AISA is dedicated to transforming student learning by leading and supporting strategic thinking, professional growth and school effectiveness.
Join | Programmes | Events
For up to date AISA information and to read the latest news and announcements, check out our news items below. Don't forget to share them via the social media links and to sign up to our social media groups.
Jambo and warm greetings from the AISA office in Nairobi.
I am just back from the latest AISA Board meeting in Kampala. In fact, it was just me and the AISA Board Chair (Caroline Jacoby) in attendance there. The rest of the Board were in their offices at schools around Africa. We were connected by a Zoom meeting over 4 time zones. I have to say I was a little nervous about how this would go with potential connectivity and power issues and some ‘soft’ issues around our ability to communicate effectively and avoid the inevitable interruptions that might come to a head’s office during our meeting.
In the end it went extremely well. We were online for around 4 hours and under Caroline’s careful guidance worked our way systematically and efficiently through our extensive agenda. Some key parts of the discussion were around AISA’s new programming for Wellbeing in our schools, as well the plans for a significant review of the way we support Governance and Leadership learning in our schools.
For the former, it has been my contention for some time that for effective student learning to take place there needs to be an atmosphere that is conducive to the well-being of the entire school community, not just for students, but for educators, parents, co-professionals and school leaders (including our heads of school). As I visit schools it is easy to tell when the leadership team pays specific attention to this. These schools have a different feel to them. In a world where both the external and internal pressures seem to be increasing, AISA intends to look carefully at how we can support you to be at your very best as you work towards realizing your own school mission and your individual goals in life. More on this as we explore these ideas further.
Another key discussion with the AISA Board was around the Governance and Leadership support we offer from AISA. In the coming year, AISA intends to conduct a thorough review of this support and redesign our programming where necessary so that our Governance and Leadership support becomes more sustainable, more accessible, more robust and more effective. I think the days of conducting endless ‘Board Training’ retreats has run its course. Even with the best facilitators in attendance, the high turnover of board members and heads of school in our region tend to make this approach less effective – it just does not gain the traction it needs to be successful. So, with the AISA Board’s support, we’re going to look at the governance needs of our schools very carefully and work with several partners to design something better.
We’re also preparing for our inaugural AISA Invitational Conferences (AIC) in Lagos at the end of March. This carefully curated professional learning event is aimed at supporting non-member schools who value the same personalized learning approach as AISA schools and may wish to learn more. A key aspect of the AIC will be to introduce some of our key accreditation partners to the leadership teams of these schools in order to increase their appreciation of what continuous school improvement can look like. I’ll let you know how it goes next month.
The Board did a whole lot more in its meeting covering a whole variety of topics and issues. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their work. In particular I would like to thank our Chairperson Caroline Jacoby who is stepping down from the AISA Board this year. She has been a supportive guide and mentor to me and has stewarded the organization through a period of growth and development, the impact of which I hope you have felt as I have.
I’d also like to thank Dr Irene Epp who is also completing her term on the AISA Board as she moves into the next phase of her life after international schools. Irene has been involved with the Association for many years. In recent times her wise counsel on the AISA Board and her guiding and structuring of our Small Schools Initiative in particular have had a deep and lasting impact on our region.
AISA is very pleased to announce the addition of two new Board members to our ranks. Dr Fatma Odaymat (ARIS) and Dr Mary Shun (GIS). Read their bio's on the AISA website here.
We know you join us on congratulating them on their election to the AISA Board.
We are is pleased to announce the AISA 2019 Conference website is now live. This will be our special 50th Anniversary edition for the conference and we have an amazing line up of learning and social events for you in Cape Town from 21 -23 November 2019. Find out more information here
AISA is looking for four of the most innovative and effective leaders of professional learning in our region to join the AISA PLDT to help guide the design and implementation of our professional learning programming and ensure AISA remains at the forefront of world-class professional growth. PLDT members can be employed at any AISA full member school.
PLDT members are selected on their ability to contribute to the Team’s development of an impactful and relevant Professional Learning Programme for AISA member schools. You will be a member of your school’s senior leadership team and be experienced in thinking strategically. The role entails strategic development of AISA’s expanding calendar of professional learning events, programmatic decision-making, researching and piloting innovations, and measuring impact. PLDT members meet annually for two days before or after the Annual AISA Conference in November and throughout the year via regular online group calls. Each member is expected to actively contribute to planning and promoting AISA’s PL events to colleagues at school and to take leadership of a specific aspect of the team’s work. For the coming year these include:
Early Years Education
This voluntary role is a fantastic opportunity to work collaboratively with, and learn from, other international thought leaders in the field of professional learning, to follow your passion for professional learning and to make an impact across the continent of Africa.
We welcome applications from across our diverse range of schools and educators.
Applications must be completed online by April 30th 2019.
