Preview Al Bayan International School Kuwait2018-03-08T07:45:15+00:00
Back
ISR Preview

check_mark2159810_smallred18ptThe reviews of this school come directly from our Member Area but may not reflect the current status of this school.  New Reviews are posted daily.  See Most Recent Reviews.

Woman Writing a Review of Fawzia Sultan International School Kuwait

Al Bayan International School, Kuwait
Formerly Fawzia Sultan International School

Dates covered: 20xx – 20xx
Average Score of all Reviews: 6

School Website: http://fsis.org/

Review 12) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
8
Effectiveness of administration
8
Academic and disciplinary support provided
7
Director’s involvement in academics
7
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
3
School has adequate educational materials on hand
9
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
4
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
6
Satisfaction with housing
3
Community offers a variety of activities
1
Availability and quality of local health care
9
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
6
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
6
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
4
Extra curricular load is reasonable
5
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
6


Comments:
FSIS is a very unique as far as international schools go. It is nothing like those international schools that feel like little United Nations communities with kids from all over the world. Kuwait is a wealthy country where English language education is considered to be very valuable. As a result, there are many “international schools”in Kuwait, but almost all of them have more than 90% Kuwaiti children. FSIS enrollment is probably more than 95% Kuwaiti. However, it can be interesting to get a window into the social culture and life of this Arab country though working with the Kuwaiti children. Another unique feature of FSIS is the fact that it serves special needs students. Given the formidable task of teaching an ambitious curriculum to a special needs ESL student population, I personally think FSIS is doing about as good as a school could do. It helps that most of the students have only mild learning disabilities, and certain segments of the Kuwaiti population are quite bilingual. That said, most teachers would probably agree that ESL considerations need greater attention at FSIS. In general, the staff and administration all seem to take the job seriously, work hard, and get along well. As for the behavior of the students, don’˜t expect the high levels of courtesy and sophistication that characterizes students in exclusive high-class international schools. But if you’ve ever taught in American public schools, you’ll have no problem here.For me, Kuwait itself has been the biggest hurdle in finding satisfaction here. I think it is only fair to let teachers know what to expect. Many areas of Kuwait, including Hawally (where the school and staff housing is located), are characterized by crowded, trash-strewn streets, horrendous traffic, and crumbling, shoddy architecture. Alcohol is banned. Even if you aren’t so interested in drinking, you will be surprised how this impacts the whole social picture in Kuwait. Staff housing has the misfortune of being located right next to a mosque. Multiple calls to prayer from pre-dawn to evening and angry-sounding Friday sermons are blasted from loudspeakers at obnoxious decibel levels. The oven-like heat in summer reminds you that you are living in a place on the earth where life is not supposed to exist. Some people get quite used to all these things, while others come to a begrudging resignation about them. The unpleasant features about Kuwait have to be met with a sense of humor, and people do enjoy a kind of eye-rolling camaraderie over their shared sense of absurdity. And while it may be hard to admit it, Kuwait does have its charms. Traditional dress and music are completely retained, so sometimes you really do get that feeling of being in an exotic land. It is fascinating to see the clash of traditional and modern life. With two thirds of the population coming from other countries, the mish-mash of cultures can be interesting. Food options are fun to explore. The crime rate is very low.More about the school. For the most part, FSIS is a decently-run school with a good staff. So far, the new administrators really seem to be hard-working, committed, conscientious, and professional. They are doing their best, like the rest of us. Because of the Fawzia’s history and status as a special needs school working seriously for accreditation, the burden of getting curriculum, assessment, IEP system etc. into place can be a true headache for teachers who would much rather put their time and energy into their daily lessons. Is all the committee work and “paper chase” just a phase? We certainly hope so.

