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American International School of Bamako

Vol. 14.8   February 01, 2020

From the Director

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Staff,

As of last Friday our students completed their first semester’s learning; high school students wrote their semester exams, and report cards went home on Thursday, January 30th. This week has seen a dynamic start to the second semester and we expect the energy to stay high for the rest of the year.

Deep Dive/Internship Week

Our secondary students, grades 6-12, rang in the new semester with a week of intense activity. The Deep Dive, which encompasses the annual weeklong internship for Grade 11 students, has everyone deeply engaged in learning beyond the regular curriculum. The Deep Dive activities include week-long workshops in Science Fiction, Silk-Screening, Fashion Design, Film-Making, Carpentry,Vegetarian Cooking, Robotics, Bambara, Yearbook, Bridge Building, Rock Climbing, Music, Ethics, Public Speaking, Stress Management, Blogging, Advanced Placement Prep and Theater. You can read more about our students’ internship placements below. 

Next year’s calendar is now available on the school website

In two weeks, on Saturday, February 15th, we will also come together as the AISB community to celebrate our cultural diversity by sharing a truly vast potluck meal together.  I hope to see you all at the PTO’s Annual International Fair.

It’s Report Card Time at AISB

First semester is behind us and report cards went home on Thursday, January 30th. As you look over the report with your child it's important to keep in mind that report cards, though important, offer only one window on your child’s learning experiences at AISB.

We invite you to consider the following:

Help your child understand that grades are not the most important thing: The comments section of the report provides deeper insight into what your child is learning and doing in class, the successes and challenges he or she is encountering, and suggestions that might help your child learn more effectively. It is important to remember that many students suffer from grade anxiety, which can interfere with their learning. Focusing first and foremost on the letter grade your child has received can exacerbate this kind of anxiety, and can direct your child’s attention away from what matters most. Try to keep the focus on learning rather than the external measures of it.

Take this opportunity to start – or continue – a dialogue about learning. Ask your child what she or he enjoys about learning—what makes learning most effective, what sorts of ideas are most engaging—and what implications these strengths and preferences have for his or her life choices. Grading measures only some aspects of a child’s intellectual and personal growth; there are others, not easily quantified but well worth recognizing. It’s worth asking your children how they feel they have grown lately, and about challenges they have faced and how they have met them. Their answers might surprise you.

Ask your child about what we can do — school and parents, working together as a team — to support his or her learning. Student academic success is closely linked to a strong and cooperative relationship between home and school. This relationship can look very different for students of different ages and personalities, and depends also on family circumstances. Some children appreciate more parental involvement in their schooling than others do. And as students grow older and more independent, parent involvement -- though still important -- evolves considerably.

Report cards are an important way to help our students understand themselves as learners, recognize their accomplishments, and find a new direction for the future. As we conclude this semester we congratulate our students on their many successes in learning and growing.

See you at school,

College Counseling Corner 

It is the beginning of a very exciting time of year for our Senior Class. Several of our seniors have told me of their college acceptances already. They know that the job is not finished. There is still a full semester remaining... but I know it will go very quickly!

The Junior Class will soon begin the efforts that is bearing wonderful fruit for our seniors. Along with Mrs. Owens, we will be discussing the college application process, the upcoming May SAT administration, course selection for senior year, and planning for a junior year college night where we will discuss the senior year university application process.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the upcoming semester.

Thank you, 

T. Darcy


If your child will be absent due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances, please call the school (20224738) or e-mail Oumou Drame ( by 7:30 am, to notify us.

In the case of an anticipated absence please contact Brad Waugh ( to seek authorization and to allow the school to develop a catch up/keep up program for the missed classes.

Deep Dive Week 2020

This week, January 27th to January 31st marks AISB’s second-annual Deep Dive Week. Deep Dive week gives secondary students an opportunity to choose two topics that interest them to learn more about for the week.  Each morning, students begin the day with an hour of team-building and physical activity.  Then, they begin their morning deep dive.  Students are given an hour lunch break before completing their second deep dive.  There is a wide variety of activities available for students to learn more about including rock climbing, science fiction & public speaking, silk screening, robotics, bridge building, vegetarian cooking, music, film making, yearbook, fashion, AP support, ethics, carpentry, drama, self-care & mindfulness, Bambara, and blogging.  

