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The Talking Head

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Welcome to the School Year!

We are glad to welcome new families and to welcome back returning families and students too. We are beginning this week with 245 new students and 885 students in total. When all of our students and families return from their holidays or arrive in Addis, we will have 960 students! This represents a 10% increase from August 2015.

More importantly, we are beginning the school year with many smiles and lots of energy! Thank you for entrusting your students into our educational care. We know that is a sacred trust. We believe our learning programs in and out of the classroom will prepare your children well for their future. We have caring, trained and experienced teachers and teaching assistants. They deliver a premier educational program. Stay in touch with your child’s teachers through our newsletters, conferences, email and other means, and you can help us ensure that your child has a great year of learning at ICS.

I also want to give a HUGE shout out to the many, many ICS staff members who worked overtime in the past two weeks to be ready for students this week. Classrooms are ready, the campus is clean and safe, four containers of instructional materials have been delivered, and new tech systems are online. Everyone has been committed to making this the best start possible, for the largest student enrollment in the school's 52-year history.

Crossing Safely on Victory Road

ICS Traffic Safety Officers are on duty on school days from 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM on Victory Road at the corner of the campus (near the Real Salon and Samet Restaurant). If you or your children are walking in the neighborhood to/from school or during the school day, please use this zebra crossing for safety.

Child Protection at ICS Addis and in the Home

All children need a safe and caring environment to reach their full potential. We have cooperated with other International Schools and agencies in the past six years to implement child protection procedures and programs in our recruiting, in our curriculum and in training for faculty and staff.

This year we are adding more resources and training in Amharic, and will also be preparing more child protection information for parents. One BIG change you will notice is that we have designated Adult Toilets and Student Toilets on campus where possible. We do not want household staff and drivers, ICS staff or other adults using the same toilets that our students use during the day. There are some exceptions where it is not possible to separate the use. The signs indicate those exceptions. Please familiarize yourself with our new designations if you are on campus regularly. You can also ask an ICS staffer if you need directions to the nearest Adult Toilet. In the near future they will be indicated on our maps throughout the campus.

This year we are also requiring Ethiopian federal police background checks for all household staff applications for ICS photo ID cards. More details are available from our Admissions and Communications offices regarding that change.

Emergency Preparations at ICS

Recent events have highlighted the need for the ICS community to be ready to respond to general emergencies in Addis Ababa. Our school’s Crisis Response Team has met this week, and we are working to ensure we can communicate with families and keep our students and staff safe if a situation arises.

Parents! Please make sure our Admissions Office has your updated phone and email contact information as quickly as possible. This is very important!

Week Without Walls (WWW) Trips in Ethiopia will Remain in Addis Ababa

Students in grades 4 – 12 travel within Ethiopia for several days or more each year, as a part of our WWW program. These trips focus on experiential learning and service. However, due to the current security situation in several regions of Ethiopia, our trips for the first semester will be changed. We will still provide fun, safe learning experiences outside the campus or classroom walls, but we will remain in Addis Ababa for those experiences.