Cairo, Egypt Real School Experiences

Personal Experiences from Cairo, Egypt

Cairo, Egypt 02/18/20

Cairo American College

School Website

https://www.cacegypt.org/


Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

Parent

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

K in 2018-2019

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3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

Government

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4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?

Yes, CAC is in Maadi where many families live and it is very convenient. It is an American curriculum and in English. There is a British School also in Maadi, though a bit farther from where families live. There is a French school as well.

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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 applied for admission while already in Cairo (attended preschool locally). In January they did an Open House and tour. The application process was fairly extensive, but clear. We submitted paperwork (including letters/info from preschool) and then had a parent interview and then in late April our rising kindergartner had an assessment--they watched them play together and then pulled them 1:1 for assessments. It is a bit harder if you are overseas during the application, but people make it work. The website has clear steps for applying.

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

First international school for us, so it is hard to compare, but I'd say it was fine but not amazing. The day before school officially started they had a new student morning with meetings for the parents and class time for the kids to meet and socialize with others in K. Not sure what they did with older kids. I do know that new high schoolers were assigned a current high schooler to be a buddy/sponsor. There were a few events early in the year for new people. I do think that some info was assumed we would know even though we'd have no idea.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

I can only speak for the elementary school level. Classroom teachers wrote a weekly blog post that included important info and a summary of learning. WhatsApp groups for grades or classes were popular, though sometimes you might get hundreds of messages in a day with people replying "thumbs up" or "smiley" to a comment. But they were my best source of info. School sent out a weekly e-newsletter. It was wordy and extensive, but I did read it weekly (many didn't). PTO had a Facebook group and several parts of school (library, booster, etc) had FB pages. There is the line between enough info and not enough and people argued on both sides. In general, I felt there was enough info. On a personal teacher level, our K teacher was always responsive to my emails. Conferences happened 3 times a year (4 for K, but not sure about other levels). We had a "meet and greet" conference in the beginning where you got to share goals, end of 1st trimester, end of 2nd trimester, and right before the end of the year there was a Kid Led Conference where they showed off what they learned. Older elementary I think did student-led 2nd trimester as well. K also did several events for parents to come in and see things. I did feel that specialists didn't communicate what was happening in class very well. They all had blogs, but very rarely updated them. Some classes, like art, I at least ended up seeing final products. Classes like Drama I have very little idea what they did in class.

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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?

PE Uniform--worn twice a week. It was a red t-shirt with school logo and black shorts. My 5 year old HATED the uniform. We had major battles on PE uniform day. The shorts are your typical athletic shorts, which she doesn't like and never wears. Luckily, the PE teacher told me that black leggings were fine as well. His main goal was sneakers and clothes they could move in. So she'd wear the t-shirt and her own black leggings. In the winter they don't have a winter uniform--so kids would wear black pants and often put the t-shirt over a long sleeved shirt. Field trips in elementary school were covered. K did a walking trip to date trees, and then a bus field trip to a park and to a museum. No other costs in K.

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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?

We didn't really use any of the counseling resources in K. I think the counselor taught some lessons in the class and they did a "moving away" meet-up for each grade with the kids moving over the summer. But we never used them otherwise.

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2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?

No. There are after school activities Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday that were free and lasted an hour. But it's unlikely you'd get in each day. We did 1 class a week for the first two trimesters. K didn't have as many options for classes. The preschool does have the option to extend to a full day (they are normally a half day).

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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! The elementary library was great. Very large and extensive collection of books. Large nonfiction, picture books, and chapter book areas. Section with Arabic books and a wall of books in different languages (could range from just a few in a language to several rows in Korean). Kids starting in 1st grade could go to the library during lunch recess if they wanted. Very friendly library. Kids could bring books home each week and they also had a DVD and Playaway (audio book) collection for check out. They get new books regularly in the library and cull books yearly for an end of year book sale. The HS/MS combined library also was good sized, but I'm not sure much else.

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4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?

Elementary didn't have requirements. As we were departing they opened a new STEM lab that was really cool--robots, virtual reality, green screen for videos, a fabric/sewing/crafting area, magnets, rocks, etc. Classes would sign up to go and use it and sometimes it was open on conference days and occasional weekends for families/parents.

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5. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?

Yes, there is a computer lab. I don't know that K went a whole lot-I never heard my daughter talk about it.

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6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?

