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Director's Dispatch: Sustainability & Director's Coffee Recap

Sustainability Conversation

Last year, the Board of Trustees passed a new policy stating that ISD would endeavor to be a green, carbon-neutral school. The policy also proposed that the students, faculty, and administration all play a role in educating ISD community stakeholders. Sustainability is an issue that is very important for our students, parents, staff, administration, and Board of Trustees.

I want to invite any interested parent to a meeting this Friday, February 28th, at 8:30 am in the Admin Conference Room. The purpose of the meeting is to share the steps the school is taking this year, our plans for next year, and to share ideas on how we can achieve the Board goal as quickly as possible.

Director's Coffee Recap

Last week, I hosted the second Director's Coffee of the year. It was a full agenda!

  • ISD Board of Trustees

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Construction Update

  • Staffing Update

  • Enrollment Update

  • ISD Board of Trustees

ISD Board of Trustees

Thiaba Camara Sy, the Chairperson of our Board of Trustees, explained that the structure of the board which is made up of nine voting trustees, who are elected. Trustees must be a parent of a current ISD student. The board also has several ex-officio or non-voting members: a representative of the U.S. Ambassador, a faculty representative, both principals, and the Director. Trustees are elected for two-year terms each spring. There will be four seats up for election this year.

The board does most of their work in committees, which are listed below.

  • Buildings and Grounds

  • Diversity and Inclusion

  • Finance

  • Governance and Development

  • PolicyStrategic Planning (Ad-hoc)

The primary responsibilities of the board include hiring and evaluating the Director, stewardship of school finances, developing and reviewing school policies, overseeing facilities, and approval and monitoring of the strategic plan. Board meetings are held monthly, and parents are welcome to observe. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 26th.

Next, I gave a presentation on the board and administration's efforts to ensure that all students and staff feel valued, respected, and connected. See last week's Director's Dispatch for details.

Construction Update

I then provided an update on our major construction projects. The Performing Arts Center (PAC) is moving along well. The installation team has been to campus installing the stage floor, laying cable, and hanging the fly rods for the stage. They will return soon to install the lights and the sound equipment. We are anticipating using the PAC in May. The Athletic Complex has been delayed due to an issue with the gym roof. The contractor has decided to use a different, lighter material for the roof. We expect the Athletic Complex to be completed by August. The Design and Innovation Center should be ready for use in March. Our students and staff are excited to start using the expanded space.

Staffing Update

This year, we had 17 teacher vacancies, 15 current teachers, and two new positions. The resignation rate over the past seven years has followed a predictable pattern. We have filled 15 of the vacancies and continue to interview for the other two positions.

The administration's preferred qualifications for new ISD teachers have increased over the years. Having a teaching faculty that reflects the diversity of our student body has been a priority for the administration and board for years. This year, the administration tried new strategies, which yielded strong results. Over the past three years, on average, 9% of our new teachers have been teachers of color. This year, with the board adjusting the priority order of our preferred qualifications and targeted recruiting, 35% of our new teachers hired to date are teachers of color. Experience in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program continues to be a top priority. Last year, 72% of the new hires had prior experience with the IB. This year, 71% of our new teachers hired to date have IB experience.

Enrollment Update

ISD Enrollment continues to grow.  The graph below shows the ISD enrollment in February over the past ten years.

Enrollment peaked at 728 students this month. The bright red line on the graph is the school's capacity at 796 students. The board has made it clear that our enrollment will not go above this number. In looking towards next year, many grades will be at or close to capacity. If you know someone in your organization is coming to Dakar and thinking about having their children attend ISD, please encourage them to apply as soon as possible. The administration is expecting waiting lists in about half of the grades.

The Parent Coffee ended with a question and answer session with an exciting announcement that I will share in next week's Jag Journal.

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