If you have any questions, please contact Graham Watts
AISA Director of Professional Learning
The American International School of Conakry, Guinea seeks a new Director for the 2019-20 – 2020-2021 school years
Founded in 1963, the American International School of Conakry (AISC) is a non-profit, tuition-based, co-educational, independent and private international day school serving children in Kindergarten through twelfth grade. Accredited with MSA, our school offers an English-language education to a small and diverse student population of about 90 students. Teaching and learning is based on the tenets of American pedagogy. Following AERO standards across all grades-- from Kindergarten through 12th grade--we use materials and employ teaching strategies representative of the best educational practices existing in the United States. We provide an exciting and caring learning environment where challenging curriculum coupled with a low student-teacher ratio fosters close, supportive relationships. Our high school was established two years ago and we are ambitious to grow it and offer our students a quality high school curriculum, including AP courses, college counseling, and access to American universities. Our students are our school’s greatest asset.
The school’s mission is to develop intellectually audacious, socially responsible citizens of the world. We embrace the following values:
Our school is governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees with six members elected by the AISC Association plus a seventh member appointed by the United States Ambassador to Conakry.
During the 2018-2019 school year, 91 students enrolled in Kindergarten through Grade 12 representing 18 nationalities from around the world. Enrollment has increased every year steadily, growing 90% since 2016. The international and multicultural makeup of the AISC student body is a wonderful asset for the school. The AISC faculty has dedicated itself to providing optimal learning opportunities that take into account our diverse population. Class sizes at AISC are small, allowing for a close and attentive teacher-student relationship. Students are generally grouped together in multi-age classrooms.
The AISC faculty consists of 12 full time and three part-time teachers, many of whom are U.S. trained and fully certified professional educators who provide instruction in the core and specialist subjects. French and PE is taught to all students from Kindergarten through Grade 12. Art and video journalism are taught as specials. The AISC administrative staff consists of the Director, and Executive Assistant, an accountant, part-time Office Manager, a procurement officer, an IT specialist, an admissions registrar, and facilities manager with a team of gardeners and maintenance staff. Four aides support the educational and extra-curricular program.
AISC supports the professional development of its faculty with three-hours of common planning/meeting time every week used for in-house peer-to-peer professional development. Additionally, AISC is a member of the Association of International Schools in Africa, leveraging copious professional development opportunities with conferences and regional workshops. The school also provides financial support for faculty members wishing to participate in other professional development programs.
The American International School of Conakry is currently located in a calm quarter of town close to the Nongo Stadium in a US-embassy rented private compound. The current facility, consists of three main, single-story buildings housing 10 classrooms, an art room, a science lab, shared office space for teachers, workrooms, a faculty lounge, and offices. The campus has a pool and multi-purpose sports courts for tennis, basketball, soccer, and handball, and a sandbox/playground area, and a large building for assemblies and PE classes. A variety of flowering plants and trees provide for a quiet, peaceful setting.
The school board is currently investigating options to move school into new premises designed for educational purposes and offering our growing student community the best learning environment possible.
Main Goals for our School and its new Director:
The overall success of AISC is closely tied to our ability and courage to maintain a steady focus on goals developed jointly by the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, and parents.
A. Provide inclusive, quality education to our diverse student body following AERO standards and a learner-centered, constructivist approach to education;
B. Grow our high school and ensure high school students’ successful transition into University;
C. Attract, develop and maintain caring, enthusiastic and experienced, preferably US-certified teachers;
D. Strengthen our financial sustainability and ensure transparent management of our school’s resources and effective school governance on the whole;
E. Strengthen our service-learning program and offering of extra-curricular activities;
F. Improve the school’s facilities to offer the best learning and teaching environment possible to our students and faculty.
The Director will be responsible to the Board of Trustees and act under its direction for the following principal activities (not an all inclusive list):
Summary of Responsibilities:
Hired and supervised by the Board of Trustees of the school, the Head of School (HoS) is delegated to supervise all activities of the school in line with board established policies and the overall mission, values and principles of the school. S/he organizes the School and its employees into an efficient and cooperative institution of professionally trained staff working towards the achievement of the School’s mission.
The Director might delegate the below described responsibilities to assistants and others at his/her discretion, but is in every instance responsible for the proper conduct of the School and its programs, and the welfare of its students, staff and faculty.
