Antananarivo, Madagascar Report of what it's like to live there - 03/09/19

Personal Experiences from Antananarivo, Madagascar

Antananarivo, Madagascar 03/09/19

Background Information:

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


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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 5-7 and 1-3.

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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)?

Posted with government job.

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

There are other schools, but not at this standard. ASA is accredited in the States with MSA and through the International Baccalaureate.

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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 website is thorough and there is also a separate site for new families. Admissions are done online.

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

My children were quickly welcomed by their classmates. Older children are set up with 'buddies' to correspond with before they arrive. The PTO holds coffee mornings regularly which all parents are invited to attend. There was an orientation day before school started for students and families. In my opinion more information about what is available in the community would be helpful, especially around what there is for children to do outside of 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?

There is a weekly newsletter which is very informative. In the elementary school the teachers regularly post out to parents, and there are parent liaisons for each class which is also helpful. The meet regularly with the elementary principal. Google classroom updates can be sent weekly to parents for the older students, and Managebac access is given so you can keep up with both assignments and assessment. PTO meetings are monthly, and board meetings every second month; both are open to all parents. Policies and handbooks are online, and teachers and the Principals and Director are very friendly and willing to meet about any issues.

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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?

Middle and High School students have to have laptops, but any will do, including Chromebooks in Middle School. There are trip expenses for older students if they take them - sports, arts etc. I'm not sure what these cost, it would vary, but it is expensive to travel internationally from Madagascar. There is a fee for instrument hire as well. No uniforms.

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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 an American counselor and she does both guidance and college counseling. She has experience from other international schools and I think is familiar with application processes worldwide.

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

Not available.

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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 there is a library and students can take books home. There are new books every year. Elementary students visit regularly with their classes.

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

Elementary students have 1:1 ipads in the lower years and chromebooks in the upper years. They have design classes as well where they design and make products (not always digitally), in a big makerspace. The older students also have design classes and there is a big IT lab. They have to have their own laptops. Technology is integrated very well across the school from what I can tell.

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

Yes and yes.

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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's an artificial turf soccer pitch and a covered court. There is use of a nearby pool (walking distance in the same complex the school is in) for swimming lessons.

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

1:8 maybe? It's very good, anyway.

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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 diploma was introduced this year, and AP is being phased out. Students are not required to take the full diploma. They can also receive a US High School Diploma.

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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?

It seems challenging and appropriate to me. I know that there has been a lot of work done by teachers to meet the IB standards.

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

Yes, my children were able to manage it independently and it did not take too much of their time.

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

There is band, general music and visual art. Drama is an after school activity for older students. There are concerts twice a year and a drama performance. Also a talent show.

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

Most are native speakers and those that aren't are fluent. Many teachers speak more than one language.

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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.

Very strong learning support department.

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

There are elevators and ramps.

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

There is English support. Many of the students do not have English as their first language.

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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?

There are many activities after school, but they are mainly run but teachers and assistants so they vary according to what the staff can offer. The sports program is becoming stronger and stronger with some excellent teacher coaches. They offer a lot for a school this size.

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

1. What is the climate for LGBT+ kids at this school? Are there resources they can draw upon? Does there appear to be any exclusionary behavior?

I have never heard of any exclusionary behaviour. The students seem very open-minded and accepting.

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

Yes, very inclusive.

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

Yes, the students are integrated.

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

None at all.

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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?


Yes, my children were so happy here I would definitely choose it again.

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

Just the friendliness of the other students, as well as teachers and all the staff. Everybody knows each other. The children feel very confident here, and are very comfortable with the way they are treated and taught. They feel valued.

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

This school is so great for kids!

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