Letter from the Director

on Monday, March 16, 2015

Dear Parents, Faculty, Staff and Students,

It has been a stressful week for everyone in Bamako. I hope and your family are all doing OK. At this time of heightened security awareness, please be assured that AISB is taking security very seriously. We have been in daily contact with the staff at the Regional Security Office at the US embassy who have all been very supportive in providing security updates and advice. In the last week we have done the following:
  • Reviewed all security procedures with staff and the guards.
  • We continue to hold security drills at school - two this last week.
  • The national guard are patrolling around the school 24/7.
  • We vary bus routes on a daily basis.
  • Our drivers have all had recent training in observing unusual behavior on the routes they drive and what to do if they notice anything unusual.
  • We have suspended sports games against other schools until after Spring break, when we will review the situation.
  • We have moved the hand-washing station inside the school. Please do continue to wash your hands before entering the school. We have stopped taking temperatures of everyone entering the school.
  • We provided an town hall meeting with the RSO to inform the community of the security situation.
In addition to these measures we are trying to keep school routines as “normal” as possible.This helps everyone at stressful times and is particularly important for children.

Teachers have been giving students opportunities to share any fears or concerns they have and we have provided access to crisis counseling for students, parents and staff, which some people took advantage of. If you would like to speak to a counselor about any fears or stress that you may be experiencing, Tama Walley  (Licensed Social Worker & Counselor) is available for private consultations. Her contact details are: tamawalley@yahoo.com

Recommendations for Devices for Students for 2015-2016 School Year

Photo Credit: paulhami via Compfight cc
As explained in last month's newsletter, next school year all grade 6 -12 students will be required to have a computer or tablet at school each day. The following are some recommendations for families looking for some advice about which devices will be most appropriate secondary school students.

While there are many appropriate devices and students may bring one of their choice, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • It is more difficult to be productive on tablets than on Windows or Mac laptops. Therefore, we do not recommend that high school students use a tablet as their primary device.
  • It is essential that you purchase an extra charger for your child’s device. Frequent power surges in Mali shorten the lives of adapters, and getting replacements in country is highly difficult. In addition, having two chargers lets students keep one at home and one at school.

AISB Board News

Greetings AISB Community!

During our last board meeting held on February 19th, 2015 many items were been discussed and approved. We found the item of publishing board minutes to the AISB website something we needed to discuss. In a recent survey of international schools around the world, results showed, out of 100 schools, only 6 made minutes of their board meetings public. With some critical, and at times sensitive discussions and decisions taking place during board meetings, we do not feel that posting minutes publicly is beneficial for AISB. As a board we have made the decision to not post minutes to the school website effective immediately. For our AISB community, minutes will now be available through the AISB director upon request. Also, please remember, that all association members (parents of AISB students and faculty) are welcome at AISB Board Meetings.
We appreciate your understanding,
AISB Board

Amendment to the AISB Articles of Association
Thank-you to all parents and teachers who took the time to vote to amend the AISB Articles of Association. We need more people to vote to have the amendment passed. If you haven't already voted, please send your vote into school this week.

PTO Community Sale – May 16th

PTO Community Sale – May 16th, 10:00a.m. -1:00p.m.

The PTO is organizing a garage sale for AISB families who would like to sell items they no longer want. There will be a charge of 2,000cfa per table for families who would like to sell.

The PTO will sell food and drinks. More details will follow.

What the PTO Is Spending Their Money On

Dear All, 

This year PTO has decided to purchase reusable plastic plates and cutlery to help save the environment.
The PTO has ordered 300 Plastic plates, glasses and cutlery which cost around US$1,500 including the shipping charges.
These will be used everyday for school lunches as well as during PTO events to reduce our plastic consumption. 

Preserve Plastic™ does not contain Bisphenol A (known more widely as BPA) and are melamine free. The products come from a network of trusted providers.
  • Those plates and cutlery are meeting the highest safety standards for everyday use.
  • They are made with 100% recycled plastic.
 The PTO

More Happy With Friends

By Nil Palacios, Grade 5

On a class field trip last week, we visited a Malian school. I entered the microscopic classroom, where now we had 100 feet in a room. The first thing that I did was to talk to a stranger that I didn’t know. Actually we became friends and didn’t stop smiling at each other the whole day. This makes me think that many people don't realize that a friend can make all the difference in your life. There are three ways that friends can make a huge difference in your life: They make your life easier, they help you when you have problems, and they make you a better person.

For example, friends can make your life easier. An expert in friendship called Cherie Burbach said the more people you know, the more support you have. Another quote from says, "a friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow." – William Shakespeare . And I am telling you that this is true. You see,  it just makes your life easier.

Believe it or not, they also help you with problems. Like the University of Minnesota 4H club says, more than 2,000 Minnesota junior and senior high school students were asked how they handle serious problems in their lives. Can you guess what they said? They either try to handle the problem themselves or, talk to their friends. For example when I have problems,  my friends have always been there to help me. You also see that in movies, like in the movie “Robots” when they needed help to solve problems they all went together and solved the problem. This is an example of friends cooperating.

A poem by Rachel Ellis says:
When we first talked to each other
I knew we would always be friends.
Our friendship has kept on growing.
And I'll be here for you to the end.
You listen when I have a problem
And help dry the tears from my face.
You take away my sorrow
And put happiness in its place.
We can't forget the fun we've had
Laughing 'till our faces turn blue.
Talking of things only we find funny
People think we're insane-If they only knew!
I guess this is my way of saying thanks
For catching me when I fall.
Thanks once again for being such a good friend
And being here with me through it all. 


