Accra, Ghana Real School Experiences

Personal Experiences from Accra, Ghana

Accra, Ghana 07/14/20

Ghana International School

School Website

https://gis.edu.gh/


Background Information:

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

I am the parent of three children who attended the school for two and a half years.

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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?

Grades 11-12, 8-10, 3-5 from January 2017-June 2020

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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)?

Military working at the US Embassy

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

Yes. We picked the school because we previously homeschooled and were told that the school more Americans attend did not accept homeschooled children. This was a miscommunication, however, we only found out it was incorrect information much later.

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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?

Yes, the Admissions department is very responsive and sends information for what you need to do in order to apply and attend.

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

9/10 - The school sends multiple emails to ensure new students and families can take tours and have the opportunity to ask any and all questions. Students in the secondary school are assigned a buddy who helps show them around the school and meet other students.

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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?

Communications is really great. The administration is quick to send updates for major information, and Vice Principals send emails about school updates. It happens in a variety of ways - email, text message and whatever app the teacher is using for school (google classroom, class dojo).

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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?

Uniforms are required. Field trips are optional. The price for field trips varies as they are typically within Ghana. Laptops are helpful for 11-12 grade.

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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?

There are academic counselors who are familiar with universities worldwide. They are able to help connect with various university representatives, GIS has a strong alumni association and alumni often come to the school to share information about the school they are attending.

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

There are after-school sports programs, but I am unsure of after-school daycare.

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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?

There is a library at the elementary school for the elementary students. The books are current and seem to be regularly updated. Students in the elementary grades are able to take a book once a week during their scheduled library time.

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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?

The 11-12 grade students are allowed to bring laptops to school. Google classroom and Classdojo are both regularly used by elementary and high school students.

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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 outdoor basketball courts, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a soccer field. There are various teams for students to join.

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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?

GIS is a British school which means they administer the IGCSE at the end of 10th grade, and A Level exams at the end of 12th grade.

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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?

Students are VERY challenged. The British school curriculum is quite strenuous. Students study in the evenings and on weekends, some students also have tutors for various classes as the exams are difficult.

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

Yes

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

There are music classes, as well as drama, visual arts, and theater.

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

All teachers speak English fluently.

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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?

A wide variety of extra curricular activities are available and every student is required to pick a class to take once a week. These choices include sports, and also art classes, music classes, and Model UN.

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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?

The school is mainly local children who have been living in Ghana for their entire, or a large portion, of their educational career. The student body is full of Ghanaian and Indian students, as well as a variety of other cultures. Expat students socialize quite easily as all students are quick to welcome new people.

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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?

A, I would choose it again.

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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!

This is a fantastic school. Do not be afraid to attend though it is a British curriculum institution. Your child will be challenged and will have to work hard, but they will see that every student studies regularly and works hard. A very high percentage of students attend international universities upon graduation.

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Accra, Ghana 01/22/20

Lincoln Community School

School Website

https://www.lincoln.edu.gh/


Background Information:

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

Two kids at LCS, one in middle school the other in high school.

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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?

2017- present

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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)?

US Embassy

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

Yes. Main "competitors" are Ghana International School (British system), Accra International School (Christian missionary school), and Rayan International School (Islamic high school). The schools fill different niches and despite some fretting from the long-term expat community that LCS risks falling behind, I haven't really seen that during my time here. LCS is quite a bit more expensive than the others so that appears to be something of a discriminating factor. Basically, if you want a secular US college prep-style school, then LCS is the only game in town.

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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?

Quite straight forward.

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

Good orientation, active PTO. There is a buddies program to help new students adjust in the younger grades.

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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?

This has been a bit of a problem but is improving. Multiple platforms have been reduced. There is a Tuesday reminder email that goes out and an app with relevant calendar items updated regularly.

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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?

Laptops are required for middle school and up. Most of the other paying activities are by choice (athletic competitions, model UN, etc.)

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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?

Generally a pretty good counseling program, particularly at the elementary and middle school levels. Good counselor-led interventions to prevent bullying. College counselors have been criticized for their focus on US universities and colleges as the school is quite diverse with a lot of graduates looking at British, European options.

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

Not sure.

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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, really quite a social hub for students. New elementary school (opening any day now!) has a huge library space.

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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?

Laptops seem pretty well integrated, seems well-managed.

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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?

Covered gym and several outdoor basketball/volleyball courts. Football field with covered bleachers. Good eight land pool (swim team is big here).

