15 May, 2015
end of the year is almost upon us!
Senior Graduation is two weeks away; end-of-year projects are being
completed and presented, and people are finally complaining about the
heat. AST can look back on another year
of progress and success as this one comes to a close.
to Nabil Alami and a large group of highly dedicated students, the first-ever
Tangier Model UN Conference was held the weekend of April 17-19. Including over 120 students from all over Morocco,
the conference focused on the world-wide problem of migration. The conference featured two speakers, Mr.
Chris Monime from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ms. Ana Fonseca from
the International Organization on Migration office in Rabat. The conference was a great success, thanks to
the hard work of 45 AST students from grades 7-12, led by seniors Shreya
Nebhwani (Secretary General) and Beth Fallon (President of the General
Class of 2015 has been busy this week completing their final graduation
requirement, the Senior Presentations.
The presentations are reflections back on their AST experience, many of
which began sixteen years ago. Teachers,
admin, parents, and fellow students have attended these sessions, which include
high points (and sometimes low points!) of their experience, their favorite
courses, considerations of their growth over the years, and suggestions for
school improvement. Lisa Gregoire, the
Senior Seminar teacher, has organized and facilitated these presentations. Congratulations, seniors!
to Macarena Ventosa, our Art teacher, the lower school art classes have been
visited by teams of young engineers from Airbus, the airplane manufacturer, to
hold workshops on flight during the week of May 11. Airplanes, helicopters, rockets, and
satellites have all been subjects of the workshops.
recently completed its third round of MAP testing with excellent results. By the time our students reach the fourth and
fifth grades, most of them are scoring at or above the norms for their
grades. In the earlier grades, the fact
that the students are still learning English affects their scores, but by the
middle grades of elementary school most have mastered English well enough to
achieve these excellent results. MAP
scores can be accessed through the Plus Portal; parents wishing to discuss
these are welcome to make appointments with the grade teacher (K3-G6) or with
the appropriate subject teacher (grades 7-10).
swimming pool is now open and ready for classes. What was to be a simple replacement of the
decking around the pool grew into a full-scale renovation of elements which
were long overdue for maintenance. Of
major concern was the drainage system, which had been infiltrated by the roots
of our eucalyptus trees, causing an almost total blockage. Although the drainage work has yet to be
completed, the pool is open and ready for service.
Elementary/Middle School Science lab is now outfitted and functioning. Mr. Rico has worked hard at getting it set up
for the final trimester of the year. The
High School lab is still being assembled and connected; it will be fully
operational in time for the 2015-16 school year. When the work is completed the school will
host a formal opening of the lab, at which our parent donors will be honored
for their part in the purchase of this equipment.
happy to report that the AST Parent Teacher Organization is now up and running. Led by Leila and Fatima Azerkan, they are
already busy planning events for next year.
On the weekend of May 8-9, the PTO organized the concessions for the
Middle School Volleyball tournament, providing refreshments and food for all
the players, parents, and coaches who came to AST for the matches. They have brought an enthusiastic energy to
their work which I am sure Sarah and the rest of the school will appreciate
over the coming years.
are very pleased that we are now in the editing phase of the Self-Study report,
which should be finished over the course of the coming week. The report will then be turned over to the
Planning Committee, which will determine which objectives the school will
choose to focus on over the 7-year accreditation cycle. We have requested our school visit for
October or November; we are almost there!
Congratulations to ASM, our sister school, which was recently awarded
of our Lower School teachers have participated in the first of a series of
Mathematics workshops sponsored by the Office of Overseas Schools and presented
by Erma Anderson, a specialist in teaching math to lower school children. Lesley Rekiouak (G1), Malti Daswani (G4), and
Khadija Anejdam (G5) all took part in
this initial workshop, and all reported having an excellent experience. Two other AST teachers, Souad Belcaid and
Nada Beroual, have already completed this course.
6 April, 2015
Sarah Putnam and
big news at AST right now is that Sarah Putnam and Mohamed Ahmed, our new Head
of School and Principal, are visiting the school in preparation for taking over
the reins of leadership in July. Both
have met with faculty, students, parents, and staff in a week that can only be
described as grueling but inspiring. Sarah and Mohamed have enjoyed this opportunity to get to know the
school and to begin to establish their expectations for the future.
are pleased to announce that Adam Benabbou is the Valedictorian for the Class
of 2015. Adam has attained a grade point
average (GPA) of 3.8 over his four years in the high school.
