Recife, Brazil Report of what it's like to live there - 03/11/23
Personal Experiences from Recife, Brazil
American School of Recife
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
3. What years did you live here?
2021 to 2024 (currently still here)
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
There is one other option for K-8, I believe, but I have no experience with it. We chose this, as it was our only true option.
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?
This was clear if you've done your homework. We needed to have our kids' school records apostilled, which was a mission in the country we were coming from, but we did get it all done. Their old school records have so many stamps and stickers, they look like the most official documents we own.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
This was lumpy, but well meaning. And we happened to arrive in the middle of a lot of change in the administration. But it was a pretty rough landing. Once the school realized how hard it had been, one employee in particular stepped up and tried to make everything easier. They planned on giving the kids a buddy the first day, but that didn't happen, and the kids were automatically placed in classes that are for Brazilian nationals, causing a lot of discomfort and confusion the first day. I believe that's gotten better, but the school doesn't get a lot of non-Brazilian students, so they aren't always aware of how much help an international family could use.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
It's decent between administration and parents. I don't really receive anything from teachers.
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?
Students do need to arrive with their own laptops. Field trips haven't been a thing, except for a senior trip, which cost less than $250.
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 currently an American college counselor.
2. 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 decent library and is in the process of building a larger one.
3. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
Students must bring their own laptops or ipads. They're absolutely essential. We weren't told that before we arrive and so were given a loaner for our younger child who didn't have one, until we could get one for her.
4. 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?
AP classes are available.
5. 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?
My kids are not challenged at all. They have plenty of homework, but have 100+ averages in their classes. I would recommend your child take any AP classes they can, if you want them to learn anything.
6. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
I think it's generally appropriate.
7. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
there are art and music classes, but not departments, if you know what I mean. Think small school options. No band. No orchestra.
8. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Teachers are mostly required to be fluent in English, except for PE and music.
9. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
AP classes are available.
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's a decent offering of after-school activities, though spaces are limited. My kids have been in art club, community service, Girl Up, basketball and maybe another one or two I'm not remembering. There's volleyball and, of course, soccer.
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?
This is pretty decent, considering. Not a lot of support necessarily, but acceptance, in general. Though some kids seem to take pride in being homophobic. I think you'll find that anywhere in the world.
2. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
This depends. There are FEW expat kids in this school. And the kids aren't used to them. One daughter had a much easier time finding her friends and her space here. The other was bullied and had the hardest time she's ever had making friends. This was her 4th international school.
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.
In our experience, definitely. Again it can be hit or miss. Some grades just seem to have kinder, more accepting students than other grades. But the language barrier is REAL even inside some classrooms, and of course, language is an easy way to exclude others.
4. What is the climate for students who identify as ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious minorities at this school? Are there resources they can draw upon? Have your children had any experiences in this area?
I'm often aware that I see almost NO afro-Brazilian kids here. We have heard of instances of bullying of kids based on heritage.
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 - I wouldn't choose it again. My older child, who will graduate here, had a fine time socially, but hasn't been challenged at all, and I feel like she'll be less prepared for college than she would have been at any other school she's attended. My younger challenges herself, so she works hard but isn't really taught a lot. I feel like the teachers have to teach down due to language restrictions and a lack of interest in learning from many students. They're from wealthy families and don't see education as being a necessary piece to their future success. I would NOT choose it again, and I would caution others. It's honestly not a horrible school, and like I mentioned before, they seem to mean well. But it just isn't a good school for expat kids based on our experience.
2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
After our first year, we had a new high school principal and school director arrive (before the 22-23 year). This was a highlight for me. I don't know the director, but have a favorable impression of him. But the new high school principal seems FANTASTIC. He seems to care so much about the kids. I think he's a huge asset to the school.
3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
We talked a lot about whether or not to pull out our younger daughter and send her to boarding school. This is a very extreme action to be considering in our family. Also, I knew the girls wouldn't really be pushed, but I guess I didn't realize how little they would learn. Again, that is hit or miss. I should note that they had the best Biology teacher, so it just depends. But overall, I can't recommend the school, no matter how much we like like that teacher, the principal or the administrator who helped us out after our rough landing.