ISD (International School of Dakar) has a tradition of beginning the school year with an opening ceremony for students and parents. It was really nice and a great way to meet new people. Everyone starts in the gym with all teachers and staff sitting up front facing the audience (the kids and their parents). The board president gives a little welcome; the director (what we would call the superintendent) does as well. Principals say hello and then new staff and teachers are introduced to everyone.
At that point the middle school and high school students are dismissed with directions of where to gather. The middle school went to the fourth floor of the new building to the commons area. The teachers gave a small introduction about the year and then there were divided into their advisory (what we would call homerooms) groups. The high school did the same thing, but they met in the new outdoor amphitheater.
The elementary students and parents that were left behind waiting patiently, while one group of students and their teacher were read aloud and then that group proceeded to their classroom with their new teachers. It began with the PreK 3-year-old group (so cute! Their parents went with them), progressed on through PreK 4, kindergarten, up through the fifth graders. Simon was the second to last group to be called and is very excited to have his first male teacher. He went with Mr. Patrick Ramsey’s group. He’ll have the other fifth grade teacher for science. The fifth grade teachers gathered all the students together and welcomed them. The PTA served juice and cookies outside while everyone mingled and waited for their children to return. Yeah for the nice breeze!
All you public school teachers might want to not read this paragraph. The class sizes were unbelievable in a GREAT way! Simon is one of 17 and Maggie is one of 17 in her advisory. Simon is one five kids in his French class! (they have four levels per grade as there are many different levels of proficiency). CRAZY! Knowing that my niece is one of 24 in her kindergarten class (wow!), watching my friend’s daughter leave with her class of nine, was really interesting. The PreK-2 classes all have a full-time teachers’ aide and grades 3-6 share an aide between two teachers. That level of support for all students will be very nice. I hope the public school teachers haven’t started reading this, because the kids also have at least two specials each day. They are on a six-day rotation, have 2 art, 2 music, 2 PEs, 1 library, and 1 media. That is in addition to French every day.
Middle school is on a block schedule every other day. Maggie has 4 classes on A Day and 4 classes on B Day. Each class is 90 minutes. On Day A Maggie has PE, French, Language Arts, and Social Studies. ON Day B she has she has Science, PE, Music and Algebra. Advisory meets every day but there are community meetings on Tuesdays and a fun activity on Fridays. We are on trimesters here so Maggie’s first class will rotate between PE, Drama, and Media Literacy.
I met a lovely lady who I’ve been chatting on Facebook with-I was introduced to her by a Granville friend who went to high school with her. She’s here with her family for her husband’s job at the Embassy. She even has a son Simon’s age in the other class. Fun!
The kids have announced I need to stop writing about them, so I’m off to finish the book for book club.