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