Managua, Nicaragua Report of what it's like to live there - 09/09/18
Personal Experiences from Managua, Nicaragua
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?
My children were in K5 and first, and second and third. They attended from 2016-2018.
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?
Yes, there are several other schools available in Nicaragua with religious affiliations. We chose this school because it was sponsored by the Embassy and was English speaking.
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 admissions process was very smooth and the person in charge was great at communication.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
This is my biggest complaint about ANS. There are new families every year, but not a lot of them. The majority of the school is comprised of local families. In many cases, the parents also went to ANS. There is a lot of assumption of information. I was extremely disappointed in this aspect of ANS and it made our entire two years more challenging than it needed to be.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
I liked the communication from the school. There were informative, weekly newsletters and the teachers provided updates. Other communication from the classroom was really complicated. There were various WhatsApp groups for the different grades and different classes. Unless you knew about these groups AND knew someone to add you, you were out of luck. I speak Spanish but there were other parents who did not. All of the WhatApp groups were conducted in Spanish. There were room parents, but I never knew who they were. There was a focus on privacy that got in the way of communication.
Caveat- I think the parents who dropped off and picked up their kids were way better informed about the classroom. I had to work and was unable to be there everyday to get the current info.
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?
The school requires uniforms. The list of school supplies was extensive. I spent about $150-$200 per kid at the start of each year. Yes, there were also field trip costs and after school fees, but nothing outrageous.
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?
Fantastic counselors. We weren't at the level of high school, but I did notice college and university visits constantly.
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
There are many choices of after school activities.
3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Great library with up to date books. Yes, students can take books out and the library holds a book fair a few times per year.
4. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
Great. There are several computer labs.
5. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
My kids didn't need their own devices, but I think higher grades did. They were moving in the direction of using more technology in class and at home.
6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
ANS has a swimming pool, some nice soccer fields, etc. They are still working on improvements in the campus but seem to have a solid long-term plan.
7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
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?
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 was happy with this area. They provided extra after school support from the teachers as needed.
10. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
11. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
There was a nice music and arts program, but not drama for elementary.
12. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
No, but I found all teachers to be fluent in English with the exception of the gym teachers.
13. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
14. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
15. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
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.
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?
There was a full list of after school activities. Lots of sports and clubs.
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 thought the kids did this pretty well. The parents on the other hand...
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 are young and had lots of international school experience so they did fairly well.
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 might choose it again for our kids educationally, but as a community, it was very disappointing.