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  • 11 May 2020 12:20 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Columbia Business School Masterclass on Innovation, with special reference to online Education is intended to provide the tools and mindset to embrace change and innovate. 

    Dates : May 18 th

    Timing: 8:30am - 10:30am EST

    Duration: 90 minutes

    Hosted by: Daniel McQuade, Global Director, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Venture For all, Columbia Business School

  • 06 May 2020 11:07 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    To keep AP Exams secure this year, all students worldwide must test at the same time per course.

    During this Q&A session, Linda Liu, vice president of International at the College Board, will walk you through common questions about the 2020 AP Exam platform. You’ll also receive a checklist of items needed for the AP Exams, and learn any requirements for specific subjects.

    If you’re unable to attend the live webinar, it will be recorded and shared with all registrants after the presentation.

    Visit the College Board website to learn more about how the online AP Exams will work this year.

    Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 9:30 A.M. ET

    Register Now

  • 05 May 2020 11:07 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This two-week pre-college virtual course by AISA Associate Member, Columbia Business School is an interactive program that will provide high school students with an intensive ‘hands-on’ course focusing on the creation, evaluation, development and launch readiness of a new business or social venture.

    In the attached brochure you can find a schedule with various time and day offerings for the class. When you find a class that fits your schedule, click the “Register” link to submit your details.


  • 17 April 2020 12:39 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Many schools in the US have closed for the rest of the academic year, and globally there are widespread school closures across 192 countries. As such, The College Board will not be able to administer the SAT as planned on June 6, 2020.

    The College Board will share plans to provide weekend SAT administrations around the world through the end of the calendar year, beginning in August. This includes a new administration in September and the previously scheduled tests on August 29, October 3, and December 5. Students will be able to register for these administrations beginning in May. Students who were registered for June and those in the high school class of 2021 who do not have SAT scores will have early access to registration for the August, September, and October administrations. The SAT program is also exploring the feasibility of opening the main SAT in November internationally, which was dropped from the schedule pre-pandemic.

    In the unlikely event that schools do not reopen this fall, the College Board will provide a digital SAT for home use, much as they are delivering digital exams for 3 million AP students this spring. As they’re doing with at-home Advanced Placement Exams, the College Board would ensure that at-home SAT testing is simple; secure and fair; accessible to all; and valid for use in college admissions.

    For each administration, the College Board is preparing to significantly expand its capacity for students to take the SAT as soon as schools reopen. They’re calling on member schools and colleges, as well as local communities, to open their doors and provide additional test centre capacity so every student who wants to can take the SAT, can.

    The updates can be found here.

  • 16 April 2020 10:51 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There is seldom an event that impacts all people around the world in the way that COVID-19 has. No matter what country you are in or what media you read, you are sure to be confronted with the latest coronavirus stats and news, as well as advice from all types of political, social and economic commentators, organisations and self-proclaimed experts; if not on recognised media channels then for sure on social media.

    Blended or online learning is not a new topic; the first generation of web-based instruction started in the late nineties, and since then much has changed, but few will argue that it has not been tested like it is being now. With the popularity of the topic in current times, there is a proliferation of information and communication available, and it can be difficult to discern the level of authority and expertise of the sources.

    The International Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) recognised the challenge this situation created for its members, and quickly set up access to vetted resources and tools for its member schools’ heads, educators, counsellors and education professionals. “This included setting up strategic partnerships with reputable and recognised professionals in critical fields during this time,” says Peter Bateman, Executive Director of AISA. “When it comes to blended learning, one of the most highly respected and sought-after experts on the subject is Catlin Tucker, whom AISA has had the pleasure of working with on many occasions in the past, and has now secured her services through COVID-19.”

    A Google Certified Innovator, bestselling author, international trainer, and keynote speaker, Catlin Tucker is a blended learning coach whose books include, ‘Blended Learning in Grades 4-12’, ‘Blended Learning in Action’, and ‘Power Up Blended Learning’. Her most recent book, ‘Balance with Blended Learning: Partner with Your Students to Reimagine Learning and Reclaim Your Life’, was published this year.

