Director's Dispatch

Dr. Alan Knobloch



International School of Dakar

A Counselor's Guide to Mental Health and Wellness

posted Nov 28, 2017, 2:31 AM by

This article was originally published by Bradley University here


  • Depression (Major Depressive Disorder): Click this link to the Mayo Clinic to read the definition for depression. The page also includes links to other pages on the site that cover basic information about the condition such as causes and risk factors.
  • Depression: People who are interested in learning about depression may click this link to visit the Family Doctor website. The page reviews important information ranging from the cause of depression to how to live with it. Visitors to the page will also find a list of questions to ask their doctor.
  • Mental Health Conditions: Depression: This link opens to the Depression page on the National Alliance on Mental Illness website. People who visit the site may watch a video that explains what depression is and read information on the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of it.
  • How is Depression Treated: When diagnosed with depression, individuals and their families often want to know how it is treated. Click this link to read what the three basic treatment approaches are and what other options are available.
  • FAQ About Depression: Open this link to read FAQ about depression on the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website.

Suicide Prevention

  • We Can All Prevent Suicide: This page on the Suicide Prevention Hotline website teaches site visitors how to help prevent suicide. The page reviews common warning signs and risks. The Hotline phone number is also featured prominently on the page so that one can speak with crisis workers who have counseling degrees and/or are trained to provide the proper support.
  • Suicide Prevention Tip Sheet (PDF): Read this page for tips on how to help youth who are potentially suicidal. Tips on the page advise readers on what to say and how to address suicide. In addition, the page also covers warning signs and provides a list of resources.
  • Warning Signs and Risk Factors: Visit this page on the American Association of Suicidology website for warning signs and risk factors associated with suicide. The page also explains how to get help.
  • Reduce Access to Means of Suicide: People who commit or attempt to commit suicide will typically use items in their environment that can cause harm. The information on this page reviews why it is important to remove potentially lethal means from one’s immediate surroundings and how to go about doing it. Other information discusses how to take action and share knowledge with others.
  • Urgent Crisis – Suicide Prevention: Click open this link to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance website to for information about suicide, recognizing signs, and what to do if feeling suicidal or if someone else is in need of help.

Eating Disorders

  • What are Eating Disorders: Get general information about what eating disorders are by clicking on this link to National Eating Disorder Association. The page also provides readers with statistics.
  • For Parents – Eating Disorders: This link to KidsHealth site outlines eating disorder information for parents. The article is six pages and covers information that includes the effects of eating disorders, warning signs, and treatment.
  • Eating Disorder Types and Symptoms: Learn about the types of eating disorders and symptoms that are associated with them by opening this link to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.
  • Review of Eating Disorders: Open this link to read about two of the more common and recognized eating disorders. The page also reviews warning signs and how these disorders can impact relationships.
  • Treating Eating Disorders: When a person is diagnosed with an eating disorder it is necessary to start treatment. Read the information associated with this link to discover how eating disorders are treated.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention

  • Preventing Drug Abuse and Excessive Alcohol Use (PDF): Click this link to read actions that the government, individuals, families, businesses, and organizations can do to prevent drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Ten Tips for Prevention for Youth: Parents and people raising kids may click this link to the NCADD website for a list of ten tips that can be helpful in preventing youth from using drugs.
  • Preventing Drug Abuse the Best Strategy: This article focuses on drug addiction and youth and it also discusses research-based prevention programs. The page also features several charts that site visitors may click on and enlarge.
  • Prevention Tips for Every Age: On this page of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, site visitors will find tips on how to prevent drug abuse for kids and young adults in various age groups. Tips begin with discussing drugs with children 2 to 4 years old and end with young adults who are 19 to 25 years old.
  • Is It Possible to Prevent Alcoholism: Read the answer to whether alcoholism can be prevented by clicking on this link. The page also includes information about follow-up after treatment.