Swimming pool, gym, work-out facilities, soccer field, track. In PE, a fall and spring unit was swimming. Kids took lessons once a week during their gym block. At the K level this was a lot of water familiarization. My daughter did learn a lot in PE and it exposed her to various sports and activities. Aside from disliking the uniform, she liked the class. The school grounds are open to families after school and on weekends to use the facilities and you'd often find kids bike riding, scootering, playing soccer, etc. I never used the gym, but it had open hours some people used.

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7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?

The K class had 20 kids with a teacher and an aide. There were two K classes.

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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?

I thought she had a good K year. They handled reading differentiation well--kids entered the class knowing basic words or not even knowing letter sounds and they worked with everyone. She made good reading progress and was in a guided reading group of kids at her level. Math was mostly done whole class, but halfway through the year the more advanced math students got pulled to the back of the room for the second part of math for enrichment.

I thought social studies and science was a bit weak, especially compared to the curriculum say in Virginia kindergarten. Social studies focused on Little Me in a Big School. They did learn about Egypt in their Egypt Culture class. But nothing with maps, history (aside from a little of Egypt), holidays, etc. Science they didn't even touch until 3rd trimester--they did a unit on living things and one on force and motion (pushes/pulls/etc). She liked science, but I wish they had done more of an alternating unit system throughout the year and did more science topics.

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9. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

K did not have homework except to read the books they brought home at their level. As the year progressed, I believe some kids had handwriting practice, but we did not.

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10. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

They had music 30 minutes 2x a week (some grades I think had 60 minutes 1x), drama 1x a week, Art 60 minutes 1x a week. She liked all the classes. Drama put on a production each year and all grades could try out. We didn't participate, but went to see Shrek, Jr and it was so well done! The kids did a great job. 5th grade were the leads. Music performed at several assemblies. The art projects that came home were nice.

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11. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

All the teachers spoke English and I never had communication problems with any of them.

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12. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

At the K level, they did leveled guided reading groups year-round and pulled out students for math towards the second half of the year for advanced kids. I never heard of specific gifted programs or testing for higher grades but could have just missed that.

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13. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

They had a speech pathologist we really liked. She went into the K classes and interacted with all the kids at the start of the year. We then got an email asking if she could pull our daughter for more 1:1 testing. Later we got an email saying she qualified for speech and would be receiving services 2x a week. No IEP or formal paperwork. She made a lot of progress with her speech.

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14. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

There is an elevator and ramps. I never saw anyone with a wheelchair or crutches, but that doesn't mean they weren't there. Buses are not physical disability friendly and have several steps.

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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.

They have ESOL classes

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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?

Elementary had after school classes 4x a week that changed each trimester based on what teachers or parents wanted to offer--everything from free reading and free playground play to chess, Lego, cooking, bike riding, art, etc. The selection for K was lacking as many classes didn't want the youngest kids in them. My daughter took a cooking class one trimester that was really mostly creating sweets (I was hoping there would be more meal type foods and less desserts, but she did like it) and she did Lego one trimester (free play with Lego). Third trimester there weren't any appealing classes for her.

Tuesdays had swimming lessons at an extra cost. Drama put on plays 1-2x a year. At the elementary level I felt their offerings were fine.

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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. Never heard of anything specific and Egypt as a whole is very repressive to LGBT+ people. HS level might have had resources.

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2. What is the climate for children with special needs? Is there a general attitude of inclusion for children with special needs?

There did not seem to be kids with many special needs. None that were obvious from the outside at least. Aside from speech therapy, I didn't hear of anything else offered.

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3. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?

Yes, her K class was a good mix of kids--lots of Americans, but also Egyptians and Koreans (not sure of other nationalities). Several of her best friends were Egyptian. They highlighted Egyptian culture in several programs and I think she learned a lot about the culture and people. I was in the PTO and it was a mix of cultures--American, Egyptian, Hispanic, and other countries.

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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.

At the K level, we didn't experience any of this. At the adult level, there was some cliques and exclusionary behavior among parents, especially among those who had been at the school a long time. It was hard to break past the "this is how we do it" belief.

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Overall Impressions:

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?

We had an A experience. She loved her K teacher and her friends and learned a lot. I was pleased with the available resources. I'd rate my experience as a parent as a B or B+. Volunteering at the school took some effort and I was not able to be in the classroom at all as I had hoped (I don't think the school really did in-class volunteering). I did volunteer in the library and on the PTO. Sometimes getting appropriate info was difficult and I had to dig.

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2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.

