Rabat, Morocco Real School Experiences

Personal Experiences from Rabat, Morocco

Rabat, Morocco 06/12/18

Rabat American School

School Website

http://www.ras.ma


Background Information:

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

I am a parent of children who have attended and still attending RAS.

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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?

Grade 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, They have attended between 2015-2019

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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, there are other schools available to expatriates but they follow the French system. We chose RAS because it is the only school that offers 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?

Yes the admission officer is a lovely woman who helps us a lot by communicating, organising a visiting tour and giving us the information we needed.

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

The integration, support and welcome of new students were really good. My children had bodies who helped them find their way around. About the new families, PTA is run by a wonderful woman who gave me some tips and took me on a city tour.

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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?

The new director is doing really his best, he's holding monthly coffee meetings and there is a weekly newsletter. As parents we can check children's homework online and grades via Schoology and Eduprize.

They bombard you with all sort of emails, messages, Fb posts meetings,... about some issues. Other times you don't know anything that is happening. They don't have a centralised communication and every group (PE, Student council, Board) is responsible for its own communication and it is not consistent.

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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?

No uniforms. Laptops are distributed at the beginning of each year for all MS and HS students with no additional charge. No additional charge for music instruments or school field trips. However the parents are expected to cover costs for national and international sports tournaments. The costs are very expensive. One trip to Verona for 4 days costs about 1000 Euros.

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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?

Yes they do. They hold an annual college fair where many universities are invited to talk to the young people and guide them.

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

No before or after day-care but they run optional activities for one hour after school.

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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 they do, it is quite good one. Yes students and parents can borrow books to read at home.

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4. 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 think they are good in this domain.

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

Technology is ahead of its times. As I have mentioned earlier, laptops are distributed to children at the beginning of the year.

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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?

The whole RAS is at the moment in a small and tight compound. It is moving next year to a much bigger one. So the gym is small, they have a swimming pool. They play all kind of sports: basketball, volleyball, soccer, Badminton, track and field but no tennis court.

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

About 16 students to one teacher.

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8. 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?

No AP but there is only DP for grades 11 and 12. It is NOT a full IB school.

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9. 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?

NO. In our experiences, it seemed that there was no centralized curriculum because every teacher had her or his own curriculum. The new director and the new principal are on route of creating something new and central.

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

No. In the elementary classes they don't have homework. MS have some homework but not like the other schools we went to.

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

They have music, drama and visual arts. In our experience, drama has not been good. HS/MS still do fairy tales plays. No current stories, no actual conflict or cause to demonstrate.

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

Well yes, even though we had a Math teacher from Hongkong who couldn't speak English fluently.

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

No, it is an average school with many rich Moroccans kids who are allowed to do anything they want.

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

They have EAL service. They are trying to put together a mental health team.

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

No. My son broke his foot and had to walk on crutches. It was difficult for him to navigate the many stairs (no lift). His friends were helping him.

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16. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

EAL

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17. 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 the have many in MS, HS and of course Elementary. My children are keen on sports so they participated in all kind of sports: basketball, swimming, soccer.

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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 and no. The local children like to stay together, the expatriates change every 3-4 years. It is hard. I wouldn't say that the groups are successfully integrated.

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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.

Yes. My child experienced bullying and was reluctant to talk with the counsellor. As parents, we helped build his confidence and let him manage it on his own which was fortunately successful.

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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?

I would not choose this school again. The main administration left shortly after we arrived (for varying reasons) and while there are new good principals now, there is a lot of work to be done at this school. In my experience, elementary is good but problems arise in MS with meeting acceptable academic standards. We ended up sending my HS child to boarding school.

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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!

Consider other options.

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Rabat, Morocco 11/09/17

Rabat American School

School Website

http://ras.ma


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 five children who have attended this school. During our time here we have experienced almost every grade at the 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?

2014-2018. K,1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10,11,12

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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)?

U.S. Government

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

While there are emerging new school options, especially for lower grades, I think this school is the best option.

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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?