Anxiety and Stress Management

  • Coping With Stress: Stress is a problem that everyone faces, however it shouldn’t become so severe that it begins to negatively impact one’s life or health. This CDC page reviews reactions to stressful situations and healthy ways to cope with the stress.
  • Stress Management: Click this link to read tips on how one can successfully manage their stress. The page also reviews why it is important to keep stress under control.
  • Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress: Go here for an infographic by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America that talks about various stress and anxiety management techniques.
  • Four Ways to Deal With Stress: The American Heart Association offers advice on how to cope with stress on the Healthy Living section of their website. They provide examples to go with each coping method and in the panel to the right they include links to additional information.
  • Stress, Anxiety, and Depression – Ten Stress Busters: Learn about things that reduce stress by visiting the National Health Service’s Choices website. Physical activity, forming social networks and time for oneself are some of the solutions that it discusses. Also, find additional useful links on the right side of the page.
  • Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety: Get advice on how to properly handle stress and anxiety by clicking on this link to the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education website. It discusses the meaning of stress and what makes it different from anxiety, and links to additional subjects can be found in the bar along the top of the page.

Proper Nutrition and Health

  • Importance of Good Nutrition: The US Department of Health and Human Services offers advice about nutrition on their President’s Council website. Look at the panel on the left for additional information about the School Breakfast Program, dietary guidelines, and other resources.
  • Let’s Eat For the Health of It (PDF): Go here to read a four-page PDF brochure about proper dieting. This publication focuses on what foods to cut back on, watching calories, physical activity, and examining food labels.
  • It’s About You (PDF): This link opens to a PDF article by the Dietary Guidelines Alliance about making a commitment to healthy eating. Subjects covered include how to set sensible goals and deadlines, with regards to physical activity and dieting.
  • Men And Women: Learn about proper eating by visiting the Choose My Plate website by the US Department of Agriculture. It talks about dieting, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Getting the Most Out of Parent Teacher Conferences

posted Oct 20, 2017, 6:54 AM by   [ updated Oct 20, 2017, 6:55 AM ]

At ISD, parents are partners in their children’s education. Next week’s parent teacher conferences are an essential part of this partnership. I would like to offer the following six tips for parents to get the most out of the parent-teacher conferences.

1. Attend the conference
Parent teacher conferences are a great way to learn more about your child’s progress and how you can help them at home. We understand some of our parents’ work and travel schedules may prevent them from attending. If this is the case, do not hesitate to contact the teachers to arrange another day to meet.
2.  Prepare for the conference
Spend some time before the conference thinking about what you would like to know about your child, their strengths, or areas of improvement.  Write down any questions you have about the school programs, the classroom, or your child in particular so you do not forget them.  Here are some great questions to ask:
  • Is my child working up to his or her ability?  Where could s/he improve?
  • What can we do at home to support what you are doing in the classroom?
  • How does my child get along with classmates?

3.  Expect to hear about your child’s areas for improvement
Ask the teacher how s/he is helping your child address this area and try to identify ways you can support your child at home.

4.  Share what you are hearing or seeing at home    
A child may appear to be fine in the classroom, but sharing concerns at home. The child may be unhappy or worried about something or someone in the classroom and not be telling the teacher. Share this information so the teacher can address the issue.

5.  Feel free to bring a friend to interpret
If you would prefer to speak in your native language, feel free to bring a friend who can translate between your language and English.

6.  Share positive information
Everyone likes to hear positive news. If you child is happy with the teacher or a particular activity in the classroom, let the teacher know.

7.  Monitor the time
To accommodate all parents, parent-teacher conferences are meant to be short meetings.  If you need more time, please arrange to meet with a teacher to continue the conversation on another day.

Conference Schedules: 

Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27 in the afternoons.

Elementary school conferences are by appointment. Your child will bring home your scheduling information in hard copy.  For any questions, please contact Emefa Atiase at

Secondary school conferences are not scheduled.  Parents are invited to meet with the teachers at their convenience during the scheduled times. Given the number of parents, there may be a line of parents waiting to see a particular teacher.

