shopping list, read to a younger sibling, explain the weather, tell the time on an analog clock, make a vacation plan, figure out the cost of lunch at a restaurant, write a letter to Auntie to plan a visit -- these are ways your child can apply, practice and extend her learning in real ways that help her recognize that her learning is useful (otherwise, why do it?), and let her know that you also recognize the real contribution her learning makes to the family.

Homework that does not benefit learning does not benefit your child.
At AISB Elementary, we do not give students assignments that demand that they master new material outside of school time, and we do not, as a rule, assign “busy work” -- that is, unnecessary practice or assignments-- unless we have reason to believe that a child will benefit from and enjoy it. Unnecessary practice, pointless repetition and “make-work” activities can have the unintended effect of encouraging students to focus less during school time, since they know they will have to spend time doing the same thing after school anyway.

Homework, where it is assigned, should be engaging and worthwhile without requiring students to struggle alone, or requiring parents to become tutors. We work to ensure that the homework assignments we give are, to quote respected researcher Cathy Vatterott, “purposeful, efficient, personalized, doable, and inviting.”
Vatterott also stresses the importance of communication between students, parents and teachers about homework. We try to work with each child’s particular learning needs, as we try to leave time for families of young children to be together, without the added pressure of “but I have to do my homework.” And we encourage all our families to be in touch with us whenever they have information that can help us help their children’s learning.

Homework in Secondary
Research on the impact of homework on learning for students at the secondary level is not as clear as it is for elementary students. For older students, it is sometimes better to think and write at home where, ideally, they have more control over their working environment. Some kinds of thinking are better done away from the crowd. Indeed, deciding to take some of their schoolwork home is one of the ways that students begin to practice independence and self-regulation as learners. Recognizing when it will be more efficient to finish an assignment later, when she’s not tired/hungry/distracted, or has simply had had more time to think it over, is a sign of maturity and increasing independence in a student.

It’s “home learning” -- not homework.

Even better: when students want to work longer -- take more time, go deeper, explore further, polish, revisit -- and in any way take ownership of their learning, this is a sign that they are finding their individual strengths and interests, and embracing the most important attitudes of the life-long learner. Carefully designed “home work” can facilitate this kind of growth. For many educators, the term “home learning” does a better job of guiding students’ efforts than does “homework.”

Nonetheless, there is plenty of evidence to show that, far from teaching responsibility and good learning habits, for many students homework is a major cause of anxiety and demotivation toward school and --worse-- learning generally.

For this reason, the kind of work students are doing at home matters a lot. Writing poetry, or reading a challenging piece of text that has him fascinated, listening to a symphony, or working on a science fair project that she designed herself, wrestling with a math problem that he just can’t let go --- are activities that have quite a different impact than, say, completing a fill-in-the-blank worksheet.

Some basic principles we keep in mind are that:

  • Homework should be doable by students working independently. If a student is unable to complete his or her homework without additional support from an adult, the student or their parents should inform the teacher who assigned the homework, and the teacher will arrange for extra support at school.  Indeed, we offer such support each day through our after school program, in the library.  
  • Homework should not have a negative impact on other aspects of the student’s life. If parents feel that homework is causing anxiety for their child or disrupting family life, leading to arguments at home, or taking too much time away from other important activities (family time, pleasure reading, physical activities, and so on) parents should let us know. As a general rule, a student’s nightly homework should, on average, take no more than 10 minutes times their grade level to complete (so, for example, a grade 6 student should spend no more than 60 minutes on their homework, on average, per night).  Please note note that this formula describes a maximum, not a minimum!
  • Homework should be personalized as much as possible.  Each student’s needs for practice and independent working time are different.

For a great overview of the the homework discussion in education and elsewhere, Cathy Vatterott’s book Rethinking Homework: Best practices that support diverse needs (2009). You might also want to check out her influential Homework Bill of Rights for Families. A humorous and well-taken parent perspective on homework may be found here, and includes the classic kid poem “Homework! Oh Homework! I Hate You! You Stink!”



