Ankara, Turkey Report of what it's like to live there - 10/17/19
Personal Experiences from Ankara, Turkey
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?
Two children attended this school from ages 3-Year 3 (which is second grade)
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?
There are several other options, including Oasis, Bilkent and the DOD school. We chose this school because it had the best reputation at the time and the parents who had children there were extremely enthusiastic about the education. It remains the best school our kids have been to.
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?
Somewhat. It is clear Brits get preference but not clear on other groups.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Wonderful. It is a small community and the teachers/staff were very welcoming.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Good. Direct email with teachers, regular updates by email from school. Very few logins required, which I can't stand. So all good!
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, which were not too expensive. Field trips included in cost of tuition.
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?
School only goes through 8th grade.
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
No before, but good range of clubs available for after-school care. Costs were reasonable.
3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Good library with updated books. Students can take out books and bring home. The librarian has been there for quite some time and she's wonderful.
4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
Somewhat low tech, which I love.
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 is a small gym/multi-purpose room. The kids do a week of swimming but it is off campus. No playing fields but there is a tennis court at the embassy the kids use. It is a smaller and older school ... BUT, the biggest bonus are the woods. Ankara is not a forrested place, but the school sits in this amazing patch of woods and the kids get to spend a ton of time roaming through them. My oldest still misses his time building forts and making bases in those woods.
6. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
Class size maxes out at 20 I believe up through 3rd or 4th grade; there are two teachers in each class.
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?
Academics were excellent; I've found them to be at least a year ahead than the schools in Virginia. Especially in math.
8. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Very. Not a ton of homework, but interesting longer term projects.
9. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
Yes. Tons of drama incorporated into the program; lots of music.
10. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
I believe so. I can't think of any teacher who wasn't a native English speaker. Although some with very strong British or Scottish accents :)
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?
Lots of clubs, sports for middle school kids including track and soccer.
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.
Not in our experience
1. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
The school does a ton to grow independence in kids. We started out here for elementary school so I didn't realize how radical a concept that is until we returned to the States and was able to compare. Kids do a sleep-over in kindergarten at the school. In first grade they do a 3-day trip to Cappadocia. They are encouraged to do and act and think on their own. I truly adored this school and so did our kids. It is a gem.
2. 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?
Yes, we've talked about trying to return to Ankara just for this school!