Goals for the Year: Update on our Strategic Plan

posted Sep 22, 2017, 4:56 AM by   [ updated Sep 22, 2017, 4:57 AM ]

ISD is starting the third year of our strategic plan.  The strategic plan outlined six major goals for the school to accomplish over a five to seven year period.  This article will outline the progress we have made and the specific plans we have for this year.

Goal 1:  Students fully develop and utilize social and emotional skills

The counselors, administrators and teachers have been working on this goal for the past two years and implemented a number of program and policy changes.  Parent and student surveys from the end of last year indicate that progress has been made, but there is still room for improvement.  These improvements will continue to be refined under the leadership of our new Secondary School Principal, Mr. Bird.

Goal 2:  Students create and perform complex works in the visual, musical, and dramatic arts

At the end of the 2015-2016 school year, the board approved the construction of a new performing arts center and athletic complex. The arts center would include a 350-seat theater, black box theater, and art gallery. The athletic complex will have an air-conditioned double gym, fitness room, classroom, and dance studio.

Last year, working with Flansburgh Architects from the United States, as well as local architects, the two construction plans for the two buildings were developed. In addition, the school selected a local project management firm to oversee the construction.  

One of my goals this year is to finalize the design phase of the construction project and begin construction. We anticipate finalizing the construction plans in early October and starting the contractor bidding process by mid-October. The first part of construction will start in December or January. The current construction timeline is 20 months.

Goal 3:  Students succeed in the International Baccalaureate Program

This strategic goal had three parts to it. One, increase the number of students acquiring the International Baccalaureate Diploma, which serves students in grades 11 and 12..  Two, examine the feasibility of adding the Primary Years Program for students in the elementary school. Three, examine the feasibility of adding the the Middle Years Program for grades six through ten.

A number of improvements were made to the IB Diploma Program in 16-17, which lead to an increase in the nubmer of students earning the IB Diploma, as well as the overall pass rate.  Another one of my goals this year is to work with Mr. Bird, and our new IB Diploma Coordinator, Mr. Lennon,  to increase the number of students who pursue the full diploma and help the students improve their performance on the exams.  To accomplish this, we will continue to provide training for our teachers, examine the overall workload of the IB teachers to give them more time to focus on their IB courses, and explore bringing in course review specialists in the spring to provide additional review for our students before the exams. 

Last year, the board approved ISD becoming a candidate school for the IB Primary Years Program. Under the direction of Brad Chumrau, acting ES Principal and PYP Coordinator, the teachers have begun developing and implementing new instructional units of  study.  One of my goals is to ensure Brad and the teachers have the training and resources they need to successfully implement this exciting program.

A teacher committee reviewed the Middle Years Program last year and made a series of recommendations for this year including continuing to learn more about the classroom implications of becoming a MYP school. Mr. Bird and the teachers have continued to learn more about the program and will be presenting the information to the Board starting in October.

Goal 4:  Students explore, identify, and develop their talents and passions

Given the scale of our strategic goals, we needed to prioritize them to make sure we had sufficient resources to move forward.   Work on ths goal has been scheduled for next year.

Goal 5:  Students acquire responsible leadership competencies

This goal has been the focus of the past two Middle and High School retreats. The implementation of the Primary Years Program and, potential implementation of the Middle Years Program will help us make major strides with this goal. Developing leadership competencies is an essential component of both the PYP and MYP

Goal 6:  Students apply responsible leadership competencies to complex issues

This goal is an extension of goal number five.  It will be largely addressed through changes to our Service Learning program to meet the requirements of the IB Programs, which ask students to identify areas of need and design projects that will help others in Senegal. We want our students to have more direct connections with people rather than simply raising money on campus.

We have made significant progress towards our strategic goals over the past two years. As we approach the mid-point of the plan, it is time to assess our progress as well as examine the effectiveness of the strategic plan in general. My last goal for the year will be to work with the Board Policy Committee to assess the strategic plan and the goals to determine if we need to make any revisions to the overall plan on the goals.  We will present the results of our assessment at the Annual General Meeting in April.