Her teacher was awesome. We really liked the House Teams they did--each kid in Elementary was put into 1 of 4 houses based on ancient Egyptian gods/goddesses. Family members were in the same house. They did house events at least monthly where they did friendly team building/competing. 5th graders acted as house captains. The older kids were GREAT with the younger ones in terms of helping, cheering on, etc. All teachers were on a house too. MS sometimes participated in the house events also. Each house had a cheer and they really worked to build connections across grades. I was impressed how often older kids said hi to my daughter and knew who she was.

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3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!

Air pollution is a big problem in Cairo in general. Morning levels in the winter could easily be in the 300-500 AQI (hazardous) level. The school monitored levels and kept kids in from recess and outdoor sports on bad air days. However, they still were outside changing classes, going to lunch, bus rides, etc. Our daughter had a mask she brought to school to wear outside when changing classes, as did a few other kids. During the 2018-2019 school year, they started addressing the issue more as parents started complaining. They were working on sealing rooms better, measuring inside levels, and were testing the difference air purifiers were making. When we left June 2019 nothing conclusive was decided, but hopefully progress is continuing.

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Cairo, Egypt 02/09/17

Cairo American College

School Website

http://www.cacegypt.org/


Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

Parent.

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

Kindergarten through 7th.

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3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

Government

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4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?

Yes, there are other schools. A few families choose the British school, and a couple are at the French school. We would have also considered Maadi Community School which is affiliated with Maadi Community Church had we known about it before arrival.

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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?

Pretty well. We had a hard time sending/scanning all of the documents from the States, but maybe the problem was on our side.

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

B. Overall, it was pretty good, but there was this attitude of "if your son is accepted into our school." He had been in kindergarten in the US, and we transferred in November after the revolution.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

Communication is pretty good, although it takes some effort. We need to look at daily e-mails, daily blogs on the net, weekly newsletters, and student agendas.

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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?

Children wear P.E. uniforms twice a week. This would have been nice to know before arrival since it involves needing fewer clothes during the year. P.E. uniforms are about $25. Middle schoolers are given a laptop for the year to take back and forth to school. They turn it in at the end of each school year. Musical instruments such as the recorder (4th grade) can be purchased. Violins, etc. can be rented for the year. I believe the recorder was $10. The violin to rent was maybe $100. Field trips are included in the tuition except in middle and high school. These are astronomical in cost- around $1000 a pop. That being said, I have been happy to give my daughter the opportunity to go to Turkey, France, etc. She opted out of the last one and just wanted to do the Cairo-based trip which is always an option. She had a great time.

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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?

The lower school guidance counselor is great and personable. She has worked well with my children. One of them frequents her office more often than my others. :-) I don't know about a college counselor. I'm guessing yes.

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2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?

No, not actually at the school, but there are daycares nearby.

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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. The library is great! It is quite large with new books added frequently. It is encouraged to check out books weekly, and the library is even open for weekend hours.

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4. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?

Very good. I was impressed that the students give morning announcements on the t.v. Children simply sign up to give the announcements, and they are paired up like little news anchors. They call it "CACN." So much fun. Yes, there are computer labs. Beware of pop-up windows that come up and show inappropriate things, I have been told recently. I think this needs to be addressed better.

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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 are several gyms and a swimming pool. There is no tennis court, but there are playing fields and a track. It is a spacious school with great facilities.

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6. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?

1:15

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7. 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?

Yes, there are plenty of AP classes, but I'm not very familiar with the high school.

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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?

I think that the curriculum is challenging and fair. The Arabic program, however, is an embarrassment to the school. After four years, the children are learning how to order food from a menu. I thought they would have learned this the first month of school nearly four years ago. No American I know is impressed with the Arabic program. It's a disgrace. They should hire American-trained language teachers and not hire locals. They don't know how to teach, quite frankly. If you want your child to learn Arabic, hire a tutor right away because they will still be learning the alphabet after four years.

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9. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

Yes.

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10. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

The electives are great. My children are involved in the strings program (strict teacher who often caters to the Korean population, but otherwise a good teacher), drama (Great productions. The ES school play often gives a chance to 5th graders to take leading roles), and art class is OK, though they just got rid of a fantastic teacher a couple of years ago perhaps because of budget cuts. I don't know, but everyone misses her, and the type of art my children bring home in ES has declined. MS art seems strong with a focus on different mediums.

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11. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

Yes.

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12. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

I don't think that there are any, though in middle school, children have the freedom to move up in math if they are ready. There are three levels (blue, green, black) that the children can choose from with every homework assignment and test. Also in Language Arts, the children are pushed to read on or slightly above their reading level which is good.

