What are the Mission and Core Values of the school?
The Mission of ACST is “Opening Doors, Hearts and Minds”.
The Core Values are Respect, Integrity, Grit, Curiosity, and Compassion.
Is the school a non-profit organization or is it a for-profit venture?
ACST was founded by US Embassy parents in 1959 and is a non-profit organization owned by the parent association. Association members elect a nine-member board of governors to set policy and strategic direction for the school. The tuition and fees charged are exactly what it costs to offer a high quality American international education in Tunisia. ACST has no debt and the new building is fully paid for. The tuition at ACST is considerably lower than the average cost of a US independent private day school. In schools, about 80% of expenses go to salaries and benefits. Schools can charge less if they pay teachers less, but this affects the quality of the teachers and that is the most important factor in the education of a student.
What is the demographic breakdown of the students? Is it truly an international school?
ACST has more than 50 nationalities represented in its student population, and no single nationality makes up more than 20% of the student population. Host country Tunisian students may attend if they meet the admissions requirements, but there are limits on the percentage of host country students in order to maintain a truly international student body. The students at ACST come from more than 25 diplomatic missions as well as from a number of multinational companies and non-governmental organizations.
Is this school accredited? If so, by which agencies and for how long? Is the most recent accreditation report available to be seen?
ACST is fully accredited by the Middle States Association (MSA) in the US, the Council of International Schools (CIS) in Europe, and by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). The school has been accredited since its founding in the 1950s. The most recent accreditation report completed jointly by MSA/CIS, was submitted in early 2015 and found ACST to be an “exemplary school”. The report found no faults in any areas of the school. This report is available upon request.
How long has this school been in existence and what facilities does it have?
ACST was founded in 1959 and has been on its current site since 1961. This has allowed the school to invest millions of dollars in infrastructure to build classrooms, libraries, gymnasiums, a theater, cafeteria, science labs, art rooms, playgrounds, a fitness room and a sports field... A new three-story building with a 400 seat theater, library, classrooms, and playground opened in 2017. Additional phases of facilities development and replacement have been designed and planned for the future.
Who are the teachers in the school? Where do they come from? What is their level of English? Are they trained as teachers? Are they certified and experienced in the areas they are teaching?
ACST hires only trained, certified, experienced (at least five years, typically), and highly recommended teachers. More than 75% have earned graduate degrees in their fields of education. Nearly all of the teachers at ACST are Western-trained and from the USA, Canada, Europe, or New Zealand. Most are native English speakers. They have been carefully selected by the ACST administration and are evaluated annually. Teachers are on annual contracts which are renewed on the merits of their performance.
What support does the school give to students who are just learning English?
ACST has trained teachers that are specialists in teaching English as an Additional Language (EAL). EAL services are provided until the student is reading, writing, and speaking English proficiently. All ACST classroom teachers have some level of EAL training to use in their classrooms. Students entering ACST in high school should have a higher level of English than those entering in the younger grades. Students must have a mastery of English to participate in the IB Diploma Program in grades 11 and 12.
What support does the school give to students preparing for university studies, and where have the graduates gone on to study?
ACST provides college and university counseling and assistance with applications. The school utilizes a service called Naviance that assists students and families in selecting universities and colleges that match their interests and profiles. Virtually all of ACST graduates go on to attend colleges and universities. The majority of students go to the US or Canada, but many others go to Europe, the Middle East, or Asia. Graduates report that the rigors of the IB Diploma Program have prepared them well for success in their further studies. ACST graduates attend some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the world.
What curriculum is used, and how is learning growth measured at this school?
ACST uses American curriculum with an international perspective. The Common Core has been adopted for math and language arts. ACST applies numerous internal and external formative and summative assessments.
From kindergarten through grade 10, the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment is administered. This online, interactive assessment is tied to the Common Core curriculum used at ACST and is given in the fall, winter, and spring. Assessment data is available to the school within days after students complete the test and is used to make instructional decisions for students. The focus at ACST is on ensuring that all students are growing in their learning.
The PSAT, SAT, and ACT are given in high school for admissions to colleges and universities. Students in grades 11 and 12 may select to complete the IB Diploma program which requires students to pass external assessments and complete both research and community service projects. The APPLL and STAMP are used to test students’ development in world languages.
What after-school programs are available at this school?
ACST has a robust after school activities program that includes sports, arts, drama, academic competitions, music, and dance. Most of these programs are offered at no additional cost to families. ACST is a member of the Maghreb American Schools Athletics Conference (MASAC) and competes in swimming, volleyball, basketball, soccer, and track and field. Students may also participate in Model United Nations (MUN) Conferences and other academic, arts and technology events with partner schools if Africa and Europe.
Are there additional costs above the tuition and fees?
Most materials and supplies are included in the tuition and fees. There is an additional fee for school lunch and for bus service at ACST. If students participate in trips or competitions outside Tunisia, travel costs are paid by the families. Students in grade 8 through 12 are required to bring a family-owned laptop which meets the school specifications.
How do the parents view the school and how are their opinions measured?
ACST conducts an anonymous online survey of all parents every other year. The results are available on the school’s website. The survey results show that our parents view ACST as an excellent school that has had a great impact on their children. The high quality of the staff, the international diversity of the student body, and the close community are noted, frequently.