Djibouti, Djibouti Report of what it's like to live there - 11/25/13

Personal Experiences from Djibouti, Djibouti

Djibouti, Djibouti 11/25/13

Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?


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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

My daughter was in the 4th grade when we left the U.S. in the middle of the school year, but they put her in the 3rd grade class because she did not speak French. The 4th grade teachers didn't speak English. But one 3rd grade teacher spoke English, so they put her in that class.

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3. During what years were you affiliated with this school?


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4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

Military with the U.S. Embassy.

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5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?

We were told this was the only school she could attend other than homeschooling her.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:

Because my daughter didn't speak French, the only thing they taught her was Math, French, and Art. School is only for half of the day because of the heat. School is Saturday-Wednesday and always dismisses about 12:30/12:45pm. There are two schools. The older children attend Kessel and the younger children attend, Dolto.

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2. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?

Reading and writing of French is taught at the first grade level. When we first arrived, they put my daughter in with two other foreign students who did not speak French in a morning class with a first grade teacher, twice a week. But when those two students left, they had to cancel the class. And they offered no other options.

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Academics & Resources:

1. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

Not at all.

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Overall Impressions:

1. Greatest challenge?

I believe this school is great for children younger than first grade (in first grade, they begin teaching reading and writing in French). Any grades higher will be a challenge for students who does not speak French. And of course, American Social Studies and Language Arts will have to be taught at home.

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2. Would you choose this school again? Why?

After one semester, I pulled my daughter out and did online homeschooling. For us, it was too much of a challenge and she would have gotten too far behind in her education at that grade level. However, if we were going to be here when my toddler started preschool, I would have considered sending her to that preschool. Most everyone at this post has younger children and are very pleased with the preschool and Kindergarten program.

There are families with older children (above first grade) who arrived at the beginning of the school year rather than in the middle of the year. These kids have several tutors many times during the week after school and I have been told they are still struggling. I would only recommend this school for children over the first grade level if they speak French or at least understand French.

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