An outbreak of measles has been noted in Bamako. Measles is caused by a virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. It is highly contagious. Common symptoms include:
  • fever
  • cough 
  • a characteristic rash, often with white spots in the mouth. 
The illness can result in serious complications.

All AISB students must be immunized against measles as it is a highly contagious disease. If you have young children below school age, you should arrange to have them vaccinated.

To learn more about measles, please visit the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html

Service Learning in Grade 4/5

How can you take classroom instruction to the next level while engaging students in meaningful community service? It’s possible by using a method of teaching called service learning in which students learn required academic standards for their grade level while participating in a service project that benefits the school/local community.

Grade 4/5 students are currently working on such a service learning project. In our case the classroom instruction revolves around: 

  • science (microorganisms, disease, malnutrition, proper hygiene, adequate sanitation, clean water)
  • writing (constructing a fictional plot, creating a finished story with dialogue, editing, revising)
  • social studies (research about malnutrition and Malian history)
  • math (statistics about malnutrition, safe water, proper hygiene, and adequate sanitation
  • visual art (graphic novel design, illustration)
  • technology (using comic software)


WHEN:   Thursday,  March 19, 2015


 AT WHAT TIME:  7:30 – 8:15 a.m.


  • French is an international diplomatic language.
  • It is one of the most influential languages in the world.
  • It is an official language of many international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization, UNESCO, the Red Cross, NATO, INTERPOL, and the International Olympic Committe.
  • All three branches of the European Union are headquartered in French-speaking countries.
  • France is the number one tourist destination in the world.
  • France is a technologically advanced country and a leader in the world of art and literature.
  • Knowing French will enrich your English and help you with your university studies.
  • Proficiency in French increases your job prospects.
Sources: a. The American Association of Teachers of French
b. McDougal Littell Discovering French Nouveau

Please, come and see your child/children in action at our FRANCO-FÊTE !!!


Elementary Sports Day

Students in Kg – Grade 5 enthusiastically participated and enjoyed themselves at the recent Elementary School Sports Day. The day was organized by the PE teachers, Ms Schultz and Ms Anderson with input from the MS and HS PE students. The Secondary School students helped run the events and did a great job encouraging the younger students. Our students always enjoy the opportunity to get to know younger and older students during the cross age events.

We were pleased to see many parents were able to come and support their children. Many thanks to everyone who helped make the day a success. Awards will be presented in next week’s special Francophone Assembly at 7:30a.m.

Reading With Your Child At Home

At a glance

  • When your children see you read and write, it teaches them that reading and writing are useful skills.
  • Reading with your kids at home will help them in all areas of their learning at school.
  • Read together with your kids and have a range of reading material available to them at home.
  • Try not to let television intrude on reading time.
  • Be confident that your child will learn to read.

Grade 3 Garage Sale

Part of our Social Studies unit, Economics, was organizing a Garage Sale. There were some challenges to work on before we could run the event.

The students thought about ways to attract others to come to their Sale.
First we searched the Internet for advertisements that were eye-catching and strong. They looked at different types of advertisements as well, like: commercials, posters, announcements, invitations, flyers, word of mouth, emails etc. We decided together who would do what and we all created posters to hang around the school. 

Handling money:
During Math we practiced how to give change to customers if they paid too much money. We started using American money and ended with CFA since that was the money we were going to use. An important activity since we wanted to get lots of profit!

Variety and Demands
During our Field Trip to Kambila and as we worked on this unit we realized that it is important to have a good variety of items to sell. Some students brought second hand clothes, books and toys, others created bracelets, games and coloring books. We even had students bringing in cakes, cookies, popcorn and bisap to sell. As a group we decided what prices we could ask for the specific items. We discussed what would be favorites and could we ask higher prices when there was more demand.

The event:
We were a bit nervous before we opened the Garage Sale but we were well prepared and set up our tables with colorful table clothes. All the items had stickers with prices on them. Each student prepared a small box with change in it.
Many parents, students and teachers came and guess what, we had empty tables at the end. At the end we did offer some bargains. We decided to give some of our profit to the village we visited a few weeks ago. We will discuss how to use the money wisely so that the women’s group is helped by this little token of appreciation. We made lots of profit and gave 42.000 cfa (times 2) towards this women’s project. 

Thanks, to all who came and helped us to practice our business skills. It was a fantastic experience!

Grade 3

Literacy Day News

Literacy Day was filled activities that promoted literacy.  In the morning 10th graders visited the kindergarten class.   They spent time writing and illustrating stories.  The kindergarteners enjoyed having someone big help them with their stories.  And the 10th graders were surprised at how much the kindergartners knew about writing and story telling.  The results were some fun and imaginative stories.   Here are a few of these shared stories.

Important Dates

Tuesday March 17th:      
AISB Board Meeting, 6:30p.m.
Thursday 19th March:    
Elementary School Francophone Assembly, 7:30 a.m.; parents welcome
Friday 20th March:           
MS and HS drama performances – 1:50p.m; parents welcome
Last day of 3rd quarter
Saturday 21st – Sunday 29th March
Spring Break
Monday 30th March:       
4th quarter begins
Wednesday April 1st:     
3rd quarter report cards sent home
Monday 6th April:              
Easter Monday holiday – AISB closed
Monday 13th April:           
4th quarter after school activities begin
Thursday April 16th:        
Grade 3 host Elementary Assembly, 7:30a.m.; parents are welcome