The staff, by the way, is the genuinely international aspect of FSIS, with teachers from many parts of the world including Europe, N. America, India, S. Africa, and the Middle East. At least this year, there are plenty of nice, friendly faces. The salary is a big draw, and Fawzia is known to be one of the better-paying schools in Kuwait. Keep in mind, though, that inflation is high. Some teachers bend the rules and make extra cash by taking private tutoring jobs. If you do that and live frugally besides, no doubt you can save bundles. However, what needs to be said is that it is quite possible to spend your so-called big Kuwait salary by basically living at the same standard that you have enjoyed at home, having a comfortable apartment, eating out when you feel like it, etc.

Teachers talk about the travel opportunities as if they were great bargains, but the money probably feels well spent because travel is an important part of the quality-of-life equation for westerners living in Kuwait. Schools seem to know this, and wisely provide annual full fare for a trip home as part of the contract. If you decide to take a chance on Fawzia, you will find good people to keep you company.

Review 11) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
4
Effectiveness of administration
4
Academic and disciplinary support provided
4
Director’s involvement in academics
8
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
3
School has adequate educational materials on hand
7
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
8
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
7
Satisfaction with housing
2
Community offers a variety of activities
5
Availability and quality of local health care
9
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
6
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
6
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
3
Extra curricular load is reasonable
2
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
5


Comments:
School still trying to achieve its potential with a very competent, professional and dedicated teaching staff for the most part. Apparently we have lost some excellent teachers over the past couple of years and may again this year…not due to the usual “time to move on” that happens everywhere.

Currently, we have a new director was considered on the verge of becoming a very competent and respected principal last two years here, but is over her head as Director (cares, has potential, still must learn a lot more, and how to lead and inspire a staff without sarcasm and sometimes direct insults that are not humorous).

Sept. 1, 2007 staff was presented with a new staff handbook that took away many rights granted by Kuwaiti law, changed the working conditions measurably, and lengthened the work year for some staff without any notice. I have been told by teachers who consulted lawyers that some provisions of the contract are illegal under Kuwaiti law, but once you sign a contract here it becomes legal unless you go to court. We are the sister school to Al-Bayan (Bayan Bilingual School) so there are some similarities …check out Katherine Phillips episode, which was caused by a parent’s actions but the director left the country for vacation while she was still in jail. Some support, huh!?

We also have a new principal, Loa Midford (steam-roller technique of leadership, seemingly overwhelmed by culture shock at first so things may improve, believes teachers should handle their own discipline, but seems to begin to realize that it is her position to support discipline for chronic offenders, too). Both administrators need to develop better people-skills, but lately there have been some positive improvements…such as responding when greeted in the hallways. There is still a problem with sarcasm which interferes with team building and morale. We all have our areas needing improvement, don’t we?

We have a teacher who apparently still does not have a Civil ID granting travel, car, government medical and he has been here since last January, while some new teachers already have theirs. Housing first year is bad because it is beside a mosque with blasting loud speakers….not just once a week, but begins before dawn and ends with the last prayer call after sunset …translate during the seasons…3:30 am until it gradually becomes mid winter at 4:30 am. Otherwise the apartments are adequate, but not fantastic; within walking distance to school though there is a bus every morning and every afternoon from school to apartments and a shopping bus once a week. One can walk to the city bus lines a couple of blocks away and make connections to about anywhere.Recommendation: Potential still here. Life is ok and no real danger here for Westerners. Possible to save some money depending on how much traveling you want to do. Annual trip home is nice benefit. Good bunch of colleagues.

Review 10) 20XX – 20XX

Comments: While I was somewhat optimistic when I wrote a review saying things were possibly getting better, here is the update.

While there was an outstanding staff who were incredibly hard-working, volunteering extra, AGAIN using yet another IEP program and again writing new assessment tests, writing proposals for upcoming attempt at accreditation, putting everything into the school, it was never enough. Director Tania Woodburn and Principal Loa Midford just never made connections to staff in a remotely positive manner in general. While they claimed an “open door” policy, most staff avoided it as much as possible. Teachers were harrassed, asked to sign documents in Arabic that said leaving staff had been paid all owed to them BEFORE they had been paid yet were told that they were only signing that they had received the government-mandated indemnity. This was explained after this was revealed as a lie as just “streamlining the process.” The fact is that once one’s Civil ID is cancelled, which this “streamlining” was to do, the person has then FORFEITED ALL legal rights under Kuwaiti law. Those that won a class action suit again FAWSEC last year have yet to be paid the money owed them as their Civil ID’s had been cancelled and they have no rights to force FAWSEC to pay the money owed. Thank you to those staff members for bringing suit because at least the teachers leaving this year were paid according to the suit’s decision.

