From the Director

on Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Dear Parents,

It was so nice to see so many of you at the recent Halloween Carnival. Many thanks to the PTO for their work in planning and running the event. Also many thanks to the 10th grade students for the work they did running the games for the event.

Ebola Virus
Recently Dr. Jeremy Larson and Dr. Emily Rosenberg spoke at a town hall meeting about the Ebola Virus. They answered questions and reiterated that our community is not in either the high risk or low risk groups. They also confirmed that the precautions that we are taking:
Requiring everyone to wash their hands with soap, bleach and water,
Taking everyone’s temperature at the gate,
Sending home anyone who is feeling unwell,
are adequate precautions and in fact more conservative than measures that are in place at the US embassy.

To stay up to date on the latest accurate reports regarding the Ebola Virus please access the WHO and CDC websites:

While our minds are on the Ebola Virus, it is important to remember that statistically we are all at a much higher risk of contracting malaria or being seriously injured or killed in a car accident.

I was reminded of this recently. During the October break while traveling back from Dogon Country, some teachers and I were in a car accident. The van that we were traveling in was forced off the road by a large truck. Our driver lost control and we ended up upside down, each of us hanging from our seat belts. Amazingly, and thankfully none of us were seriously hurt. I strongly believe this was due to the fact that we were all wearing our seat belts.

Everyone who travels in an AISB vehicle is required to wear a seat belt before the vehicle starts moving. Drivers and monitors are instructed to stop the vehicle if students are not wearing their seat belts. Our students comply with this rule well.

However, I often see cars arriving in the morning with children not wearing a seat belt and at times even standing up with their heads on the windscreen – this is extremely dangerous. For their safety, please insist that your children wear a seat belt whenever they are in a moving vehicle.

Please see the article below as a reminder why this is so important:

Driving without a Seat Belt Statistics 
Driving is considered to be a dangerous task that should always be practiced with the upmost caution and precision. Though there are many factors that can potentially cause an accident to take place (i.e. drinking and driving, texting while driving, poor weather conditions, etc.), there is one element that each driver and passenger can control and should constantly be conscious of—wearing a seatbelt. Despite your age or common placement in the vehicle, (front or back seat), we encourage you to read further to see various statistics on driving without a seat belt.

Facts Regarding Seat Belt Usage
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of death among those aged 5 to 34 in the United States. The most reliable method of saving lives and preventing injuries from occurring is to wear a seat belt. However, millions of drivers and passengers choose not to wear seat belts on every day occasions. Various statistics regarding seat belt usage include:
Seat belts can reduce injury and death rates by 50%
Adults aged 18-34 are less likely to wear seat belts than those 35 or older
Men are 10% less likely to wear seat belts than women
In 2011, 58% of teen drivers killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt
Teens have the lowest seat belt use of any other age group
Though all ages generally choose to ignore seat belt laws, it's quite clear that teens are the most responsible for overlooking the safety option of a seat belt. According to, common responses for teens not wearing a seat belt include:
The belts are uncomfortable
The trip was short
Lack of understanding a seat belt's importance
Not being "cool"

According to the Naval Safety Center, only 1% of passengers who were wearing a seat belt were ejected from a car during a crash. Therefore, whether you're in the driver's seat, the passenger's seat, or riding in the back, wearing a seat belt is equally important and should be incorporated on every single journey. Your life could be saved just by the simplest procedure of fastening your seat belt. 

Stay Safe—Buckle Up! 
Not only is wearing a seat belt the law, it's an act that could and does save lives. It doesn't matter how old you are, where you're traveling to, or where you're positioned in the car, you should always buckle up!

Accessed from: (November 24th, 2014)

Progress Reports
On Friday some parents will be receiving progress reports for their children. Secondary students who have less than a “C” in any subject will receive a progress report, as well as all ESOL students. Students in Elementary School will receive a progress report if their teacher has a concern about their progress or if they are receiving extra ESOL support.

Elementary School reports are sent home as hard copies. MS and HS reports will be available on FOCUS. I will notify parents when they are ready to view.

All the best,     

Caroline Jacoby

A Message From AISB's New Director

Dear AISB School Community,

Renee and I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks for the kind welcome we received
during our visit to Bamako.  It was an honor to be invited to AISB to meet with you all.  

AISB is well known in the world of international schools for its strong sense of community and for the care it takes in ensuring the well-being of students. And indeed, during my visit I found a capable and supportive community of adults dedicated to their children's learning and well-being, and articulate, engaged students who love their school. 

AISB is a vibrant, student-centered school with its heart in the right place, and it is with great pleasure that I look forward to joining the AISB journey next school year. 

I wish you all a happy semester. 

Warmest regards,

Brad Waugh
A New Initiative – An Intern Program

AISB is excited to announce that we have launched an Internship Program for our 11th grade students. Based on a student project proposal, we will take learning out of the classroom and into the local community as students participate in a week-long internship in January 2015.