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13. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

We have a child who has received speech services. Although he was exited from the program, I think he still needs help. The speech teacher who was there when we first arrived was fantastic and kept us up to date with specific things he needed to work on. The one there now - not so much. Maybe my son needed to be exited, but I doubt the former speech teacher would have exited him so soon. He also has some learning issues (diagnosed ADHD) that we have mostly addressed with the classroom teacher. I think the school could have done a better job in meeting with us and the teachers and the guidance counselor altogether with our son's psychological educational evaluation, but we haven't had a meeting yet. We are leaving post in just a few months, and I think I will remind them that we need an official meeting to address concerns. The classroom teacher has done great, though, and I don't believe that my son has huge learning issues even with the diagnosis. Still, a group meeting to create an IEP has not happened. If you need an IEP for your child, just keep on it. I feel that they would accommodate.

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14. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

I don't know. There is an elevator, at least.

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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.

There are ESOL teachers.

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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?

Great after school activities year-round. They change every trimester. There is basketball, soccer, chess, swimming, the school play, lego club, pottery, strings, chorus, etc. etc. We have enjoyed all of the after school activities. The swim team used to be great until they let go the beloved coach of over 20 years. Now more than ever the swim team is overrun by locals. It is annoying to see all of the American parents volunteer to time at the swim meet while the locals sit in the sun and watch their children swim and win all of the medals.

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?

There is a big divide, for sure. Some of my children's friends are locals, but very, very few. It's usually the local boys who will whisper in Arabic and laugh at my children.

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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.

The international kids mix and mingle very well. My daughter just had a sleepover with friends from the U.S., Korea, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Sudan, England, and one Egyptian-American. The locals mostly stick with their own group though it is not as bad as in some other international schools. My daughter in middle school seems to get along with the locals a little more than my children in elementary school.

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Overall Impressions:

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+. Yes, I would choose it again. I would rewind and not be so excited about my children being on the swim team or learning Arabic: two things I wanted for my kids.

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2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!

CAC is a great school with great teachers. The after school activities are good, too. I feel that it has been a good four years for my children despite a few issues which I have addressed above.

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Cairo, Egypt 01/15/11

New Cairo British International School (NCBIS)

School Website

http://www.ncbis.org


Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

Parent

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

Year 2 - Year 5

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3. During what years were you affiliated with this school?

2007 - 2011

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4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

Hospitality

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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?

B

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

B

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. For the following attributes, down to the next blank box, grade your experience at the school on a scale of A to F with comments:

A

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2. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:

Friendly teaching environment. Teachers who make learning fun.

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3. 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

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4. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

A

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5. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:

B

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6. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:

B

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7. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

A

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8. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

B

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9. Administration-parent communication:

C

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10. Teacher-student communication:

A

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11. 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?

No

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12. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:

No, but special need assistance is available.

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13. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:

N/A

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14. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:

Don't know.

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15. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?

Yes. Instrumental music lessons are also offered at an additional fee by professional gifted instrumental music staff.

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16. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:

All year swimming programme.

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17. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?

Yes. At least 4 overseas trips per year for Secondary students and residential trips for Year 4 - 6 students.

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18. What activities do you feel are missing?

None.Good variety on offer but many activities are on the same day and only one activity/day can be choosen. Sports should be covered over at least 4 days. Good idea to involve parents in coaching.

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19. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:

Yes

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20. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?

Yes

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21. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:

None that we are aware of.

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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?

B. No experience with regards to college applications and career advising, but it is available to Secondary students.

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2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?

B

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3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?

B

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4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?

B

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5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?

A

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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?

A. IB school and candidate school for PYP program.

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7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

Yes

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8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

B

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9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

Yes

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10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

N/A but it is available.

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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?

Yes, basketball, hockey, rugby, swimming, skateboarding etc

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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

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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 not that we are aware of. Class sizes small and teaching staff supervise play areas during break times.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

Relatively small school. Class sizes small. Very friendly school community with 50 nationalities. Truely international community.

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2. Greatest challenge?

None. It is what you make of it.

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3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

Yes. Enthusiastic staff that enjoys teaching. Fun learning environment for children.

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Cairo, Egypt 06/26/10

Cairo American College

School Website

http://cacegypt.org


Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

parent

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

Elementary SchoolHigh School

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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?

Their priorities are published in terms of groups that have priority (US citizens top priority, etc.), but not in terms of academic requirements.

