Director Updates 07 February 2017

Dear Parents,

The year keeps moving on and we are now firmly into 2017. At this stage it is time to welcome the new families and students that have joined us since the beginning of this calendar year. We have Skye, John, Nuala and Agam all in Early Childhood, Maayani and Victor in Elementary School and Celia and Uthandile in High School. They, and their families, are all very welcome additions to our learning community.
 
As the numbers continue to rise we are moving forward with equipping and preparing the second campus for Early Childhood. The gardens and buildings have been cleaned up and are in the process of being equipped with the appropriate furniture and learning resources. We are also ensuring that they will be safe and secure for the eventual move. A tentative date for a whole school move is the 6th of March with an open house being planned for March 1st.  More details on all this will follow.
 
We have begun to interview for the new teaching positions approved at the last Board Meeting and are close to hiring the first of the new teachers. We have had some very good candidates apply and we are confident that we will be in a position to choose those who best fit the ISKR profile.
 
The Secondary School has just recently completed some very successful educational school trips in different areas around Rwanda. Over 90% of the students participated and all claimed to have really enjoyed their individual trips. Grade 6 went camping on a farm in Bugesera, Grade 7 went camping in Akegera national park, Grade 8 drove to Nyungwe National Forest stopping off in Butare to visit the National Museum and High School went to climb Mt. Bisoke in Volcanoes National Park. I hope you have all heard the interesting stories from these trips and have seen the photographs. We hope to rerun the same trips next year fine-tuning as we go to ensure even greater educational and cultural experiences. I would like to thank all the teachers who gave up their evenings and home comforts to accompany students on these trips, the teachers who stayed behind and took on extra responsibilities with the classes still at school and the office staff who spent extra hours organizing logistics. And a special thank you to Ms Lwanbo who was the lead behind the whole programme.
 
Not to be outdone the Early Childhood took their annual picnic off campus and spent a lovely Friday morning at Central Park where there were games and food galore for students, parents and teachers. And Elementary School went to visit various swimming pools and bowling alleys around Kigali to carry out experiments to help with the whole school IPC units based on the general theme of ‘Forces’.
 
And while the staff have been extra busy at this time of year so too has the Board of Directors. As well as seeing to the general business of the Board they have given up the first weekend of February for the annual Board retreat and training session. This year the Board invited Mr. Michael Thompson as a consultant and facilitator for the retreat. Mr. Thompson is a very experienced International School Director with a good deal of past experience in Africa (Including in Botswana and in Tanzania). The retreat centered around strategic planning to ensure that the school continues to move in the right direction.
 
Many parents have been to visit the school to participate in and help with ongoing activities. We would like to thank you for this and to encourage you to continue to do so.
 
As the school grows the drop off and pick up times are becoming busier and busier. We need to ensure that we are always extra vigilant at these times for the safety of our students, staff and general community. Please take the time to ensure that all the children that you, or your drivers, transport to school are safely strapped in and in the appropriate seats as dictated by age. Please ensure that they leave the vehicle safely and above all we need to ensure that as drivers we are all very patient and careful on approaching and leaving the school. Having a second campus on the same road will complicate matters so getting everything right now will make this transition easier and safer.
 
 
Thank you for reading and understanding.

Regards,
 
Séamus Hennessy
Director.

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

http://iskr.org/3480-2/

Director Updates 31st October 2016

Dear Parents,

Today is the first day of the second academic quarter of the school year. The first quarter passed quickly as all the new students and teachers began the process of settling in and making new friends. The first two months of the school year were filled with activities of all kinds the most recent being the excellent Halloween party, expertly run by volunteer parents and teachers, and the student council run Middle and High school dance. We are looking forward to many more such events. The upcoming major events, however, are much more academic in nature; First Quarter Report Cards will go home on the Friday the 11th of November and will be followed by Parent Teacher Conferences on the 18th and 25th – more details to follow.

Regards,

Séamus Hennessy
Director
International School of Kigali-Rwanda

Director’s Updates

Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

I would like to thank all the Early Years and Elementary parents that took the time last night to come and meet our teachers. The evening was very productive overall with many good ideas being exchanged. Ideas that we will all work on to ensure an even better learning experience for all our students. Please remember that the secondary Back to School Night will take next Wednesday beginning at 5pm (more details to follow).

In the same vein I would encourage all parents and teachers to participate in the first PTO meeting of the school year that is happening tonight. (Directions as per PTO email – The house is in Nyarutardma on KG 9, house number 64: Coming from MTN towards Woodlands, the house is on the main road on the right hand side. There is an EU Residence sign on the gate and the Quiet Haven hotel next door. There is parking for 5-7 cars inside but the rest should try to park on the side street right after the house where the Canadian residence is. ) at 7pm for a 7:30pm start.

Our search for a new EC3 teacher (3 year old children) is ongoing and we are still gathering applicants and CV’s. If you know of a teacher, qualified to teach this age group, who would be interested in beginning work here immediately could you please ask them to forward their CV to the school or feel free to send us their details directly and we will follow up.

On our school calendar we have put Monday 12th of September as a non-school day to celebrate the Eid al-Adha public holiday. Based on a list of countries that have already declared the official date this still looks like the most probable date but we cannot be 100% certain until the Rwandan Muslim Association declares. We will endeavour to keep you updated on this situation and inform everybody if we need to switch to Tuesday. If you have any more definite information on this holiday please let us know.
Regards

Séamus Hennessy
Director
International School of Kigali-Rwanda