The school has an admissions officer, who really cares about new families coming in. I think communication
was good for us. It is always helpful to call and talk to the admissions person. We found everything 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?

I think the school does pretty well. They always host a picnic in the fall, etc. There are also other things hosted at the school, but not necessarily by the school, like Saturday soccer and baseball, for example that help you get to know the people in the community. I also think that even though there is a school bus that children can ride, sometimes it is important to pick up your kids after school so you can meet their friend's parents and other students etc. When we first arrived, my seventh grader was invited to a birthday party. That was a nice way for her to meet the girls in her grade. The PTA has also started doing monthly trips for parents to sights around the city and to Medina.

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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?

There is a weekly hotline sent out to parents. The school also uses educational software like Schoology, and Eduprize. The director of the school hosts parent coffees once a month to meet parents and answer any questions parents might have.

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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?

Grade level field trips are covered. Parents are expected to pay for the costs of flights/hotels etc., for international and regional sports tournaments, MUN, choir trips etc. Laptops are distributed without extra charge to each student.

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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 is a designated college counselor. Today there was a visit from NYU. There are usually several college fairs each year. We have had Stanford, Northeastern, Penn State and many other university representatives come. Also a lot of universities have country outreach programs where they have students who are attending that university link up with the high schoolers here. My son who graduated last year had a Harvard Student reach out to talk to him.

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

No before or after school daycare, but after school activities run for one extra hour after school.

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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?

The school has an elementary and secondary library. Students and parents can borrow books.

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

Yes, they are up to date and there are computer labs

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

Two computer labs, a great tech teacher. Each student is given his own chrome book to use each year.

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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?

The school has a pool, a big nice gym with full basketball court, an exercise room, a soccer field (which has some baseball things on the soccer field too). There is also an elementary playing field, two playgrounds and an outdoor basketball court. The school is moving to a new location in 2018-2019. That school is near the beach. They will also have a pool and gym and soccer field.

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

It depends on the class. Sometimes in upper grades and IB there will only be 5 students in a class with a teacher. In lower grades it is usually about 16 with a teacher and an assistant.

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8. 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, but you can choose the full IB, or just certificate courses. All students who graduate will have a Rabat American School Diploma, and then the paths of IB or non-IB are student preference with input from parents and students and teachers.

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9. 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 IB in itself is challenging, and we have good teachers who teach the IB courses. There are great teachers spread through the whole school.

My kids have been challenged, and my kids are conscientious students.

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

Yes, I think so. There is a good amount of homework in the high school and my son who is in eighth grade has homework in several classes each night. My first grader has reading each night, and math about once or twice a week. My 5th grader has some homework, but not too much. He is learning a lot at school, and homework is appropriate and he is learning and happy.

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

There is music and art pre-k through 5. There is drama, music, and visual arts 6th-10th grades. In the IB program here only visual art is currently offered.

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

Yes.

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

Some teachers differentiate within their classes.

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

There are learning support specialist in elementary and secondary.

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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.

Lots of EAL 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?

Middle school choir, High School Model United Nations, Robotics, Community Service clubs.

Middle School and high school Volleyball, swimming, track, basketball, soccer and badminton.
Elementary after school sports, robotics, dance, and service clubs.

There is a middle school choir, but there are not really after school music activities for other ages, so many people take their kids for private lessons elsewhere.

My kids have loved the sports because the school is pretty small they can be on many different teams. My 10th grade daughter and 8th grade son have done soccer, volleyball, swimming, track and basketball. My children take private piano (not through the school).

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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, but as in all international schools, it is hard for many locals that the expats rotate in and out. But my children all have local friends.

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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.

Yes, but the school is aware of it and they are finding solutions. I think it is about the same as every school. The administration and counselors are implementing positive strategies to eliminate bullying.