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

A

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:

US State Dept. dependent

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2. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:

US State Dept. dependent

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3. 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:

B

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4. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

Teachers are very good at sending e-mails if there is trouble or something big coming up, and at responding if you send them something (both in HS and elementary). At elementary level, any playground disagreements or issues as well as tantrums or other difficulties are reported daily, if they need to be addressed right away.

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5. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:

At the high school level gifted children are able to take advanced classes, IB classes, and AP classes. In Kindergarten, kids are not separated by ability, however, they do allow them to work ahead -- read more books, etc. if they are able to.

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6. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:

Excellent for high school. For elementary, they start at Grade 1, and seem to have variety..

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7. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

High school -- high standards with parent involvement/notification and assistance from teachers if needed. Computerized grades are accessible by parents. Some teachers use it more than others. KG -- the standards are not very rigid for KG, however, all students meet first grade minimum before they are passed on.

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8. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

WOrk assigned for KG is minimal and only given toward the end of the year to prepare for first grade. FOr high school, it seemed that all of the work assigned had a purpose and there wasn't so much that my child was overburdened.

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9. Administration-parent communication:

Administration-parent communication is ok. At the high school level, it is a bit better than at the elementary level in terms of schedules, newsletters, etc. The elementary school holds meetings, including parent=teacher conferences when working parents cannot come. The high school holds more meetings in the evening.

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10. Teacher-student communication:

Excellent at the high school level. A lot of e-mailing goes on with prompt response from teachers, even if the kid should have had the information already! At the KG level, it doesn't really apply.

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11. 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?

No.

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12. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:

No (None are offered, and the school is very up-front about suggesting that kids with special needs try to be placed elsewhere.)

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13. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:

N/a

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14. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:

yes.

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15. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?

yes

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16. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:

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17. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?

At the high school level there is a "week without walls" requirement. For one week, kids must engage in a program outside of the classroom. There are many options, some of which involve community service, and some not. The local options which are inexpensive or free are limited, and the international options can run up to $3900. It makes it hard for kids whose families are not wealthy or whose companies don't cover the cost (especially if they have more than one kid.) It takes place all four years of high school.

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18. What activities do you feel are missing?

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19. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:

Yes. Thespians, Peace Club, Academic Games, National Honor Society in high school. T-ball in KG

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20. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?

Yes. There is orientation at all levels. They check with the family to make sure all is well.

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21. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:

None that I know of.

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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?

Counselors are available at all levels. In elementary, the counselors are involved in the classrooms once a month, and also when necessary -- in our KG class' case, the death of a class pet. At the high school level, the college applications process was really good, with the counselor showing our child how to identify the right kind of school, how to narrow things down, and what kinds of questions to ask. They hold parent meetings so that parents know what kinds of deadlines their child should be meeting, and when they should begin the process, including collecting financial information.

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2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?

Elementary has it's own library with adequate reference, fiction and great non-fiction selections, plus videos and computer access. High school also has great selections. Non-fiction is good, but kids do rely a bit more on internet sources than elementary kids do. Parents are also allowed access and cards to check out books, which is great.

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3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?

Younger grades in elementary have computer classes to get them familiar with using technology. In high school kids are expected to know the basic word-processing and spreadsheet programs, but don't have to take technology classes. If they choose to take them, the school has robotics and other more complicated programming classes.

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4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?

Good for elementary with lots of variety. For High school, I don't know.

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5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?

Kindergarten: 15-18 per class this year. HS: 10-20 depending on the subject (for 11th and 12th grade in our experience).

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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?

Both are available. Schedules are done in spring, so if you arrive in Fall with an 11th grader scheduling is difficult for IB classes.

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7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

Yes

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8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

A

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9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

Yes.

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10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

IB and AP classes for High school

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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?

yes

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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. For older kids, there is some degree of expats hanging out with expats because they tend to live close to school and they can walk to each other's houses, where many local students live farther away. But they all seem to get along well and do sometimes hang out all together. At elementary level, its kind of the same thing, but it's the parents who don't want to drive far out of the way.

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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.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

The high school is great because of the counseling and college prep classes. The physical plant is fantastic (running track, swimming pool, theater, meeting rooms, equipped labs, kitchens for elementary, good art and music areas, and good sports fields/equipment.

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2. Greatest challenge?

The biggest challenge we had was being able to get involved, especially with the elementary activities. Few events/performances happen outside of school hours, and most meetings happen in the middle of the day. This makes it very hard for working people to be involved.

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3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

Absolutely. Especially for high school, but the elementary school is also good.

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