Though staff is under contract until August 31 this year, monies for housing was stopped with June payment leaving the staff with the option of moving into teacher housing or leaving the country without being paid housing owed, yet another teacher leaving the school was pressured to be out of teacher housing on June 10 when school wasn’t over until June 12. How does one explain the availablity of teacher housing for the summer when one teacher living in it was being pressured out early? A little irony here, isn’t there?

The sad thing is that this school is considered by some to be better than most other schools in Kuwait. This is a very sad commentary on the state of affairs in Kuwait for international teachers. Remember, overseas hires are treated better than the local hires! Scary.

IF you hire on, be prepared to swallow anything and everything to stay on the “good side” of the administration. There were announcements by fiat that change working conditions and there is no recourse, except to hire a lawyer. There are provisions in the contract that violate or misrepresent Kuwaiti law, and the contract in Arabic is the one that is legal. Once you sign, the only recourse is to hire a lawyer to challenge the contract. Once your Civil ID is cancelled, you have NO legal recourse. Best advice is come if you must…but be wary and alert, yet keep under the radar.

Review 9) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
7
Effectiveness of administration
4
Academic and disciplinary support provided
3
Director’s involvement in academics
8
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
3
School has adequate educational materials on hand
8
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
6
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
8
Satisfaction with housing
3
Community offers a variety of activities
4
Availability and quality of local health care
9
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
6
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
5
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
7
Extra curricular load is reasonable
7
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
6


Comments:
Update to a previous evaluation… If you are considering coming to this school, and you may well be… be sure to ask for the new evaluation policy with guidelines for levels of evaluations that has just been presented to the returning staff…no teacher input.Read it carefully to see if this is what you would agree to before signing. You may or may not feel comfortable with these. No one has been evaluated formally here and there does need to be evaluation. However,these policies just appear out of the blue here.

Review 8) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
4
Effectiveness of administration
5
Academic and disciplinary support provided
5
Director’s involvement in academics
1
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
2
School has adequate educational materials on hand
9
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
8
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
8
Satisfaction with housing
7
Community offers a variety of activities
6
Availability and quality of local health care
10
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
6
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
8
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
8
Extra curricular load is reasonable
8
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
7


Comments:
First of all I would like to say that I agree and disagree with comments from previous posts. This is my 2nd year at FSIS and I have had, on the whole, a hugely positive experience at the school and in Kuwait. Sure, there are issues that have quite rightly angered teachers and assistants. Yes, the director is a bad people manager with very poor interpersonal skills. Yes, the director is very rarely seen about the school and is unapproachable to both staff and parents. Yes, the director can be very abrupt and rude. However, yes, the director, no matter all her faults, has initiated HUGE positive change in this very small school. Speaking to students, faculty and parents alike, this school was failing it’s students for many years, but recently, has seen enormous change. Much of this is to do with the VERY professional and caring teaching staff currently employed, much of it down to the very popular, hardworking and respected school principal who works tirelessly to make FSIS a better place and much of it down to the students, who all have an identified SEN, which in itself brings it’s own frustrations and rewards. However, I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed working with a group of kids so much as I do here. In summary – I recommend working at FSIS and living in Kuwait. Sure there are issues, but aren’t there everywhere?