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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+ I would choose it again. We are American and all 5 of the Americans in my son's graduating class last year got into good universities and all of the Americans passed the IB. There were only twenty students in his grade. Some of the other non-Americans have chosen to go to school in Canada, America, Europe, or Asia. I know the year before last, two Moroccan students were accepted into the most prestigious medical schools in Europe. Rabat American School is very small, about 420 pre-K to 12, so with these limits it is amazing to me that the IB works so well. The school has very good administration and some very good teachers. Just like any school, if students choose to work hard in this school, they can go anywhere. There are graduates from this school at some of the best universities in the world, but some students also just scrape by in high school and choose not to go on to university. My son spent three years here before graduating and he is now attending a Division 1 university in the U.S. on a half-tuition academic scholarship because of his grades and SAT scores.

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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!

A brand new school opens near the beach in 2018-2019. We have lived here for 4 years and it has been good for all of my kids. I currently have an 18 year old (graduated), 15 year old, 13 year old, 11 year old, and a six year old.

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Rabat, Morocco 11/02/17

Rabat American School

School Website

http://www.ras.ma


Background Information:

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

Our child graduated last June.

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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 and 12, 2015 - 2017.

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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 Government

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

No, unless the children speak French. It is the only high school option for English speaking students.

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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?

It took multiple emails to receive registration information. There is no course catalog available, the website has very limited 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?

Below average. It was our fifth international school and there is very little sense of community at the school. In prior schools there were multiple community events, the campus was welcoming for after hours social activity - not here.

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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?

Very disappointing. It is a recognized issue at the school that they have been attempting to address but often parents are notified last minute about events and communication with teachers and administration is often difficult.

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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?

Chromebooks can be purchased from the school, laptops are necessary for high school as textbooks are soft copy. There was one trip that we had to pay for during the two years.

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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 is a college counselor but she was not well informed about US colleges and universities; she is Canadian. Final transcripts for students were not sent to schools and caused one student to have her offered denied and another to have delayed registration.

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

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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?

It has a small library where students can borrow books.

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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?

Yes, they need a laptop.

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

I have never seen a computer lab.

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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?

There is no PE option for IB students, there is a small gym and a swimming pool. There is a multi-use field, no tennis court.

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

1-15

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8. 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?

IB, the full diploma was required of the entire grade last year with very few course options. Most students took online IB classes through Pamoja. Pass rate for the IB program has been very low, 2016 - 65% and 2017 - 64%.

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9. 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?

Math and sciences are very weak.

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

The full IB is very demanding.

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

In the upper grades the only IB option is art.

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

The SL Math teacher from last year was extremely difficult to understand. She did not complete the second year of her two-year contract.

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

None.

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14. 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?

There are limited sports opportunities, soccer, basketball and volleyball for varsity. All sports are teams only, no intramural opportunities.

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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 divide in the upper classes between local Moroccans and expats. The school does not set a cap on local students so many classes are predominantly long-term Moroccan students.

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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.

Our child had a difficult first year making friends as most students had been there for the majority of their school career. I know of families that have left RAS early because of school issues, leaving behind the working spouse.

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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?

F. We would definitely not choose it again and would recommend anyone with high school-aged students to do their homework. The new administration is aware of the school's issues and is working to change things but it will be a long process. There is a general lack of accountability or commitment from students and teachers alike. This was our fifth international school experience and by far the worse. Students' predicted IB scores and mock exams were not a reflection of their final IB scores. Please request and examine the IB results at this school, it is a reflection of the lack of preparation for finals. Some students were 10 points below their predicted scores. The high school principal projects it will take 3-5 years to turn the school around.

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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!

Please do your homework, request IB scores and statistics, RAS school profiles and try to talk to current students. As the parent of a 2017 graduate I would not recommend RAS for high school students.

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Rabat, Morocco 10/18/16

Rabat American School

School Website

http://Ras.ma


Background Information:

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

I am a parent of 5 children attending this 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?

My children are Kindergarten, 4th, 7th, 9th, and 12th. They began attending this school in 2014, and will attend until 2018.

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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)?

U.S. Embassy

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

There are French speaking schools, but this is really the only English speaking 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?

Yes. You will need to also contact the Director of Admissions for the school.

