on Monday, June 1, 2015

Dear Parents, Faculty and Staff,

It is with excitement and sadness that I write the final newsletter for the 2014-2015 school year.  The year was marked by a steady increase in student numbers. I am pleased to tell you that these look set to continue next school year.

We made some major achievements during the year. We finally had the “definitive reception” of the AISB facility. This is stage one of the master building plan. Stage two (25m swimming pool) is budgeted for next school year. Thanks to the generosity of the US State Department, street lighting was recently installed along the dirt access road to the school. As well as improving security in the area around the school, the local children have a new nighttime playground!

Educationally, our students have made above average academic growth (as measured by the MAP scores) as well as grown socially and emotionally. Our school-wide goal of integrating service learning into the K-12 curriculum has also helped students develop a better understanding of those less fortunate than themselves, develop empathy and apply their learning to local issues while also learning from local children and experts. This is set to continue and be further developed next school year. This year we split the MS and HS to give both sections of the secondary school a distinct identity. This has been successful and more appropriate to meet the social and educational needs of our students.

We are all looking forward to the summer vacation but this also means that we have to farewell some members of our AISB community. The following students will leave at the end of this week. We will miss all these students and their families and hope that they have enjoyed their time at AISB and will have fond memories and will stay in touch with their friends and teachers. We wish them all the very best at their new schools.
  • Solenn Gauddisart – PreK 3
  • Madani Kwekam – PreK 4
  • Mackenzie Chandler – Kg
  • Paul Gaudissart – Kg
  • Ambre Bijan Plilippart - Kg
  • Fiona Gauddisart – Grade 1
  • Jackson Chandler – Grade 1
  • Josephine Kaleve – Grade 3
  • Maxwell Briggs – Grade 3
  • Bijan Plilippart – Grade 4
  • Marc Zoungrana – Grade 6
  • Likeal Poulet- Grade 7
  • Mathies Dicko – Grade 7
  • Nego Matsinghe – Grade 7
  • Joseph Kamano – Grade 10
  • Loic Poulet – Grade 10
We also have a large number of faculty members leaving us to move on to other international schools or other endeavors around the world:

  • Christina Arn –Working on local art and ecological art projects
  • Suzanne Anderson - International School of El Tigre, Venezuela
  • Jeff Brown – To be decided
  • Jeff Fessler – Shanghai American School
  • Jamey Young - Shanghai American School
  • Mela O’Brien – Further study - Special Needs Teaching
  • Amanda Leavitt – World Academy of Tirana
  • Chelsea Wilson – Nansha College Preparatory Academy
  • Abby Wilson – Jakarta Intercultural School
  • Matt Kelsey - Nansha College Preparatory Academy
  • Jenise Thompson - To spend more time with family
  • Tikva Chofi – To be decided

I am sure you join me in thanking them all for their service to AISB and to your children and wish them all the very best.

The Final Week

Elementary and Middle School students have a normal week of school this week.

High School students have exams through until Wednesday.

Grade 9-11 students are not required to attend school on Thursday. However all graduation students are expected to be at school by 8:00a.m. on Thursday for a special graduation breakfast and a graduation practice. They need to arrive for the ceremony by 5:30p.m. on Thursday evening.

Friday – Students will be dismissed at 11:45
All students should come to school as normal on Friday. There will be final class activities and cleaning up. There will be a whole school assembly beginning at 10:45a.m. This will include:
- The presentation of honor roll certificates to secondary school students
- The presentation of President’s Awards to grade 4 & 5 students
- The intra-murals award
- Entertainment from some students from all sections of the school
- Farewells to students
- Farewells to staff

Students will be dismissed from the assembly at 11:45. Parents are very welcome to attend.

I look forward to seeing many of you there.


I would like to thank all our teachers and assistants for the work they have done with our students this year. AISB is very fortunate to have teachers who go “the extra mile” for their students. Being a small school they do many different things, “wearing many hats”. I thank them for their dedication to the school and our students.

As most of us head off on holidays, our office staff and support staff are preparing to do the summer maintenance work around the school and making preparations for next school year. They will be taking their annual leave on a rotational basis but the school office will be open throughout the holiday from 9:00 -3:00 each day except for public holidays.

Last Thursday, “Ms Jacoby Day” was quite a surprise! While I knew that there was going to be a farewell assembly I had no idea what the school community had put together. I felt very honored and humbled. Thank-you for your support throughout this year and over my last four years at AISB – it has been quite the ride! I know I will miss AISB and Mali very much – it is a special place. However, the international school world is small and I hope that I will be able to welcome some of you to the International School of Uganda in the future.

 I wish you and your family a safe, happy and relaxing summer vacation. I know my successor, Brad Waugh is very excited to be joining the AISB community. He will be here from July 25th and I know he is looking forward to seeing you when you return from holidays. School recommences on August 18 for the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.

Happy Holidays and Farewell,
Caroline Jacoby

Please Return Your Library Books and Other School Materials

Please check that your child has returned all their library books. Any books that have not been returned by now are assumed lost and parents will be invoiced for the cost of replacing these. Report cards will not be issued to students who still have missing books and equipment that has not been paid for.

The cost is calculated as the cost of a new book of the same title plus 25% of the cost to cover shipping charges.

Please contact Souleymane Kone (skone@aisbmali.org) with any questions.

Storyline-We Love Animals Wildlife Park

Kindergartens were challenged to create characters that are experts at caring for animals.  Here are two of our experts Baba and Lizu.

The experts saw a poster advertising jobs at a new Wildlife Park. They applied for employment and soon after they all were offered jobs at the We Love Animals Wildlife Park. Soon characters were busy researching and making 3-D models of habitats for animals.