    AISA members have access to Catlin’s expertise in various ways; she has made her resources available, is currently leading a series of customised webinars and engages with AISA members on the association’s Blended Learning Discussion Forum. All of these are accessible on the AISA COVID-19 Support Portal (

    To date, Catlin has covered topics such as:

    • How to Flip Instruction and Engage Students Who Are Learning Online
    • How to Have Safe Meets with Students
    • How to Prioritise Health and Wellbeing During School Closures
    • How to Ensure Academic Honesty During Online Learning
    • How to Sustain Online Learning over Long Periods

    Her upcoming webinars include:

    • Designing Learning Experiences for Younger Students (K-5) and their Parents: 21 April 2020
    • Designing a Multi-Week Learning Experience with the 5E’s Instructional Model: 28 April 2020
    • 5 Steps to Successful Online Discussions (Grade 6-12): 5 May 2020

    “Catlin’s webinars, discussion forums and resources are of our most popular, and more and more of our members are registering to benefit from her coaching,” concludes Peter. “We strongly suggest that, if you have not already done so, you can visit our COVID-19 Support Portal and register to participate in these opportunities.”

    The philosopher, psychologist, and education and social reform influencer, John Dewey once said; “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow”. Well, Catlin is certainly supporting our members to effectively teach students in today’s reality.

  • 14 April 2020 13:19 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Brad Waugh, Head of School at the American International School of Bamako

    In the last issue of ConneXions, Dan Jubert, the Chair of the AISA Board, wrote of the wonderful diversity to be found among AISA schools. One place we see this diversity is in school size: AISA schools range from a few dozen to well over one thousand pupils, and of the 78 schools that make up the AISA family of schools, about 40% have enrolment below 300. Nearly a quarter of these have student bodies of fewer than 200.

    Every AISA school works hard to take advantage of the strengths of its unique community and context; educational leaders who specialise in working with the strengths of smaller schools learn how to leverage the flexibility and deep interconnectedness found in the small-school context to create innovative, student-focused learning communities that are by nature streamlined and efficient, and able to respond quickly and effectively to the ever-changing needs of students and the demands of their wider contexts.

    The strengths of small schools: Agility, responsiveness, community

    The impact of school size on student learning and well-being, school climate and teacher satisfaction has been recognised for over two decades. Small schools, with their greater sense of connectedness and immediacy are able to ensure that every student feels known and understood, and an integral part of a learning community.

    Some of the advantages of small schools are an almost inevitable consequence of their size: smaller student bodies result in students forming friendships and valuable social/support networks and social learning opportunities outside their immediate peer groups. This in turn creates greater social cohesion within the community, with fewer discipline issues and better and more positive understandings amongst stakeholder groups.

    Small schools also have the potential to result in better education. With a high degree of understanding amongst those stakeholder groups, small schools are able to match or exceed larger schools in innovation. Thanks to a low Bureaucracy Mass Index, in the language of a recent Harvard Business School study, small schools are able to move quickly and efficiently to respond to new ideas in teaching and learning, and responding to the changing needs of students and the context. And practically speaking, it’s often easier in small schools for every teacher to take responsibility for the learning and the well-being of every student. Teachers in small schools benefit from closer working relationships, which impact teaching and learning; and teacher collaborations naturally cross subject areas and divisions, which leads to better aligned curricula and more innovative learning experiences for students.

    Heads of smaller schools are typically “solo heads” who lead their schools without the support of principals or other administrators; this sounds at first glance like a disadvantage, but in practice often leads to better and more impactful distribution of responsibility within faculty, and real professional growth of teachers. Teachers in smaller schools have a greater sense of efficacy that results from having real and immediate input into decision-making about students and curriculum, and from seeing their positive impacts. Patricia Wasley, in a discussion of her research work on the impact of the small schools movement in Chicago, notes that:

    Teacher satisfaction went way up! Teachers thought teaching was more fun, satisfying, and that they were more effective teachers, that they could get the kids moving in a positive direction. Many teachers told the researchers that teaching at a small school reminded them why they became teachers in the first place.

