Over 50 parents celebrated the school’s progress at this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), highlighted by outstanding student performances and presentations. An Annual General Meeting of the ISD Association is a requirement of the ISD Bylaws. The purposes of the AGM are to give the community an update on the progress of the school during the past year, an overview of the school finances, and to announce the results of the election for new Trustees. The format of the meeting was changed this year to include students and reduce the number of adult presentations.
The AGM started with refreshments and chance for parents to mingle with Trustees, other parents, and teachers. The cast of Kirikou et Karaba, comprised of students from ISD and the SOS Village des Enfants, performed three scenes in the outdoor amphitheater. The audience then moved to the Performing Arts Center where they were welcomed by the performance of the ISD Stage Band comprised of middle and high school students. Board Chair, Louisa Gibbs, called the meeting to order and gave the Board of Trustees report. She outlined the Board’s progress towards its three goals for the year, then thanked the other Board of Trustees and school administrators for their efforts throughout the year. Louisa closed by reflecting on her children’s five years at ISD and how much the whole family will miss our community as they move back to Australia.
After the minutes from last year’s Annual General Meeting were approved, I gave the Director’s Report. I started by thanking the teachers and administrators for everything they do for our students both inside and outside of the classroom. Next, I outlined the school’s progress towards our six strategic goals with examples of the student and staff activities.
Goal #1 – Students will develop and use their social-emotional skills
Led by the ISD counselors, our students receive direct instruction to develop and use a range of social-emotional skills including conflict resolution, empathy building, and self-regulation. In addition, the counselors have given a number of presentations throughout the year for parent on ways to support their children.
Goal #2 – Students will perform complex works of art
While a big part of this goal is the construction of the Performing Arts Center, our students’ performances have become increasingly more complex over the years thanks to our theater and band directors, as well as, our visual art teachers. Great examples of this include Hairspray performed by middle and high school students, the music performances at the Winter JaGarts, and this year’s IB Arts Student Showcase highlighted by the work of the IB Art students and solo dramatic performances by the IB Higher Level Theater students.
Goal #3 – Improve student performance in the IB Program
Last May, 95% of our IB Diploma Students earned their IB Diplomas, the highest pass rate ever, and their average exam score was well above the world average. After two years of implementation, we are optimistic we will be authorized for the IB Primary Years Program for grades Pre-K to grade five. We are a Middle Years Program Candidate School for grades six to ten with an expected Authorization Visit in fall of 2020.
Goal #4 – Developing students’ talents and passions
Over the past four years, we have seen a number of new activities and sports started by teachers with a passion for the activity or students who wanted to give something new a try. These activities have included robotics, band, Thespian society, Model United Nations, and dance to name a few.
Goal #5 and #6 – Students will develop responsible leadership competencies and apply them to complex real-life situations
While these goals have not had formal school-wide action plans, the school has made progress due to the efforts of individual teachers and administrators. The Creative Action and Service component of the IB Diploma Program has been steadily improving and we are seeing more student led projects helping Senegalese communities. Additionally, an English language program was started in the Oukam Fishing Village, a number of Senegalese schools have been participating in our robotics programs, and over 20 students from SOS Village des Enfants spent three months on campus as part of the Kiriku play.
One of the best parts of the meeting was when four students address the parents sharing their experiences at ISD, including their personal stories, their favorite parts of our school, and advice for improvements. The students were N'naani Sanon and Ryan Lennon from grade 11 and Cheikh Ameth Tidiane Diop and Hiromi Egusa from grade 12. The students were articulate and insightful, while giving the Board and administrators some excellent ideas of how to improve the school.
After a brief question and answer session, the results of the Board election were announced.
The stage band then ended the night on a high note with a wonderful performance. At the end of the night, many parents commented on how much they liked the new AGM format, specifically the student performances.