Amman, Jordan Report of what it's like to live there - 12/02/15
Personal Experiences from Amman, Jordan
School Name: American Community School Amman
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
3. During what years were you affiliated with this school?
This is our first year. We will be in Amman for three years
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
Near the U.S. Embassy
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
They stated they could support our children's learning needs and it is near the Embassy.
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?
We received nothing but an approval. We were very transparent and our concern was that our kids' learning needs could be met. They aren't.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Our children had a rocky start, mostly due mean spirited kids and non inclusive kids. There are a few great families here and once they navigated and made friends with children who respect each other, they did better. However, now 4 months in we are still trying to seek resolution to a child who continuously pounces, hits, pokes, and prods my children.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
The climate of this current grade level is out of control. The classes are approximately 20 kids per class with one teacher and one aide who supports all three classes. Each class has about half the children who need no extra support and half who have learning differences and behavioral issues that need support. The teachers appear overwhelmed and unable to support the class to create a consistent healthy supportive learning environment.
2. For the following attributes, down to the next blank box, grade your experience at the school on a scale of A (excellent) to F (unacceptable/terrible) and provide comments:<br><br>Overall fair and equitable treatment of all students and families:
D-we are hanging onto our last thread with this school. The teachers are the only bright spot, if you are lucky to get a good one. The administration, the learning support team, and the counselors are unable to effectively support behavioral issues at this school which impact the classroom and students' education as a whole.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Excellent in our case.
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
My children receive learning support for learning differences and the resources include two people. It is highly inadequate for the needs of the school.
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
The disparity of ability is HUGE- one teacher can't meet that.
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
8. Administration-parent communication:
The superintendent doesn't like to be bothered-but if you put up with his unwelcoming attitude then he will act. The principal understands the problems and sees them as long term. He is available and will talk to you.
9. Teacher-student communication:
good in our case.
10. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
No-especially as there is a lack of transparency about what my child is doing in learning support. The coordinator has been unwilling to share what transpires.
11. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:
Bullying. The school is trying to take a hard stance on this but it doesn't seem enough.
Academics & Resources:
1. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Library is minimal.
2. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
Seems to exist-at the elementary level our kids are using Ipads and have a technology time each week.
3. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
20 kids to one teacher. It is not good. IF your child can self advocate, stay focused despite lots of interruptions and disruptive children, and doesn't need any special attention....s/he might be fine.
4. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
in elementary they have art and music.
5. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.
Yes, many kids at the school have behavioral challenges and relationships are a big part of the drama at this school. Bullying exists even if the administration doesn't want to admit it.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
The teachers-we got two really good ones and it is the only saving grace. But they are unsupported and often drowning.
2. Greatest challenge?
Lack of resources for all the kids who need extra support-learning and behavioral.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
No. I think my comments make it clear.