October 4, 2013

posted Oct 4, 2013, 6:32 AM by Suzanne WARDINI
Dear Parents and the ISD Community,

Cool Clear Water 

Or to quote another Country and Western song, “You don’t miss your water, ‘til the well runs dry.” Fortunately, and with many people working to resolve the water problem on the national level, even as our team here at school has been fully dedicated to finding solutions, water has returned to school. We are back to our regular program and schedule.

During the course of this challenging time we have learned to be resourceful and we have also set in place methods to deal with the problem should it arise again. We now have a ground tank accessible for truck refills and it is connected by pipe and pump to our main supply tanks. We have sections of the campus on separate valves so that we can conserve usage. We have learned to set up drinking water stations around campus. And we have communication protocols using both SMS and emails to keep the community abreast of any developments. We also are capable of providing online classes at home, should that be needed. I want to thank our ISD Operations Team for their creative and diligent work in resolving these difficult plumbing and mechanical problems: John Andrews, Aboubacar Ndoye in particular, as well as our plumbers.

I commend ISD teachers and staff, as well as ISD families, for their trust and patience with us as we have sought to keep the school operating during these times. Thank you to parents for sending your children to school with extra water bottles. We urge you to continue this practice the better to be prepared in future. In the coming weeks we will continue to monitor the water distribution situation and be prepared to take any measures necessary to meet further challenges.

Please Take Part in the Parent Forums with Director Candidates 

I encourage parents to take part in the forums that have been scheduled with the visiting candidates for the long-term position of Director. This is your opportunity to get to know the candidates and learn of their individual qualifications and experience. Feedback forms are available at each forum, and later comments can be sent to the search committee at boardbox@isd.sn.

Pea Grain Pebbles 

Consulting with Stephen Sherman, a visiting health, safety and environment officer with the US State Department last week, I learned something new. Current practice for playgrounds in the United States has moved away from the use of sand to the use of artificial granules, or preferably, smooth pea grain sized river pebbles. These actually cushion falls from playground equipment better, with more flexibility, than sand. The pebbles are easier to keep clean and free of parasites, and cats avoid them, too. For the remainder of the rainy season we have closed the sand play area because of instances of hookworm, and because the sand becomes quite hardened when soaked in rainwater.  Once the dry season comes, this should clear up these problems somewhat.

Meanwhile, we are looking for a local industrial source of river stone, sifted down to pea pebble size. If you happen to know of a company that provides such building material, please let me know. We are actively searching, too.


Paul Olson