Director's Dispatch

posted Nov 4, 2011, 5:09 AM by Marylene, MICHELET
It has been a while since my last Director's Dispatch. I have spent a significant portion of the past month on the road. I visited three schools in the search for my next position as Head of School, and I also attended the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) Board meeting (I am the Secretary) for two days in Kenya. The travel was fast and furious. Yoshiko and I saw international schools in China (Shekou International School), Poland (American School of Warsaw) and Egypt (Cairo American College). At each stop, we saw vibrant international schools doing the same work we are with students from around the world. Each school, though, also reminded me of the great things we have happening here at ISD. While we may not have the greatest gym or a marching band or a baseball team, we have an outstanding faculty, wonderful diversity, an increasingly cohesive and engaging curriculum, and a really great sense of community. We also, as of this week, have some of the best weather on the planet.... so much here to feel very good about. As things stand now, it looks as if the Rutherfords will be 'walking like Eqyptians' next year....

In my absence, school has been very busy and between my trips and via email, I've been able to keep track of most of what is going on. The faculty and admin team worked hard through September to prepare our 5 year 'mid term' accreditation report to the Council of International Schools. ISD is accredited (kind of like licensing; it is an international seal of approval) by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges from the US and by the Council of International Schools from Europe. Our last accreditation visit was in 2007 and we were given a 10-year accreditation (the longest term you can get). After five years, we have to file a report about our progress in meeting the recommendations for school improvement that were generated in our 2007 report. So, since June, we've been working to gauge our growth and development and the extent to which we have addressed recommendations. An 80 page report, coordinated by Mrs. Emborsky, was sent off to CIS on October 7. The visiting team will be here in the first week of December to observe and collect data and information. They will most likely want to meet with parents at some point, so please keep an eye out for information relating to that meeting. The major outcomes of the process for faculty and admin has been a realization of how much ISD has changed, grown and improved over the past five years, but also how much work we have yet to do as we continue to work towards school improvement. The full report, when verified by the visiting team in December, will be published on the ISD website.

The ISD building project continues at a pace that is somewhat slower than we'd like, but still showing progress every day. Officially, we are 5.5 weeks behind schedule. Unofficially, it seems more like 8 weeks behind. As the building was set to finish Jan 31, this loss of time is not critical--we must have the new building by August. But hopes to open in April with a move-in during spring break are slimmer...

ISD has posted some excellent school-wide results on the first MAP test administration, and both Mr. Emborsky and Dr. Clark published some very positive graphs regarding test scores at the November Board meeting. Generally speaking, far more than 25% of ISD students scored in the top quartile, while significantly fewer than 20% scored in the bottom third. (see graphics posted on in the Board window near the office). This indicates to us that ISD teachers are identifying and challenging our brightest students, while identifying and getting needed support to those for whom that is appropriate. Over the course of the year, we hope to see the data continue to support the 'value added' of ISD teachers to their students' educations. 

Our 1st Trimester activities are coming to an end in the coming weeks and we hope you will get the chance to see your child perform in one venue or another. Elementary candidates for Student Council gave some really outstanding speeches at this morning's assembly, many of them referring to ISD CORE values in their presentations. Middle School soccer teams will host WAISAL here at ISD this year, and about 80 visiting middle schoolers will come to ISD for the weekend of Nov 10-13. The ISD varsity Volleyball teams travel to Ghana on Nov 17-20, with the ISD Boys hoping to defend their crown after last year's championship here in Dakar. 

Thanks to the parents involved in the PTO book sale, which was the most orderly and efficient in my five years here! Thanks to the teachers for all you do to provide stimulating classes and exciting after school activities. Thanks to my outstanding Admin team for continuing to help guide ISD as a 'school on the move'. Have great long weekend. 

Wayne Rutherford
International School of Dakar

Nov 1, Tues: All Saints Day holiday; no school. 
Nov 2, Wed: Poetry Cafe and Poetry Slam - 6;30-8:00 in Room 26
Nov 3, Thurs - Board Meeting - 6:00 pm, Library
Nov 7, Mon: Tabaski Holiday, no school.
Nov 11-13, Fri-Sun: MS WAISAL Soccer @ ISD
Nov 17-20, 
Thurs-Sun: HS WAISAL V-Ball @ Ghana
Nov 18, Fri: End of Trimester 1
Nov 21, Mon: Start Trimester 2
Nov 24, 25 Thurs-Friday: Thanksgiving Holidays, no school.