Category Archives: Principal’s Message

Spring MAP Testing to Run–> April 17-28

Dear Parents,

From April 17th to April 28th DAIS students are scheduled to take tests called Measures of Academic Progress™ (MAP).  We give students MAP tests in September to determine their initial instructional level and again in April/May to measure academic growth throughout the school year, and from year to year in the areas of Reading, Language Usage, Math and Science. Your child will take the tests on a computer.

MAP tests are unique in that they adapt to the level appropriate for your child’s learning.

As a result, each student has the same opportunity to succeed and maintain a positive attitude toward testing. For about 40-60 minutes each day for 2-5 days, the Kindergarten to Grade Eight students will either go to the computer lab for testing or write the test on their laptop.  This testing is done in the morning so that students are full of energy.

Following each testing period, you will receive a report showing your child’s growth; this will be followed-up by a parent presentation explaining how to interpret the data provided, this presentation will also share with you the school wide test results.

We are excited to be gathering our second set of data this year. These tests, along with other teacher created assessments allow us to individualize your child’s learning program.

Plenty of rest and a good breakfast will help to set your child up for success when writing the MAP tests.  No homework will be assigned to your child the night before a MAP test, thereby allowing them extra time for outdoor play.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Lory Thiessen

Director/Principal

Dostyk American International School

For more information about the MAP test.  Please see:

NWEA Parent Guide to MAP

NWEA Resources for Parents

2017/18 New Staffing Information

Introducing New Faculty to Dostyk American International School

I am excited to share with you a glimpse into next year as it relates to the faculty at DAIS.

Let me begin by saying that in June we will be saying goodbye to two fabulous teachers.  Brenda Slaman and Greg Sawatzky will be moving to Rumbai, Indonesia.  It is too soon to be saying good-bye to this family; suffice it to say that they are leaving big shoes to fill. 

At the beginning of this school year, I worked closely with TCO Human Resources to establish the correct level of staffing for 2017-2018.  It was agreed, that with our growing enrollment we would staff for a stand-alone class at each grade level.  Mrs. Holcomb at this time also requested a move from Kindergarten to Grade 2. 

Over the months of October, November and December Mr. Marriott and I worked diligently as a team to select candidates who have the training, skill and attitude required to be successful at DAIS.  During the interview process, Mr. Marriott and I interviewed candidates together and we both did follow-up interviews individually.  Dr. Rob Ambrogi also contacted the candidates that we short-listed.

At this time, we are delighted to present to you three teachers who, with their talents and skills, will make a valuable contribution to the rich DAIS learning environment.

Maureen Wade will be our new Kindergarten teacher. Maureen has a Bachelors degree in Education and is working on her Masters degree in Teaching and Learning from Colorado State University.  Maureen has sixteen years of experience teaching early childhood.

Amy Darden has two degrees, one in Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Reading.  Amy’s seven years of experience have all been in upper elementary.  Amy will be the Grade Three teacher next year.

Shane van Staden has a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education as well as certification in Math.  Shane is a trained Red Cross instructor with 23 years of teaching experience.   I have had the pleasure of having Shane on my faculty in both South Africa and Indonesia.  Shane will be taking the reins as both our Physical Education teacher and our After School Activities Director.

Below, please see a short introduction from each of our new teachers. Please join me in welcoming these four teachers to Dostyk American International School.

Sincerely,

Lory Thiessen

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Maureen Wade

My name is Maureen Wade and I’m thrilled to be joining the Dostyk community in August 2017.

I have been a teacher for more than sixteen years. Ten years of that time has been spent teaching kindergarten and working as a department chair in Miami and Hollywood, Florida.

Currently, I teach kindergarten and I mentor new teachers for Adams 12 School District in Thornton, Colorado.  I am also an active member of our school district’s leadership team and my classroom serves as a learning lab site for teachers and administrators.

I’m passionate about helping students become voracious readers and writers.     It is deeply fulfilling to watch them grow more proficient and confident throughout the school year as they discover and nurture their enthusiasm for reading and their inner voices as writers.

When I’m not in the classroom, I’m frequently online working on my Masters degree in Teaching and Learning from Colorado State University. I’m two semesters away from completing my degree and this has kept me extremely busy.  In my spare time, I enjoy reading, shopping and traveling with my husband, Eric and our daughter, Mona.   Eric will be joining me in Atyrau in the fall. Our daughter  Mona will stay in Colorado to finish college.

I’m really looking forward to learning and growing with all of you. See you in August!

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Amy Darden

My name is Amy Darden and I am looking forward to being a teacher at DAIS. I am currently living in China teaching Grade 4 at Hangzhou International School, where I have been for the past 4 years. Previously, I taught Grades 3 and 5 in Florida, USA.  I am passionate about literacy and I enjoy recommending books for my students, especially getting them excited about books that they wouldn’t have chosen for themselves.

Going hand in hand with my love of teaching is my love of theatre.  I was bitten by the ‘theatre bug’ at age 4 and have been acting ever since. While I enjoy being on stage, I have found a new joy in directing and bringing theatre to students. I love working on musical theatre, be it choreographing, directing or singing, and I am overjoyed that DAIS has a fine arts program.

When I am not at school, I enjoy cooking, baking, and reading.  These activities are often done while belting out show tunes and dancing around my apartment. I enjoy traveling and experiencing new cultures, people, and especially food.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone in the community.

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Shane van Staden

My name is Shane van Staden. I have been teaching for 23 years, of which the past 9 years have been overseas (2 years in Pakistan and 7 years in Indonesia). I presently teach PE and Health in Rumbai, Sumatra which has become home for me and my family. My daughter, Gabriella (9) started her schooling here while my wife, Wendy teaches swimming, and is working on her Business Management Degree. My son Dylan (19) will be remaining in South Africa where he will pursue bodybuilding while attending university.