We agree that real-world experience is a necessary component in a well-rounded education. Students will be given the unique opportunity to explore their personal and professional interests, while applying their language and academic skills in the field. In preparation, students will attend a resume and interview workshop and receive job training. As requirements to the program, students are responsible for completing 30 hours of on-site work, they will document and reflect on their experiences, and share their new knowledge with future AISB interns. 
While this was a student-led initiative, it will be so much stronger with the support of the entire AISB community.  If you are aware of any internship opportunities or any potential contacts for students, please reach out to Lauren McBroom at

Lauren McBroom
Internship Coordinator

Girls’ High School Volleyball Trip to Dakar

Recently seven of our HS girls, along with their coaches, competed in the West African International Schools Athletic League (WAISAL) HS girls’ volleyball tournament. Below is a description of the trip written by two of the players. What they didn’t mention is the fact that they won the Sportsmanship Award! Well done girls. I was also pleased to see them come back highly motivated to compete in the HS soccer tournament in April 2015 and have already started training!

“The experience of defeat. In the beginning all of us were nervous about the tournament, but the thought of being in Dakar made it worth it. Kaydian especially was quite worried about being separated from her mom, being alone, and temporarily being hosted by a random family. The journey on the plane to Senegal was hilarious. On the plane Kale, Carla, and Laura were doing homework. Melinda and Raphaella were sleeping next to Ms Wilson. Michaella, Kaydian and Ms Schultz were having a blast; talking, eating bad food, listening to music, and just trying to have fun. Kaydian – being scared of heights had earplugs in her ears and was chewing gum like a cow. Kale, Michaella and everyone else were making fun of how she looked.

Finally we arrived in Dakar and had to go through an interview for our visa. Melinda - having a West African passport didn’t need to get a visa and Raphaella – with a diplomatic passport didn’t need one either. We then met Mr. Cissé (the ISD driver) who took us to the school. It was huge and beautiful! We saw so many kids and took a lot of pictures and “selfies”. It was at the school that we met our hosts. We were all hosted by at least one volleyball player. The overall experience for all of us with the families were suitable and agreeable.

On Thursday we went to Goree Island. It was fun, sad, but traumatizing at the same time. Hearing the history of what happened at that island really opened our eyes in a good way. The guide was educational while still being realistic and serious. The experience which traumatized most of us was the excessive attention and obsession we got from the sales women. They were persistent and scary, they wouldn’t  leave us alone and kept pushing us to come see their stores to buy their merchandise.

The day of the first matches, there was an opening ceremony at the school introducing all the teams and their coaches. We all bonded in our own ways with the other teams and even when playing matches we were all friendly and cheerful. In our match against ISD-A team everyone could tell we were frustrated, really angry, not concentrated and unrelaxed in the game.  It was the next day from watching the match with Abuja vs ISD-B team that we realized all the mistakes we made.

In preparation for our fight for 3rd place against ISD-B team, we were focused, relaxed, concentrated, and surprisingly almost won. After that we stayed to watch the final matches for girls and boys. Lincoln (Accra) won both for boys and girls, ISD-A team came second. 

That night the student council hosted a dance for the players, regular kids could come but they had to pay for entrance. Our experience seeing everyone dancing made us realize how diverse that school was, and we were actually amazed. The boys were AHHHHHHHH! The girls were OHHHHHHHH! And we were AWESOME! We owned the dance floor and showed them the Bamako power.

The last day of the trip we went to the beach, it was fun, the water was cold, some of us didn’t swim, but we all found a way to entertain ourselves. Then on our way back to the school we stopped at an American store, and we cleaned it out of all its chips and candy and chocolate. It was hilarious. We then went to the airport got on the plane and came back home to beautiful Bamako.”

By Kaydian and Melinda

Important Dates

Thursday 27th November:Thanksgiving – regular school day for AISB
Friday 28th November:Progress Reports sent home
Intramural Ultimate Frisbee (Grade 6 -12)
Tuesday 2nd December:PTO Meeting, 7:30a.m. – Library
Friday 12th December:2nd quarter after school activities end
Mon. 15th – Wed. 17th Dec:High School First Semester Exams
Wednesday 17th December:Winter Show, 1:30 – parents welcome
Thurs. 18th – Monday 5th January: Winter Vacation
Tuesday 6th January:School resumes
Genius Hour
After attending a conference in Addis Ababa earlier in the year, both Mr. Fessler and Ms Aafke have introduced the concept of “Genius Hour” into their class/after school activity. Read what this is all about……

Genius Hour — a regular time in class during which students get to pursue their own passion projects — is a gift that opens students up to the world of their own talents and interests. It allows them to reach beyond the routine, and embrace the uncertainty of their own audacious dreams.