Communication About Communications

posted Sep 8, 2017, 4:13 AM by   [ updated Sep 8, 2017, 8:01 AM ]

The International School of Dakar wouldn't be who we are without parent and family involvement. Your ideas, participation, encouragement, and dedication to your children improves every aspect of our school and helps your students thrive. Of course, for parents to be fully involved, the school needs to communicate effectively about major developments, important events involving their children, and meetings with school administration and teachers.  Improving communication with our families is a priority of the Board of Trustees and the administration. 

We currently distribute information in a few ways: 

  • Emails from the staff and faculty about specific events
  • The weekly JAG Journal, which is posted online and emailed to all parents every Friday
  • ISD's Facebook page (International School of Dakar
  • ISD's Twitter account (@ISDakar)
  • Our whole school calendar shows upcoming school and sporting events, and can be accessed through the quick links on the right side of the ISDwebsite.
  • Our new Jaguar Sports site with separate pages for each sport showing the practice schedule, important information specific to the sport, and dates of upcoming games, also listed in the quick links.

This year, we added a Communications Coordinator position to the ISD administration, which has been filled by Catherine Kazmirski.  Her top three priorities for the year are to improve communication within the internal ISD audience, develop an easier to read JAG Journal, and establish a long-term communications strategy.  Our ultimate goal is to make it easy for families to get the information they need by making it more accessible and available on the platforms you use. 

Catherine will be sending out a survey next week to better understand your communication preferences so that we can improve our processes and make it easier for you to get the information you need.  The survey will help us understand how you prefer to be notified about events, how you access our website and newsletter, and if you have any suggestions for things we might be overlooking.  Please take a few minutes to complete the survey so we can include you even more in your child's education and the ISD community.  

Starting the Day Right

posted Aug 25, 2017, 2:45 AM by

Getting children up and ready in the morning can be difficult.  Personally, my wife and I have survived the struggles of getting teenagers out of bed when they just want “ten more minutes.”  Dakar traffic can make the task of getting to school on time even more difficult.  However, it is important for students to arrive on campus early enough so they can be in the classroom for the start of lessons.

Educators know the first ten minutes of a class or a lesson are critical for effective learning. Teachers use this time to settle the students for the class period, pose questions to stimulate the students’ thinking, and provide critical information needed for new learning.  Students who arrive late to class not only miss information they need to complete their assignments, but can also disrupt the learning of other students.

ISD Students should arrive on campus by 8:20am so they have enough time to order lunch if they want and get to their classroom on time. Secondary school students who arrive late to campus are considered tardy and excessive tardies will result in disciplinary consequences.  The administration will contact parents of elementary students who are consistently late as well.

This will unfortunately be more difficult after the Tabaski holiday for families coming from Almadies.  By then, the Ecole Actuelle Bilangue (EAB) will have started. Since EAB is on the route from Almadies to ISD, there will be traffic jams starting around 7:30am.  Families coming from Almadies should add 15 to 20 minutes to their driving time if you usually pass EAB between 8:00am and 8:15am. Last year, we asked the EAB administration to enlist the help of a gendarme to help with traffic, which they did, and it reduced travel time.  To help families calibrate their morning schedules, students are allowed to arrive on ISD’s campus starting at 7:30am. Elementary students will be supervised by our teaching assistants and are welcome to go to the library or play on the playground or fields. Older students are welcome to study in the library or the outside tables. 

We want the ISD campus to be welcoming both before and after school, especially since a smooth start to the day is important for everyone in the family.  Please help make sure our students are leaving early enough to arrive at school on time, even factoring in the increased traffic.  

ISD faculty greet students as they arrive in the morning.

What makes ISD unique in Dakar?

posted Aug 18, 2017, 2:11 AM by

What makes ISD unique in Dakar?  In educational language, our goal is provide a holistic educational program. In layman’s terms this means that while academics are important, it is not our sole focus.  We also develop the student’s artistic, athletic, social, and emotional skills.  We believe that students need to have strong skills in all these areas in order to be successful and happy in their future schools and later in life.

