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Elementary News: August 29

posted Aug 28, 2014, 6:05 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Aug 29, 2014, 3:38 AM ]

Dear Parents,

Week two has seen the classes settle into routines of morning meetings, and then on into the day. One note; as the homework starts coming home, please do let us know if the the level given starts going beyond the guidelines listed below for your child. 


1. Security BadgesWe do appreciate your wearing your badges when you come to school. In addition, please ensure any nannies, drivers or other family members doing pick-up also have them. If you still need one, Nikki in the reception area will assist.

2. Emergency Contacts - Please Update: There may be times when we need to call you in an emergency. It is important that we not only have your phone and email contacts, but also an alternative adult listed in case you are unavailable. Please ensure that all your contact information is up to date. Emefa in the office can help you with this (emefa@isd.sn). 

3. ES CounselorPam Pelliccia, our Elementary Counselor was introduced at yesterday's PTO and at today's assembly. Her office is next to the lunch area, and please do feel free to speak with her if there are any school-related issues needing discussion, or anything that is happening at home that it would be valuable for us to know. Pam leads push-in classroom guidance sessions, lunchtime group and individual sessions and will also be leading some parent workshops through the year. 

4. Homework: The average minutes of homework per night for grades 1-12 follows. These averages are consistent with other international schools throughout the world.

- Grade 1: no more than 10 minutes

- Grade 2: no more than 20 minutes

- Grade 3: no more than 30 minutes

- Grade 4: no more than 40 minutes

- Grade 5: no more than 50 minutes

In addition, there is an expectation in the Elementary School for 20 minutes a day reading. In Kindergarten, students will receive some homework at times, and we request that parents be reading to their children at home.

5. ELL at ISD!: Here are some photos from Ms. Els who has been working with her English Language Learners with Ms. Paula and Ms. Stephanie in the team:

Our English Language Learning Team

6. Student Council Elections: On Friday, Mr. Ishmael mentioned that he will be running the Student Council elections, and that the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer are open for Gr 3-5 students. If your child would like to run, they would need to start working on their speeches for the assembly at the end of September. The commitment is a weekly meeting on Wednesdays after school, plus helping run the events that are organized. 

7. Elementary Open House: A reminder to put the Elementary School Open House in your diaries. This will be on Thursday September 18, starting at 5:30. We will begin in the gym, then parents will move to hear homeroom and specials teachers outline what it is they do. It'll also give you a chance to meet the many new parents. This is only for parents, not for students.   

8. After School Activity Update: The sign-up form has gone home, and when completed, this form is to be returned Monday to Ms. Emefa's office. The final list of who is in which group is shared later. 

9. Birthday Lunch: On Thursday, I had a Birthday Lunch for July and August birthdays with the Gr 1-3 students. I also handed out some birthday pencils to the KG children when they had their lunch time. Here we are:

10. PTO: At the meeting on Thursday, we shared a lot about the role of the Parent teacher Organization. One of which is raising funds, and this year the PTO donated money for a new electronic organ for Ms. Joy's music room. This will allow her to input tracks, and will make her rehearsals for the Gr 3-5 Aladdin a little more easy. 

11. MAP Testing Upcoming: On September 15, the Gr 2-5 students will start MAP testing, which will run for the following week. At many international schools, Gr 2-5 students take three online MAP tests in Reading, Language Usage and Math. If you click HERE you will go to a Parent Toolkit, published by NWEA, who facilitate the tests. I have more information for new parents below:

ISD uses the MAP Test as our standardized test.  The MAP Test is Measures of Academic Progress™ and is created by the Northwest Evaluation Association. These tests determine your child’s instructional level and measure academic growth throughout the school year, and from year to year in the areas of math, reading and language. 

In addition to using our own assessments and report cards, ISD, like most schools, uses a standardized test to compare how our students are doing as compared to a larger pool of students.  The MAP test is especially useful to ISD as we receive the results within a week after the tests are complete.  Once we receive the test results, each parent will receive a test report.

Students in Grades 2-5 will be taking the first round of these MAP tests starting Monday, September 15.  Students take these tests in three sessions, each lasting about an hour.   

MAP tests are unique in that they are adaptive tests your child takes on a computer. That means that the test becomes more difficult the more questions your child answered correctly. When your child incorrectly answered a question, the test became easier. Therefore, your child takes a test specifically created for his or her learning level. We also receive very detailed reports on each student and each class, and this information is used for teachers to better tailor instruction to the needs of each child and each class, based on the reported areas of strength and weakness.

Please know that there is no need for your child to study in advance of these tests. Also, the tests are in the morning, which is when we usually do the in-class math, reading or writing sessions, so it is a little more authentic to your child.  

12. Soccer Notes:  Last week I spoke to the students who played recess and lunchtime soccer different grades. Here are some things I mentioned:

- Students must wear sneakers if they wish to play soccer (no cleats/studs)

- We do not do slide tackles on the grass

- We will use Kelso's Choice to help us sort out any issues

- It is not the World Cup - we are there to have fun

- There is no soccer to be played for K-5 students after school

13. Print Better Than Tech?: I have a short article to share on "real book" reading for children, which may be of interest. Click HERE for the recent article in the School Library Journal

14. 5S Readers: ...and showing how much we love the printed word are our 5S students!:

5S Readers

15. Friends: I shared this rather nice video based on the White Stripes song "We're Going to Be Friends" in my assembly on Friday. You might enjoy the theme:  


16. The Sand Playground: Work is ongoing to repair the wind/rain damage to the sails from Thursday. We should be up and running again soon....

Upcoming Events: 

- September 3: First PTO Meeting, 8:30am
- September 9: Board Meeting, 6:00pm
- September 15: After School Activities Begin, 3:30-4:10pm
- September 15: Gr 2-5 MAP Testing Begins
- September 18: Elementary School Open House, 5:30pm
- September 25 & 26: Faculty Professional Development Days, SCHOOL CLOSED

Ian Clark

Ian Clark Ed.D.

Elementary School Principal

International School of Dakar