Food Services at AISB

DSC 0085 DSC 0083
 East of Eden staff, (left to right): Ms. Oumou, Ms. Miriam, Ms. Dia, Chef Basile, Ms. Dina, Ms. Amina      

This year we welcomed our new food service, East of Eden, with the purpose of providing students with more nutritious lunches and snacks, providing more varied food options, and reducing food waste.

Our new partners have spent the first month or so getting used to the strengths and quirks of our facilities and schedules, the needs (and wants!) of our students, and the unique challenges of serving good, nutritious food in a school setting...and having students actually eat it.

We are pleased to report that lunch sales are up 10-15% over last year, and that the nutritional content of lunches and snacks is, as we hoped, visibly improved.

Of course serving healthier cuisine for more than a hundred young people every day is not without its challenges, as any parent can imagine.

“We’ve been having good healthy foods...can we also have hamburgers, pizza or hotdogs “sometimes”?

-- Ismail Barry, Grade 2
   At the elementary school assembly


From September 15 to 20, East of Eden sought student and staff feedback on what was going well with the new service, and what could be improved. They met with each elementary class to gather feedback, solicited input from all secondary advisory classes, and attended staff meetings for discussion with teachers. Based upon this feedback, East of Eden have targeted improvements in the areas of portion sizes (while keeping in mind the need to keep waste down and keep food serving timely and efficient) and kid-friendliness (while maintaining high nutritional standards). They continue to add to their repertoire nutritious, kid-friendly meal and snack options.

Buying Tickets

Also, parents have noted that ticket sale procedures were not convenient - the community was used to having a table set up in the foyer each morning from 7am onward. East of Eden is continuing to seek the most effective solution; for now, tickets may be purchased starting at 7am by going directly to the kitchen. East of Eden folks will be checking in with students and staff again soon, to see how things are going and gather more suggestions for improvement.

And yes, East of Eden now serves hamburgers, pizza and hot dogs on Fast Food Fridays! :-)

We thank East of Eden for their commitment, their hard work and energy, and -- maybe most of all--for maintaining a sense of humor while mastering the considerable challenges of kid cuisine in a school setting.



The AISB Library and Follett

libraryThe 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.

follett search

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


New Books in the Library

At the end of the last school year, the AISB library received an infusion of new books!

Do come in and take a look...and have a read!


Scholastic Book Order Leaflets Coming to You Next Week!


Community-Based Engagement Day - Career Day

Friday, September 8th was not an ordinary day on campus for secondary students. Instead of attending academic classes, students spent from 7:30 until 19:30 listening, learning, and engaging in their community!

We started the day with the students working in teams discussing which communities we were a part of and why communities are so important. Then, the 11th graders organized hilariously fun games that challenged students to work effectively together. From there, the students put their heads together to analyze the school’s mission and vision. There was a consensus among students that community is an essential part of their learning experience.

After the presentation, the students were afforded the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers and each student attended three sessions. Presenters included numerous Malian artists, a renowned photographer, political activists, a Malawian tailor, and an American engineer. Some students elected to wander the neighborhood and speak to to farmers, fishermen and small business owners along the river. Others chose to listen to a TED talk, or Skype with a human rights lawyer from the DRC and an American woman working to preserve native culture in the US.

After the presentations, students and presenters shared lunch together outside. Filled with enthusiasm, students broke off into their different advisory classes in order to plan out their community-based initiatives. The day was capped off by playing soccer and swimming. Dinner was provided by Mr. K's and music was spun by D.J. Boubakar.

The students are planning their projects and are working at becoming more engaged in their community. Should you like to read more about CBE, please take a look at the CBE website.


You are invited to share your occupation with us! Whether you are a mechanic doctor, astronaut, business owner, social worker, cook, etc. we need you! We are looking for a variety of careers to represent all walks of life. Many of our middle school and high school students are unaware of career opportunities available to them. This is a fantastic way to provide them with first hand knowledge of potential career paths and make an impact on their future.

