Dakar, Senegal Report of what it's like to live there - 03/11/12
Personal Experiences from Dakar, Senegal
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?
4th, 6th, 9th, 11th
3. During what years were you affiliated with this school?
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
US Embassy affiliation
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?
A- the school makes the transition very easy and kids come and go throughout the year and seem to settle right in
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
My kids have experienced a structured, welcoming and academically enriching environment at ISD
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:
A- we have not experienced nor witnessed any inequity.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
B- there are online classes available and the school will enrich lessons fora speedy learner
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
B- more activities for younger children
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
A- the behavioral expectations are made clear and pretty well enforced. The administration is strict and attentive to issues as they arise
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
8. Administration-parent communication:
A- the administration is very responsive to parental concerns
9. Teacher-student communication:
A- the FOCUS program is great
10. Academics, answer the following questions "yes" or "no" with an explanation if appropriate:<br><br>Are there any classes or subjects where students are not appropriately challenged?
The school does a good job with a variety of learning styles and will adapt curriculum
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
13. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:
No G&T program
14. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
A few- it is a relatively small school
15. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
16. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
No, tuition covers trips, including Week Without Walls at the upper levels. There are optional trips (theatre trip to London, for example) that parents contribute toward.
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
More academically oriented activities, such as debate team or math clubs
18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
Yes, mainly sports and volunteerism
19. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
Yes, very welcoming and responsive to new students and families
20. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:
Few that I have ever seen
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?
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
A-the kids are using a program called FOCUS and know all their assignments and communicate with their teachers by email about projects.
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
A- good and challenging. The fantastic climate makes for a very physically active student body- swimming included
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
A- the classes are small
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?
B- there are AP classes and the school is moving toward an IB program in 2013
7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
B- the new high school auditorium will be a great asset as the sound quality in the gym is not good. My kids are not too involved in art and music so I can not really say
9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
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?
Pretty good for a school this size- sports, art, volunteerism- beautiful weather means lots of time outdoors
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Yes, like anywhere, kids find their peer group and socialize informally. Dakar is generally very safe and kids have a lot of freedom.
2. 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.
No, this is a very diverse school- American kids only make up 25% of the student population, with over 50 nations represented. The school is very pro-active about bullying
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
Great leadership- the administration and teachers are hands on, involved and set high standards for the community
2. Greatest challenge?
Growing pains- Dakar has grown exponentially in recent years and the school is working very hard to keep up with increasing enrollment- a large expansion project is in the works with a new high school opening soon and ongoing renovation over the next several years.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
In a heart beat- it is a wonderful place for our kids to be