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

In middle school: around 19 to 1; in high school: around 14 to 1.

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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?

Full IB curriculum: Primary Years/Middle Years and Degree program. Good coordinator, most students in upper grades do the degree program but not required and, thankfully, not aggressively pushed either.

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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?

Seem to be be pushed. There are a few duds as teachers but administration is taking active steps on that front. The IB curriculum is quite rigorous on its own.

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

Varies from grade to grade and class to class. Upper elementary has decided to limit homework, which was nice. Upper grades always have some but has not been overwhelming.

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

Very good music and drama program. Band, choir, and great school plays (this winter middle school is doing Into the Woods, last year was Madagascar). Advisors are committed and good about including all who want to participate. However, I do wish there were more elective choices.

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

Yes. Ghanian accents can be tricky sometimes. Some of the local teachers are great but a few, particularly in high school, are dead wood, in my opinion.

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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.

Mainly on a case-by-case basis but a new admin position is focused on developing learning plans for learning disabled and for students who need additional challenge.

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

New elementary school will have lifts for disabled students.

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14. 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 program to bring new English speakers up to speed, seems successful.

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15. 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?

Standard sports, service clubs, music groups. Good Saturday program for individual music lessons (guitar, voice, piano).

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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?

Not great but improving. Ghana is a quite conservative culture and that is reflected at the school. Recently a student came out publicly as bisexual and this caused some waves among some parents but generally wasn't a big deal for students and he was elected to student council. The general climate of acceptance/support and anti-bullying policies help.

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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?

Handled on a case-by-case basis, depending on the available resources.

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

Seems to be a good mix of local students (Ghanaian and Lebanese), and students from all over. There is not one group that is particularly large or exclusionary. International Day is always so inspiring to see all the nationalities marching across the field.

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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?

A-. Definitely the right choice for us here in Accra.

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

Trying new sports, getting a chance to star in the school play, choir solo. Challenges have included a bit of a party scene amongst upper grade kids with pretty permissive parents. LCS has been a construction site for the past year and a half as they build a state of the art elementary building that has been delayed. It will be great when it opens but the middle and high school facilities pale in comparison. Hopefully Phase 2 will come quick!

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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!

A long and proud tradition at LCS gives it roots unlike most other international schools. Great mix of long-term expats and short timers amongst the students is a plus. Very strong school administration is recruiting outstanding teachers and developing a clear vision for the school.

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Accra, Ghana 04/16/16

Lincoln Community School

School Website


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?

6

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

2014-2016

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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)?

Government

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

Curriculum, PYP, MYP, IB.

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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?

Our experience was fine.

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

Good, and getting better. They did an excellent job transitioning the kids from elementary to middle school.

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Administration & School Procedures:

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

She has attended fifth and sixth grade. The sixth grade is the start of middle school. Fifth was one class, about 15 kids, a teacher and teaching assistant. Sixth grade is the typical rotation for middle school, with classes meeting a few times a week on a rotational basis. The teachers have been excellent, I've been very impressed with most of them. The kids are nice, and it's a collaborative, service oriented environment.

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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:

It's been good.

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

Depends on the teacher. We don't have a lot, but have not needed a lot. They have been great when we have had questions, and are very accessible to the students as well when they have questions, often answering emails on the weekends.

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4. 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?

required laptops, but they can be inexpensive ones, and if necessary can be borrowed from library on daily basis. We did have to pay for cheerleading uniforms, and things like required PE outfits and swim suits.

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

Not sure about learning difficulties. I have a gifted student, and while they don''t have a program per se, they have found ways to challenge her appropriately, especially in the 5th grade.

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

Good, and almost all are free. In middle school they have weekly Wednesday trips to orphanages, schools, etc for community service learning. They have a wide variety of other activities for all interests.

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7. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

One thing I have liked is that they have challenged my daughter, who always does well, to improve, rather than just saying she is doing find and focusing on the kids who need more attention.

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8. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

A good amount of homework. Not too little, not too much. In middle school it's nice because there is always more than one day to get the work done as the classes don't meet every day.

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9. Administration-parent communication:

Good. They send to twice weekly school announcements, have regular PTO meetings, and organize parent information events on the curriculum, technology, etc.

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10. Teacher-student communication:

Good, see above.

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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

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

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

Yes, plays at all levels. Band, etc.

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

They did not have high enough Spanish classes at the middle school level for my daughter, though Spanish is a second language.

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

No, or minimal.

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17. What activities do you feel are missing?