Review 7) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
3
Effectiveness of administration
3
Academic and disciplinary support provided
8
Director’s involvement in academics
2
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
1
School has adequate educational materials on hand
5
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
6
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
7
Satisfaction with housing
7
Community offers a variety of activities
7
Availability and quality of local health care
9
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
6
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
8
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
7
Extra curricular load is reasonable
7
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
6


Comments:
Fawzia Sultan has the potential to become a remarkably wonderful school for special needs students. There is great progress being made towards having a curriculum in in place for next year k-12. However, this effort is being done by the staff and not with assistance from the Director…only by her demand to look good and try to have accreditation in place for the school. The school principal, Tania Woodburn, is a wonderful person who understands teachers and kids and is dedicated. She is supportive and hardworking; therefore, she is often at the mercy of the Director’s whims and unfairness. Director seems weak at dealing with people. She will be here one more year and then plans to leave. We hope so.The business office is sometimes referred to as “Fawzia-Space” (think cyber-space). However, one can learn to work the system.Salaries are paid on time, the building has great cleaning staff, many of the assistants really assist, the library is becoming organized and materials are becoming more available, our PE director has instituted good programs for students though the entire PE staff is now leaving. (Most were fired except for the PE director who then chose to leave.) Almost all of the high school staff is returning and seems to be a good group of teachers. The elementary staff remaining are good teachers who are dedicated to the students. (Some very good teachers and staff have been let go for whatever reason.)The middle school staff was decimated by many changes; some not the fault of the director, but hard nevertheless and disruptive. There are several excellent teachers there. Some are gone because of the director.We don’t know for sure, but suspect that some of the Fawzia money is going to its sister school, Al-Bayan, certainly our IT person is pulled to work over there are they are building new buildings and he is “needed” over there. He is hard-working, but stretched too thin. The technology teachers are not able to get the programs they want or would like to keep due to funding issues and the reluctance of the Director to allow the very active PTA to be accessible to the needs of the students and staff in all cases. ALL requests for their assistance MUST go through the director. This would be ok if she were responsive to the needs. Would I return? Yes, I am. For how long? not sure. Good salary. Medical care is good even if we must use our money and then be reimbursed if we choose private care rather than the almost free government clinics. Bus transportation is good. Takes a while to get CIVIL ID which allows for driver’s license and car purchase or leasing. School helps set up phone and banking accounts. Must live in school housing the first contract year and then one may opt for a housing allowance. Weather is hot from May through mid September, but the rest of the year is quite pleasant, though chilly in the winter months. There are some cultural programs within the country. I feel safe here and have never had safety problems. One needs to dress on the conservative side: if female: sleeves to cover the upper arms, and knees need to be covered. Men can wear long shorts and t shirts about the country. There are places for swimming and exercising “western style.” Great opportunities to travel once you have your Civil ID. Am I happy here?..yes, for the most part.

Review 6) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
2
Effectiveness of administration
3
Academic and disciplinary support provided
8
Director’s involvement in academics
1
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
1
School has adequate educational materials on hand
8
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
8
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
8
Satisfaction with housing
6
Community offers a variety of activities
8
Availability and quality of local health care
6
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
x
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
x
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
8
Extra curricular load is reasonable
4
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
x


Comments:
The school has been up and running 12 years but still has no accreditation or curriculum. There have been some great teachers in the past few years but the admin has trouble holding on to them due to much unprofessional behavior by the director. The principal has had no prior experience yet is quick at learning and doing a great job for someone who is new. She will go far. Ms. Dion is threatened by teacher leaders and laughs when she is in the wrong but doesn’t know what to say or appears not to. She has a lot of buddies in the international world so be careful because she will run your name through the mud. She is not supportive, rarely available and often blatantly bias towards the culture. She may be under stress from her boss and perhaps this is why she appears uncaring. Not a place where the environment feels safe to work or voice an opinion about the director’s attitude. In fact, a survey was done and yet no talk of it since then. It was swept under the table.

