Maputo, Mozambique Report of what it's like to live there - 02/14/20
Personal Experiences from Maputo, Mozambique
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?
This is our 4th year at the school. My children are currently in grades 4 and 7.
3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
A few others but this one has the best facilities.
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?
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Fair - nothing special. There is/was a more active PTA group that welcomed newcomers but PTA is not as active now.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Very poor communication. This has been an ongoing weakness and a new Communications Director position was created 2 years ago but the focus has been on external communications and parents are still unhappy with internal communications.
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?
Week without Walls - USG families have to cover this, and if kids are travel for ISSEA competitions is at family's own expense.
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 there is and I've heard he is very good.
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
After school activities (ASA) from after school 2:40-3:40 for primary school and secondary school until 5:10, usually free of charge. American History ASA has a fee.
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, library is pretty good although it closes at 3:40. They used to have 2 expat librarians but has been cut back to 1 and as a result some activities have been cut as well (Book Week hasn't happened in last 2 years).
4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
Secondary school students (from grade 6) are required to purchase their own laptops. All secondary school students use technology on a daily basis and all reporting and assignments are on GoogleClassroom or Managebac. Primary school uses technology frequently (Ipads shared in the classroom) and have IT class at least once/week.
5. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
Primary school does not have enough devices for each child so they must share. There is a computer lab but only available for student access during their IT instruction time.
6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
Good. A new gym was built a few years ago, soccer field, swimming pool. The school does not have a tennis court.
7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
grade 4 and 7 have approximately 17 students in the classroom. Grade 4 has one assistant that supports all 3 classrooms.
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 although there have been challenges with accreditation last year. DP is offered but not required.
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?
Standard curriculum was only developed end of last year and this year has felt like an experiment on our kids...especially secondary school.
10. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
No homework for primary school students (!) which makes the transition to Grade 6 especially challenging.
11. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
Primary school has music, drama and VA and from secondary school, students must take VA and choose between music or drama.
12. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
I assume so. All teachers speak English though not all are native English speakers.
13. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
Very few if any! School talks about differentiation but I haven't seen it successfully practiced. I think this is a big weakness of the school.
14. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
Must pay extra for these services, including ESL. This was a new policy implemented about 2-3 years ago.
15. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
There are no ramps/elevators to second story floors so it's not handicap accessible.
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.
Must pay for these services.
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?
Decent selection of after school activities but at the primary school level the coaching feels more like an after school daycare while secondary school sports is competitive.
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?
Seems pretty good. Diverse student body and all-gender restrooms on campus.
2. What is the climate for children with special needs? Is there a general attitude of inclusion for children with special needs?
Not really. There are a few with special needs but parents are charged for the support services.
3. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Yes but majority are expats. There is a component called "Community Connections" but in practice it is very weak and doesn't enable sustainable relationships or projects.
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.
My children haven't experienced these problems but I've heard they exist on campus.
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 minus. in the 4 years we've been here, the school has always been in a transitional phase - in- and out-going Principals, Directors, newly created leadership staff. It's so common to hear staff answer parents' questions with, "well I'm still new here" even deep into the second semester. As a result, I feel that our children's education has suffered. We should be getting much better quality for the price we pay in tutition!
2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
Some of the teachers are great.