Specific Tasks and Responsibilities:
A. Sustaining Quality Education:
The Director’s main efforts lie in the field of educational leadership and supervision. S/he:
B. Human Resource Management:
C. School Administration:
E. Ensure the management and continuous improvement of the school’s facilities, their safety and security
F. Community Engagement:
H. School Governance:
Strengths to be protected, defended and preserved by the new Director
Critical Issues Facing AISC in the next 3-5 years
AISC is looking for a Director with the following qualifications:
Other desirable qualifications include:
Personal Skills and Abilities
Most of all, our ideal candidate:
· Deeply values students, teachers, families and staff and their contribution to our school and its community
· Thrives on the opportunities and challenges of running a small international school in Sub-Saharan Africa
· Is a great listener and able to connect people, build bridges and earn trust
· Is fair and consistent in his decisions and the way he interacts with others
· Works well together with people from a diverse background
· Ws prepared to deal positively with whatever situation might arise
Applicants whose spouses are experienced teachers are particularly encouraged to apply.
Salary and Benefits will be competitive and consistent with the candidate’s experience and with similar positions at other schools of similar size in the region.
For more information and photos, please visit the school website at www.aisconakry.org
Qualified candidates should send the following as e-mail attachments to
Stefanie.email@example.com (Vice President Board of Trustees)
Up to three (3) open letters of reference may also be submitted electronically.
Try doing a Google search with the keywords: collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. The result? A list of over 29.5 million scholarly articles, frameworks, blogs, thought leaders and more, all highlighting the criticality of ‘21st century’ skills. No mere educational trend du jour, this focus on global competence signals a fundamental shift in how we do school, from ‘content is king’, to a broader understanding that key skills and dispositions are critical markers of success in the 21st century. At the American International School of Lagos, we leverage Project-Based Learning to plan, teach and assess the Global Competencies that we believe matter most. Our goal? To create a curricular and instructional design that achieves the Simultaneous Outcomes of deep content knowledge, coupled with non-cognitive skills and dispositions.
At AISL, our process is school-wide, collaborative and iterative. We started by asking, “What are the dispositions and skills of an ideal graduate?” Our thinking included all learners from Preschool through Grade 12, and we strove to keep our competencies transdisciplinary with the goal of transferability across subject areas.
Our list was gradually refined to five broad categories:
Our ultimate measure of global competence is a students’ capacity to be a self-directed learner. But how do we move students and teachers along a new curricular and pedagogical path at the same time? By reframing ‘how we do school’ as simultaneous outcomes.
We began by implementing Project-Based Learning and the T3 Framework of technology integration as schoolwide frameworks. This creates coherence and a common approach when developing curriculum and instruction. A commitment to four years of professional development in partnership with external consultants helps teachers rest assured these initiatives are here to stay. And, we give time and space to what is important. Hence, a report card redesign scheduled for 2019 K-8, and 2020 for grades 9-12 will include our global competencies and student self-assessment of their Habits of Mind or IB Learner Profile respectively: both are currently part of student-led conferences.
Despite a clear call to action, schools can still face pressure from parents with a perspective of ‘what is good education’ grounded in the past. Communication is key to getting parents on board. Newsletter articles, assemblies and invites to classroom learning events are weekly occurrences at AISL. Additionally, two spring events bring the whole community together: an evening Global Competencies Symposium featuring a moderated panel of thought leaders and students, followed the next day by a schoolwide PBL and Technology Showcase. These celebrations of learning put the global competencies, and students, at center stage.
When schools couple skills and dispositions with content, are committed to building capacity in teachers and supporting parents through change, they create the conditions for student success now, and in preparation for their future work and personal lives.
About the Author:
Kim Rayl is the Director of Teaching and Learning at the American International School of Lagos, Nigeria. A former middle school English and social studies teacher, Kim also has experience teaching PYP and has worked as a behavioural therapist using ABA therapy for children on the autism spectrum. Kim has a Masters of Teaching, a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, and a K-12 Administrator's License. She has taught in public schools in the United States and at international schools around the world including Egypt, Mongolia, Bolivia, Indonesia and most recently, Nigeria. Kim is passionate about transforming teaching and learning through the co-creation of systems and supports that inspire collegiality, coherence and collective efficacy.
The IB will host the second African Education Festival in Nairobi, Kenya on 21 – 22 February 2019 with the theme “Leading and learning in the 21st century” and with a special focus on the topic ‘’Developing Skills for a Connected World’’.
The theme of “Leading and learning in the 21st century” is designed for policy makers, principals and administrators, heads of schools, as well as leaders of educational institutions in the region.
The event’s overarching goals are:
The African Education Festival is an opportunity for thought leaders in education to discuss current education trends, explore innovation in education practice and capture key developments in both education leadership and learning.
To find out more visit the website here.
Jambo and a Happy New Year from AISA in Nairobi,
As we commence 2019 I am mindful that this is the start of AISA’s 50th Anniversary year. I thought I might begin the year briefly recalling for you the very early years of AISA and describing how our organization came to be.