Review 5) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
1
Effectiveness of administration
1
Academic and disciplinary support provided
3
Director’s involvement in academics
1
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
1
School has adequate educational materials on hand
3
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
9
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
8
Satisfaction with housing
8
Community offers a variety of activities
8
Availability and quality of local health care
8
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
8
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
8
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
9
Extra curricular load is reasonable
9
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
7


Comments:
This school has really had its share of problems over the past few years. The previous director left the school before his contract was out. The current director was hired as an interim director but an impulsive business office asked her to sign a two year contract before even her second week of school was over. Big mistake….this director understands nothing about special needs students, has not contributed one bit to the development of the curriculum of the school, and has managed to destroy what little staff morale existed through indiscriminate firing of staff and systematic discrimination against non-western and local staff. She has given nothing to the school in terms of organization, vision and structure. Incompetent teachers are allowed to continue, yet very competent teachers are let go for invented reasons. As a result, the education of the students has suffered and the original dedication of the staff toward the students and their families has dwindled to the point that teachers are only marking their days until school is over. A climate of distrust exists within the school and no one is sure who can be trusted not to report back to the Director who takes great pleasure in exacting revenge. This is not very difficult for her, since no staff evaluations have taken place since the day she has taken over the school. Teachers are kept or released based upon criteria known only to her. If she likes you, she keeps you. Otherwise, you can only count your days until she invents some excuse to fire you or not renew your contract. For potential teachers coming to the school, KEEP YOUR DISTANCE! As long as Alice Dion is running Fawzia, this school will not move forward. This school needs a full time curriculum coordinator devoted to this school only to get the curriculum written once and for all. The school is also missing the necessary technology to help the students compensate for their learning disabilities and prepare them for college/life after high school. Unfortunately, it is well known in the school that despite the many recommendations of the technology committee to address this area, no action has been taken by the director to make this happen, even with the PTA promise to fund all technology initiatives put forth. Although the technology director is well qualified and skilled not only in the area of technology but also curriculum integration and administration, she has been blocked from developing the school’s technology program and resources. The school’s principal is a caring and competent individual but has been unable to effect changes within the school for the same reason as everyone else…her hands are tied by the director. The school could move forward if she were allowed to make the decisions or we had a school improvement committee with the power to make positive changes.Teachers within the school have reached the conclusion that the director is actively seeking to sabotage all efforts to improve the school. Whether for prejudicial reasons or just plain incompetence, she has done nothing to improve the school and has only moved the school backwards in terms of staff development, technology, curriculum, and overall professionalism. For parents who have their children within the school, the past few years have been heartbreaking and discouraging. For most of these students, this is the only school in Kuwait capable of meeting their needs. However, they are powerless to change the system unless the school board steps in and begins to question why staff are leaving, and why a school that has been in existence for over 14 years still has no curriculum, no staff development plan, no assisting technology in place, no evaluation system for administration and teachers, and no system in place to monitor the school to ensure it is meeting its mission a and goals. As two year contracts are up, I am electing not to return to the school. It is just too disheartening to see a potentially great school continue to flounder because of poor administration and lack of involvement at the school board level to help solve some of the problems. I would love to come back when a good administration is in place and there is a chance to make a real difference to some really great kids.

Review 4) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
3
Effectiveness of administration
3
Academic and disciplinary support provided
3
Director’s involvement in academics
1
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
1
School has adequate educational materials on hand
2
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
5
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
5
Satisfaction with housing
6
Community offers a variety of activities
6
Availability and quality of local health care
7
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
5
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
6
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
4
Extra curricular load is reasonable
4
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
5


Comments:
Alice Dion started as the interim director in Aug. 2005. To many of the new teachers that were hired by Ron Brown, this was quite a shock. The shock was due the Business Office not notifying newcomers there was a new administration in place. Alice started off with a bang. She insulted all teachers, Arabic and Western. She loves being in control. Since Alice came on board she has done nothing to implement a new curriculum. She contends her first teaching assignment was in special education, however, she is out of touch with the students. Fawzia Sultan caters to the special needs population. By not being in sync with the times, lots of things that should be, are not. The principal, Tania, feels the wrath of Alice at different intervals. She is the principal, yet has no power. The only things she is allowed to do is to discipline students and talk to teachers about parent complaints.Negatives: no curriculum, low staff morale, weak administration, no pr skills, not enough textbooks, ridiculous staff-handbook, school ran like a business, no real professional development, not enough sick days, people wonder about the director’s poor attitude toward the Arab faculty. Positive: students, freedom to teach effectively, pay distributed on-time, small class sizes with aides (elementary & middle school) This school could be a great gem in Kuwait for learning disabled students. I wonder when this will take place?

