25 March, 2015
You are cordially invited to
attend a meeting of all AST parents on Tuesday, April 7, at 6:00 pm in the
library. Sarah Putnam, our new Head of
School, and Mohamed Ahmed, the new Principal, will be present to address the parents
and to share their vision for the future of AST.
The AST Planning Committee,
composed of students, faculty, administration, parents, and trustees, will also
address the meeting. The Planning
Committee, which is charged with the oversight of the accreditation process and
the monitoring of all action plans coming out of that process, will discuss
their role in the future of the school and the progress that has been made thus
far toward accreditation.
An update on the PTO will also be presented.
Please come and meet Sarah, Mohamed, and the Planning
Richard E. Lussen
Head of School
The American School of Tangier
Contrary to popular belief, February (for educators) is the longest
month. There is just something about it
that drags on and on, despite the best efforts of the American groundhog and
the Carnival celebrations all around the world.
Recent news from AST:
Assistant to the Head
I am happy to announce the hiring of Chaimae Zainabi to be
the new Assistant to the Head of School.
Chaimae brings a BA from Brooklyn College, experience in web design and
communications, and experience in community outreach programs in New York City
to her job as the assistant. We are all
looking forward to working with her, starting Monday, February 9. Please stop by and say hello to Chaimae.
Model UN, Debate, sports tournaments, after-school clubs,
Drama, and a film club are among the activities going on at AST right now. Lee Allen has started a chess club that is
booming with activity, often having between 20 and 30 participants at lunch
time. Lisa Gregoire, our Student
Activities leader, is looking to find suitable after-school activities for
Lower School students, such as karate, so that we can serve these students
better. AST is also looking at an
extended day (to 5:30) for parents who would like to pay for this service,
which could include activities or study halls.
Although it is still early our seniors have already received
acceptances from 38 colleges so far, including such universities as NYU,
Georgia Tech, Lynn University, Pace University, Les Roches Marbella, Cottey
College, Temple, and Drexel, to name a few.
We will continue to update their progress as the spring unfolds. Seniors are working on their service learning
requirement and their blogs, which you can access by going to our website and
clicking on “Student Blogs”.
The faculty committees on accreditation have been meeting
regularly throughout the fall and are now beginning to write their self-study
reports. These reports will be assembled
into a self-study document that will be submitted to Middle States for their
approval prior to the eventual visit of the Accreditation Committee. The Action Plans submitted by the committees
as part of their reports will be reviewed by the Planning Committee, which will
decide which of the institution-wide Action Plans will be adopted by the school
as part of its long-term effort for school improvement.
The new multi-stakeholder Planning Committee has been
meeting regularly since September. Its
first job was to complete the Graduate Profile, a seminal document required by
Middle States. The committee has now
started to work on the expansion part of the Strategic Plan, which includes
discussing the financial requirements, the spatial needs, the timing of
expansion, and the current admissions market here in Tangier.
meeting was held in December that generated considerable interest in the
project of starting a PTO for AST. A
convenient way of nominating and voting for officers was established through
the school’s communication system, but no parents participated in this. Now that there is a new Head’s Assistant,
parents can be called individually and reminded that they can attend meetings,
nominate, and vote, so we will continue to work on this project.
Plans for a combined graduation celebration/alumni reunion
are going forward. Current plans include
a gala dinner/prom under the graduation tent, alumni/student conferences, and
other events for the alumni group.
The admissions season has started but it is still too soon
to make any predictions regarding the return for this year or for the future
market. AST is planning at least one
open house in March for local and ex-pat parents and will be making a glossy
color brochure to support our effort to recruit families for our current
unfilled slots and for our future expansion.
If you know of families interested in AST, please direct them to our
Admissions page on our website.
I am delighted to be able to say that the science equipment
that was ordered last year has finally arrived and is in the process of being
cleared through customs. This equipment,
supported by the BOT and by several parental contributions, will give us two
state of the art science facilities, one for the High School and the other to be
shared among the lower grades (K-8).
Another Honor for Souad Belcaid, AST’s 6th Grade
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
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!
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:
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.
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
Remember: this is how we will be communicating with you
from now on!
Rediker and AST
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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