How Genius Hour Evolved 
The concept of Genius Hour emerged from some of the world’s most innovative companies, whose leaders invited employees to explore their own ideas for contributing to the organization’s success. These leaders recognized that they needed to loosen the reins to create the conditions necessary for employees to think disruptively. Google famously allows its employees 20% of their work time to do this. For one day a week, employees work on projects of their choosing — a process that produced Gmail, Google News and several other important products in the Google family.

Every Friday afternoon the third grade students work in class on their projects. During the week they visit the library to see if there are books about their project, they find people to interview and they search on the Internet.

Some projects that the third grade students are working on are:
How come E. B. White wrote famous books while he did not like writing?
Racism: how did it start and when did it stop?
How come wings of planes do not go up and down like bird wings?
What was the first piece of Art in history and what materials did people use?

After some weeks, every student will present his/her project in some way. This may be using a PowerPoint, a poster, Art work or some other form.

Aafke Zoutewelle
3rd Grade Teacher

In Mr. Fessler's class, 12 Grade 4 and 5 students are participating in Genius Hour as an after school activity on Tuesdays.

Students have chosen topics, made a plan for researching their topics, and have just begun the research phase. Some of the topics include:
How did Versace become a fashion designer and from where did he get his ideas?
Where do we get rubies--how do they form?
Why are we here? What is the meaning of life?
What's the main reason most doctors choose to go into medicine?
What is the history of cigars?
Are dragons real, and if not, where did the idea come from?

Once students adequately research their topics, they determine the best way to present their findings. This could be through the creation of an iMovie, PowerPoint, speech, poster, etc. The culminating event is an exhibition in which students present their findings.

Jeff Fessler
4th/5th Grade Teacher

Welcome to New Members of the AISB Community

Lauren McBroom will be coordinating the Internship Program (see more below) at AISB and has also been substituting. 

Lauren earned her B.A. in French and M.A. in Curriculum Development from Michigan State University. She has six years of experience teaching in the United States and in France, for three of which she coordinated a successful high school internship program in Washington, DC. Lauren recently arrived in Bamako with her husband, Michael, who works for USAID's Program Office. Lauren enjoys traveling, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her dog, Gatsby.

Mrs. Mary Beth Bechtel recently moved to Bamako with her husband Brigham who is assigned to the U.S. Embassy.   She has taught off and on for the past 28 years while her family has lived around the world.  Mary Beth holds a Bachelors degree in early childhood education and a Masters degree in special education.  

Mary Beth and Brigham have three grown children - all living back in the U.S.  Only their dog Bismarck will join them here in Bamako.  Mary Beth just moved from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, where they lived for two years.  Before that the Bechtels lived in Germany, Greece, and Austria.  Mary Beth will be the part time learning support teacher at AISB, working with teachers and students.

Miss Patsie, volunteer teacher's aide 

Miss Patsie is a recent high school graduate from Upstate New York in the United States. Her father is the Medical Officer for the Peace Corps, and she is staying here in Bamako with her family for 1 year in between high school and university. At AISB she is learning as much as she is teaching, and is really getting a feel for what primary and secondary education is like. She is currently assisting Mr. Young with middle school math, Mme Fabré with high school French, Miss O'Brien with Kindergarten, and Miss Navin with 2nd grade. 

Director's Letter

on Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Dear Parents,
I hope that your children are settling into school happily. Parents of students in PreK 3- Grade 12 should have received progress reports for your children before the Independence Day long weekend. These are issued to make sure students and parents are aware of the progress students are making and any concerns teachers IMG 2465may have about your child’s progress. If you have any questions, please contact the teacher concerned.
This year AISB faculty are working on two new initiatives. These are:
  • Developing our service learning program to enhance student learning and to help them develop a sense of service. 
  • Adopting a new student leadership model in the secondary school to help all students devePhoto 1lop leadership skills and to be involved in leadership opportunities. 

Both these programs are off to a good start. Please see the articles about Service Learning at AISB and Student Leadership at AISB, as well as articles from some of the students for their perspective on these opportunities.

Service Learning

Service Learning At AISB
This year brings many changes to the Community Service program at AISB. First, the name has changed from a Community Service program to a Service Learning program. What’s in a name change you might ask? Well, this simple name change signifies many things. Community Service by definition denotes a one-way exchange of service or benefit. Many charities would perform community service activities as part of their mission. But like most other schools in the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA), we aim to facilitate a process of learning and enrichment for our students as well, so there needs to be a two-way exchange of service or benefit. In this context, our students perform a type of service with a partner organization, and in exchange our students gain valuable experience and knowledge.