Review 3) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
3
Effectiveness of administration
4
Academic and disciplinary support provided
5
Director’s involvement in academics
1
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
4
School has adequate educational materials on hand
7
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
8
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
7
Satisfaction with housing
2
Community offers a variety of activities
3
Availability and quality of local health care
5
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
5
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
6
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
8
Extra curricular load is reasonable
4
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
5


Comments:
Fawzia is a school for learning disabled students from Kuwait. The name is a misnomer; there is nothing international about this school, other than the Kuwaiti students who have dual US Kuwaiti citizenship. Class sizes range from 8-11 students with teacher aids in the elementary and middle school. The high school has no aids although teaching staff have requested this assistance. The school should be admitting only students with learning disabilities; historically Fawzia has been admitting students with ADD, ADHD, and other behavior problems. The classroom environment is not designed to deal with these types of students and in reality, their behavior problems do not fall within the old or new school mission statements. However, once admitted, the Kuwaiti Ministry has made it impossible to remove these problematic students. Presently, the school has no accreditation from outside Kuwait. Accreditation was begun last year but promptly halted. No explanation was provided as to why this process was terminated but staff suspect that accounting figures about to be released by the business office would show irregularities in the schools’ non-profit status. Calculations show that approximately $1.5 to 2 million dollars remained after expenditures and business office accounting provided no support for how these total funds are reinvested in the school. Staff continually questions if this sum is money is being used for non-Fawzia related education, such as the new physical therapy center in the basement of the school. No stated budget exists for the school and money assigned to individual departments has no accounting support. The business office controls all money distribution, and the business manager has no training as an educator and continues to make decisions that lower staff morale and do nothing to assist in staff retention. Staff refers to the business office as procrastination central. A positive for the business office is salaries are above average for an overseas school and are paid on time.Staff housing is adequate but being located 25 km from the school and in a depressed area is a definite shortcoming. Bending to staff complaints, the business office stated that new housing closer to school would be secured by the first week in April. No housing was found. Now they state they need until the first week in May to find housing. This is suspect since Kuwait is experiencing an unprecedented apartment construction in and around the school area.Staff is unhappy with this continued procrastination of housing selection and is now trying to find their own housing but with no support from the business office, this has proved difficult. The new director, Ms. Dion, is offering no assistance of any kind, and given her non-involvement in most aspects of the school, this behavior is not unexpected. She has poor communication skills, acts unprofessionally when dealing with many staff, and appears uncomfortable when interacting with the student body. Most of her decision making abilities have been removed by the business office, so her position is appearance only. This is regrettable since the school may have benefited from her experience. She was hired as an interim director only and the business office stated they would solicit teacher input before changing Ms. Dion’s interim contract status. Unfortunately, and in direct violation of their agreement with staff, the business office offered her a two year contract. The new principal, Ms. Tania, has taught at Fawzia for five years; she previously held the position as high school head. She is hardworking and has staff respect, but is limited by the business office and the director to implement more favorable working conditions and in meeting staff requests. She deals well with school discipline issues and is objective in her decisions concerning the staff and student body.Money for professional development is linked with school absences. Staff feels this relationship is unfair and reflects a non-support mentality for PD. In order to receive full money for PD, staff must come to school ill; every absence reduces PD money by 1/6th. This was the first year selected staff were excluded from school sponsored PD—administration stated no more funds existed in the budget. A budget seems to appear or to not exist when support is needed for an administration position. School rating overall is D.