Check our Facebook page for more pictures.


While secondary students are immersed in their deep dive explorations on campus, many of our 11th graders are exploring career options off-campus. While preparing for the internship begins in August, the official site placements began in November between the host supervisor, the student, and the 11th-grade advisor.  

This year’s interns, the 11th graders, have chosen to explore very diverse and exciting fields including gold mining, banking and finance, event planning, accounting, engineering, IT, agro-economics, and business.  

A special thanks to Mariam Keita, who made phone calls of inquiry, appointments and clarifications throughout the months before this week, to Oumou Drame, for helping arrange transportation for the students and advisor to get to the site visits, and to Oumar Diallo, who spent countless hours driving all around Bamako to drop of cover letters, CVs, and to bring the students and their advisory, Kelly Owens, to their site placement appointments.  An additional, thanks to parents for their support and willingness to drive their children to their internship sites and to the 11th graders who persevered and wrote numerous cover letters and saw first hand how challenging it can be to apply for a job.

Traditionally, the students, themselves, will write a reflection for the newsletter to share what they've learned from this experience. You will be able to hear more from them in the next edition. For now, we send a huge thank you for offering AISB students an extended learning experience beyond the classroom to:

  • Kabako Atelier
  • Kono Gnaga
  • La Banque pour le Développement du Mali
  • Orange
  • Raffinerie d’or de Bamako
  • The Sleeping Camel

AISB HSers attend AISA GISS Conference in Abidjan

On Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020, Aïché, John, Kaustav, Krish, Mima, Mingyu and Zeytoun started their journey to Abidjan. We arrived in Abidjan, where we met the host families with which we resided for the length of the conference and Aina and Ms. Wordman from Banjul International American School. For the past few months, we had met on a weekly basis to work on a presentation about the potential harm of aid and we would finally get to present our work in front of like-minded students from across international schools in Africa.

The next day, the conference officially began. Over the next three days, we would assist and participate in multiple presentations, including ours. The presentation ranged from tree-planting projects, dance classes (where John danced), presentations about ways other schools incorporate service-learning into their curriculum, which can be seen in the form of community-based engagement here at AISB. We also witnessed presentations by keynote speakers, such as Kherann Yao, who focuses on building schools made out of recycled plastic bricks. 

On Saturday the 18th, we went on a service day, where we volunteered. We participated in activities ranging from drone-building to painting a classroom to picking up trash and planting trees. The next day, we faced the grueling task of saying goodbye to our new friends and made our way back to Bamako, tired but enlightened and ready to study for the exams!

By: Aïché, Kaustav, Krish, Mima, Mingyu and Zeytoun

Health Class Field Trip

With students of health class, we went to the tea lounge Escale Gourmande in Hamdallaye ACI 2000. After having worked on the subjects like addiction (with or without substances), skin whitening and beauty standards, media and social networks, we are now finishing our unit on nutrition.

The pedagogical objective of our research was exploring the importance of a complete breakfast for starting the day. It was a wonderful moment. The principal objective of health class is the development of students' psychosocial skills, so that they are in a process of empowerment for their daily maintenance in the best possible state of health.

Grade 9 Field Trip to Savana DCI

By Mehdi Khfifi

On Friday, December 6th, 2019, the 9th Grade African History class went on a field trip to Savana DCI, an Islamic culture preserving NGO. The NGO is responsible for taking care of some of the world's oldest and most unique manuscripts. Documents arrive from Timbuktu on large boxes ready to be cleaned at the office. These manuscripts contain some of the answers to many modern-day problems including subjects such as astronomy, politics, mathematics, life sciences… 

Arriving at the bureau, we were introduced to many stations where work took place. The first one was the physical preservation station. Workers in this room built small boxes for manuscripts to be stored in. Each manuscript had its own proper box in order to not have different pages mix up. In addition to building preservative boxes, a lady in that section was in charge of repairing the manuscripts. Many of the manuscripts looked almost as if chewed by an animal. This is due to the way authors and scribes during the 11th century used different inks in their writing. gum Arabic was mixed with charcoal and used as an ink. If gum Arabic was not to be found, the scribers used sugar as an alternative. On the short term impacts, nothing really damaged the manuscripts. However, the long term impact is that termites munched through the wisdom the authors had written. 