    What strengths are inherent in small schools?


    The size of the school does not inhibit personal interaction; it encourages it. Teachers are more apt to know their students as individuals and to be familiar with the family backgrounds from which they come.


    Morale among students and teachers tends to be higher in small schools. Teachers feel more committed and efficacious, and students feel that their teachers know them better and hence set higher but appropriate expectations for their learning and participation.


    Small schools are manageable. There is usually less red tape and fewer regulations.


    Small schools are more likely to be learner-centered with strong emphasis placed on individualised and small group instruction.

    Based on:

    Small Schools: Great Strides, Bank Street College of Education (2000)

    “The Advantages of Small Schools” Barker (1986)

    Some of the challenges

    Small schools also face some profound challenges. AISA’s small schools are typically situated in countries plagued by political and economic instabilities. Extended school closures due to coup, civil war or epidemic have taken place at a significant number of AISA’s smaller schools over the past decade. These are places that are hard to recruit for, difficult to get supplies into, with high turnaround among staff, students and parents - and this latter typically results in frequent turnover among board trustees as well as in enrolment numbers that vary greatly from year to year and are hard to predict.

    Even here, though, we see some of the strengths of the small school experience - one that is applicable to schools of all sizes. In responding to the challenges they face, small schools often uncover or make use of powerful, innovative solutions. Many of AISA’s smaller schools organise their classes into thoughtful multi-age groupings to address small and unpredictable enrolment numbers within individual grade levels. When done mindfully this not only brings greater stability to class sizes but it can also allow the school to better differentiate for individual student needs by grouping students in ways other than by age. Other small schools find it necessary to team educators together to address social-emotional or content learning needs that tend to be addressed by a single specialist in a larger school - a resource person they simply do not have. Again, when done mindfully, this team approach can lead to better results for the students, as well as greater insight and solidarity among faculty.

    The AISA Small School Initiative: Plenty of principles, with fewer principals

    AISA recognises the opportunities represented and threats faced by smaller schools in Africa and supports them in a number of ways, chief among them by bringing these schools together in an association for mutual aid, known as the AISA Small Schools Initiative (SSI). The first meeting to bring the heads of AISA small schools together to discuss their common strengths and challenges took place in the fall of 2016 thanks to the determination of Irene Epp, head of AIS Freetown at the time and veteran leader of a number of smaller AISA schools, with the support of Peter Bateman and Tom Shearer, then Africa Regional Education Officer for the Office of Overseas Schools at the US Department of State. The initial meeting demonstrated that there was a very real need for this kind of discussion and was followed up at subsequent ALCs and SHRs, eventually resulting in the first formal meeting of “Solo Heads” in Dakar in the fall of 2017, facilitated by Dennis Larkin and Irene Epp. Solo heads are those school leaders who have the challenging and enviable remit of heading schools without benefit of other administrators - folks with plenty of principles but no principals, as was noted at the time. The small number of heads who came together represented most of the smallest schools in the broad AISA family, with many from West Africa.

    The first item on the agenda was for the group to discuss their shared experiences and put down on paper exactly what the joys and challenges of being the head of a small school are. The results of these personal observations can be found in the boxed text below:

    Experience of the Solo Head of School

    The joys of being a solo head of school come from being:

    ● Stimulated intellectually and professionally; never, ever, bored

    ● A holistic experience, with opportunities for high impact throughout the school community

    ● Able to play a vital role in the national development of the host country

    ● Close to students every single day; fully immersed in their lives

    ● Able to greet each of our students, staff members, parents and teachers by name, often daily

    ● Able to make decisions and changes with agility and expediency

    ● Inclusive, sharing leadership with faculty and staff

    Common challenges solo heads face are:

