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Elementary News: February 13

posted Feb 12, 2015, 9:32 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Feb 13, 2015, 3:59 AM ]
Dear Parents,

it is good to be back from Boston's job fairs, and we spoke to and hired many talented teachers on our travels to the three international hiring fairs. Dakar is certainly becoming a go-to destination, and we hope a lot of that is down to ISD! Back home, the upcoming weeks are event-filled, as we start the most productive time of the year - routines are learned and lots going on in the classes! More below....


1. MAP Testing Upcoming: On Wednesday, February 18, the Gr 2-5 students will start the second battery of MAP tests. As before, there are three online 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 Wednesday, February 18.  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.  

2. 1O Assembly: thanks to 1O for telling us all about "magic E". Here are some pictures from their assembly:

1O Assembly

3. Marcel Zaragoza: K-Gr 3 students also enjoyed a performance, and a calligraphy workshop from the very entertaining Marcel Zaragoza:

Marcel Zaragoza

4. Musical Picnic: 

Elementary Musical Picnic

Friday, Feb. 20: 4:00 start
bring a blanket and some dinner
on the field for live music from K-5 students

5. ES Parent Workshop: 

Defining Family Values

presented by Susie Brown, Certified Parent Coach and Pam Pelliccia ES Counselor

Participants will define family values, identify guiding principles and develop an action plan of specific ways to encourage children to embrace family values.

Tuesday, February 24th at 8:30 AM in the admin conference room

6. ES Parent Coffee - Tuesday, March 3: The following week, I will be holding an Elementary Parent Coffee to talk about the Elementary School and events upcoming. I'll also touch on the MAP tests and outline some changes to next year's report card - there will be coffee and plenty of snacks.  

7. No School Monday: Please remember that we will not be coming to school this Monday. The school will also be hosting the WAIST softball tournament for volunteers around West Africa - we also have some teams competing in the event.

8. Executive Function: We have been having some great discussions in our Pre-K meetings on the subject of executive function. These are the essential self-regulating skills that we all use every day to accomplish just about everything. They help our children plan, organize, make decisions, shift between situations or thoughts, control our emotions and impulsivity, and learn from past mistakes. Here is a great site with activities that we thought we would share with you, entitled Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence.

9. Samusocial Kids Visiting ISD: 3D and 3C children entertained and played games with the kids from Samusocial. It was great watching them work and play together:

Samusocial Visit

10. ASA Assembly - Monday, March 2: Please note in your calendars that there will be an After School Activity Assembly in the gym on Monday, March 2. Some of the ASA's are performance-based, and this is a time when the children can show what they have been learning. 

11. Parking at School: I am sure you have noticed the parking area next to the exit gate has now been closed again. This is because the housing association that owns the land has requested that we do not park there, as they are paving it. 

12. Grade 1's Virtual Parades: Finally, Ms. Chantal has been working on a computerized presentation for each of the Grade 1 classes we call "Virtual Cultural Parades". They are a lot of fun, and you can see them by clicking the class names below:

Class 1T

Class 1O

Class 1G

Upcoming Events: 

- Feb. 13: 1/2 Day PD
- Feb. 13: Gr 3 Field Trip to Beach
- Feb. 14-16: WAIST Softball Tournament
- Feb. 18: Gr 2-5 MAP Tests Begin
- Feb. 19: Board Meeting
- Feb. 20: Elementary Musical Picnic
- Feb. 21: Gr 3-12 Track & Field Meet at ISD
- Feb. 23: Board Meeting
- Feb 24: ES Parent Workshop
- Feb. 26 Gr 5 Trip to Goree Island
- Feb 26: 1T Assembly
- Feb. 27: 4C Assembly
- Feb. 27: Gr 3 Trip to Beach
- Feb. 28: Gaucher Academy Soccer Tournament
- Mar. 3: ES Parent Coffee
- Mar. 3: MS/HS Jaguarts
- Mar. 4: PTO Meeting
- Mar. 4: SIPS Cross Country
- Mar. 6: SIPS Track & Field
- Mar. 13: Student-Led Parent Conferences
- Mar. 20: Elementary Field Day
- Mar. 21-29: SPRING BREAK

Ian Clark

Ian Clark Ed.D.

Elementary School Principal

International School of Dakar