The idea of putting together an Association of International Schools in Africa was initiated by the Office of Overseas Schools of the US State Department, under the leadership of Paul Lubke, the Regional Education Officer for Africa from 1969-1979. The thinking at the time was that the best way to enable the development of and provide support to international schools in Africa was through in-service training of personnel. I find it interesting that 50 years on we are still primarily concerned with supporting the professional development of the leadership, educators and co-professionals in our member schools. Back then, the schools targeted for this early support where those that were functioning primarily to serve the families of United States Embassy personnel and were referred to as American-Assisted Schools. While these schools were financially sponsored by the US State Department (and most remain so to this day), AISA’s membership has now grown to include many different types of schools supporting families from all over the world.
In 1969, there were only 14 American-Assisted schools in Sub-Saharan Africa. The nascent organization was referred to as the ‘Sub-Saharan Regional Association’. Thankfully that name changed over the years (as “SSRA” is not nearly as catchy as “AISA” to pronounce). After discussions with school administrators in the region it was decided to focus the first organizational efforts on an annual conference at a venue in Africa, with the first taking place in Accra, Ghana in 1969.
How we have grown! We now have over eighty member schools and over 40 Associate Members - all with the goal of supporting quality international education for families living in cities across the continent. From that single conference event in Ghana half a century ago, we now offer over forty learning events and institutes in venues from Khartoum to Cape Town and Accra to Zanzibar each year. These attract over 1,000 educators whose aim is to improve student learning in AISA schools. We now support programmes in Governance, School Effectiveness, Service Learning, Child Protection and Wellbeing. For our students we offer awards for excellence and leadership in service.
As we reflect on our achievements to date, I invite you to share your experiences with the global AISA community on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/aisa.or.ke/
This weekend sees another anniversary with the staging of the 10th edition of the AISA Global Issues Service Summit (AISA-GISS) at the International School of Tanganyika (IST) in Dar es Salaam. This important student focused event will bring together students from around the globe to share ideas on how they can meaningfully and authentically contribute to improving the lives of those in their local communities in sustainable ways.
Let me take this opportunity to wish all of you the very best for 2019!
Dr Peter Bateman
After some careful consideration of the escalating costs (over $60 for a sandwich and a soda!!), the venue logistics and with other opportunities for us to get together on the horizon, AISA has decided not to hold the Annual AISA Luncheon at AAIE in February this year. We’ll take a year off and re-evaluate whether we can reconvene in 2020.
That said, I warmly invite you to mark into your diary the 50th Anniversary AISA Gala Dinner which will take place in Cape Town (South Africa) during the annual AISA Conference to be held from 21st - 23rd November 2019 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Our 50th anniversary theme: "Learning from the Past, Shaping the Future”. We’ll have more information on the AISA Website in March.
If you’re no longer living in Africa, and have a hankering to get back to the continent, why not consider joining us in stunning Cape Town? For those with an ongoing professional interest, come and learn with our world class experts, network with colleagues, explore the excellent learning taking place in AISA schools, and enjoy that renowned AISA vibe during the conference. And whilst in Cape Town, why not visit the V&A Waterfront, explore the wineries, see the whales at Hermanus, climb Table Mountain, drive to the Cape of Good Hope, and of course attend the AISA 50th Anniversary AISA Gala Dinner on Friday 22nd November 2019? Come on – you know you want to!
In the meantime, I look forward to seeing those of you attending AAIE in San Francisco – but not for lunch!
AISA has become aware of a scam scholarship offer that appears to be originating in Malawi. Please be warned that AISA has no involvement with this scheme whatsoever and strongly urges all our members and guests to ignore any such scheme. AISA’s legitimate scholarships are listed on our website.
What does your organisation do or offer?
Founded in 2006, ManageBac is the leading online planning, assessment and reporting platform for international schools, supporting over 2,500 schools in 120 countries. By providing schools with one unified system on a consistent, modern and mobile-ready interface, ManageBac offers a seamless & integrated experience for coordinators, teachers, students and parents. OpenApply is a modern online admissions office supporting the applicant journey from enquiry to enrolment. Over 250 schools in over 70 countries rely on OpenApply to help manage their admissions process. Together with our integration partners, we offer schools a world-class software suite for meeting all their information management needs.
What are you best at doing?
We help schools get rid of paper, increase efficiency, and improve communication across the whole school community.
How are you uniquely placed to support AISA member schools?
With 10 years of experience working with over 100 of the top international school in Africa, we understand the unique needs and challenges of AISA member schools.
Most memorable Africa experience?
Exploring a game reserve outside Johannesburg after the 2017 AISA Leadership Conference
What do you always travel with/top travel tips?
I never travel without my external battery pack, microfiber towel, and Vitamin C tablets.
Is there a special offer you could provide ASIA schools this month?
10% off the subscription cost for the first year of using ManageBac for new sign ups who reference this eCircular in the next month.
© 2019 Association of International Schools in Africa. All rights reserved.Site design by Advance Web Design.