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

I think that this is improving. Many people are welcomed by their embassies, but I have seen great strides to include new families. The PTA has a facebook page, and they have recently done day trips for parents, etc. It is a good idea to hook up with someone the same ages as your children at the school.

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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?

The communication is through a weekly hotline, and monthly Director's coffees with the Director of the School and often Elementary and Secondary Principals. Also the school has recently set up "Schoology" where messages are posted almost daily and at least weekly on the site.

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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?

There are a few small required expenses, like a P.E. Uniform, which is only US$20. Each child in secondary is provided with a laptop by the school. There are occasional sports fees for local tournaments, but the only really big expense are sports/music/MUN trips to other countries. Typically a trip like this for a student would be about US$500. The high school basketball, soccer, and volleyball teams can travel to Portugal or Spain for trips. The Middle School Honor choir travels to Spain.

The "Week without Walls" trip for Middle School Students in Morocco is covered by the school.

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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 is a dedicated college counselor. The school recently had visits from Northeastern in Boston, and several other schools. Last year, Columbia, Stanford, and UPenn were some of the schools that visited. The counselor is familiar with schools world-wide, and students from RAS have been accepted into good schools in many countries.

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

No, but most families have house-help because it is inexpensive.

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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?

The school has a good Elementary Library. They also have a decent Secondary Library. My kids have always had books to read from school. Yes, you can take the books home. The school orders new books every year, and takes requests from students and families.

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

Yes. Lots of emphasis on being up-to-date

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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 is a gym, a swimming pool, and playing fields. No tennis courts, but you can go to local clubs not too far away.

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

One teacher and one assistant for 15 students in elementary.

In secondary, it depends on the class choices, but probably about one teacher for every 10-12 students.

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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?

IB is available in upper grades. The IB diploma course is offered. All students take IB classes, but they have a choice of full diploma, or certificates. Students graduate with a U.S. High School diploma, whether they take the full IB diploma course or not.

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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?

One of the greatest strengths is the teachers. We have had very good teachers in every grade. My kids really enjoy learning.

When we first moved here, we came from a strenuous academic program in the U.S. My oldest son was in 10th grade. He thought the academic program here was easier than the U.S. that year, but once he started IB his Junior year, he was challenged. The school is moving toward all High School classes being just as challenging as the IB courses. Currently, most of the IB teachers are also teaching lower secondary grades as well, so they are overseeing the preparation for IB.

Overall, the whole school is working on having a cohesive curriculum, from Elementary to Secondary.

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

In elementary school there is not much homework. Most of the teachers believe that kids need to unwind, and play after school. There is always a short amount of time that needs to be spent reading each day, but other homework is usually a small packet due at the end of the week.

My kids have lots of homework in secondary. It is not too much and reinforces what they have learned in class.

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

Students can take music and art in elementary school. In secondary they can take music, drama, or visual art until they finish 10th grade. After 10th grade, only visual art is available to students, because it can be part of the IB program. There is also a jazz band club created by students after school, and the music teacher teaches a glee club.

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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.

Teachers notice and help students, but there is no streaming.

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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.

There is learning support in both elementary and secondary.

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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.

Not much is available now, but in a few years when the school moves to a new campus, they will at least have elevators.

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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.

Lots of ESL 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?

Lots of good sports for secondary. Volleyball, basketball, track, seasonal swimming, badminton, and soccer are all available. For elementary students there is a community sponsored Saturday Soccer at the school, and after-school activities like soccer, basketball, Young Citizen's Club, and robotics.

There isn't a lot of music or dance but students can take lessons privately outside campus.

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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?

Depends on the grade, but generally kids do mix well.

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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.

My kids haven't experienced it, but others may have.

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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. My kids have been happy here.

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Rabat, Morocco 05/19/16

Rabat American School

School Website

http://www.ras.ma


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?

7th and 8th grades.

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

2013-2016.

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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)?

U.S. Embassy.

