Accra, Ghana Report of what it's like to live there - 07/14/20

Personal Experiences from Accra, Ghana

Accra, Ghana 07/14/20

Background Information:

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

I am the parent of three children who attended the school for two and a half years.

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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?

Grades 11-12, 8-10, 3-5 from January 2017-June 2020

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

Military working at the US Embassy

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

Yes. We picked the school because we previously homeschooled and were told that the school more Americans attend did not accept homeschooled children. This was a miscommunication, however, we only found out it was incorrect information much later.

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Admissions & Welcome:

1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?

Yes, the Admissions department is very responsive and sends information for what you need to do in order to apply and attend.

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

9/10 - The school sends multiple emails to ensure new students and families can take tours and have the opportunity to ask any and all questions. Students in the secondary school are assigned a buddy who helps show them around the school and meet other students.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

Communications is really great. The administration is quick to send updates for major information, and Vice Principals send emails about school updates. It happens in a variety of ways - email, text message and whatever app the teacher is using for school (google classroom, class dojo).

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2. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?

Uniforms are required. Field trips are optional. The price for field trips varies as they are typically within Ghana. Laptops are helpful for 11-12 grade.

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Academics & Resources:

1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?

There are academic counselors who are familiar with universities worldwide. They are able to help connect with various university representatives, GIS has a strong alumni association and alumni often come to the school to share information about the school they are attending.

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2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?

There are after-school sports programs, but I am unsure of after-school daycare.

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3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?

There is a library at the elementary school for the elementary students. The books are current and seem to be regularly updated. Students in the elementary grades are able to take a book once a week during their scheduled library time.

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4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?

The 11-12 grade students are allowed to bring laptops to school. Google classroom and Classdojo are both regularly used by elementary and high school students.

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5. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?

There are outdoor basketball courts, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a soccer field. There are various teams for students to join.

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6. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?

GIS is a British school which means they administer the IGCSE at the end of 10th grade, and A Level exams at the end of 12th grade.

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7. Are students generally challenged appropriately by the curriculum? Please describe any particular strengths or weaknesses in this area. Do you have any thoughts how the curriculum is applied and implemented at this school?

Students are VERY challenged. The British school curriculum is quite strenuous. Students study in the evenings and on weekends, some students also have tutors for various classes as the exams are difficult.

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8. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

Yes

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9. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

There are music classes, as well as drama, visual arts, and theater.

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

All teachers speak English fluently.

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11. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?

A wide variety of extra curricular activities are available and every student is required to pick a class to take once a week. These choices include sports, and also art classes, music classes, and Model UN.

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?

The school is mainly local children who have been living in Ghana for their entire, or a large portion, of their educational career. The student body is full of Ghanaian and Indian students, as well as a variety of other cultures. Expat students socialize quite easily as all students are quick to welcome new people.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?

A, I would choose it again.

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2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!

This is a fantastic school. Do not be afraid to attend though it is a British curriculum institution. Your child will be challenged and will have to work hard, but they will see that every student studies regularly and works hard. A very high percentage of students attend international universities upon graduation.

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