    ● Needing to be highly competent and dynamic in setting priorities and managing time and resources

    ● The tendency for urgent issues to overwhelm the important

    ● The need to solve problems and innovate across areas outside of your experience and expertise, often with limited resources

    ● The highly transient nature of the community, leading to large shifts in faculty, students and parents, the latter frequently undermining continuity on the board. Small school boards are often in a continuous state of flux, with trustees struggling to learn their roles anew each year

    ● The need to be ever present on campus. It can be difficult to get away and one is always on call

    The position of a solo head in Africa requires:

    ● Flexibility

    ● Resilience

    ● A steady focus on problem solving

    ● Extreme persistence and patience

    ● The ability to build the capacity of faculty and staff through coaching and mentorship

    Nonetheless, being a solo head is fulfilling both professionally and personally because:

    ● One can make a significant difference often with an immediate impact

    ● Our community members appreciate the school and the efforts made to meet the needs of students and families

    ● Student learning is individualised; relationships between and among students and teachers are close and immediate; often resulting in high achievement toward personalised student goals

    ● Of the potential - and need - for experimentation, creativity and innovation

    ● With no intermediary layer of other administration one can develop close, powerful relationships with faculty and staff.

    The rest of that meeting established the areas of focus that still outline the work of the AISA Small Schools Initiative today. Keeping in mind that the primary objective of the group is to foster mutual aid among its members schools, the SSI has established:

    ● The most active email discussion group among the AISA Online Communities. Some of the topics discussed recently have focused on sharing costs to bring a trainer in for MAP training for teachers, options and Apps available in West Africa for parent communication and payment, available itinerant educational psychologists and board trainers, and response protocols to pandemics.

    ● A clearinghouse for sharing documents, with everything from policy and business manuals to student handbooks and field trip forms.

    ● Regular gatherings of SSI heads to share their ideas and make plans for the future. These run as full-day meetings, usually immediately after the annual AISA School Heads Retreat.

    ● An adapted version of AISA’s School Effectiveness Framework for more specific application to smaller schools.

    ● An initiative to foster more and better governance training for our school boards. Collaborating among ourselves but also with AISA to develop strategies and resources to better address one of the most common sources of fragility for small schools - discontinuities in school governance and boards.


    When the heads of AISA’s smallest schools gather again, they will continue the work begun four years ago. One of the areas of focus will be on bringing new members of the SSI up to speed on the work we do. Since that first meeting the vast majority of the heads who met at that time have moved on. For solo head schools this represents a complete turnover in the leadership of their schools. Fewer than 20% of the heads from that time remain at their posts and almost 40% of SSI heads are new to their schools this year. The turnover in boards has been even more profound and another important area of focus will be on working with AISA to find ways of ensuring continuous growth in the quality of governance at schools with high turnover. We will continue to celebrate and leverage the strengths we enjoy as smaller schools, while working together to protect ourselves from some of the inherent dangers.

    About the Author:

    Brad Waugh is in his fifth year as the solo head of school at the American International School of Bamako. He has worked in international schools on three continents ranging in size from 170 to 320. He is the Coordinator of AISA’s Small Schools Initiative.

  • 14 April 2020 13:11 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Dr. Peter Bateman, AISA Executive Director

    Benjamin Disraeli once said, “There is no education like adversity.” He could not have known of the profundity that this statement would have almost two centuries later, but it certainly has some significance as education professionals around the world navigate a new normal through this COVID-19 pandemic.

    As part of our mandate to support international schools and educators across Africa, AISA has created a dedicated COVID-19 Support Portal to assist our members through this time of adversity and beyond.

    Since the launch of the AISA COVID-19 Support Portal on 2 April 2020, its value has already been proven, with almost 1000 education professionals visiting the site to access valuable resources, current news and information and enjoy the community interaction it facilitates.

