Director's Dispatch - Mar 9

posted Mar 8, 2012, 10:45 PM by Marylene, MICHELET   [ updated May 5, 2012, 2:45 AM ]
Greetings, ISD Community.

It has been a very challenging week for us all here at school, and I wish to again convey our deepest sympathies to the family of Hugo Jamieson, who was killed last Sunday in a motorcycle accident. Our thoughts also go out to the family of Alliou Diallo, the young pedestrian who was also killed. Trials like this can fracture or bond a community, and I have been very proud of the way our students have responded. They have been mature, sensitive, and supportive of each other--all while grieving and feeling much pain. Our teachers have been incredible pillars of strength for our students and the whole high school. I would especially like to thank our Counselor, Mr. Sam Scoggin and our Upper School Principal, Mr. Mike Emborsky, for their outstanding care, character and responsiveness to the needs of our community. Despite the pain related to the loss of a vibrant, funny, dynamic friend, our students have learned a lot this week--important life lessons about caring, love, living fully, and loss. Thank you to all the adults who are helping to guide them at this difficult time.

Hugo's family will hold a funeral ceremony Monday afternoon at 4pm at school in the ISD gymnasium. All ISD community members are welcome, though students are not required to come. The ceremony is especially for those who knew Hugo and his parents, and those would like to join in a celebration of his life. To prepare for the funeral, Monday, March 12 will be a half day with students dismissed at 12 noon. There will be no lunch service and no after-school-activities on Monday. Following the ceremony, the ISD PTO, Dakar Women's Group and the International Christian Fellowship will provide refreshments for those who would care to stay and talk. The family will move directly to the cemetery for private burial of their son's remains. 

While the high school has been struggling to get back on its feet, we passed some milestones this week, as we started the third trimester of 2011-12 and report cards (and MAP scores) were sent home. If you haven't seen a report card, ask your son or daughter should have received it on Wednesday or Thursday. Thanks to teachers for plowing through reporting duties, even during a time of high stress. Several ISD seniors have received news of college admissions--come check out their good news, posted outside the Upper School Counseling office. Thanks to Dr. Clark for hosting a Parent Information Coffee on March 8, and thanks to the many parents who attended to learn more about upcoming Student-led Conferences and important scheduling improvements for next year. (more Art! Yeah!!). High school soccer started practices this week; new term ASAs start soon. 

A brief update on IB progress at ISD. The Board in January voted to fund the development work necessary for ISD to become an IB Diploma school. This means dedicating a budget that will fund the salary of an IB Coordinator as well as workshops and training for IB Teachers. The International Baccalaureate Diploma program is a high school only (11th and 12th grade) program that we aim to implement starting in 2013-14. The new Diploma Program Coordinator has been hired--she is an experienced IB Teacher (in Art) and will have 40% of her schedule dedicated to the extensive work required by ISD to 'qualify' as an IB Candidate school. This month, ISD is submitting required paperwork to be considered as a candidate school, and we have made our first payment to the IBO. Work, then, has begun in earnest towards this major shift at ISD, but the process is long and involved and will take time. Again, our goal is to start the IB program in August, 2013, if possible.

Finally, many thanks to the PTO for putting together a wonderful Literary Soiree and evening party last weekend. The event was fun, helped folks meet new people and experience some new cuisines, raised money for a good cause, and gave the teacher band Lunch Thief a chance to strut their literary stuff, as well as play some old favorites. Great dancing, parents!
Wayne Rutherford
International School of Dakar