Giving students an alternative setting for learning about real world problems while engaging in real world experiences. Some schools in AISA already have very well developed Service Learning programs with high profile NGOs, universities, or various other organizations. Other schools, like AISB, are beginning to follow suit as Service Learning has been recognized to bring immeasurable benefits to our students including, but not limited to:

  • Exposing students to things they might not be aware of and serving to broaden their knowledge about Mali and the world. 
  • Service Learning teaches empathy and helps to build communication, language, and leadership skills. 
  • Most universities look for this type of experience so it also serves to enhance college applications. 
To start, AISB will continue to develop two of its service learning programs from last year. These are working with the youth dance troupe of Sabalibougou and the elementary school tutoring program. In addition, a new opportunity is found in developing the community teaching garden and outdoor learning space on the AISB campus. This year students throughout the school will be involved in service learning, please click to read some of our students’ writing about their experiences.
In addition, we are looking for outside organizations of any type to partner with and to help enhance our Service Learning program here at AISB, to help give our students more choice of activities. If you are aware of a group or organization who you think may be a good partner for our students and preferably is not too far away, please let me know. We welcome your support in our program development here at AISB.
Jeff Brown (Service Learning Coordinator)

Environmental Club

Environmental Club is a new activity introduced this year in service learning that deals with raising awareness in the community about the environment and working to make AISB a greener place.
In the first couple of meetings that have been held weekly on Wednesdays, students participating in this activity have come up with suggestions as to how AISB could be made into a greener place and what strategies and approaches must be taken to achieve this goal. As a result, students have divided themselves into three different committees: an outreach committee, a fundraising committee, and a gardening committee. The outreach committee is mainly in charge of reaching out to the community and making people aware of what the environmental club is doing and informing people in the community about the wellbeing of the earth. A Facebook page and blog link will be available soon for the use of the public. The gardening committee is in charge of developing a green space in AISB where vegetables and other condiments could eventually be grown. All of these prospective projects that the environmental club have in mind would obviously need funds; that is what fundraising committee is in charge of. On October 1st, the first fundraising event will be held: Waffle Wednesday.
Stay tuned for more information!
Kale Kamano
Grade 12

Sabilibougou Dance Troupe Exchange

This year I joined the Dance Troupe Exchange. Our former teacher, Mr. Chandler, runs an organization called Instruments4Africa to support traditional music and dance in Mali. Students from their Children’s Dance Troupe come to school and teach us about Malian dance. We tutor them in French and Math.
I joined because I have known Mr. Chandler for four years. I really respect his work and I want to keep the program going. I like to be active. It is nice because we can teach the girls through activities and games. I want to add new ways of teaching to help the girls and have fun at the same time. I also would like to learn to play the drums for the dancers.
Bastiaan De Nooijer
Grade 11

Elementary School Tutoring

Tutoring is one of the many activities A.I.S.B has to offer both the elementary students and high school students. In this activity the elementary students come once a week, each Thursday, to the library, for a great learning experience with their high school buddy. During this one-hour they mostly work on their homework and receive help in areas where their work is not at grade level, such as: math, reading, and writing or even listening. The high school student meets with their buddy’s class teacher in advance so they know their buddy’s strengths and challenges and particularly help them with the challenges.

This all seems very simple and fun, but there are also some difficulties, since some students don’t have a long attention span and are younger than others. The high school students must find ways to keep the younger students focused, but also on task and still make it a fun learning process. It is also important for all students participating in this activity to show up at all times, because it is important so that your buddy doesn’t feel left out or not liked.

This activity is also great way for the younger students and the older students to connect and get to know each other better. In the end tutoring is a good way to help the younger students learn in a fun and educational way.
Cheik and Hussien Kone
Grade 10

4th and 5th Grade Service Learning Project

by Charity Nuhu
In January our 4th and 5th grade class will be working on something called a service learning project with Mali Health Organizing Project. Service learning means you do a project in class that teaches you reading, math, science, writing, or social studies, but this project also helps the community. This is the third year we are working on this project with Mali Health.

For the first year we made a graphic novel in French and English about malaria, and gave out copies to local schools in Sikoro. For the second year we made a graphic novel in French and English about rotavirus, and this time we worked with local students to make it. This school year we will make a graphic novel on malnutrition.
Did you know that 38% of Malian children under five years old suffer from chronic malnutrition? It is a serious problem and we hope our graphic novel can save lives. If you want to find out more about malnutrition, read our graphic novel, coming soon!
Check out our previous work:

