Amman, Jordan Report of what it's like to live there - 09/15/19
Personal Experiences from Amman, Jordan
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. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Roughly 75% of the parents choose ACS, but the enrollment at ICS continues to increase which should cause people to do some homework before deciding. We went with ICS because of the more international feel and acceptance of a larger variety of students. Not to mention uniforms (YAY!), great after-school programs, and a more flexible approach to accepting different types of learners.
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. They are great.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
It's great. They really do a good job- even interviewing each and every kid by skype for a follow-up.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
There is a lot of communication. Sometimes parents feel that it is overkill, but I like that it errs on the side of too much. I sift through what I think is important and leave the rest.
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?
We buy uniforms (no big deal), pay for some of the after-school activities, and some field trips.
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?
Amazing counseling resources. They are immediately on top of social issues (bullying) if/when problems arise. They are quick to nip things in the bud and follow up on any problems.
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
There are after-school programs. You can even sign up for two back-to-back if you want.
3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Yes. Good library.
4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
School encourages use of ipads for some activities but it is not mandatory. We eventually let the ipad go to school understanding that. The teachers seem to lock them up during some of the time during the school day.
5. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
They are good. Yes.
6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
Yes. Building a pool. Big playing fields.
7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
14-1 maybe. Often there is an asssitant in class, too. So, my ratio might not be right.
8. 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?
Absolutely. Love the European history bits, too. I don't like common core, so, I'm not sad that my kids avoided it.
9. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Yes. A lot of the lower school just has homework "options." ICS tends to say that going grocery shopping with parents is education, and they want kids to play after school instead of being boggled down with homework. I've noticed a slight increase in homework this year, but I think it's to be expected. There is still some freedom of what to choose from a list of options FOR homework, and I like that.
10. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
Love the individual music lessons added this year. Good plays. Good art classes. My kids even worked with stained glass last year.
11. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
12. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
I think that the classes cater to all types of learners.
13. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
Amazing services for even the slightest learning disability. ICS is extremely welcoming and helpful.
14. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
Pretty sure that they are welcoming.
15. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
Good services from what I hear.
16. 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?
Tons. Basketball, cooking, bike riding, drums, etc.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. What is the climate for LGBT+ kids at this school? Are there resources they can draw upon? Does there appear to be any exclusionary behavior?
No idea. You can ask.
2. What is the climate for children with special needs? Is there a general attitude of inclusion for children with special needs?
AMAZING! If your kids has *any* type of learning need, definitely go with ICS.
3. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Yes! This is what I like about ICS also. My kids are friends with both international and local students. You rarely see ACS kids hanging out with local kids. There is a big divide.
4. 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.
Nope! Love it.
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?
2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
Overall, it's a great school. I would definitely choose it again. Do your homework on the schools before sticking your kid into the school where everyone else goes.
3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
It's a British system, and one thing you should know is that parents don't just "pop in" during the day to go have lunch with their kids. I thought this was a little strange coming from an American school the previous year, but I got used to it and accepted it. At the end of the day, I like the mentality of the British system that says, "drop off your kid, and we'll take it from there." It seems like there is less drama, fewer problems, more inclusion, etc. because the school takes care of it in the nurturing environment. We love ICS and do not regret for a minute that we chose this route. Do your homework.