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

Rabat American School (RAS) is the default choice for English-language instruction in Rabat. There is one other English school. Other than that, the closest English-language schools are in Casablanca, two hours away.

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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're with the Embassy so we are at the top of the order of the placement list. The Admissions Director's integrity though is above reproach.

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

D-. The PTA is not supported by the majority of the parents, so its very hard to put together welcome buddies or even welcome information. New families can seek out the PTA Facebook pages though, and start to make connections there.

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Administration & School Procedures:

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

This is quite hard as one child has had a really good experience and the other a terrible one.

--Grades are small, 30-40 children.
--Teachers are very caring and try to individualize instruction.

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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?

A-. I have no problems at all with getting emails or arranging conferences outside of formal conferences.

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

F-. The school cannot realistically support either group. Only English as a Second Language is well supported.

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5. 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?

Physical Education uniforms are required and lunch is available for a fee.

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

D-. If it isn't sports, it doesn't really exist for the middle school. And, I have two kids who hate sports with a burning passion.

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7. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

B-. RAS does not have a reputation for rigor.

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8. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

C-. I'm actually worried that my kids are going to have a hard time readjusting to a school in the US. On the plus side, homework, tests, quizzes, and projects for the middle school grades are posted on a publicly available Google calendar. When I hear there is no homework, I do double check.

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9. Administration-parent communication:

D-. This school is terrible at communication to the broader audience.

A-. But, I personally have very good communication with the administration.

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10. Teacher-student communication:

B-.

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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:

This service is not available.

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

No, since it really doesn't exist.

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

No, there isn't one.

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

Fine arts electives are offered, but only one or two in each discipline.

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

Algebra 1 for 8th grade. Math 8 simply doesn't cover what Algebra 1 does.

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

The occasional field trip has a small fee. Week Without Walls is built into tuition.

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18. What activities do you feel are missing?

Anything that doesn't use a ball. Robotics Club, Lego Club, Gaming Club, French Club, Scouting, etc.

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

The extra curricular activities consist of sports and honor society. My kids don't like sports and aren't in honor society.

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

You're kind of on your own.

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

There are cliques and lots of meanness. There isn't a quiet way for students to quietly report bullying or just nasty behavior.

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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-. College counseling. Very good hands-on counselor who is unfortunately leaving this year.

C-. Personal Counseling. The guidance counselor is well trusted and liked. She has instituted a program to make up for the character education these particular grade levels did not receive in elementary.

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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?

C-. The library is very small due to space constraints.

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

A-. Chromebooks and computers are widely available and used. You can bring your own. Every student has an email address at the school. The current IT director is funny and charming and loves to work with the kids. Parents can use the schools wi-fi while on campus.

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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-. It's about 1:20, which seems reasonable for the age.

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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?

C-. The full IB diploma can be achieved, however, many of the cooler IB classes are only supported via distance learning for which there is an extra fee on top of tuition.

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

No. It's much less than I expected.

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

B-. In middle school, the kids have one trimester of each of the arts each year.

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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, it isn't 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?

Not for middle school. There is a push to widen this though. Student Government is somewhat active and sponsors dances every few months. There is participation in a club that raises money and awareness for abandoned animals.

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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?

Some do.

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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.

Yes. We have had a terrible time with this, and it was finally addressed this spring when the kids in question did something that the administration couldn't let slide. However, we've been complaining about it for years. Apparently we needed to give a full who, what, when, where, how, and why report every time. For one of my children, this has been a significantly damaging experience and severely affected behavior and self-confidence.

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Overall Impressions:

1. Greatest challenge?

RAS has been in a complete uproar the last three years. With the new incoming director and secondary administrative team, along with a well-weeded faculty, hopefully things will begin to balance out.

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2. Would you choose this school again? Why?

No, we would not return to RAS. If I had any choice, one of my children would have been somewhere else the last year and a half. RAS is the only choice for us at post. Knowing that, I would not return to this post with children above grade 5 again. RAS is behind the curve on being a modern 21st century school with the opportunities and services many US parents expect.

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