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.

Have You Liked AISB's Facebook Page?

Then do it NOW!


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

Lunch Tickets Sold on a Weekly Basis Now

Students may buy lunch and snacks at school. For lunch, students can bring lunch from home or it may be purchased at school on a weekly basis. The menu is available on the school website. Parents/students should pay for the following week’s lunch by Friday of the previous week. If it is easier, parents are encouraged to pay for several weeks at a time. There are two portion sizes:

  • Small (suitable for most elementary aged students and small eaters) – 7,500cfa per week
  • Large (suitable for secondary school children and adults) – 10,000cfa per week
  • Please try to bring correct change.
Students should also have a snack for recess. Snacks may be bought from home and are also sold at school – these include fruit, muffins, cake and water. Snack tickets are 2,500cfa for a book of 10. Snack tickets may be bought and payment for lunch should be made with Fanta in the main entrance before school. Please understand that no credit is given. Lunches cannot be purchased for individual days.

Nourishing snacks and lunches of fruits, vegetables and protein are encouraged.  Soft drinks, all candy and other items high in sugar content should be avoided.  Drinking water is available at school, but we expect students to bring their own (clearly named) refillable water containers.  Students can bring bought water or other drinks in non-breakable containers. For safety reasons drinks in glass bottles are not allowed at school.

School Hours for 2014-2015

Please Note the Change of 
Early Release Day

Due to some scheduling changes, the early release day for students will change to Thursday this school year.

Please note that all students from Kg – Grade 12 will be released at 1:20 on Thursdays to allow teachers time to be involved in meetings and professional development.
  • School hours for secondary students at AISB are 7:30am to 2:45pm.  
  • Elementary classes end at 2:45pm 
  • Pre-Kindergarten students attend school from 7:30am to 11:25am (PreK2 & 3) or 12:25pm (PreK4).  The school office is open from 7:15am - 4:00pm Monday through Friday.  
  • Thursday is an early release day. Students finish school at 1:20.
  • After School Activities run from 2:50pm – 3:50pm, after which the late buses depart. Students should not arrive on campus prior to 7:00am due to lack of available supervision.

Dress Code for Secondary School Students
Students’ dress should reflect the notion that school is a place where students are learning both academic and social skills. AISB expects that all students will use common sense and good taste in their dress for school.

Students’ personal appearance is expected to be neat and clean they are expected to wear appropriate, non-distracting, inoffensive clothing.
  • Slogans and logos on clothing must not include vulgarity or references to drugs, alcohol or sex.
  • Skirts, dresses or shorts must be worn to extend at least as low on the leg as the tips of the student's fingers when their arms are hanging by their side. 
  • Shirts/tops should cover the cleavage. 
  • Low-sagging pants that reveal undergarments are inappropriate for school. 
  • Tank-tops are permissible.
  • Underwear should not be visible.
  • Hats should not be worn inside but are encouraged for PE and when students are outside.
  • Footwear must be worn at all times.
  • The rule-of-thumb that all students should follow is that if the clothing might be considered offensive to anyone or if it might be distracting to the learning process, then it shouldn’t be worn. 
  • Students judged by their teacher or the Director to be inappropriately dressed will be required to put on additional clothing (possibly provided by the school) or sent home.

For Physical Education: An AISB PE uniform (shirt and shorts) is mandatory and can be purchased at the school store.  Socks and sneakers are also required.

To be clear, the school community do not want to see:
  • Underwear
  •  Buttocks
  • Cleavage
  • A bare midriff exposed when standing, walking, or sitting
  • Excessively ripped or torn clothing
  • Clothing, hairstyles, or body accessories that might distract, intimidate, or leave a negative or   misleading impression with fellow students, younger children or guests at the school.
Failure to adhere to the above guidelines will result in students being required to change clothes or to be sent home from school to change. Decisions regarding the appropriateness of clothing, footwear and accessories will be made by the Director.  

Staying Safe and Healthy

You will all be aware of the health crisis in some of our neighboring countries. I am in regular communication with the doctor from the US embassy who is giving me medical advice in regards to this crisis. As I have communicated before, this is a disease with limited treatment options so prevention for you and your family and the community is VITAL.  Please educate yourself about this disease and make sure that anyone who works for you also understands this information. We will be discussing this health issue with students and helping them understand how they can protect themselves, without causing them unnecessary worry. There are some very important guidelines to follow:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use sanitizer if water is not available. Do this before eating, after going to the toilet, after being in public places, touching other people etc, etc.
  • Do not eat any form of bush meat – monkey, rabbit, porcupine, rat, etc.
  • Do not touch the body of anyone (even your closest family members) if there is any possibility of them have passed away due to Ebola.

What are typical signs and symptoms of infection?
Sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat are typical signs and symptoms. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts, and elevated liver enzymes.

The incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from 2 to 21 days. The patients become contagious once they begin to show symptoms. They are not contagious during the incubation period.
Ebola virus disease infections can only be confirmed through laboratory testing.

When should someone seek medical care? 
If a person has been in an area known to have Ebola virus disease or in contact with a person known or suspected to have Ebola and they begin to have symptoms, they should seek medical care immediately.

Any cases of persons who are suspected to have the disease should be reported to the nearest health unit without delay. Prompt medical care is essential to improving the rate of survival from the disease. It is also important to control spread of the disease and infection control procedures need to be started immediately.

If your child has a fever, they should stay at home until the fever has gone – this is good practice at any time, but particularly at this time.

The above information has been taken from: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/faq-ebola/en/

There is also a French version: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/faq-ebola/fr/

Please consult this website or the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/qa.html for accurate information. Please do not always believe rumors or information that you hear from sources that are not experts in this field.

Important Dates

  • August 19th                       -- School Starts for all students
  • September 6th                    -- Back-to-school BBQ
  • September 8th                    -- After School Activities Begin
  • September 4th &5th           -- Kangaba trip for Middle School students (tentative)
  • September 11th &12th       -- Kangaba trip for High School students (tentative)
  • September Thurs. 28th       -- Back to School Night PreK – Grade 12, 7:00p.m 
  • October 15th                      -- PSAT (7:40-10:40a.m.)

Important Dates

  • September 19th                  -- School Starts for all students
  • September 6th                    -- Back-to-school BBQ
  • September 8th                    -- After School Activities Begin
  • September 4th &5th           -- Kangaba trip for Middle School students (tentative)
  • September 11th &12th       -- Kangaba trip for High School students (tentative)
  • September Thurs. 28th       -- Back to School Night PreK – Grade 12, 7:00p.m 
  • October 15th                      -- PSAT (7:40-10:40a.m.)