    The site includes a number of useful features, including:

    • Latest News: A newsfeed of COVID-19 updates, alerts, news, articles of interest and studies relating to schools and educators.
    • Resource Library: A searchable database of shared resources for school leadership, educators, counsellors and other education professionals. Categories include:
    • Blended/Online Resources
    • Health and Wellbeing
    • School Policies and Templates
    • Upcoming Webinars and Webinar Library: A calendar of upcoming webinars across a wide range of topics, and a library of past webinars for easy reference.
    • Discussion Forums: Chat forums that facilitate and encourage sharing of information, resources, advice and support amongst education communities.
    • AISA Member School Map: An interactive map showing the status of AISA member schools during the COVID-19 school closures; showing which schools are open, online or closed and when they plan to re-open.
    • Latest COVID-19 Stats (Africa) – Detailed and up-to-date data on the status of COVID-19 in the African region.

    However, like so many of AISA’s initiatives and programmes, this portal’s real value is amplified by the engagement and contribution of our members, partners and associates. We are so grateful for the many supporters and contributors who have added to the wealth of information and resources this portal offers.

    We invite you to become active participants and users of the portal and help us realise its full potential.

    Click here to visit the portal

  • 14 April 2020 12:23 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Dr Chip Barder, International Consultant

    Governance continues to be an ongoing area of focus and concern for many international schools around the world. Even with all good intentions and enthusiastic efforts of countless heads and volunteers who serve on international school boards, the problems persist. When queried, international school heads often cite governance and board relations as the top challenge facing their schools.

    To respond to this need, the Governance As Leadership Training Institute (GALTI) had planned its 3rd year on the African continent for September 2020. Due to COVID-19 this has had to be postponed to 2021. Sponsored by the Board of the American International School of Johannesburg and hosted on their Johannesburg campus, the approach is to give boards and heads a chance to be proactive, thoughtful and intentional in their governance work. In its 1st two years, GALTI Johannesburg attracted approximately 150 participants including over 100 board members from 11 AISA schools.

    The first GALTI in the world was hosted by the UNIS Hanoi Board in September 2014 in Vietnam, and next year will be the 7th annual event on the UNIS campus with anticipated attendance averaging 120 participants including over 90 board members. GALTI Johannesburg is modelled after GALTI Hanoi while taking into account the unique governance needs on the African continent.

    Governance As Leadership (GAL) is a conceptual model of governance developed by Dr. Richard Chait, Dr. Bill Ryan, and Dr. Barbara Parker at Harvard. Dr. Chait came to Hanoi for the first two GALTI events in Hanoi and Dr. Ryan has continued the work there with Ms. Bambi Betts and Dr. Chip Barder, both of whom are experienced heads but more importantly have been involved in international school governance training for many years. Dr. Ryan and Dr. Barder will facilitate the GALTI Johannesburg event for the third year.

    GAL reframes the purpose and practice of international school governance by drawing on theories that have reshaped the concept and practice of leadership. This new approach invites board members to think and govern like leaders at the appropriate level. It describes three modes of governance – fiduciary, strategic and generative – that together enable more effective boardsmanship.

    While the first two modes are more familiar to most boards, it is the generative mode that can transform the governance work. By deciding and spending time on the most important items, by stopping to make better sense of the circumstances, by finding and framing problems and opportunities, by entertaining alternative questions and hypotheses, and by reconciling realities, values and choices, the payoffs are potentially game-changing:

    • More macro-governance, less micromanagement
    • More board member engagement, less boredom
    • More value-added, less value squandered
    • Stronger, broader leadership
    • Stronger, better school for the short and long-term

    Governance becomes more “consequential”, thus, attracting and retaining the best and brightest in the community who want to have impact on the current and future success of the school.

    We hope that participants leave with an enhanced knowledge base of the Governance As Leadership model including all three modes of governance, a clarified understanding of the impact on roles, responsibilities and relationships that the GAL approach demands, the ability to move away from micro-management to macro-governance, an improved working relationship with fellow participants (board members and head) from their own school, an expanded network of board members and heads from all over Africa regarding governance, and an action plan based on insights gained that participants hope to initiate back home in the coming days, weeks and months.