How do we do this? In elementary school, students take art and music a couple of times a week, taught by specialists in these areas.  As they move into the secondary school, students can also take drama courses.  Recently, we added video production and film to the secondary school. These arts courses develop the students’ creativity, help them build confidence through performances, and help them discover new talents.

The research is clear that students who are physically active do better academically, are able pay attention longer, and work harder to maintain their grades so they are able to remain eligible to play sports.  Additionally, being a part of team teaches life skills of leadership, collaboration, and perseverance. We make a point to incorporate athletics into our school, developing students’ skills through regular physical education classes starting in Pre-K 3.  This is a required course from all students through grade ten.  The students further develop their skills, while gaining the benefit of being physically fit, through after-school activities and sports.  The elementary after-school program includes soccer, basketball, and martial arts.  Volleyball, basketball, and soccer are the major sports in the middle and elementary school, with both local and international competitions.  The swimming and track teams are open to students in all three schools.  

If a student is unhappy, having difficulty with friends, experiencing stress in their lives, or struggling with the adjustment to a new city and school, they will not do their best at school. It is normal for all students to deal with the issues at some time in their lives, particularly students who move frequently and live apart from the support of their extended family, as many of ours do. To help students learn how to handle these emotions and transitions, ISD provides professional guidance counselors who help look after our students’ social and emotional well-being. The counselors serve our community through regular classes, working with small groups, meeting individual students, as well as individual conversations with parents and workshops for parents on child development and parenting. They are a resource to the teachers and administrators, helping us better meet the individual needs of our students. In addition to all of the above, the secondary school counselor guides 12th grade students through the challenging and often confusing process of applying to colleges in the US, Canada, UK, France, Belgium, and Asia. Taking care of the student’s social/emotional needs and supporting our parents are high priorities at ISD!

The best schools in the world have strong arts and sports programs. They care for their students and help them develop the social and emotional skills they need to form strong relationships and navigate through difficult times in their lives. Yes, academics are important at ISD!  But our students also need the artistic, physical, social and emotional skills they will gain by being an ISD student, where we strive to educate the whole person.

Welcome to the new school year!

posted Aug 11, 2017, 8:09 AM by

Welcome to the 2017-18 school year! I hope you are refreshed and ready for a year full of learning and growth. I’d like to give you a snapshot of the things we have accomplished over the past few months, and what we’re looking forward to doing this year.


This summer, we enrolled 150 new students, bringing this year’s projected enrollment to 580, a jump from last years 547.  We hired 28 new educators, including a PYP coordinator, a grade 4 teacher, a Middle School social studies teacher, a High School support teacher, and 2 part-time French teachers. A beautiful Early Childhood Education building has just been completed, we are expanding our 1:1 laptop program in grades 4 and 5, and we’ve approved the design of a new Performing Arts Center and Gym.  


Our three priorities for this year are to begin implementation of the IB Primary Years Program, construction of the new PAC and Gym, and continue to improve the IB Diploma Program. To meet these goals will require a lot of effort, but I’m sure that they will pay dividends for our students and our community.


In fact, we are already seeing great results from our investment in students. In a recent longitudinal study of students who have spent 3 years at ISD, 93% of them made more than one year’s worth of growth in a year. The results were particularly strong in reading and math. Additionally, ISD’s IB Diploma diploma pass rate is 88%; the world-wide average is 78%. ISD students’ IB exam scores are also slightly above average. We’ve set even higher goals for ourselves for the coming year, but we should certainly be proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.


As school director, one of my top concerns is to be available to you. You can depend on me to be passionate about doing what is best for the students and committed to learning, listening, and building relationships.  If you have any questions or concerns about the school, I invite you to contact me by email ( or phone (766-44-6028).


