Monrovia, Liberia Report of what it's like to live there - 10/11/21
Personal Experiences from Monrovia, Liberia
American International School Monrovia
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?
2017-2019,, third through fifth grade
3. What years did you live here?
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
My child attended Our Lady of Grace International School in Monrovia for first grade. It was adequate but not extraordinary. It's fine for younger kids, and much less expensive than AISM.
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?
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
AISM was very welcoming to me and my son, although I'm not sure if non-USG families get the same attentiveness.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Communication was good. Teachers and staff were readily available by e-mail and phone. Every once in a while someone would call and say "Hey, we need you to come to school tomorrow and watch your kid get an award" (they were huge on awards), and I'd have to say "Sorry, I have a meeting then; working parents need more lead time, please." But otherwise, they were fine.
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?
I bought a chromebook for around $250 USD or so.
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?
Decent-sized library for the number of students.
2. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
They did need their own chromebooks.
3. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
No swimming pool, but a nice gym and good soccer field.
4. 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?
AISM did very well in this area when we were there. My son got a late start in formal education due to health issues and was a few years older than his classmates, which is a big deal to little kids. AISM had my son skip second grade, then moved him from third to fourth grade mid-year when they saw that he was capable of more. I was very pleased. (He's now finishing 8th grade and getting As and Bs -- all is well, thanks to AISM's foundation.)
5. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
6. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Yes. English is the common language.
7. 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?
soccer, basketball, other sports
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.
The school did a good job of handling bullying when we were there. Some kids decided to pick on my son for being older than other third-graders; when he told me about it, I contacted his teacher, who asked me to ask him to talk to her. He did so and she handled things well. The bullying stopped, and it seems she was kind to the bullies in helping them see the error of their ways. The whole group of kids actually ended up being friends (which I don't really get, but hey, my kid doesn't hold grudges).
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?
B+, would choose again
2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
The teachers were very engaged in our children's success, and were willing to try new strategies to keep the kids motivated and challenged. It was a very nurturing environment.