The lady first began by taking a fine and delicate knife in order to clean the dust on the manuscripts. Dust was very bad for the books as it sometimes made the pages stick together. After the first step, the lady would take a paper made of lint and acid-free glue and would stick a carved piece of lint on the damaged part of the script. This process took hours. The reason behind that is so that her work can be reversed, as opposed to going fast and making irreversible work. Once she finishes with her scripts, there are two ways the books can go. If there is another copy of the same book, the scripts are taken to a typographer to write the missing parts. If there isn't another copy, the document remains as it is and goes back to its original library. One student asked if the researchers are allowed to guess what was written in the missing parts, however, the chief of the committee explained that this method would change history. 

The second station of the office was the digitalization laboratory. The workers in this station were in charge of keeping extra copies of the manuscripts digitally. The employees would take photographs of each individual page and store them on a server. In addition to a server, they are also stored on a hard drive. 

The third section of the trip was the repertoire section. Manuscripts are taken to this section before they are cleaned. Workers in this section make a brief overview of the manuscript with info such as author, subject, date of publishing etc… This section is very important as it describes which area in the library the script will go to. 

Lastly, our guide took us to the best section, the expedition room. This room was made for tourists to come and look at the ancient artifacts. The expedition included translations of the scripts in both English and French. More interestingly, the room included the pens and ink bottles the authors used in their writing. Scripts in this room varied in subjects ranging from geography and astronomy to human rights and religion. 

Now, you might ask, why should they preserve these documents. The answer received from the founder of the NGO was to continue the preservation of these documents since they are so old. In addition, these documents contain some very valuable information that can be used at the university level. Lastly, society looks back at the past to plan its future. These documents are the answers to many world questions and conflicts. This NGO is helping African History and culture survive. It is due to their work that we can study Africa through African Eyes, not through European or Asian eyes. In addition, their work allows us to believe that Timbuktu was a focal point for food, trade, and more importantly, for wisdom. In conclusion, I would recommend Savana-DCI to every African or anyone interested in Africa and African History as they are pillars that hold our history. 

Mother Tongue Week

From February 17 – 21, AISB will be celebrating Mother Tongue Week. The aim of this event to come together as a community to understand and celebrate our linguistic diversity. As part of the activities planned for the week, students will attend workshops to discuss the importance of mother tongue in their lives. We hope for a repeat of last year’s very successful library breakfast.

Parents are invited to in Mother Tongue Week. If you are interested in taking part, please email We will be delighted to hear from you!

AISB After-School Choir

I would like to inform you that choir rehearsals for AISB students over 7 years old will begin next Wednesday, January 29 at 3pm.  Please encourage our students and children to be part of the choir.  Having a choir in our school would be amazing!!

AISB Talent Show

Sign up by February 28
  • Auditions March 5
  • Show on March 27th

MS Valentine’s Day Dance

The 7th grade is hosting a Valentine's Day Dance on the 14th of February 4:00-8:00. There will be adult chaperones. There will be a movie and dancing. You can bring food from your house, or order dinner from a nearby restaurant. The dance is free of charge and there will be light snacks by the 7th grade. People who normally take the bus home will get a bus after the dance is over.
On behalf of the 7th grade,

Mr. Bill Owens

Cours d'anglais pour les adultes / English Classes for Adults at AISB

Our program for adults helps develop your English by focusing on speaking and listening abilities. Our classes are open to all levels of fluency, even complete beginners.
Days and times for classes are flexible and will depend on the needs of those who register.
Also feel free to ask about our after school classes for non-AISB kids.
Contact: or call

Notre programme d’anglais pour adultes développera vos compétences linguistiques en mettant l’accent sur l’expression et la compréhension orales.
Les cours sont ouverts à tous niveaux, même pour débutants !
Nous pouvons proposer jours et heures selon les demandes et/ou effectifs.
Pour toutes informations: ou appelez au


It's almost that time of year again! You might have noticed our yearbook team walking around with cameras to capture moments for this year's edition of the yearbook. During the last few days, students have been getting their class portrait photos taken. We are very excited to continue making progress and to share with the community all the memories made this school year. 

As we continue our work we will keep everyone updated, keep an eye out for our photographers these coming weeks! 
AISB on Facebook
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