The Grand Opening of the Park will be later this week with guided tours by our animal experts.

Mela OBrien

Medieval Festival

In late March, AISB’s 6th grade embarked on a time travel adventure.  We immersed ourselves in the Middle Ages, the time between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance period.  While often referred to as the Dark Age, we soon learned it was anything but dark.  Students were assigned a specific role, from the all-powerful Pope to the lowly serf.  Each student carefully researched and then became their particular character giving life to research.  Students completed interactive research logs about their character, wrote historical fiction journal entries about what living in the Middle Ages in that role would be like, found historical characters and events to interact with and then became them last week.

From researching daily life, to dress, to setting, to place in society; our students gained not only knowledge of the Middle Ages but learned much about setting deadlines, planning projects and time management.

Pope Mell

Along the way we tried our hand at ballad writing, read some great works of fiction and nonfiction, created Coats of Arms to represent our modern families using African prints, and sang to some of our teachers. As you can see from the photos, it was a wonderfully immersive and exciting time to be a 6th grade time traveler!

Amanda Leavitt
Grade 6 LA/Humanities Teacher

Senior Walk Through

On Friday our 13 graduating students donned their graduation gaps and gowns and paraded through the school to “Pomp and Circumstance” as the rest of the school lined the corridors and cheered them as they passed by.

They then joined the parade, which ended in the MPR. The Elementary students sang “Lean On Me” to them.

This was a prelude to the formal graduation ceremony, which will take place on Thursday from 18:00 – 19:00. A number of our high school students have volunteered to serve food at the reception afterwards. They are reminded that this is a formal event and that they should dress accordingly.

The Summer Slide

While we are all looking forward to a break over the summer and a chance to relax and  “recharge” our batteries, it is important that students maintain what they have learned during the year.  Students who do not read or are not involved in any sort of practice over the summer will usually regress quite significantly. This phenomenon is known as the "summer slide". Studies dating back 100 years show that students over the summer typically fall behind an average of 1 to 2 months in reading and lose about 2.6 months of math computational skills! Research shows that teachers spend an average of one month simply re-teaching skills that students forgot over the summer, which means one less month available to teach new skills.

For our many ESOL students, being away from an English speaking environment can lead to a significant regression in their newly learned English skills.

The good news is that there are simple ways to keep this from happening to your child. Below are a few links to articles with great tips for beating the summer slide. Some of these have already been shared with some of you through classroom teachers’ blogs:



  • Read with your child in English or any language you feel comfortable reading in everyday. Discuss the book: What happened? Who are the characters? Where does the book take place? How do the characters feel?
  • Read different kinds of books and reading materials: Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, ebooks, magazines, cereal boxes! Whatever you can get your hands on. If you don't have many English books, you can read websites, start a book trade with friends that do, or visit a library.
  • Have your child keep a travel journal.
  • Give your child a notebook and let them write everyday.  They can accompany their writing with pictures as they want. Ask them to share what they have written.  Give them praise for writing.  Ask questions about what they have written, such as, can you tell me more about....., or what will he/she do next?  This journal should not be corrected.   And it is OK if your child wants to write similar stories everyday.  
  • Do puzzles together
  • Play board games that involve spinners or rolling the dice and following rules.
  • Sing songs that you know and talk about if there are any rhyming words, word play, or other interesting sounds to take note of.

You'll notice that key among the tips is READING daily. 

High school students have been given reading lists to help them prepare for next school year. If you have misplaced them, refer to the home page of the website. They should read as many of these books as possible to give them a good start for the new school year.

Also as you sit in airports or on long car journeys, practice basic math facts (addition, subtraction and multiplication) with your child. As a family, play general knowledge or vocabulary building games – these can be fun for the whole family.

You can also explore various online programs (fees vary) such as:

- IXL, a site that allows students to practice math and language arts for $9.95/month: http://www.ixl.com/ (many of our elementary school students already have a user name and password to this site)

- Time for Writing, which has 8-week, one-on-one writing courses for $99: http://www.time4writing.com/

Plans for 2015-2016

The faculty, Brad Waugh and I have been busy planning for next school year. We are expecting that we will start the year with about 180 students. However this could easily change over the summer. Based on our current expectations please see the following staffing plan for next year.

Elementary Class Teachers:

PreK 2 – Kadiatou (Dija) Kounta
PreK 3 – Attie Van Den Berg
PreK 4 – Ayo Wilson
Kg – Shannon Dunn
Gr. 1/2 – Carrie Navin
Gr. 2/3 – Aafke Zoutewelle
Gr. 4/5 – Maggie Fezekas

Secondary School Advisors:

Gr. 6 – Veronique Mayer
Gr. 7 – Bill Owens
Gr. 8 – Marcus Tanner
Gr. 9 – Kelly Owens
Gr. 10 – Ousmane Barry
Gr. 11 – Renee Comesotti
Gr. 12 – Lysha Wasser

Secondary Teachers:

HS English – Renee Comesotti
HS Math – Anke Robertus
HS and Grade 8 Science – Sara Lapidus
HS Humanities – Kelly Owens
Grade 8 Math – TBD
Grade 6 & 7 Math & Science – Veronique Mayer
Grade 6 &7 English & Humanities – Bill Owens
Yearbook – Lysha Wasser
College Counselor - Lysha Wasser

Specialist Teachers:

ESOL – Kourtney Wessels
French – Ousmane Barry, Isabelle Thomazeau-Pepin & Daniela Fabre
Art – Laura Forgie
Drama – Laura Forgie
I.T. – Marcus Tanner
P.E. - Alexis Shultz
Music – Dija Kounta and TBD