Supporting Student Leadership in the AISB Secondary School

The AISB secondary school has implemented a new student leadership model this year with the goals of giving students a voice on campus, ensuring students have authentic leadership opportunities and providing all students with an opportunity to be student leaders and develop leadership skills. Our new model for student leadership, which was inspired by the work done at the American Embassy School of New Delhi, has three elements:
  1. Advisory leadership on community events
  2. Leadership meetings
  3. Goal-driven after-school committees.
Through advisory this year, which has been reformatted so that it exists in two longer blocks a week, students are taking part in the brainstorming, planning, set-up, and running of community events. Each advisory group has been assigned at least one event to take leadership on and they will work with the PTO, teachers, and administration to ensure that these events meet the community’s needs. Already this year, the 12th grade students have supported the Back-to-School BBQ, by providing activities and advising in the set-up, and the 11th grade students took responsibility for planning the schedule of activities for the high school Kangaba trip.
The first leadership meeting for the year took place on October 19th with Eva Palacios representing the 6th grade, Mahmoud Nimaga representing the 7th and 8th grade, Christian Loupeda representing the 9th grade, Mathilda Mungstege representing the 10th grade, Laura de Matos representing the 11th grade, Carla Rattunde representing the 12th grade and Ms. Chelsea Wilson representing the teachers. Ms. Jacoby was and will continue to be the facilitator for the leadership meetings. Each representative brought a concern, issue or project their grade felt worthy of discussion to the meeting and the group worked to brainstorm solutions and determine action steps. These included ways of improving the showers, making more equal space for MS and HS, giving the administration feedback on the lunch system and ways to improve respectful behavior towards all adults at the school. The process was a great success and we look forward to seeing the benefits over the coming weeks. The next leadership meeting will by November 14th and will bring together a different representative from each advisory group and from the faculty.
Several ideas for after-school committees have emerged from advisory and the leadership meetings. Students interested in forming a committee to plan and organize something after-school are encouraged to compile a list of students interested in participating and see Ms. Chelsea Wilson. We are enthusiastic about the opportunities the new model is giving our student body to become more resourceful, creative and self-expressive. The skills and experience that students develop through these projects and meetings will benefit the community and the individual students now and in the future.
Chelsea Wilson
Grade 12 Advisor

Back to School BBQ

on Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The Senior Class of AISB was in charge of organizing and coming up with activities in order to make the Back to School Barbeque more memorable for the community as a whole. As this was the first major event of the year, our class wanted to make sure we took the lead to make it noteworthy in order to set an example for other classes that are to plan future events.
Activities that were available included a mural painting corner for young children, soccer and basketball. These activities were chosen because they were not too complicated and as a result, the senior class could also enjoy other festivities. The class was also responsible for hiring a band to entertain parents and students as they were eating. We chose a band that would play traditional music and incorporate a little bit of Malian culture into the atmosphere.
Time was additionally taken to plan and determine what in the previous years we thought could be improved upon. A point was made that high school and middle school students had not had seats and an area where they could mingle amongst themselves. As a result, a high and middle school seating area was made which was an overall success although we may have gone overboard with too many seats!
IMG 5688
Overall, the Back to School Barbeque seemed to be a success with everyone enjoying the entertainment, food, and activities.
Kale Kamano
Grade 12

We Need Your Input!

AISB is exploring how we can increased the opportunities for our students to be authentic, innovative, and collaborative in their learning. Therefore, we are gathering a group of students, parents, and faculty to investigate options for a 1:1 device program from elementary to high school.
If you are interested in being part of this group and giving input on the tools and skills that our students need, please contact Your involvement is flexible and can range from once-a-month meetings to weekly committees to helping actually deploy the hardware and software once a plan has been approved.

Best regards,
 Matthew Kelsey
IT Coordinator, American International School of Bamako

Protecting Your Kids Online

Protecting kids

Mathematician of the month September: Maurits Cornelis Escher

Did you know that:
  • EscherHe was born in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands on the 17th of June 1898 (Bastiaan) 
  • The house he was born in is now a ceramics museum, called the Prinsessenhof (Bastiaan) 
  • He was the youngest of 5 brothers (Susane) 
  • From early childhood he had the ability to visualize distinct special patterns (Susane)
  • His family moved to Arnhem in 1903 (Bastiaan) 
  • He attended primary and secondary school there until 1918 (Bastiaan)
  • He was a sickly child and placed in a special school after failing second grade (Bastiaan) 
  • He was very good at drawing, but his grades were not as good as his drawings (Bastiaan) 
  • In his free time he took carpentry and piano lessons (Bastiaan) 
  • In 1919 he went to the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts (Bastiaan) 
  • After failing some subjects in architecture he switched to decorative arts (Bastiaan)
  • He was encouraged to continue graphic arts by his teacher Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita (Karima)
  • He left the school in 1922 (Bastiaan)
  • He is well known for his mathematical woodcuts, lithographs and mezzotints (Bastiaan) Butterflies
  • He made 448 of these in addition to 2000 drawings and sketches (Karima) 
  • His work explores echoing patterns, perception, space and transformation (Susane) as well as concepts in geometry, logic, space and infinity (Susane)
  • He is most famous for his impossible constructions. Examples of these works are: Ascending and Descending, Relativity, Metamorphosis I, II and III, Sky & Water and Reptiles (Karima) 
  • Like some of his famous predecessors (Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer and Holbein, he was left-handed (Karima) 
  • He was really a graphic artist and not a mathematician (Bastiaan) 
  • His work appears in books, on tapestries, on postage stamps and on murals (Karima) 
  • He was embraced by both artistic and mathematical communities (Susane) 
  • In 1922 he traveled to the Mediterranean and was influenced by the Moor-designed Alhambra in Granada, Spain (Susane)
  • He married Jetta Umiker and had 3 children. They lived in Rome (Susane) 
  • He traveled expensively through Italy and used many of the sketches he made then in later work (Karima) 
  • During the Second World War he lived in Switzerland, where he was fascinated by the Regular Division of the Plane (Karima) 
  • His work shows us that reality is wondrous, comprehensible and fascinating (Karima) 
  • Kubus escherHe passed away on the 27th of March 1972 (Bastiaan)

