Director's Dispatch

posted Nov 15, 2012, 10:58 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Nov 21, 2012, 9:06 PM ]
Nov. 16, 2012 

Greetings! As you read this we will have completed the first term at ISD! It is amazing to think back to three months ago when the rains were with us and the soon to be basketball court, was just some mud at the entrance to the new Upper School. We have all weathered it together and I am proud to say we have just about made it. 

Very shortly, family invitations will come home to you inviting you to the Official Opening Ceremony of the new Upper School Building. I ask you to save the date of Saturday December 8 so that you and your family can come and help ISD celebrate the formal opening. Light Refreshments will be served and there will be a Cash Bar. Our Guest of Honour for the Ceremony will be Wayne Rutherford! 

This Monday, November 19, the second term starts and so I remind parents, students and teachers that our finish time for the school day reverts to 3:20 p.m. (1520h). Please make sure that drivers who are responsible for pickup are aware of this change back to our regular time. I still see a number of children dropped off prior to 8:00 a.m. and I advise parents once again that there is no teacher supervision prior to 8 a.m. and so children should not be on campus prior to that. We are also making adjustments to our drop off areas in our continued advances towards improved security. In the next few weeks, be on the lookout for newly painted areas for students to be let out of the vehicles. Traffic will move quicker if students exit their vehicles anywhere in the painted area. This will allow cars to clear this area faster and hopefully allow for a smoother start to our mornings. 

In October I spent a good part of the month travelling-first to Madrid for the IB Regional conference. I participated in an event that was the organization of the new WAIBSA (West African International Baccalaureate Schools Association). There are a number of IB Schools in West Africa-in Togo, Nigeria, and Ghana and with hope and continued hard work, we will soon be another IB school in Senegal. We also hosted our IB Verification visit, which was very successful, and we received good information about a few items to work on prior to our authorization visit that we are planning for in early March. A number of Staff members went for IB training in October and they learned that not only is the Diploma Program a rigorous program for students, it also requires additional preparation by teachers! 

October also saw a large number of ISD staff members heading to the AISA Conference in Johannesburg (Association of International Schools in Africa). This conference is held annually in either a West African, South African or East African country. This year we were pleased to have five of our teachers presenting at the conference-Mr. Watters, Mrs. Kinkhabwala, Ms. Hill, Mr. Te Huki and Ms. Studniski and thrilled to have three of these teachers, Mr. Te Huki, Ms. Hill and Ms. Studniski, invited to chair Job-Alike workshops for all the teachers at the conference. ISD was also well represented by Mr. Hogg, Mr. Lambert, Mr. Park and Mrs. Michael. ISD would love to host a conference here in Dakar and so if anyone knows of any hotels with conference centres that would be prepared to host up to 800 educators for a week in mid to late October, two to three years from now, I would love to hear about the facility to see if we can host. 

The school also hosted our first WAISAL Swim Meet. Huge congratulations go out to Swim Team Coach Noah Balazs and AD Mr. Te Huki for all of their efforts in organizing such an amazing event. Our students did extremely well and I’m sure that with new starting blocks and practice on them, we will be able to take on LCS even better next year! Also, my thanks to all of our volunteers who helped out with timing and scoring in the hot sun of that weekend and of course to our volunteer homestay families. Events such as this just could not happen without your willingness to help. It is gratefully appreciated. 

Our Volleyball teams are currently in Burkina Faso, being hosted by families from the International School of Ouagadougou. Go Jaguars! 

Parent Teacher conferences will be held at the end of November on the 29th and 30th on half days in the afternoons and I urge all parents to come and interview with their children’s teachers. This is a wonderful opportunity to find out how your child is learning and what else you as parents can be doing to assist them along this pathway. Don’t forget that ISD will be closed for the US Thanksgiving holiday ONLY on Friday the 23rd of November. This change was made to the calendar in response to a student request to have a holiday in January for Maloud. 

Please continue to check the Jag Journal regularly for any updates.