We invite all parents to be actively involved in our school. ISD thrives when the whole community participates, and there are many ways to do that: concerts, plays, games, Open Houses, parent-teacher conferences, PTO events, and board committees, just to name a few.


Details about these events, and other important information, can be found in a few places. The Jag Journal is sent out every Friday with notes from ISD leadership, updates on important information, and event details. Emails from the Director, Principals, and teachers will also be sent regularly, and you can follow our website and social media accounts for photos and news.


We’ve worked hard over the years to provide quality education to each individual student, and they’ve worked hard to meet--and exceed--our expectations. We are thrilled to see where our students go this year, and beyond.


I wish you the very best as we begin the 2017-18 school year.



Alan Knobloch


Coming soon!

Artist's rendition of ISD's future Performing Arts Center and Gym

Ready for occupancy!
Students and parents explore the new Early Childhood Education building

Construction Schedule

posted Jun 2, 2017, 7:23 AM by ISD Communications   [ updated Jun 2, 2017, 8:39 AM ]

As the school year comes to a close, I wish all of our families a restful and safe holiday. To those who are leaving ISD, best wishes on your new adventure. To those who are returning, we look forward to seeing you in August. 

There will be significant construction on campus this summer. Below is a list of the major projects.

· Installation of new early childhood playground
· Resurfacing of driveway on campus
· Construction of new PE/Pool changing rooms
· Demolition and removal of clubhouse by pool and current changing rooms
· Construction of wall separating the PAC/Athletic Complex construction area from the main campus.

We are delaying some projects so our Summer School can use as many of the facilities as possible. Once Summer School ends, the majority of our facilities will be closed.

Below are the dates and time our different facilities will be open.

Week days - June 9 to June 25
Basketball Courts – 3:30pm to 6:00pm
Field (some parts will be closed) - 3:30pm to 6:00pm
Fitness Room – 10:00am to 6:00pm
Large Playground - Open 3:30pm to 6:00pm
Pool - Open 3:30pm to 6:00pm
Small Playground - Closed
Tennis Courts - Open 10:00am to 6:00pm

All facilities, except small playground, are open 10:00am to 6:00pm on week-ends (June 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, and 25)

June 26 to August 7
Basketball Courts – 10:00pm to 6:00pm
Field - Closed
Fitness Room – 10:00am to 6:00pm
Large Playground - Open 10:00am to 6:00pm, week-ends only
Pool - Closed
Small Playground - Closed
Tennis Courts – Permanently closed

À l’approche de la fin de l'année scolaire, je voudrais saisir cette occasion pour de bonnes et relaxantes vacances à toutes nos familles. A ceux qui quittent ISD, je leur souhaite bonne chance dans leur nouvelle aventure. Pour ceux qui nous reviennent, nous nous réjouissons de les revoir en août.

Il y aura de très grands travaux sur le campus cet été. Voici une liste des principaux projets.

• Installation d'une nouvelle aire de jeux pour la maternelle
• Réfection de l'allée pour entrer au campus
• Construction de nouveaux vestiaires - Education Physique / Piscine
• Démolition et enlèvement du club-house situé à côte de la piscine et des vestiaires actuels
• Construction d’un mur séparant la zone de construction PAC /
Complexe sportif du reste du campus scolaire.

Nous retarderons le démarrage de certains projets afin que notre camp de vacances puisse profiter des installations le plus possible. Une fois le camp terminé, la majorité de nos installations seront fermées. Voici les dates et heures auxquelles nos différentes installations seront ouvertes.

Jours de semaine - 9 juin au 25 juin
Terrain de basket-ball - 15h30 à 18h00
Le terrain central (certaines parties seront fermées) - 15h30 à 18h00
Salle de musculation - 10h00 à 18h00
Grand aire de jeux - Ouvert de 15h30 à 18h00
Piscine - Ouverte de 15h30 à 18h00
Petit terrain de jeux - Fermé
Cours de tennis - Ouvert de 10h00 à 18h00

Toutes les installations, à l'exception du petit aire de jeu, sont ouvertes de 10h00 à 18h00 les weekends (10, 11, 17, 18, 24 et 25 juin).