From the Library

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. Here is the link:, also available on FOCUS and the AISB website. Once you are on the page, you have different search options as shown below. No login required.

Parents are welcome to check out the numerous adult novels available in the library for their personal reading, as well as other resources to be read to children.

Reading Tips for Parents
It has been demonstrated that children whose parents read to them succeed more than those who don’t. Here is a great site to help you develop your child reading skills:

Contact Mr. Kone at: if you have any questions.
AISB Librarian

Child Protection Classes

on Monday, September 29, 2014
Students in Kindergarten – Grade 5 will be have Child Protection lessons over the next couple of months. These are designed to help equip children with the skills to seek help if they are ever faced with a situation where they are being mistreated, physically, emotionally or sexually.
Lessons and resources are taken from the Child Protection Handbook, which parents can access at: 

As the year continues AISB will continue to develop this program to also include older students.

MAP Testing

Learn how interpret your child’s MAP report and learn about how teachers use the data to help their students achieve their full potential. Parents who attend will be given their child’s MAP report during the session. Others will be sent home later in the week.

  • When: Wednesday 8th October, 7:30 -8:15
  • Where: Library 
  • Who: Parents of students in Kg – Grade 10

2014-2015 PTO Committee

Congratulations to the following people who have been elected to the AISB PTO executive for this year:

  • President: Vinisha Nankani 
  • Vice President: Christianne Nsengiyumia 
  • Treasurer: Nathalie Richer 
  • Secretary: Marie-Claude Racicot 
  • Volunteer Coordinator: Danuta Nganko & Cecilia Soares 

Thank-you to all these people for agreeing to take on a leadership role and others who committed to supporting them in these roles throughout the year. We look forward to some great PTO events and new ideas and ways of supporting our students and the school.

Suzanne Anderson on Leave

As I am sure some of you have noticed, Suzanne Anderson will soon be having her second child. She will go on leave on Wednesday and return for the beginning of the second semester. We wish her all the very best with the delivery and look forward to meeting the new baby in January.

In Suzanne’s absence, two of our part time teachers will be increasing their teaching loads, Alexis Schultz will be teaching PE classes and Christina Arn will be teaching Suzanne’s art classes.

AISA Board Meeting

I am a member of the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) board.

NewImageIn this role I will be traveling to Addis Ababa to participate in the AISA board meeting on Thursday 2nd October and will return on Tuesday 7th October. I should be back just in time for the swimming activity!

In my absence Jeff Brown will be the teacher in charge. I will also be contactable by email while I am away.

Tabaski Holiday

Tabaski will be celebrated in Mali on Sunday 5th October. AISB will be closed for all students, faculty and staff on Monday 6th to allow families and staff time to celebrate and recover from the festivities. Please note this is a change to the original calendar.
Congratulations to one of our janitors, Daouda Doumbia on winning the sheep in the support staff raffle at the faculty and staff party this last weekend.
Sheep 2

I wish everyone who is celebrating Tabaski, Sambé Sambé!
Best wishes,
Caroline Jacoby

Counseling for Students & Families

Guiding students to find their strengths and build upon them to achieve goals and overcome obstacles.

Tama Walley is a licensed social worker & psychotherapist, specializing in stress management for individuals, children, and families. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology & Organizational Development and a master’s degree in Social Work.

In addition to traditional approaches to psychotherapy, Tama is trained in EMDR Therapy, Mindfulness, Yoga, and Expressive Arts Therapy.

For further information:, 78 81 99 38.

Halloween Carnival – Save the date!

AISB’s Halloween Carnival will be held on Saturday 15th November NewImage(please note it has been moved from October).

Get your costumes ready! More information to follow soon.
on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Scholastic Book Club opened, starting September 15- 24. An opportunity to choose and purchase your favorite books.
on Friday, August 29, 2014
Some creative writing from one of our 7th grade students inspired by a water balloon fight on the MS trip to Kangaba.