The High School Drama
class will perform a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado
About Nothing", a comedy/love story about two pairs of lovers, Hero (Toufa
Kinani) and Claudio (Abderrahmane Ghalani), and Benedick (Ali Loudiyi) and
Beatrice (Maria Huertas). Don John, the villain, (Borja Benavent) can't bear
anyone else to be happy, so he thwarts Claudio and Hero's marriage; meanwhile
Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their true feelings for each
rehearsal: Thursday, April 23 at 7pm @ UNE auditorium
April 24 at 7pm @ UNE auditorium
Gregoire, our Director of Student Activities, has announced three new
Karate: this class started Thursday, April 9, but it
needs more students to continue. Please
contact Lisa for information on this good opportunity for after-school
club, open for all from Grade 4 to Grade 12, every Tuesday and Thursday.
Football Club started on Friday, April 10.
Come learn American football!
accreditation Self-Study committees are in the process of finalizing their
reports and suggesting their action plans.
These reports and plans will be submitted to the Planning Committee for
review and revision, and then will be combined into a Self-Study document which
will be sent to Middle States for their review, prior to the Middle States
visit next fall. There has been much
hard work put into these reports and all who have participated should feel
proud of their work!
Planning Committee, composed of parents, trustees, faculty, administration, and
students, is charged with overseeing the accreditation process and insuring
that the school follows an ongoing planning process. Currently that means that the PC is looking
at the steps needed to implement the Strategic Plan as adopted by the Board of
Trustees last year. The PC will be
bringing its brief to class parent meetings, which will resume this month, so
that all will be familiar with the important role this committee will be
assuming in the life of the school
long last the equipment for the science labs has arrived! Mr. Molato and Mr. Saadi are cataloging and
organizing the equipment, much of which will be operational during the final
trimester. The student lab stations will
need to be plumbed and wired, as will the teaching stations, but most of the
other equipment can be used immediately.
Needless to say, the science teachers are very excited about this.
of our results (with a few exceptions) are in now, and they are excellent. Colgate, Michigan State, Wesleyan, Hamilton,
Lafayette, Northeastern, Vassar, Cottey, Emory, Penn State, USC, UNE, Boston
University, Pace, Bryant, and Georgia Tech are some of the schools where our
seniors have been accepted. AST will
publish a full list in the next newsletter.
new AST Parent Teacher Organization
(PTO) is now under way.
Fatima and Leila Azerkan have
agreed to become Co-Chairs of the new organization, which has a two-fold
mission: 1) To promote community spirit
and 2) to raise money for school projects.
If you would like to become part of this new organization, please
contact them at
Physical Plant and Grounds
Karim Team has been working hard through the spring to spruce up the grounds of
the school by clearing brush, planting new shrubs, and by weeding and planting
the flower beds. The rain we have had
has of course done its share in the work, but kudos to the gardeners and to
Karim for presenting such a beautiful campus
for us all to enjoy.
pool tiles are being replaced because of ground subsidence which was causing
the tiles to break and shatter; this work should be done by mid-April, just in
time for our spring pool programs to begin.
Karim is managing the renovation of the science labs, and in the summer
he will be directing the replacement of another batch of windows and doors in
the main classroom building. Numerous
minor repairs and some painting projects were completed over the break. Many thanks to Karim and his men for keeping
the school in such good condition.
Open House, April 22
April 22 AST will host its first Information/Admissions Open House, to which
the Tangier community is invited. The
Open House will present general information about the school and will provide
tours of the school’s facilities. The
Faculty and Administration will present information on curriculum, student
activities, and college placement as well as other topics in the course of the
evening program. The Open House runs
from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on Wednesday, April 22.
graduation will be held as scheduled on May 30.
Speakers will be Ms. Antoinette Bush, wife of the US Ambassador to
Morocco, Dr. Mohammad Benaboud, Professor of History. The graduation ceremonies will be attended by
many alums returning for a Reunion Weekend, including Ms. Bush, who attended
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------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