Old Road, Congo Town, Monrovia, Liberia, Africa | 231-777-818-775 administration@aismonrovia.com

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

RE: Trudeau on Travels
RE: Student Progress Reports via Jupiter Online – Friday, February 7th

AISM Community,

Greetings from New York!

During the “Year of the Honeybee”, our unified school community continues to grow, change and adapt, as we strive to support one another to ensure we are meeting all of our students’ Academic Needs. We may be bigger in numbers, but, like a colony of Honeybees, our strength lies in the collective support to safeguard the wellbeing of the Queen* of our hive. (*Our Students)

AISH (Academy of International School Heads)

On Sunday, here in New York, I had the opportunity to attend a Board meeting for the Academy of International School Heads (AISH), which I originally joined in 2007. Over the last two years, I have also had the honor of serving on the Board of Trustees of this leading organization for International School Heads. We currently have over 500 Directors enrolled in our association, of which 95% belong to State Department-assisted schools, like ours. During our eight-hour meeting, prior to the Super Bowl, we worked jointly toward our collective goal of making significant contributions to the future of learning and leading in an International context. We are working to ensure that we are able to provide our present Director stakeholders both the training and professional and personal development opportunities that are essential for us, as school leaders, to move our organizations and communities forward.

Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE)

Today (for the seventh and final time), I have the pleasure to represent the American International School of Monrovia at the annual Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) in New York (Yes…it is cold outside!). AAIE is a global community that helps support high quality American/Internationally-accredited education institutions worldwide.

Middle States Association (MSA)

Here in New York, I will meet with Middle States Association (our accreditation agency), as we completed in November 2019 (the beginning of the third year in our accreditation term) our mid-term report. That review was successful as it reaffirmed our road map to make sure that we (as a school):

  • Are using the process of continual school improvement
  • Are fortifying our educational programs
  • Are continuing to develop and evolve in order to meet our highly transient students’ needs.

Office of Overseas Schools

I have also scheduled some time with the Office of Overseas Schools to inform them on the progress that we have made since the conference in San Francisco last year. I would like to discuss our period of revitalization during a time of high student enrollment (+20%), but with low teacher turnover (<10%). This has helped our school remain stable, and has enabled us to continue our academic improvement. In the last year, the American International School of Monrovia had both academic and physical growths, as we added:

  • A Bring-Your-Own-Chromebook Program for students in Grades 1 – 10.
  • Mastery-Based Clusters, not just in Math and English, but this year we added it to our Foreign Language program to make sure that we are meeting the prior learning experiences of our diverse student population.
  • A new Purposeful-Play approach to our EYP division, which currently is very near capacity with three new students (including my own) joining the program after the break.
  • The introduction of Morning Meetings to ensure our students’ social emotional well-being, providing them with a “home base” so they can fully focus on their academic growth.

I will also present our school’s recent academic achievement to verify that the school is doing as well as, or better than, other American International Schools worldwide.

Vendors and Educational Suppliers

Furthermore, during this week, I will work to ensure that the American International School of Monrovia is in good standing with our vendors and educational suppliers. I have over 12 meetings with various vendors to discuss topics ranging from school supplies, to blended learning platforms, to banking, and non-profit status:

  • EquipMySchool/International School Services – these are our two present school shippers who make sure that our students have a continuous flow of school supplies and the most current educational resources. Upon my return, the teachers and I will order, from the samples I collect, the school resources that are the “best fit” for our current program and student body.
  • K12/Keystone – our online learning partners that allow our students to use a blended model for a more personalized learning. This is a supplement to our academic program. The school has partnered with K12, since 2014, and offered over 20 courses to students who needed additional challenges beyond the traditional AISM program.
  • University of Nebraska High School (UNHS) – our online learning partner in our High School division, since 2015. UNHS is an accredited program that allows our 9th and 10th grade students to have a full High School curriculum that meets their needs, challenges them, and makes their transcripts “college-ready.” Presently, in Grade 10, we offer the Chemistry course online. With both school and parent support, we are preparing our students to become independent and self-motivated learners by acquiring the study skills and habits necessary for effective learning and success.
  • NWEA – the organization that Measures your students’ Academic Progress (MAP) to help our team of educators meet their needs. Since the conference last year, the NWEA has upgraded and added a few features and improvements to our flexible and adaptive, individualized, evaluation that “helps teachers teach … and supports student academic growth.”
  • TIE CARE Health Insurance – to ensure that, in the event of medium to severe student health and safety issue, we are able to both stabilize our students (beyond Nurse G) and provide them with ambulatory care in Monrovia. TIE Care has partnered with ASPEN, as they are presently the only provider in Monrovia that meets TIE’s quality control standards for student stabilization in the event of an emergency need.
  • IMG Health Insurance – a worldwide medical insurance for our international import staff. We ensure that our import faculty health insurance meets the needs of our teachers. In the event that the teachers’ medical needs cannot be met in Monrovia, IMG will do a medical evacuation to guarantee their health and well-being.
  • TD Bank – The school’s U.S. banking partner – to make sure all accounts are up-to-date, earning the highest interest, and, this year, also ensuring all the paperwork is in order to have a seamless transition of all our accounts to my successor, Dr. Bobbi McDaniel, on July 1, 2020.

Please note that as this is my eighth and final year at the American International School of Monrovia, I will also be doing virtual introductions and sending pictures of our school partners’ business cards to ensure that Dr. McDaniel is connected to all of our present collaborators.

American/International Schools Worldwide

Most importantly, my work on the Board of the Academy of International School Heads, and also with the American Association of International Education, will give me multiple opportunities to work with several other school Directors from American/International Schools in our region and beyond. Like us, they face complex and difficult challenges in putting student education first. However, like us, they are committed and dedicated to meeting that challenge, while ensuring the long-term viability of the school they serve, and guaranteeing that all students can, and are able to succeed.

Final Notes

Like the events we hold at school, we, as Directors, also try to pack as much as possible into these conferences to both make the best use of our time, and to gain as much information as possible during our time off-campus.

Special thanks to Ms. Johnson, and our entire staff, for holding down the fort this week. I will be back in the office after Armed Forces Day, a Liberian Holiday. (School will be on recess)

Also, a special shout out to Lovetta for helping with our planning for next year. Tomorrow, through “Open Apply” (our U.K admission portal), she will send out a re-enrollment survey. This will advise us of your academic intentions regarding your students’ enrollment at the American International School of Monrovia for the next school year. Please be sure to contact her if you have any issues in using the Open Apply portal, once she sends the instructions out.

Our goal is to have our preliminary numbers when I return so the Board of Trustees and I can begin to work on our financial model for the 2020 – 2021 School Year.

On a final note, this Friday, as an essential part of the communication and partnership between home and school, we will have student progress reports available on the Jupiter portal. It will provide parents and students with a quick “snapshot” of the students’ progress, so far for the second trimester, in the different subject areas. We will send an SMS announcing when they will be ready for viewing.

Have a great afternoon,