Five Minutes of Kangaba- Nego Matsinhe 

“GO”, I heard pushing myself forward towards the arena. I crunched my back and rounded my eyes around the environment as those of an eagle searching for a meal. Around me everything moved slowly, water hit and splashed all over the place, water balloons struck and shattered into little pieces as like a solar storm and to planets clashing together. I stomped my bare feet on the sharp ground. Shadows passed, laughs and screams passed me too. People started shuffling around under nature looking to refill their ammo. I stopped, I looked around looking for my team that we had created to try and survive in this war. Still water struck on me hard forming little bumps on my chilled skin, the crowed gathered and now I knew it was over.

I stared at my feet as we were walking towards the fire ice blue pool. My towel swayed in the humid wind making it seem like a cape. My friends and I dropped our bodies in the sun-heated water. I sunk down into the water leaving only my head in sight.

“WOO HOO”, hollered the six graders as we were entering our moment of zen, as if they were fierce drooling warthogs. From over the pool the people who weren't swimming sat sagged in their seats; ignorant of what was going on around them as they were listening to music.

“Wendy”, I called, I started little swimming motions in the water and the message was passed. We positioned our bodies towards the other side of the pool. The spectators around the pool started their countdown. Everything swayed slowly, every motion and every breath; I placed my foot on the slippery pool and I swayed my head to the side looking my opponent snake eyed and I smiled. The spark in me started forming, it grew slowly passing through my system, like the spark in the engine of a car in the process of the ignition.

 “Bam”, it hit, the fire had hit the gasoline, I swayed forward like the arrow of a harpoon. My arms struck the water, one two, one two, I had started a rhythm. I felt a figure pass me by inches, followed by cheers around me, and sighs of loss.

I bobbed my head out of the now cold water and I looked at the sky as it moved from blue to orange, as I breathed as if trying to blow a Guinness world record balloon. A group of birds flew around the sky, the sun lay and went to sleep blinking slowly. A small wind picked up swishing the plants around. I lifted my tired body above the water and out of the pool and sat my brain following the path of the sun.
on Friday, August 15, 2014
Dear Parents and Students,

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year.

I am looking forward to seeing our returning students and their families and welcoming those of you who are new to AISB in the coming week.

I had a lovely vacation, enjoying two weeks of sunshine, sea and the delicious food of the Mediterranean in Greece and Turkey. I then headed home to see my family in Melbourne, Australia where it was the depths of winter. It was 5 degrees when I left to come back to Mali. Needless to say, I am very happy to be back!

In our absence, the support staff has been busy with maintenance work and cleaning to help prepare the school for the coming year – thank-you to all of them for their hard work.

I hope the following information will be helpful as we all prepare for the year ahead. I look forward to seeing students back at school on Tuesday 19th August.

We had very few teachers leave at the end of last school year so we have just a few new teachers this year. Several of them have already been working at the school in some capacity so you will see some familiar faces below. I am sure you will join me in welcoming them to the AISB community.

Christina Arn

Christina Arn was born in Switzerland and spent her first five years in the United States. She grew up in a musical family and learned to play the violoncello amongst other instruments. She studied Design at Zurich University of the Arts, Sound Design at Berlin University of the Arts and Teaching at Bern University of Teacher Education. She has been working as an artist and musician in Europe and the US, creating audio plays, sound installations and music compositions for theater, art exhibitions and the radio, for which she also has been traveling to Mali to record the rhythms of work and music. The last five years she started giving music workshops to children at theater institutions and public schools. She loves to travel, to invent new instruments and discover music from around the world. She will be the music teacher.

Tikva Chofi

Tikva Chofi is the ESOL teacher this year and will also serve as the 11th grade advisor. She is originally from Chicago where she taught for 6 years.  She and her husband moved to Mali in December 2013. Last school year, Tikva enjoyed teaching ESOL at AISB to support staff and also in AISB’s After School Program for outside students. She fell in love with the school community and is excited to be back as a full time staff.  Some of the other things she enjoys about living in Mali are eating Tigadegue, learning French, and dressing for hot weather all year round.

Kadiatou (Dija) Kounta

Kadiatou graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Child Development. I enjoy teaching children and watch them grow.  Kadiatou is a mother of three. She enjoys cooking and traveling and having new adventures. Kadiatou lived in the US for 15 years and she has 7 years experience working with and teaching diverse groups of children. She is excited to teach Prek-2 and after school English program at AISB.

Carrie Navin  

Carrie Navin is originally from Princeton, New Jersey. She studied International Relations with a focus in Africa and Development at American University before joining the United States Peace Corps and serving in Zambia. After that, Carrie pursued her Masters in Elementary Education at The College of New Jersey. She then taught second grade at Union School Haiti for two years. In her spare time, Carrie likes to read, sew, and play tennis. She hopes to become familiar with Bamako and improve her bike riding skills. She will be teaching the 1st and 2nd grade at AISB.

