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Newsletters

Another Honor for Souad Belcaid, AST’s 6th Grade Teacher

Ms. Souad Belcaid, who was recently selected as one of fifty finalists in the Varkey GEMS Global Teacher Prize, has just been named to a list of Moroccan Women Who Have Honored Their Country in 2014 by Morocco World News. In an announcement published on its website on December 29, the news website says:


 “Morocco World News is delighted to share with its audience the list of top women who are a source of pride to their homeland through their positive contribution and exceptional achievements, either abroad or at home. “

  The article goes on to mention Souad’s  career as a teacher in Egypt, Massachusetts, Missouri, and now Morocco, where she relocated to in 2012, taking up a position as the 6th Grade teacher at the American School of Tangier.

Belcaid is the only teacher in North Africa shortlisted for The Global Teacher Prize, a competition established by the Varkey GEMS Foundation with a grand prize of one million dollars, “to celebrate one outstanding teacher.”

We are truly happy to have Ms. Souad Belcaid on our AST teaching staff!

 

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AST Board of Trustees Appoints 

Sarah Putnam to be Head of School

The American School of Tangier Board of Trustees has appointed Sarah Putnam to be its new Head of School, effective in July, 2015. Ms. Putnam is currently the Head of the International School of Aruba where she has worked since 2010.  Sarah has extensive experience in schools around the world and across the United States, as she has worked in China, Japan, the UK, and Aruba as well as in California, Montana, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

Ms. Putnam is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in Fine Arts and has degrees in education from the University of Massachusetts and the University of Montana.  While visiting Tangier, Sarah interviewed with students, faculty, parents, admin, trustees, and staff who were universally impressed by her poise, intelligence, and energy. 

Following is a copy of Ms. Putnam’s educational philosophy, submitted to the school as part of her application:

Educational Beliefs and Leadership Style


A great school is one where everyone is learning – students, teachers, administrators, staff, parents and Board members. When people learn together, when minds meet in discourse and discovery, learning becomes a joyous activity, and knowledge a vitalizing force.

A good education provides students the knowledge, skills and dispositions for success in an undefined future, combined with reflective capacity and inspiration for life-long learning. It takes a great school to achieve this standard for all students. Great international schools enable all students to achieve their academic and personal best by providing a range of challenging experiences, as well as opportunities to experience the breadth of a global society. Great schools have an ethos of a joyful learning community wherein all students develop a clear sense of purpose and self, and experience success in high school and beyond.

A Head of School’s leadership must empower others while simultaneously holding them accountable for high standards of performance. As leader, I strive to create a flexible administrative environment that responds to recent data while adhering to long-term school goals.  I combine strength of purpose with collaboration, drawing on both intellectual and emotional intelligences to foster growth. As Head of School, I make bold decisions as required, yet also operate within the principle of subsidiarity enabling decisions to occur at the level of those affected whenever possible. I strive to formulate professional opinions through discourse, enabling board members, administrators, staff, students, and parents to be part of the decision-making process and the resultant course of action. Organizations are only as powerful as the learning communities they foster, and I focus much of my energies on creating a strong team environment.

When there is effective leadership in place, stakeholders of great schools are unified by a collective vision, and all see value in efforts to benefit the common good. The head of school must implement transparent processes in order to develop trust, which will create a positive learning environment, which will, in turn, translate into all students enabled to achieve their highest.


Ms. Putnam is in regular contact with Mr. Lussen and the two of them will work together to ensure a smooth transition. AST looks forward to welcoming Sarah Putnam as its 17th Head of School.



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AST Newsletter  September 29, 2014

We’ve been at school for almost a month now, and many things are starting to happen around AST.  

Classes have settled in and are working hard; the faculty are busy working on their classes and on accreditation, sports teams are practicing, and parents are adjusting to the new Parent Portal in the Rediker system.

PARENTS!! While the response has been excellent to our request for parents to sign up, there are still quite a few parents who have not received their AST emails and instructions on how to use the Parent Portal.  Please take care of this as soon as you can.  You can drop by the computer lab between 8:30 and 9:30 or after school from 3:45 to 4:30 to get your email and some brief instructions.

Remember:  this is how we will be communicating with you from now on!

Rediker and AST Communication

About two-thirds of our parents have signed up for their AST emails and Parent Portal access, with more parents trickling in.  Teachers are posting homework and comments as well as behavior or “incident” reports as they occur.  The communication between teachers and parents/students through AST emails and the Parent/Student Portal is improving steadily.  Upper School students are now collaborating on line through the use of Google Calendar and Documents here at AST and with other students at schools around the world through such sites as “Poetry Genius,” introduced by Mr. Allen in his English classes.  The new Google Chrome lab will enable AST to conduct MAP testing without disrupting other classes in the Computer Lab, as well as being available for class and individual work.

With access to the Parent Portal parents can stay up-to-date with grades, behavior, and performance throughout the year.  Students will receive Progress Reports at midterm and Report Cards at the end of the term via the Parent Portal.  This change means ongoing, faster, and more accurate communication than ever before at AST.  With more parent buy-in and feedback we can improve this even more!

Student Activities

Drama:

 Mr. Allen has his Drama Class working on some suitably chilling adaptations of programs from the classic American TV series “The Twilight Zone,” to be presented on October 30 and 31st, just in time for Halloween.  Mr. Allen is very happy with the energy and the progress that the Drama Class is already making.

Seniors:

Ms. Gregoire and her students in the Senior Seminar are working steadily to prepare their college and university applications.  Their blogs are up, many have their college lists already finished (or in progress), and two universities have visited already (American University of Paris and John Cabot University).  The seniors have also started their parent meetings with Ms. Gregoire and Mr. Lussen to go over their lists, plans, and financial aid information.