Du 26 juin au 7 août
Terrains de basket-ball - 10h00 à 18h00
Terrain central - Fermé
Salle de musculation - 10h00 à 18h00
Grand aire de jeu - Ouvert de 10h00 à 18h00, weekends seulement
Piscine - Fermé
Petit aire de jeux - Fermé
Cours de tennis - Fermé en permanence 

Alan Knobloch
International School of Dakar

Survey of the French Program at ISD

posted May 26, 2017, 8:51 AM by Marieme MBAYE   [ updated May 26, 2017, 9:45 AM ]

Yesterday, all parents were sent an email with a link to a survey about our French language program. Parents are invited to take the survey for each of their children at ISD. Yesterday, the program only allowed you to take the survey once, but we made an adjustment and you can now take the survey multiple times. 

As part of our review of the French language program at ISD, we would like to ask parents to take a short survey to give us more information about the strengths and areas in need of strengthening in the French program. Through the Annual Parent Survey, parents have indicated they would like to see improvement in this program. This new survey was designed by the administration and French teachers to identify what specific parts of the program are in most need of improvement.

The survey is available in English and French. The results will be shared with the teachers and Board of Trustees. Click hereto take the survey. It will close on Sunday, June 4.


Hier, les parents ont reçu un e-mail avec un lien les conduisant au sondage axé sur notre programme de Français. Ils sont invités à remplir le sondage pour chacun de leurs enfants à ISD. Hier, le logiciel n’autorisait pas de remplir le sondage qu'une seule fois, en conséquent nous avons effectué quelques réglages.  Ce qui fait que désormais vous pouvez répondre plusieurs fois à l'enquête.

Dans le cadre de la révision de notre programme de Français, nous souhaiterions demander aux parents de remplir un petit sondage pour nous donner plus d'informations sur les points forts et les domaines a renforcer dans le programme de français. A travers le sondage annuel, soumis chaque année aux parents, nous avons senti leur volonté de voir une amélioration dans le programme de français.

Ce nouveau sondage a donc été conçu par l'administration et les professeurs de français afin d’identifier spécifiquement les composants du programme qui ont le plus besoin d'être améliorés.

Le sondage est disponible en anglais et en français. Les résultats seront partagés avec 
les enseignants et le Conseil d'Administration. Cliquez ici pour remplir le sondage qui sera clôturé le dimanche 4 juin.

Alan Knobloch



The 2016-2017 Annual Parent and Student Survey

posted May 19, 2017, 7:13 AM by Marieme MBAYE   [ updated May 19, 2017, 10:13 AM by ISD Communications ]

As part of the Board of Trustee’s belief in continuous improvement, the school has been soliciting feedback from students and parents through annual satisfaction surveys since 2010. This year, more students and parents participated in the survey than ever before. The summary can be found here.

The purpose of the surveys is to provide students and parents a voice so school leaders can learn what is working and what is not working. The board uses the surveys to identify strategic issues and track progress over time. The administration uses the survey data to determine where to focus time and resources in order to improve the school.

Here are my observations of the data, which I shared with the Board.

Parents are pleased with many aspects of the school. Ninety-four percent of the parents agreed that their child’s overall school experience has been positive. Ninety-five percent agreed that ISD provides a safe and secure environment for their children to learn. A significant percentage of parents feel the buildings and grounds are clean and well-maintained and think ISD is a friendly environment for students, parents, and families.

Both teachers and students were asked to identify their three favorite things about ISD. Teachers are students and parents favorite thing about ISD. While the percent of parents who agree that ISD employs highly competent teachers has remained relatively stable over the past four years, ranging from 83% to 88% agreement, the percent of parents who list teacher quality as a top five concern has decreased over the past two years from 26% to 13%.

