Dakar, Senegal Real School Experiences

Personal Experiences from Dakar, Senegal

Dakar, Senegal 07/11/19

International School of Dakar

School Website

https://www.isdakar.org/


Background Information:

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

Parent

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

1-4th grade

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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/NGO

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

Yes, there are French, bilingual and other schools available.

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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

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

adequate

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Academics & Resources:

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

The library is very nice, and you can go in on the weekend to read, check out books

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

Yes

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

Yes

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

My child's classroom was between 12-14 kids with a teacher and assistant

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5. 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?

PYP

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6. 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?

yes

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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)?

yes, this is part of the normal curriculum and they are very impressive!

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

Very limited

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10. 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 quite a few choices, including an excellent volleyball program the kids love. In my experience, some of the activities are poorly led such as soccer and chess, and the kids aren't really taught or coached in a consistent manner.

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

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

No, there is not an overarching attitude of inclusion for kids with special needs. The elementary school teachers have inconsistent knowledge and training about special needs, and there is a shocking lack of basic knowledge and appropriate response to kids who have learning differences. While I find some of the teachers are fantastic, others appear appalling. The administration is knowledgable and supportive, but it really comes down to skill level and experience of the individual teachers. From what I understand, the school wants to take on more special needs kids, and in order to do that, they would need to hire teachers with basic fundamental knowledge, and/or provide training and support to teachers. Based on our experience, we would not send our special needs kid to ISD.

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

I can only comment about the elementary school, and from what I observed, yes.

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3. 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.

Somewhat, but the school actively deals with this behavior.

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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?

C.

We would probably choose it again, due to lack of other better options. If we got a hypothetical do-over, we would have chosen a different post with more options for schools.

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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!

If your child doesn't have learning differences, the school is lovely. If you suspect or know that your child has learning differences, ask a lot of questions.

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Dakar, Senegal 01/07/18

International School of Dakar

School Website

http://www.isdakar.org/


Background Information:

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

Parent of children attending the school, ES and Middle 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?

5th and 6th

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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, however, we felt that ISD was better equipped (curriculum, environment, technology, and security) to meet our priorities.

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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, they have an informative website.

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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 counselors do a nice job of welcoming new students by providing programs for both ES and MS students that aid in their transition.

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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?

At times, in their effort to use technology and different modes of communicating, there is redundancy (which isn't bad), but then there is also overcommunication my multiple POCs that creates inconsistency in the information that is out there for parents. Additionally, the MS could do a better job to outline their processes when pertaining to afterschool programs, athletic teams (several parents were told that "everyone" made the swim team, even the children were told that at their tryouts, only to find out via email that not everyone made it), and clarity of methods of communication...a one-stop shop vs having to navigate through several links and documents to get the latest pertinent information. Having said that, we're happy with the school and still believe it's the best option.

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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?

none required, even Week Without Walls was covered (which was surprising since other international schools that we've been in have fees associated with WWW).

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Academics & Resources:

1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?

The counselors do a nice job of welcoming new students by providing programs for both ES and MS students that aid in their transition.

We are not familiar with the school's dedicated services for college. Our kids are not at that stage of their education yet.

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

Daycare, not sure. However, they do have an afterschool activity program for ES and after school sports program for MS.

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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, not large, but suitable. Yes, students may check-out books. Not sure about how updated the books are; however, my son had checked out books from the popular series he's reading.

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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?

Every student (5th grade on, I believe) is given a ChromeBook. Every student has a student gmail account and they do work and submit assignments through GoogleDocs as well. I would say the school if up to date, if not ahead of other schools, when it comes to intergrating technology into class/homework.

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

Technology courses are part of the curriculum. They have a lab where they do some testing.

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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?

Gym-new one being built
Pool- new, although small.
Fields- large soccer field with track around it, volleyball/basketball courts.

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

5th grade- 17 students (one teacher and an assistant)
6th grade- they like to keep it under 18 students.

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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?

ISD is an IB school and I believe the middle school is currently going through accreditation to become an MYP school. MS does offer advance courses as well.

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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?

Yes. Math seems to be an area of strength at ISD (which we were happy to see)

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

Yes, not nearly as many projects as they had in Northern Virginia.

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

All

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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.

Pleased with these services. As with any school, if you don't feel that your child will be challenged, have a conversation with administration and be their advocate.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Swimming, Volleyball, Basketball, Soccer, Track, Softball, Tennis (off campus), but no American football.
Pottery, Oil-Painting, Spanish, Cooking, Lego-Robotics, Makerspace, and others that I cannot recall.

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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?

I believe so, not certain.

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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 children were welcomed from the start of school year. Again, the school does a great job with this at the beginning of the year.

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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-, yes I would choose again.

Communication- C They are responsive when you inquire;however, some things parents shouldn't have to ask about to get information on.