    A few things have been learned over the last 7 years from this work. One learning has been the importance of the mindset of the participants. Those who come in believing there is something to be learned and are committed to listening – a learning mindset – are not only able to understand things more clearly but are ready and able to begin to transform the work of governance in their school back home. The consistent feedback from the more than 700 participants over the last 6 years has been that the learning mindset is the single most important characteristic of those seeking to improve their effectiveness in governance.

    Another learning has been the power of the board member-to-board member interaction. When board members have the time, energy and focus to talk meaningfully with each other in guided conversations, whether they are from their home school or from another school, the result is a greater understanding of governance and a clearer idea of what needs to happen back home.

    A further learning has been around the need to understand and make use of all three modes of governance – fiduciary, strategic and generative – and to realize that they sometimes are all in the same conversation about an issue or problem. Thus, there are learning opportunities at the Institute for all three modes.

    Finally, dedication to the inculcation of this work is a potentially successful strategy when managing turnover at the board and head level. By establishing a culture of functioning that is not dependent on who is in the board member or head positions but is rather based on sound thinking and strong values and principles, the long term sustainability of a school is assured, and the board will be able to fulfill its responsibilities to hold the school in trust for now and into the future.

    GALTI provides the environment and not only allows for but encourages all of this to happen. All AISA heads and board members are encouraged to participate in the planned 2021 event in Johannesburg. Please do look out for further online updates about the event. 

    About the Author

    Dr Chip Barder

    Dr. Chip Barder is entering his 47th year as a professional educator. He has a BA in Economics with a teaching credential in the Social Sciences, a Master’s in Counselling, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teaching. He has been a counselor, a teacher and principal at all three levels: Elementary, Middle, and High School. He has also been a university faculty member in teacher education and school administration.

  • 14 April 2020 11:28 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our Associate Member, NWEA, is launching a range of online professional learning options that suit educators new to MAP through to those very familiar with it and who seek advanced learning. NWEA will work with a school in advance of the online course to customise the focus and content to meet the exact needs and ensure the time is spent effectively. The online courses will be led by one of the NWEA expert facilitators who works in a school using MAP and who is very familiar with maximising its potential in teaching and learning. NWEA is offering AISA members a 20% discount on the standard prices of their online professional learning. The options include:

    Virtual Professional Learning Programme

    Each coaching session can be customised, with the objectives established during the 30 minute planning call with the facilitator. The regular virtual sessions are 90-minutes long which is sufficient to explore ideas and practice in detail. Regarding the size of a school’s audience, it’s best limit the ‘discussion group’ to no more than 6 staff members asking questions during the session. They can have more people in the room if needed, and their discussion group can relay their questions to the trainer. The AISA member discount brings the price of these sessions down from US$500 to $400.

    Virtual Applying Reports Course

    An in-depth professional learning option for MAP is the Virtual Applying Reports course. It’s broken up into three 2-hour sessions, ideally with a maximum group of 12 active participants. Scheduling is more or less open-ended and would be a function of each school’s schedule. The AISA member discount bring the cost of this option down from US$1,500 to $1,200.

    For further details and to arrange online PL, contact Eric Nelson

  • 13 April 2020 19:30 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Jeff Trudeau, Director of American International School of Monrovia

    In 2006, I took my first director post at Escuela Las Morochas in the oil fields of Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. During my first year, I introduced the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment to help the school identify the needs of the students we were supporting. The returning teachers at the school were not pleased with this development, as MAP was a new tool in International Schools some 14 years ago. At a staff meeting in early September of that school year, I recall one teacher bluntly stating, “Why are we doing MAP testing again? Do you think you have all the answers?”