Overall, ISD parents are satisfied with the direction of the school’s academic programs. Ninety-percent of parents agree ISD parents provides the right amount of emphasis on the core academic skills and 85%, an increase of 5% from last year, say the proper emphasis is placed on grades. A small percentage of parents indicated that ISD needed to improve core class instruction.

The student surveys show they are working hard and being challenged by their teachers. Ninety-two percent of the students report they are consistently trying to do their best work at school and 90% agree their teachers challenge them to do their best. Ninety-four percent of the students have made friends at ISD.

Overall, parents are pleased with communication, however there are still some concerns. Eighty-nine percent of parents agree they are well informed regarding ISD’s activities and procedures and 90% of parents say the communications are easy to understand. When parents were asked what they least liked about ISD one of the top five responses was lack of communication.

Student discipline is still an issue, but there are positive signs. Students rank disrespect and harassment as one of the top five things they would like to change about ISD. Less than half of the students agree that students respect other students. There is evidence of progress. High school parents who identified discipline as a top five concern decreased from 36% last year to 18% this year. School-wide the percent of parents decreased from 18% to 11%. While students did list student behavior as one of the things they would like to change, the percentage of students citing the issue declined from 8% to 4%. Finally, the percent of middle school students who agreed students respect students increased from 43 to 60 percent.

The ISD teachers, administration, and Board have been working to improve student behavior. As the survey indicates, we have made progress. The new policies the Board approved last spring have allowed us to put students with the most serious offences on behavior probation. These students, knowing the next step could be expulsion from ISD, have shown improvement. Lorne Bird, our new Secondary Principal is bringing in a fresh perspective and is committed to making sure students are held accountable for their actions.

Long standing issues with food service quality, French instruction, after-school activities, traffic congestion remained top concerns of parents. The administration and teachers have been working on these issues throughout the year and will continue to do so next year. Below is a summary of what was done in each area and what we will be doing next to improve the situation.

Food Service Quality
As previously noted in the JAG Journal, we solicited bids from food service providers. A committee of students, parents, and teachers reviewed the bids, sampled food from the vendors and voted unanimously to offer a contract to our current vendor on the condition that there is an increase in healthy food options. Next year, there will be a student, parent, teacher advisory committee who will meet weekly to review menu options and provide feedback to the vendor. Parents will still be welcome to organize food delivery from other vendors if they prefer.

French Instruction
Last spring and this fall, the French teachers met with parents to share information about the program and gather feedback. They implemented a number of the parent suggestions. Given the continuing concern with the program, I will be inviting all parents to complete a survey, in either French or English to gather specific feedback on the areas they would like us to focus on improving. In the annual survey, the typical response is “improve the French program”, but does not provide specific concerns. This additional survey will hopefully provide that information.

After-School Activities
Every year, the Activities Coordinator looks for individuals from the wider Dakar community to run activities for the students. The quality and availability of people to supplement our staff can vary. This year, to improve student management and language issues, we paid some of our teaching assistants to work alongside the outside vendors. We have also been fortunate to have parents sponsor some activities. Next year, we will be looking at the length of time the activities run to see if we they can continue for more weeks per session.

Traffic Congestion
Last year, there was significant traffic at EAB on the Corniche, which added time to the drive from Almadies. With the help of the U.S. Embassy, we put pressure on EAB to hire a Gendarme to help control traffic. While it has not solved the problem entirely, parents report the drive is faster this year.

For a couple years, the school has been talking with the Senegalese government about using some of the land in between the school and Ouakam Road so we could have a second entrance and more parking. This week, there was a meeting on campus between high-ranking Senegalese government and security officials, representatives from the university worker union, who live in the apartment buildings next to school, representatives from the Senegalese road authority, and ISD administration. We toured the site and discussed possible options. We do not have an immediate solution, but the conversations will continue.

The school’s administration and teachers take the parent and student feedback seriously and use the information to improve our school. 

ISD is a true community. It is one of our strengths. By being open with each other and constructive in our feedback, we can develop plans to improve our program and better meet the needs of our students.

HERE to access the survey summary. 

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