Dear Parents/Guardians,

It is very quiet here in school today with all students on vacation. The administrative and custodial teams are working full time, however, to ensure that the school is ready for classes in January. We will also spend some time working to make sure that the newly acquired building is brought up to standard for our Early Childhood section. When the Early Childhood moves in, early in the second semester, they will have a great deal of inside and outside space. We will then concentrate on how we can best organise the vacated space in the main building to better serve all students.

When you come back in January you will notice that we have constructed a temporary wood/bamboo fence around the grass field. The current structure is not only ragged but also not very solid and we feel that it is dangerous. A new permanent structure has been ordered and as the core materials have to be imported it will be six to eight weeks before it can be put in place.
In January you will also have a chance to meet new staff members. We have hired the new Counselor – Shelley-Ann Francis. Shelley-Ann is a South African national who attended High School and College in Pennsylvania. She has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a separate Master’s Degree in School Counselling. In between both masters she worked for 7 years as a clinical psychologist in the US and also worked as an intern in the Admissions office of her US university. Since August has been working as a careers counselor in South Africa.
Teacher Assistants: We have hired three new Teacher Assistants; one for Elementary and two for Early Childhood, to begin in January.

a. Margaret Kufandirori has Zimbabwean nationality and has taught in Zimbabwe and Oman and is currently a teacher at Hope Academy. She will work as a TA in Elementary School.

b. Megan Niyonshuti is a Rwandan and currently works as a TA at Green Hills Academy. She has also has worked with Asante Children’s Choir (spent 3 years with the choir in the USA) and she is in the process of finishing her Bachelor’s degree. Megan will work as a TA in Early Childhood.

c. Remy Nyaminani is a Rwandan and has completed a Master’s in Education at Kampala University. He currently works as a security guard for an ISKR family and volunteers at Top Kids Football Academy and at Messy Play so is already familiar with a number of ISKR students. He will also work in the Early Childhood section.

All teachers have indicated that they will return in the next academic year with many committing for at least two more years. This is highly unusual in the international school context and is due, we believe, to the positive and welcoming atmosphere that exists across the entire ISKR community. This stable situation is very good for the school and really allows us to plan ahead in all areas. We can ensure that all staff members receive the correct level of professional development that will benefit both them and the school. We can look at the needs and requirements of future accreditation and begin planning now. New teacher hires will be few; an extra teacher in Elementary to help with the current numbers coming out of Early Childhood; a new activities coordinator to ensure continued growth and improvement in the area of extra-curricular offerings and a teacher-librarian to run a much larger library that will improve learning for all Elementary and Secondary students.

We are aware that a number of parents are not receiving general emails from the school and we are investigating this. Mensiye has sent out a test email and will begin to follow up with people who haven’t replied by phone to see where the issue lies. We also noticed that the school emails had an automatic ‘reply to all’ function. We will fix this to ensure that the automatic reply goes back to the school and that ‘reply to all’ is a function that has to be purposely chosen when appropriate.

I hope that everybody is able to enjoy the holidays and can find the time to relax. I look forward to welcoming everybody back to school on January 9, 2017.

Regards,

Séamus Hennessy
Director
International School of Kigali-Rwanda