Middle School Weekly Update
Posted 16-02-2015 01:15PM

Dear Parents,

Thank you for reading this week’s news from the JHB Middle School.  At this writing we are celebrating the successful conclusion of our annual Classroom Without Walls (CWW) trips.  Students in Grade 6 and Grade 8 returned from their experiential learning adventures at Goodland Estates (Gr. 6) and Sugar Bay (Gr.8) today.  I am very pleased to have everyone home safely.  I want to thank the teachers – Ms. Couillard, Mr. Ciambrello, Ms. Jaffar, and Mr. Schwer (Grade 6) and Mr. Coia, Ms. Roberts, Ms. Leet, Mr. Barton, and Mr. Megaffin (Grade 8) for accompany students on these trips.    

As this was my first experience with CWW at AISJ, I have to tell you how impressed I am.  On all of the trips our students represented AISJ exceptionally well and all three trips achieved CWW program objectives such as extending students’ beyond their normal “comfort zones,” solidifying and forming new relationships, experiencing success in a variety of both physical and mental challenge activities, and furthering their appreciation for the great outdoors and beautiful natural environments of South Africa.   It has been a terrific few weeks of experiential learning - in my mind the best kind of learning - here in the Middle School.  Well done to all involved.

AISJ Middle School students have also been busy representing our school in competitive sports.   Our age group and Junior Varsity swimmers were both successful at their respective swim galas last week, with each team finishing first overall.  Today, our age-group swimmers are off competing at the Saheti Swim Gala and I am looking forward to hearing about their successes in the pool there.  

Last Saturday, well over sixty Middle School students competed at the annual 7 A-Side Soccer Tournament.  It was a terrific event and all of teams competed well while demonstrating the important quality of sportsmanship.  Unfortunately, a big storm forced an early conclusion to the tournament, preventing us from determining overall champions at each of the divisions.  Still, it was a great day.  Well done to our student athletes, the coaches, including Ms. Weis and Coach Funky, and to Dave Goetz and his Activities Office staff.

Following the long weekend for students and the Faculty In-Service Day on Monday, next week we will inaugurate a special event that serves to celebrate one of the best qualities of our school – its diversity.  International Mother Language Week will take place from February 17 – 20, 2015.  For the first time ever, AISJ is proud and excited to be participating in the global celebration of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Mother Language Day (IMLD).  The day was first established by UNESCO in 1999.  The date is special because it represents the day in February of 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the official languages of what was then Pakistan were shot and killed by police in Dhaka.    IMLD at AISJ will consist of activities designed to raise awareness of the importance of multilingualism in today’s world and within our school community.  In the Middle School, we will host a special assembly during Imbizo and lunchtime “Open Mic” performances on Friday, February 20th.   We hope this will be a great celebration of multilingualism at our school and will be the start of a fine tradition for years to come.

Other items coming up to be aware of include:

Trimester Three After School Activities

The second session of ASAs has come to an end with the exception of the swimming.

The third session of ASAs will begin 2nd March.  Please be on the lookout for registration information from the Activities Office in the coming weeks.  In addition to new sports seasons for Middle School, there will be some new and exciting activities to look forward to.  To register your child for Trimester 3 ASAs, please click on the link below:



A Note from the AISJ Health Office

Dear Middle School Parents,

During February we will once again be conducting health screenings on grade 7 students. This involves measuring height and weight, as well as a dental, vision and hearing screen.

If there are any concerns regarding the results of these screenings, you will be contacted.

I you do not wish your child to undergo the health screening, please let us know as soon as possible.  If you have any queries or concerns, please contact the medical centre.

Nurse Mary and Nurse Jetta.




Principal’s/Counselor’s Workshop – Tuesday, February 24th @ 8:00 a.m.

The next Middle School Principal/Counselor’s Workshop will take place on Tuesday, February 24th at 8:00 a.m. in T & L 1.   Topics to be addressed on that day will include:

 Assessment and Reporting in the Middle School

  • Homework – Trends and Philosophy
  • Transitions between ES and MS and MS and HS

We look forward to seeing many parents in attendance at this workshop.

Literacy Workshop for Parents – Friday, February 27th @ 8:00 a.m.

Later in the month of February, AISJ will be hosting Literacy Consultant, Maggie Moon.  Maggie will be working with our Middle School Language arts and ELL teachers during her time with us and will also offer a parent workshop entitled, “What is this Reading Workshop Thing Anyway?”  The workshop will take place on Friday, February 27th from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. in T & L 1.  The workshop will give parents a deeper understanding of what Workshop teaching is all about.  From breaking down the lingo of “Units of Study,” “Mini Lessons,” “Conferences,” “Reading Response Journals,” and “Interactive Read Alouds,” to experiencing first-hand some of cutting edge best practices in literacy, parents will learn more about what their children experience in school.  Time will also be devoted to sharing some simple and effective techniques to encourage a stronger home-school connection in literacy for children.

Student Led Conferences – Thursday, March 26th:

Please mark your calendars for Thursday, March 26th.  On this day we will host our annual Student Led Conferences.  Next week, we will be sending parents an online booking form to select a time to come in on the 26th with your child to participate in Student Led Conferences.  Conferences are booked in hourly timeslots throughout the school day.  While on this day students do not attend school beyond their SLC session, all students are expected to attend and participate in SLCs that day.  Student Led Conferences are one component of our comprehensive reporting system to parents.  In addition to more teacher communication about learning such as report cards, parent-teacher conferences, work being sent home for review, OneNote pages, emails, and phone calls, Student Led Conferences are an opportunity for the students to practice the art of reflection and metacognition, which is “knowing about your knowing.”

Middle School Upcoming Events:

The list below highlights other upcoming events for the next few months ahead:

  • February 13 - Early Release Day @1:30 p.m.
  • February 13 – Swim Gala at Saheti
  • February 16 - Staff In Service Day – No School for Students
  • February 20 – Swim Gala at Dainfern College
  • February 24 – MS Counselor/Principal Parent Workshop @ 8:00 a.m.
  • February 27 – Literacy Workshop with Consultant, Maggie Moon @8:00 a.m.
  • March 6 – Swim Gala at St. Martins
  • March 9th – 13th - Spirit Week
  • March 13 - Early Release Day @ 1:30 p.m.
  • March 16th  – 20th  - School Holidays
  • March 26 - Student Led Conferences

Finally, a reminder that this coming Monday will be a Faculty In-Service Day on February 16th, where there will be no school for students.

I wish all of you a great weekend ahead.  Thank you for your continued support of the Middle School.


Andy Ferguson

Together we dare to imagine, inspire to succeed and courageously make a difference.

Together we dare to imagine, inspire to succeed and courageously make a difference.

Together we dare to imagine, inspire to succeed and courageously make a difference.

Together we dare to imagine, inspire to succeed and courageously make a difference.

Together we dare to imagine, inspire to succeed and courageously make a difference.

Together we dare to imagine, inspire to succeed and courageously make a difference.

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