We are looking forward to joining you in Atyrau and experiencing our first snowfall. We are excited to start ice-skating and playing ice hockey which will be a change from our swimming, cycling and walking routine here in the jungle.

I have had the opportunity of working with Mr. Sawatzky in the past, and I am excited about continuing his best practices, while introducing your child/children to new programs. Physical Education and physical activity is not just my preferred profession, but my hobby and pastime too. I will be expecting the best from your child as they grow through personal challenge, and I will teach to support that growth. I look forward to sharing my passion for movement with your child, and being of service to and your family.

Fall MAP Testing Begins Monday>Runs 5-16 September

Photo credit: http://klearning.ict.kis.ac.th/kblog/counselor/wp-content/blogs.dir/38/files/sites/38/2015/09/MAP.png
Photo credit: http://klearning.ict.kis.ac.th/kblog/counselor/wp-content/blogs.dir/38/files/sites/38/2015/09/MAP.png

Dear Parents,

From September 5th to September 16th your child is scheduled to take tests called Measures of Academic Progress™ (MAP).  We give students MAP tests to determine their initial instructional level and to measure academic growth throughout the school year, and from year to year in the areas of Reading, Language Usage, Math and Science. Your child will take the tests on a computer.

Click here to view- Fall  MAP Testing Schedule

MAP tests are unique in that they adapt to the level appropriate for your child’s learning.  As a result, each student has the same opportunity to succeed and maintain a positive attitude toward testing. For about 40-60 minutes each day for 2-5 days, the Kindergarten to Grade Eight students will go to the computer lab for testing.  This testing is done in the morning so that students are full of energy.

Each school year, students from Kindergarten through Grade Eight take the tests in September and again in May.  Following each testing period, you will receive a report showing your child’s growth; this will be followed-up by a parent presentation sharing school wide test results.

We are excited to be gathering our first set of data this year. These tests, along with other  teacher created assessments will help us analyze your child’s learning. With this information in hand we will plan your child’s learning program.

For more information on resources for parents, please see  Parent Toolkit.

Click Here – Download Parent Toolkit

 

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Lory Thiessen

Spring MAP Test Scheduled > May 10th to 20th

Photo credit: http://klearning.ict.kis.ac.th/kblog/counselor/

Dear Parents,

From May 10th to 20th your child is scheduled to take tests called Measures of Academic Progress™ (MAP). We give students MAP tests to determine their initial instructional level and to measure academic growth throughout the school year, and from year to year in the areas of Reading, Language Usage, Math and Science. Your child will take the tests on a computer.

Click > Spring 2016 Testing Schedule

MAP tests are unique in that they adapt to the level appropriate for your child’s learning. As a result, each student has the same opportunity to succeed and maintain a positive attitude toward testing. For about 40 to 60 minutes each day for 2 to 4 days, the Kindergarten to Grade Eight students will go to the computer lab for testing. This testing is done in the morning so that students are bright eyed and full of energy.

Growth Mindset

Following each testing period, you will receive a report showing your child’s growth; this will be followed-up by a parent presentation sharing school wide test results.

We are excited to be gathering our second set of data this year. These tests, along with other formal and teacher created assessments will help us analyze your child’s learning. With this information in hand we will plan your child’s learning program.

Click > MAP Parent Toolkit

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Lory Thiessen, Director/Principal, DAIS

Student-Led Conference > Friday, April 29th

Photo credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/ef/16/cc/ef16ccff909cbc62f3d0c3866429e17b.jpg

Dear Parents,

On Friday, April 29th, DAIS will be hosting Student Led Conferences from 1:00-3:15.

At the end of each trimester, students selected several pieces of work from each of their core subjects.  Their selection was based on work that demonstrated specific skills or pieces that they were particularly proud of. With each piece of selected work students reflected on the learning demonstrated.  At the end of each trimester, students and teachers also worked together to set growth goals, during the conference your child will talk to you about their success with these goals.

The goal of Student Led Conferences is to help your child develop ownership for their learning.

Your task during the conference is to encourage your child to share their learning and to praise them for their growth.  I am attaching a handout that offers possible discussion starters for your use.

Student Led Conferences don’t allow for a private conversation with the classroom teacher. Following your Student Led Conference, if you would like a meeting with the teacher please let me know and we can arrange a convenient time.

Childcare will be available in the library for younger siblings.

I look forward to seeing you on Friday.

Sincerely,

Lory Thiessen, Director/Principal, DAIS

STUDENT LED CONFERENCES

What to Expect at Student Led Conferences:

  • Your child will lead the conference and share their portfolio with you.
  • Your child will discuss with you his or her progress in each core class.
  • After your child has finished, he or she will look to you to answer any questions you may have.
  • There will be three or four conferences happening in the room simultaneously.

On Conference Day:

  • Be supportive and encouraging.
  • Ask your child what they want to share with you.
  • Rephrase what your child has said.
  • Ask your child questions for clarification.
  • Make positive comments such as:

“I’m really proud of the work that you have shown us.”

“I can see that you are getting better at…”

“I can see that you tried very hard.”

“I’m so impressed with the way you conducted your conference.” 

“I can really see the growth in your…”

“I’m amazed that you know how to…”

“I didn’t know you could…”

After the Conference:

If you still have questions or concerns, call the office to set up an appointment to meet with the teacher on another date.

Fill out the Parent Feedback form.

“The student-led conference is the best student-success building tool that has come along in a long time.  Nothing can take the place of having the student, parent and teacher as a unified team, to encourage a student to bigger and better heights.  No matter where the student is academically, the student-led conference boosts that student forward!”  -M. A. Wrenn