I have been in Grades 6 to 8 in Stamford American International School
. While the school looks very modern (and it is), don't let that make you race to a conclusion. This comment will hopefully provide a different point of view so that you guys can see both the good and the bad. After I finished 8th grade, I moved to SAS to start High School. The transition from SAIS to SAS has been quite large. And I'll explain why.
- Academic Courses *****
Math was always my favorite subject. The math curriculum at SAIS is quite impressive. As of a couple years ago, they were teaching me Algebra 1 in 6th grade and Trigonometry in 7th grade. However, the math curriculum has changed as of last year (2017-2018) which I personally didn't like. When I transitioned into SAS for freshman year (9th grade), math got tough. Turns out SAIS barely covered trigonometry for me to be able to apply my skills for the Geometry/Trigonometry unit here. In secondary school (not sure about primary), we have design class. Design class was quite useless in my opinion and I consider that to be wasted time because we could've used that time to strengthen our core subjects (Math, English, Science, History). History (Social Studies) class (called Individuals and Humanities at SAIS) was quite odd. I had some trouble piecing what I learned from every grade together and because of the lack of connection, it was a bit difficult to apply what we have learned. Due to SAIS being an IB school, teachers don't allow students to dissect different animals to see biology first hand (which I disagree with). Other than the courses mentioned above, the rest of the classes were fine. Drama is fun, Art is fun, etc.
- Teachers and Teaching Quality *****
I personally really liked a lot of the teachers at SAIS. They were easy to connect with and because of that, I became close with a lot of them. However, the teaching quality can be questioned. Not because of the teachers' abilities, but rather the curriculum and the way they do things. Have a look at "Glassdoor" job reviews for SAIS and you'll find a lot of teachers saying that they usually weren't given enough time to prepare for each new topic, course, etc. Not only that, you can find multiple reviews talking about poor communication, too much control, abrupt changes to the curriculum without previous notice, etc.
- Environment *****
I loved the teaching environment. The facilities are very modern and technology integration is everywhere. That being said, however, the facilities were quite small. Students were usually jam-packed in a single class which increases the students to teachers ratio (not a good thing). The facilities are very user-friendly and almost everybody would be able to get around in the first week of being there.
- Advisory Program *****
I loved the advisory program as well. I can only speak from my personal experience as I've only had 3 advisors due to being there for only 3 years. My advisors were nice and were quite supportive. Advisory was usually time to do charity work, class work, etc. So getting to know your peers during advisory was somewhat limited. But once you get to know your classmates around the school, I don't think you'd be needing much of that time anyway.
- Lunch Break and Food Quality *****
The food quality was terrible. The meals are very overpriced and it didn't even taste all that great. I would sometimes go many days without eating the school lunch due to it not being worth the price. Lunch break is quite short but getting to know your friends during that time was quite a good experience.
- People and Classmates *****
My classmates and my whole grade, in general, was quite small so getting to know everybody and connecting with each and every one of them was not a difficult task. By the end of my third year, I was friends with almost everybody. The kids are all nice so you shouldn't worry about being too lonely there.
- Sports *****
The sports in SAIS is quite competitive (not as much as SAS though). If your child is into sports, taking him to SAIS is not a bad idea. The soccer team is pretty darn good. I can't speak for the other teams as I haven't watched them play but it's pretty competitive.
- Grading System *****
Calculating my GPA proved to be a bit out of the ordinary. If you are used to the American school curriculum, prepare to be confused. There are four criterions for every class and you can score anywhere from 1 to 8. However, your final grade for that class is graded from 1 to 7. So if you get an 8 in each criterion, you would get a 7 as your final grade. But this proved to be a bit different compared to what I'm used to. When it comes to calculating your GPA, it doesn't matter if you have a high 6 or a low 6. Your GPA will still be calculated the same. If you barely made a 6 in that class, it's the same as almost getting a 7. It doesn't matter.
Final Thoughts **
If you're thinking about sending your child to SAIS, do note that it is a money-hungry school and the education does not justify the tuition. However, if you're more concerned about sending your child in a friendly environment where they would be able to easily make friends, SAIS is a great place. In the last year, however, I have seen a large spike in mainland Chinese students who do not speak much English if any at all. This makes me, my friends, my parents, and my friends' parents believe that SAIS is trying to get as much money as possible when they already have enough from the looks of it. Please do consider sending your child to SAS since SAIS is a for-profit school and SAS is not. Also, SAS does send many kids to Ivy League schools so keep that in mind. Hope this helps you make the decision that's right for you. If you have any questions please don't hesitate.
I will not be sharing my personal details because I would like to stay anonymous. Thanks