Senior Steering Committee:  Under the leadership of Ms. Gregoire the seniors have formed a Senior Steering committee which will help them plan their activities for the  year.  Members are Ouijdane Benajiba, Shreya Nebhwani, Ahmed Boughaba, Sadia El Ibrahimi, RachidMaillard, Beth Fallon, and Boutayna Hassoun.

Clubs:

Nabil Alami, our History Department Head, has started two clubs, the AST International Club and the AST Cinema Club.  The International Club will be working toward holding and International Cultural Day in February, which will include all students.  In addition to this, AST will be hosting our first Model UN Conference in Mid-April, inviting school from all over the region to participate.

The Cinema Club will host a film showing about twice a month in US 4, followed by discussions of the film(s) that are screened.

Mr. Alami has also been working with the Debate Class as they prepare for another successful season of debate competitions .  He has arranged with Mr. John Davison, the Director of the American Legation here in Tangier, to hold several tournaments at the Legation this year.

Sports:

 Nour Amri, our Athletic Director, has scheduled the following tournaments for the fall:

· October 18: MASAC Middle School Basketball Tournament (girls at RAS / Boys at CAS)

· November 14-15: MASAC Varsity Volleyball Tournament at RAS

· November 27-30: ISA Varsity Soccer 7 at Browns (Portugal)

· December 13: MASAC track & Field at GWA

Head Search

At this writing the school has received a visit from one candidate and is awaiting a visit from our second candidate.  Sarah Putnam, currently the Head of the International School of Aruba, visited us last week and met with groups representing all of the school’s stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, administrators,  and trustees; she also visited classes and talked with many individuals.  Our second candidate, Mr. Dan Smith, Head of the Mosaica International School of Hyderabad (India), will come in to Tangier late on Tuesday night, September 30, and will join us for two days of interviews and meetings.  The Board of Trustees has sent out feedback surveys via Survey Monkey and will make their choice after getting feedback on Mr. White’s visit.

Planning Committee

AST’s new planning committee met for the first time Monday evening, September 29.  The Planning Committee consists of 21 students, teachers, parents, administrators, and trustees who will be working on two main projects this year:  Accreditation and the implementation of the AST Strategic Plan.  Karima Kadaoui  will chair this committee, Christina Al Masri will be the Vice Chair, and Lee Allen will be the scribe.  This committee will oversee the accreditation committee work, approve the Action Plans, and work toward the overall improvement of the school. 

Accreditation News

The AST Self-Study Committees have already begun to meet and are gathering information for the required Self Study of the school.  Each committee will be looking at the results of surveys sent out through SurveyMonkey to help identify weaknesses and possible areas of focus for our Action Plans, which will be approved by the Planning Committee and the Board of Trustees once they have been formulated.  It is our desire to have the surveys and other research completed as soon as possible, so that the school can  begin to work on the Action Plans, which will chart the course of the school over the next couple of years.  Many of the weaknesses identified in the original application for accreditation have already been addressed by the school (for example, the adoption of a standards-based curriculum), however there is still much to be done before our visit from the Middle States team.

Professional Development

MAIS Conference

Thanks to a generous grant from the Office of Overseas Schools, AST will be able to send seven staff members to the annual MAIS (Mediterranean Association of International Schools)Conference in Seville in November.  Day-long pre-conference workshops on MAP testing and on Accreditation will be followed by two days of shorter seminars and workshops covering a wide variety of pedagogical topics.  

UNE

In addition to MAIS, AST is also availing itself of professional development opportunities coming out of UNE’s Department of Education On-line courses, with one teacher already enrolled and another about to sign up for Master’s Degree and post-Master’s certificates.

Council of International Schools

Ms. Gregoire and Mr. Lussen will be attending this very important conference in Amsterdam in November.  The CIS conference brings together College Counselors and College Admissions representatives for a three-day conference of workshops, a college fair, and a school fair, all of which are critical in our college placement process. 

Cafeteria

Parents may not be aware that the cafeteria was renovated last spring and that AST now has cafeteria service throughout the day, from 8:15-5:30, supplied by a local caterer.  So far there has been a good response from students and faculty alike, both in terms of the quality of the food and its variety.

AST Library

A library has always been considered to be the hub of a school.  So this year, our library is striving to provide a welcoming environment for teachers and students of all ages to come in to study, read, or work on computers (there is WIFI!) in a calm, relaxing atmosphere.

For research, in addition to Encyclopedia Britannica, two new data bases have been purchased: InfoTrac Student Edition for the upper school and Kids’ InfoBits for the lower school.  Ten new magazine subscriptions, to suit all ages and interests, have been ordered from the States.  They should start arriving next month.  And, of course, there are plenty new book titles catalogued and ready on the shelves.

More library classes for kindergarten through grade 4 have been added.  That means there is more time for read-aloud stories; research on the computers and from reference books; mini lessons on literature; and quiet reading in a comfortable spot in the specially allocated sitting area for the lower school.

So, if you have time, drop by.  Any suggestions you may have on how to keep improving our library to truly make it the hub of our school, are more than welcome!

EFL (ESL) Support in the Lower School

AST is now offering  EFL (English as a Foreign Language) support to the Lower School classes.  Najlae Derbadi, our Assistant Librarian, is also trained in teaching English to  young learners and is now conducting “pull-out” classes for our young students who have not had much opportunity to learn English prior to coming to AST, as well as providing support for students who are still struggling with the language.  AST is delighted to be able to offer this service to our community.

More Old ones CLICK HERE

Richard E. Lussen

Head of School
The American School of Tangier