Review 2) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
3
Effectiveness of administration
2
Academic and disciplinary support provided
2
Director’s involvement in academics
2
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
4
School has adequate educational materials on hand
5
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
8
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
6
Satisfaction with housing
3
Community offers a variety of activities
8
Availability and quality of local health care
6
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
5
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
8
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
8
Extra curricular load is reasonable
6
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
5


Comments:

The good: The salary is paid on time and is adequate, the extra curricular activities are reasonable as is the workload, the building is relatively new, the parents are generally supportive, the teachers are wonderful, there are many things to see and do in Kuwait (once you get adjusted to the wild and crazing driving), and the weather is great 8 months out the year. Kuwait is also centrally located between Asia, Europe and Africa, making school holiday excursions easy. The class sizes are small (7-10 students) and there is a full time assistant for each elementary and middle school class.

The bad: the curriculum needs a major overhaul, but the administration seems to have no idea how to write or create one. The principal is very hardworking but the new director is rarely seen, provides little to no academic leadership, and has already set a small mutiny in motion by the second month of school due to her rudeness, lack of communication, and lack of leadership. Many of her comments towards local students, teachers and parents have been downright discriminatory, making many wonder why she is working in an international school. Some of the students have serious behavioral issues, but the school lacks any clear procedures for dealing with those behaviors which interfere with other students who are trying to learn. It is close to impossible to expel a student, despite activities such as assault and chronic bullying. This is mostly due to board and parent pressure.

The housing is far away from the school and although it is adequate, the distance away from shopping and the school makes issues such as transportation difficult. Getting documents processed such as visas, drivers licenses, and identification cards takes an extremely long time to complete, limiting access to things like driving or renting a car, traveling to nearby countries during the fall holidays, and opening up bank accounts.

The summary: The school has the potential to become a really great place to work, once good leadership is in place, a curriculum is created, and some fair policies are put in place. The local staff are very supportive, most of the students are lovely, sweet kids, and the principal, Ms. Tania, is a hardworking, dedicated new administrator who probably could do much more for the school if not limited by the director’s lack of strength in leadership. From all accounts from returning staff from the previous year, things are a bit better than last year in terms of school morale (almost the entire teaching staff is new this year which tells the full story), but that morale is quickly changing as very little in the way of leadership has changed. Overall, this international teaching experience is not completely negative or positive, and compared to some of the other international schools I have worked for, it has some strengths. In my opinion, the school rates a 4 out of 10 overall!

Review 1) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
1
Effectiveness of administration
1
Academic and disciplinary support provided
1
Director’s involvement in academics
1
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
2
School has adequate educational materials on hand
2
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
4
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
7
Satisfaction with housing
9
Community offers a variety of activities
2
Availability and quality of local health care
5
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
5
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
8
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
10
Extra curricular load is reasonable
4
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
5


Comments:
Fawzia Sultan International School serves the Kuwaiti special needs population. Considering it’s special status class sizes are quite large at 8-12 students per class. The school suffers from a high staff turn over with the majority of overseas staff choosing not to return after a single contract year.

The school’s accreditation process is comical. Ironically the school has no music, art or drama program. Whenever an accreditation body or Ministry of Education official visits the school, the administrators sneak around faking these programs into existence .Teachers are constantly pressured into changing grades to the wishes of the administration. When the priority is to remove students from the school the pressure is to fail, regardless of their performance. If it’s for accreditation it’s to raise the grades, making the school seem “ normal”

The director’s recent marriage to the school’s new principal is a conflict of interest. Rumors abound on the hiring practices of the school’s admin team; most seem to be incompetent and unqualified. The principal’s problems with regulating her stress levels set her off on panic streaks causing misery for staff and students.The administration creates obscure rules on a whim. There’s no opportunity for teachers and parents to provide feed back in an open forum. The school is run through directives, and meetings are lectures, which loop into inconclusive endings. POSITIVES: The school has moved into new buildings.

All classrooms have at least one computer with Internet access. There’s a good indoor GYM with two attached squash courts. Paychecks are received in a timely manner and the business office is organized and efficient.

Back
Full List of Schools on ISR