Director's Dispatch, Jan 27, 2012

posted Jan 27, 2012, 7:25 AM by Marylene, MICHELET

Greetings all. It has been an 'interesting' week in many ways. Thanks to all for keeping up with school's many communications regarding election-related news. We have been doing our best to balance the need for safety with our mission of educating children and the importance of having kids in classes. I feel pleased, looking back at the week, that we were able to deliver five good days of instruction during this uncertain week. We'll hope for the same next week, though Monday is--again--uncertain. Please tune in to your emails Sunday evening to see if there is anything from school regarding operations next week. At this point, we anticipate opening as usual Monday morning. 

At the time of this writing, three of the four high school Explore Senegal trips are safely back in Dakar. The trips from St. Louis, and Sine Saloume, as well as the Senior trip to Daara de Malika have all returned after busy weeks working, exploring, and learning more about Senegal. The Kedougou trip had much further to drive, but will hopefully be back about 6pm. All groups reported smooth traffic flow, though the St. Louis trip, riding as they were in a souped-up 4x4, were able to take a back route through Rufisque and avoid mid-day traffic. Kids are sun tanned (some moreso than others) and look tired---signs of a good trip. Thanks to Mr. Emborsky for the extensive time he put into organizing, and the teacher-chaperones for putting in a full week with kids to see that the trips were safe, fun, and also great learning experiences. 

Teacher recruiting for next year continues, and I will depart next week to attend two teaching hiring fairs in the US, as well as to attend a world-wide international school administrators' conference, all in Boston. We have four more teaching spots to fill, and I am hopeful that we will find great people for all of them. To date, we have filled several key positions, including Upper School Principal, Tech Director, higher Math teacher, and Resource total, nine new teachers are 'in the basket,' and I feel confident that they will all bring some great energy and teaching to our community. 

As I've written several times previously, the new building continues to move forward, but at a slowwwwwer pace than we'd like to see. We seem to be looking at a possible 'soft' opening in June, but it is fairly certain that our original goal of moving in during spring break in April will not happen. This week saw the first A/C ductwork going into the classrooms, the pouring of another staircase (from 2F to 3F) and the opening--at long last--of the first stair case to the 4th floor. Masonry blocks and wall smoothing work continue to be added daily...

With all that is going on, we continue to try to keep our focus on the educational mission of ISD, on improving our curriculum, and on ensuring that each ISD student is receiving a top-level education. Last week's Professional Development half-day allowed time for Math teachers to get together and review our textbooks to make orders for the coming school year. Teachers were also engaged in work or training on our digital curriculum mapping software, Atlas, where they continue the huge effort of putting our curriculum on line for better continuity, clarity, and analysis. All important work.

All the best for a calm weekend. 

Wayne Rutherford

Wayne Rutherford
International School of Dakar