The event is scheduled to take place, Wednesday November 22 from 12:45 - 2:45 pm, but  arrangements can be made for half hour participation and presentation can be done in English or French. If you are interested in taking part or know someone who is, please contact Abdel Hacko Yattara at ayattara@aisbmali.org.


MS Performance Arts Class Event

Ms performance1       Ms performance2


Ms performance3Here are a few photos of the performance created by five middle school students, as part of their Performance class, to express their reaction to the current state of security and terrorism in the world today. Students could be heard asking questions, encouraging their peers to join in and confirming the fact that 'we can't close our eyes to this anymore." Teachers were intrigued and some also got involved in the walk with students.

Live art performances in the hallways have become something of a thing here at AISB and we are looking forward to more reflections about our personal, social and global communities. Look for more about innovative learning through Middle School Performance, High School Project and Theory of Knowledge, in the next issue of the newsletter.


Workout Room at AISB

During last year’s strategic planning process, students expressed a strong desire for  an inside exercise space. And here it is:  AISB’s Workout Room, opening soon! 

Photos: Michael Nzungize.

Gym 2 Gym 3  Gym 4


IT Online Services

Compared to a lot of schools in North America and Europe, AISB has a small internet connection. However, we make the best possible use of it and ensure that students and school operations have access to a variety of online tools.

Teachers evaluate many resources that are available online, and will select those that best support the curriculum they are delivering and are developmentally appropriate for the students in their classes.

Important services that we make use of as a school include:

Google Apps for Education (now called G Suite) is the online service that we rely on the most. It includes email, calendar, document production, file storage and our learning management system. All students from Grade 1 to Grade 12 have an account -- however, it is used primarily from Grade 4 onwards. Teachers of Grade 1 to Grade 3 introduce a few key tools like document production and file management when they feel students are ready. The management of our Chromebooks is also handled using this service.


IXL supports our Math curriculum. All students from Kindergarten to Grade 10 have an individual account, allowing them to progress through the activities relevant to their current work and identify concepts they understand and can demonstrate, as well as those they may need extra support for. Teachers will use this in class from time to time, and students are encouraged to log in and use it at home.

Used in the Elementary School, Raz-Kids is intended to provide an alternative way for students to access literacy materials. Classroom teachers determine the reading level of each student, and then assign access to appropriate levelled books. Some titles are available as audio books, and each book comes with activities to check students’ comprehension. Teachers will regularly use this in class, and students are encouraged to log in and use it at home. https://www.kidsa-z.com/main/Login


To provide support for our World Languages curriculum, we have a subscription to Linguascope. It provides access to interactive activities and learning materials for over 140 topic areas at levels appropriate for each individual student. French, Spanish and English -- among others -- are available. This resource is used to support class activities, and is available for student use at home.



Focus is an important part of our record keeping about students. There have been a number of minor issues with providing access to parents, particularly families new to our school, and we have been working with the vendor to resolve these. For all students, families are able to check the details we have on hand, such as contact details and attendance data. Families of students in the Secondary Department are also able to access the latest published report card, as well as student gradebooks. Further details are anticipated to be made available in the coming weeks.

This online booking system is used for the organization of After School Activities, and allows our Activities Coordinator Mrs Obeng to efficiently organize and monitor these. It is important that families wishing to book their students into our After School Activities use this system.

Parent-teacher interviews and student-led conferences will be taking place on Friday, November 3. The organization of this will be through our online booking system. Details about the system and how to make bookings will be emailed to parents in the coming weeks.


Useful indicators of student academic growth in Math, Reading and Language Use are measured using MAP Growth tests. This year, we have moved from using a testing server located within the school to using the online version of the tests. Testing is happening right now, and so far has been successful.

After evaluating several providers and conducting trials on our network, the World Languages faculty have selected Avant STAMP 4S to gather data about student progress in French and Spanish. This testing assesses student growth in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Our first large-scale testing of students will commence soon; details of the testing will be sent home to families.



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