Mela O’Brien

Mela O’Brien has been teaching for 17 years, first in Alaska then in South Korea and for the last 4 years for AISB at the Sadiola School. She has taught all levels from Kg to 8th grade and enjoys integrating subjects and hands on learning. When not teaching she enjoys creative pursuits such as fabric arts, dance, music and making things for her granddaughter. She also enjoys traveling curling up with a good book. Alaska is her home base when she is in the US. She is looking forward to joining the AISB community this school year teaching kindergarten.

Alexis Schultz 

Alexis Schultz was born in Georgia and moved to Indonesia at 18 months. Since that time she has lived in Indonesia, Malaysia, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and the USA. After graduating from Emmanuel College with a degree in exercise science, Alexis got a job as a physical therapist technician where she has been working until the present time. Upon joining the staff at AISB, Alexis will be teaching PE and coaching a variety of sports. In her spare time Alexis enjoys working out, playing sports, hiking, and hanging out with family and friends.

Cecilia Soares

Cecília is Portuguese. From 2001 until 2013 she worked at the Dutch embassy in Lisbon, taking care of finances. There, she met her husband John Smit who also worked at the embassy. She is the mother of 7 years old Beatriz, in 2nd grade.
Cecilia loves animals, she has 2 dogs that came with her and family to Bamako and, after the first months, she now feels really comfortable in Bamako. 
This year she is working hard to make the beginning of the school year go smoothly for everyone.

Jenise Thompson 

Jenise Thompson has been a lover of theater since a young age. She has acted in productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Carousel, Grease, and (her personal favorite) The Crucible. Last December, she was featured as one of the evil stepsisters in Citronella: A Cinderella Story here at AISB.

Jenise also wrote and directed In A Good Book, featuring scenes from five well-known books and a cast of AISB students, AISB faculty, and other adults from the Bamako English-speaking community. She is very excited to teach drama to the students at AISB this coming school year and hopes everyone will enjoy the performances to come.

Orientation for New Students and Their Families
Orientation sessions for new students will be held on Monday 18th August to help new students feel ready for their first day of school. During these sessions I will share some general information, introduce teachers and students will have a chance to visit their classroom and meet their teachers. 
School supplies and lunch tickets will be available for sale at this time. Help your child settle in by making sure they have all the required school supplies for their first day of school.

All new families are welcome to attend. The times are as follows:
Monday 18th August:
  • PreK – Grade 5: 2:00 – 3:00p.m.
  • Grade 6 –Grade 12: 3:00 - 4:00p.m.
Information packets to help you learn about the school, our expectations and routines are available to be collected from school any time this week or next Monday.
Please see the list on the home page of the website or attached here.

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Who Is Teaching What?

Elementary School Teachers
Kadiatou (Dija) Kounta    
Ayo Wilson
PK3 & PK4
Irene Okpugie
PreK Assistant
Sira Diarra
PreK Assistant
Pamela (Mela) O'Brien
Kindergarten Teacher
Joel Kisoki
Kindergarten Assistant
Carrie Navin
Grade 1/2 Teacher
Samson Bawa
Grade 1/2 Assistant
Aafke Zoutewelle
Grade 3 Teacher
Jeff Fessler
Grade 4/5 Teacher
Benjamin Amegatsey

Secondary School Teachers and Specialist Teachers
Jeff Brown
MS Math and Science Teacher/Grade 6 advisor
Amanda Leavitt
MS Humanities & English and Counselor/Grade 7/8 advisor
Anke Robertus
HS Math
Chelsea Wilson
HS English & College Counselor/Grade 12 advisor
Jamey Young
MS/HS Science and MS Math
Abby Wilson
HS Social Studies/Grade 10 advisor
Ousmane Barry
Advanced French/AP French
Isabelle Thomazeau-Pepin    
Intermediate French
Daniela Fabre
Standard French
Christina Arn
Suzanne Anderson
Art & PE
Alexis Shultz
Jenise Thompson
Tikva Chofi
Matt Kelsey
Technology Coordinator & Grade 9 Advisor
Lamissa Sanogo
Network Administrator
Yaa Obeng
Technology Assistant
Souleymane Koné
Librarian & After-School Activities Coordinator

Administrative Staff
Caroline Jacoby
Cissé Sacko
Administrative Assistant
Oumou Dramé
Receptionist/Bus Coordinator
Binta Traoré
Business Manager
Assetou Konipo
Adama N'Djible (Baba) Coulibaly    
Facilities Coordinator
Adama Sidibé
Assistant Facilities Coordinator

Drivers & Custodians

Fanta Samake
Daouda Sanogo
Sory Soumano
Boubakar Guindo
Abdoulaye Bagayoko
Namakoro Keita
Lassine (Lassi) Koné
Mamadou Diarra
Daouda Doumbia
Mahamadou Doukoure         
Hama Degoga
Jacob Mulbah
Samba Fall
Photocopy technician