Martial arts at the middle school level. They had them at elementary.

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

Yes, almost every day.

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

Yes, good orientation program. For parents also.

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

Communication with admissions office in the beginning took some persistence.

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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 have not used much, but it seems to be there.

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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?

Decent libraries for all levels (3 separate libraries)

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

All kids from 6th grade need a laptop and use if in the classes and do all their work online. They are available through the library, but most have their own.

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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. Various after school activities, including very active swim clubs, soccer, volleyball, basketball, etc. There is a very nice pool.

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

Seems very good.

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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?

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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)?

Good. There are plays for all levels, electives in technology, music, art, drums, health.

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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.

No, they don't have a formal program.

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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, The school is very international, without one dominant culture. My daughter has friends from various countries.

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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.

Not to my knowledge and not in my experience.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

Great teachers, nice environment.

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2. Greatest challenge?

School is a bit of a distance from out housing. Buses provided, including for after school activities. But it's very difficult to attend school events, and the traffic to get to evening events is horrible and takes a lot of time. Also, we often don't get enough advance notice on events to request time off from work to attend them.

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3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

Yes, definitely, we have had a very good experience.

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Accra, Ghana 01/31/14

Lincoln Community School

School Website

http://www.lincoln.edu.gh/page.cfm?p=1


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?

5-7 and 7-9.

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

2013 to present.

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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)?

Government.

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

This school follows the IB program.

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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?

C. You have to stay on top of the administration and teachers to find out any information.

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

C. If there are any issues, you will not be notified unless you specifically tell each teacher you want to be involved.

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Administration & School Procedures:

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

Both kids are currently in middle school. Expectations are high and I feel they are being treated as if they are in college. It's a bit stressful for everyone.

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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:

B.

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

B. I want to rate this lower, but after I sat down with the teachers and asked to be kept informed, they've done a great job. I have yet to hear from my oldest child's teachers, but I also have not reached out to them.

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

D. We have a child with a small learning disability and they almost didn't accept him. We were not informed of this issue until after we were given a letter of acceptance and arrived in country. I guess they think changing their mind last minute is ok. Thankfully it all worked out, but we still feel like our son doesn't get all the help he needs.

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

A. Lots of variety for after-school activities. My kids love it.

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6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

B.

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7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

C. There are times when my 6th grader works on homework and projects for 4 hours a day. If your child doesn't have time management skills, s/he will struggle every night.

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8. Administration-parent communication:

B. You get a weekly newsletter and that's about it. Again, when I reach out, they made themselves available.

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9. Teacher-student communication:

A. They use a program called "managebac" and it helps a ton!!

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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?

No. I think they are challenged too much at times. I don't feel like special consideration is given for students with disabilities as they are held to the same expectations as the gifted students. A little more diversity would be nice.

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

Yes. One child goes to a writing workshop once a week, after school.

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

No. They could use more resources. If your child has major learning issues, this is not the school for you.

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

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

Yes. We are very pleased.

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

The only foreign language offered is French and my children studied Spanish everywhere else. I wish they'd offer Spanish, but we've been told they don't have the finances to support this.

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

Yes. Field trips are not covered by school fees. Sports programs travel a lot and you have to pay out of pocket for this also.

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17. What activities do you feel are missing?

None.

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

Yes. They have loved it.

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

Adequate.

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

Only challenge we've had is location of friends' homes. The students literally live all over the city.

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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?

A.

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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?

C. If your child doesn't have a Mac computer, s/he will struggle in class. Students can rent computers for the day but sometimes the programs don't transfer well to your home computer

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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?

C. My kids don't like the program but a lot of that has to do with the heat.

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

B. Around 1:20

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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?

This is an IB school.

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

No. I think it's a little much and causes stress, but my kids have made it work. Lots of weekends working on homework. One great thing is projects are listed on "managebac" so the kids are given a heads-up in most cases.

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

A. We are happy with the offerings.

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

Yes, but accents can be thick. There's one teacher both my children cannot understand at all. Thankfully their friends help out.

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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.

No.

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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. Too many to list. Very pleased.

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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?

You get a mix of everything in this school. We love it!

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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.

Small bullying, but the school works fast at resolving the issue.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

After-school activities and variety of students.

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2. Greatest challenge?

Parent-teacher communication as well as the ridiculously high expectations of the kids.

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3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

Unsure. My kids enjoy the school and the friends they've made, but I've had a lot of issues with teacher communication. It has improved since the last school year. I hope it continues to improve.

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