Parent teacher conferences -terrible process

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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!

Communication- C They are responsive when you inquire;however, some things parents shouldn't have to ask about to get information on.

Parent teacher conferences -terrible process

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Dakar, Senegal 03/11/12

International School of Dakar

School Website

http://isdakar.org


Background Information:

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

Parent

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

4th, 6th, 9th, 11th

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

2010-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)?

US Embassy affiliation

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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?

A

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

A- the school makes the transition very easy and kids come and go throughout the year and seem to settle right in

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Administration & School Procedures:

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

My kids have experienced a structured, welcoming and academically enriching environment at ISD

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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:

A- we have not experienced nor witnessed any inequity.

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

A

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

B- there are online classes available and the school will enrich lessons fora speedy learner

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

B- more activities for younger children

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6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

A- the behavioral expectations are made clear and pretty well enforced. The administration is strict and attentive to issues as they arise

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7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

A

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8. Administration-parent communication:

A- the administration is very responsive to parental concerns

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9. Teacher-student communication:

A- the FOCUS program is great

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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?

The school does a good job with a variety of learning styles and will adapt curriculum

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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:

No

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

n/a

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

No G&T program

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

A few- it is a relatively small school

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

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

No, tuition covers trips, including Week Without Walls at the upper levels. There are optional trips (theatre trip to London, for example) that parents contribute toward.

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17. What activities do you feel are missing?

More academically oriented activities, such as debate team or math clubs

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

Yes, mainly sports and volunteerism

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

Yes, very welcoming and responsive to new students and families

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

Few that I have ever seen

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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?

A

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

A-the kids are using a program called FOCUS and know all their assignments and communicate with their teachers by email about projects.

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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?

A- good and challenging. The fantastic climate makes for a very physically active student body- swimming included

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

A- the classes are small

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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?

B- there are AP classes and the school is moving toward an IB program in 2013

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

Yes

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

B- the new high school auditorium will be a great asset as the sound quality in the gym is not good. My kids are not too involved in art and music so I can not really say

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

Yes

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

n/a

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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?

Pretty good for a school this size- sports, art, volunteerism- beautiful weather means lots of time outdoors

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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, like anywhere, kids find their peer group and socialize informally. Dakar is generally very safe and kids have a lot of freedom.

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2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.

No, this is a very diverse school- American kids only make up 25% of the student population, with over 50 nations represented. The school is very pro-active about bullying

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Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

Great leadership- the administration and teachers are hands on, involved and set high standards for the community

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2. Greatest challenge?

Growing pains- Dakar has grown exponentially in recent years and the school is working very hard to keep up with increasing enrollment- a large expansion project is in the works with a new high school opening soon and ongoing renovation over the next several years.

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3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

In a heart beat- it is a wonderful place for our kids to be

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Dakar, Senegal 01/07/12

international school of dakar

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?

2 & 4

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

2009-2010

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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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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?

A -Everybody gets in - and they even helped out during an evacuation from Conakry.No problems.

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

B

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Administration & School Procedures:

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

good

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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:

A - we didn't see any difference in treatment of local and expat students, however we're expats, so that's our view.maybe the local view is different

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

B - very good.Again, depends on the teacher.

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

B - like any school, some teachers are great and some are not.We had an experience when the french teacher actually wrote on a report card for our kid "what a waste" - because the kid was smart but not working hard enough.couldn't imagine that in the States.But for the most part, the teachers are great

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

B - they do the best they can, but seem to focus more on sports for boys.

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6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

B - we've since moved and are at an excellent school in europe - it seems their education in dakar was fantastic and kept pace with the school they're at now.

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7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

D - Homework seemed to be excessive - really, for small kids.Our kids got great grades, don't struggle academically, and they were pressed on homework - at least 1-2 hours a night in elementary school.

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8. Administration-parent communication:

B- same

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9. Teacher-student communication:

B- good

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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

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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:

no

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

n/a

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

not sure

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

no - again, if you want extracurricular activities, this isn't the place

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

The arts - amateurish productions, no instruments.

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

yes - some field trips

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17. What activities do you feel are missing?

girls sports

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

yes - the coach for boys soccer and the track coaches are excellent

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

not sure

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

like any international school, you have the super-priveledged of the community attend.

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Academics & Resources:

1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?

B - good

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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 - again - they did the best they could given the circumstances.

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

B

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

C - seemed ok.

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

B

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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?

B

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

no - too much for small kids

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

D - sadly, the arts programs are sorely lacking.There are the typical holiday concerts, etc., but they are missing a real band, any type of drama.It was a shame because particularly with drama, you don't need a lot of resources.

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

not sure

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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 - although the teacher gave more challenging work to one of our kids

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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?

some - but not enough

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

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

yes

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2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.

not sure

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Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

it's small

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2. Greatest challenge?

outside resources

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3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

only for elementary school

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