    To which I paused, as there was an awkward silence in the room. After a few seconds, I responded: “I do not have the answers, and I am not looking for them. I believe finding the right questions, will serve us better … and MAP will help us do that.”

    This year, my eighth and final year as Director of the American International School of Monrovia, I will be transitioning to the International School of Ouagadougou (ISO). I am very pleased that AISA provided support to assist with this transition (I have not done one since 2012!) through a school-to-school exchange program that brought my future colleague from ISO, Ms. Jalisa Mixon (Elementary Administrator), to our campus here in Monrovia.

    This gave us the chance to start our collaboration early in realising some of our key transition objectives:

    Peer-to-Peer Transition Plan Objectives

    1. For Ms. Jalisa Mixon to observe and evaluate which AISM programmes and practices might be good matches for the ISO community. This was done through a purposeful series of visits, observations, and discussions with key stakeholder (teachers, students, parents).

    2. Those conversations took place both on campus and in social settings. The mix of environments allowed Ms. Mixon to generatively discuss the practices at the American International School of Monrovia that could be beneficial to support student learning at the International School of Ouagadougou.

    3. To ensure inclusive, open, and transparent communication among the future leadership team of the International School of Ouagadougou, with myself serving the community as Director and Ms. Jalisa Mixon serving as the Elementary Administrator in August.

    4. Building an understanding that we are peers and with a positive collaboration and relationship, we will be able, together, to fully ensure what is needed to help ISO succeed and move forward to its next chapter in the school’s (as of next year) 45th year of operations.

    5. To ensure a successful transition for the remainder of this year through proactive actions that engage both communities. With stakeholders’ support, from ISO and AISM, we can ensure a positive and constructive experience as we both transition to the future ISO leadership team at the start of the next school year.

    Additional Outcomes

    During the school-to-school exchange, Ms. Jalisa Mixon was able to see how we conduct a joint three-year-old and four-year-old class here at AISM. ISO is planning to have such a class in August 2020. This visit allowed her to see firsthand how we administer this class. She was able to observe the class, see our schedule, and gain an understanding of how learning centres and “purposeful play” assist our youngest students here at AISM.

    Ms. Mixon was also able to observe how AISM has recently adopted a program based on ‘The Responsive Classroom.’ Our teachers regularly hold Morning Meetings to make sure we recognize student voices. Our faculty are supported by an external advisor who assists our team with professional development in holding effective Morning Meetings. We have discovered, here in Monrovia, that student achievement can be better realised if we ensure students feel safe, respected, and know their opinions and voices are heard. Ms. Jalisa Mixon had the opportunity to see how this type of programme could be adapted to serve the needs of the students at ISO.

    Finally, an unexpected outcome from this visit: providing my future colleague with inclusive, open and transparent communication with all stakeholders, actually helped with community support for my transition. After eight years of service to this great school, students and families, it is time for the Trudeau’s to move forward. The community, after her visit, can see what a great fit ISO will be for our family. Even my daughter is excited to know that she is going to “Ouagadougou.” (She, like me, will learn the correct pronunciation … most likely she will learn it faster!)

    Furthermore, our community and I learned that Ms. Jalisa Mixon clearly understands the importance of building community, making sure each student is heard, and above all is passionate about teaching and learning, all of which are fantastic qualities that will assist in our transition to the ISO leadership team.


    I am very pleased to know, after my site visit to the International School of Ouagadougou, and in working with Ms. Jalisa Mixon during this school-to-school exchange program, that MAP testing is firmly in place at ISO. Jalisa even attended an AISA-sponsored NWEA MAP PD in Dakar this year. MAP testing is one topic that we will not need to worry about during this transition.

    After this successful school-to-school exchange, it is clear that I do not have all the answers, and the needs of the community at ISO are not the same as those in Monrovia. However, the stage is now set for us to effectively work together to identify the question of “how best to continue to support student learning at the International School of Ouagadougou.”

    Featured image: Jeff Trudeau, Jalisa Mixon and future ISO student Saleena Trudeau


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