The poll’s official closing date is past, but we will leave it open for a few more days and continue to add responses. As of the official close of the poll, here is the data that we collected:

  • 13 responses
  • 7 responses from individuals currently affiliated with the school
  • 6 responses from individuals affiliated with the school in the past
  • 3 responses from parents
    • 2 are currently affiliated with ASK
    • 1 was previously affiliated with ASK
  • 10 responses from teachers
    • 5 are currently affiliated with ASK
    • 5 were previously affiliated with ASK

You can read their comments below. We are working on a new survey for next week and will post it as soon as it is ready.

Tell us a few things that you most like about ASK.

  • American curriculum
  • Overall behavior of the student body -Ability of teachers to move forward in their careers
  • Personally, I like most of my students. The expat kids are amazing and are a wonderful influence on my Kuwaiti students.
  • The community of teachers. Some students are lovely.
  • Some teachers are nice and care about students.
  • The best thing about Kuwait and ASK were the relationships I developed. The colleagues, students, and families I met and connected with have resulted in relationships that have been sustained.
  • The CCT teams can be an incredibly effective way to foster professional competency, particularly when novice and veteran teachers are coupled. Additionally, the school (at which I teach) gives a great deal of freedom when it comes to curriculum development, which makes me feel respected as a professional. I also think the housing is nice.
  • I enjoyed the community of teachers, and I got along with a majority of them. The teachers at ASK share a unique bond. Although Becky would say ‘We’re all in this together’, it’s really just the teachers that are in it together working for students and trying to improve upon ASK as a whole. I enjoyed the flexibility to create and try new things in my classroom. Opportunities for leadership positions and career shifts are frequent. With a high turnover, young teachers can get a lot of experience.
  • I love the community between the majority of the teachers. I learned a lot from the professionals I worked with there. I had some amazing students who were driven, curious, and fun. I liked the attempts to structure the curriculum and the CPT time built into the schedule to allow for planning and alignment between teams. The school I am currently at does not have CPT and I think it would provide a consistency between the different classes which can issues with assessments.
  • The only thing ASK had to offer was the community of the teachers. I believe that the community was the only thing helping to hold it together for some teachers. I also believe that because the school has such a divisive atmosphere, it caused the community to grow closer in opposition to the school.
  • There are many great things about ASK. The community is the best part of ASK. Most of our colleagues are truly wonderful people. The community my first year was much more interactive and involved and it’s something school admin should ensure for the future. There are really wonderful students and parents amongst a few really difficult ones.
  • 1. The relationship that my child had with his teacher. 2. My child loved the large selection of books in the library.
  • Good community of teachers. Freedom in the classroom (at least for electives).

Tell us a few things that you think ASK most needs to improve:

  • Sport facilities, play areas and reduce class sizes in elementary
  • It’s always easier to focus on the things we view as negative. With that in mind, ASK has some things that would make it a better place to work, attend, and be a parent: -Communication: whether between administrators/teachers, teachers/parents, or teachers/students, some people do this well while others fail often. Finding more reliable methods and a means to hold ALL parties accountable is important. -Accountability: there is a lack of transparency and accountability at all levels at ASK. Decisions are often made with little notice or explanation and there is fear associated with questioning those decisions. Inconsistency in how students and staff are treated is everywhere. Making the decision-making process more transparent, understandable, and equitable would be a step forward. -Profit: there is a growing sense that the money made by the school is not reinvested back into the school efficiently. Buildings crumble (literally) while new palm trees are purchased, Starboards are put in most classrooms without training teachers while teachers lack professional development funds or salary increases, and while tuition goes up the average years of experience and years at ASK of the faculty goes down, among other perceived poor uses of funds. While it is a for-profit institution, a more evident reinvestment in the people and facilities of the school instead of just the outward appearance is the surest way to make ASK A better place.
  • I need new equipment in my room. The fact that my things are so old is rough, especially foe the kids. If also love it if my admin could come and observe. It only takes a few minutes out of their busy schedule, and it’s good for them to see what their students are learning in class.
  • The poor facilities that do not reflect the high tuition and low teacher pay. Where does the money go? Must enforce stricter rules on students with bad behavior. Students have too much power. Ownership shows no interest in teacher satisfaction or quality of education. Only run as a business without heart or passion.
  • The infrastructure including gym, pool, play areas, exterior and food options. Plays and musical performances should provide costumes for students and not make parents run around to shops. I would pay if the school ordered the items.
  • ASK is a school in crisis but it lacks the leadership capacity to recognize this reality, let alone accept and address it. It is a shame that a school with such a rich tradition lacks the stewardship it’s history would expect it to have. A school that was once the leader in American education in Kuwait under the guidance of Wael Abdul Ghafoor’s father has opted to rest on its laurels and live off of the past. Wael has made his own wealth his priority and this trumps everything else connected with the school. Wael has allowed Becky Ness to rise to the position of Superintendent through attrition, accepted her dated and backwards approach to education, embraced her selfish indifference towards teachers, and leveraged her deference to him knowing she lacks the courage to stand up and advocate for others. Becky’s integrity was purchased by making her husband, Craig, the highest paid teacher on campus, giving her business class transport, an apartment by the sea, a car, and a healthy monthly salary. She earns a fraction of what her competitors make in the region and this lack of perspective and awareness is what makes her so invaluable to him. She is the opposite of what a school leader should be. She is not a visionary committed to improving teacher practice – she is a manager of the status quo. Becky manages the administrative dysfunction at the school through inaction. Becky has surrounded herself by a leadership team who have all been rewarded for their loyal and longevity at the school with administrative positions. The only person this hasn’t worked out for is Scott Dennison who was once anointed and publicly announced as her replacement but lost that designation as Becky wasn’t finished riding the gravy train. He now sits, literally, behind the school – a marginalized administrator and a victim of her selfishness. In order for ASK to improve, Wael needs to recognize that there is a problem, commit to restoring ASK’s reputation through financial investment, and begin to take action by removing Becky Ness from her role as Superintendent.
  • ASK would benefit from greater follow-through and consistency with policy. If we say a student needs to achieve a certain GPA or must maintain a certain level of decorum in terms of behavior, should that that child fails to do so, s/he should be exited from the school. In such a case, we clearly are not serving the child, and more often than not that child hinders the learning of others. (NB: this might point to larger systemic problems in Kuwaiti society a la wasta or Ministry decrees) I also wish we had more support (read: funding) for professional development. A bump in salary would also be greatly appreciated.
  • ASK Reviews Note: This comment had 3 parts. We tried to replicate the formatting below:
    • 1) I felt like I could be fired at any moment for any reason.
    • 2) ASK does not respond to constructive criticism, and will not take the time nor make the effort to implement change. Spending of any kind on capital improvements or long term investment continues to be an obstacle to change. The administration seems to just shrug their shoulders and say ‘It is what it is.’ ASK needs to take some of the suggestions on this website and strongly consider them, including investing in teachers, resources and facilities.
    • 3) Administration change from the top down needs to happen. Becky’s replacement will continue to find this website ‘full of lies.’ Everything that’s on here is fact, albeit fact with a few tongue-in-cheek comments. The school’s reputation is what the future superintendent wants to maintain. But what is that future reputation? Certainly it’s not that of other international schools, and you’re going to face fierce competition from AUSK.
  • ASK Reviews Note: This comment had 3 parts. We tried to replicate the formatting below:
    • 1. Staff morale – the administration needs to take meaningful steps to ensure that teachers feel valued and appreciated.
    • 2. Consistent follow through and consequences for repetitive behavior issues for both staff and students.
    • 3. Quality of life and safety – Mahboula is a terrible place to live. The apartments themselves are decent, but the area is extremely unsafe.
    • 4. Serious professional development allowance – the current allowance doesn’t even come close to paying for the registration for a conference or workshop let alone the flights or hotels required seeing as there is nothing available in Kuwait for PD.
  • ASK needs to improve the transparency of the school. Almost everything is hidden behind closed doors and kept with the all powerful superintendent as she sits upon her throne and dictates policies that are made on a whim.
  • Transparency is definitely an issue. Knowing the reasons behind decisions being made would be beneficial to both teachers and students. In the high school specifically, some students are running the show. They face no real consequences. Perhaps there are reasons unbeknownst to us as to why they are able to call the shots, regardless teachers are scared. They feel unsupported. They are blamed for issues immediately instead of being asked questions about their well-being or circumstances surround the issue. They’re losing a lot of great teachers this year and it’s unfortunate because ASK has so much potential.
  • ASK Reviews Note: This comment had 3 parts. We tried to replicate the formatting below:
    • 1. They need to do a better job of incorporating technology in the classrooms.
    • 2. They need to limit the amount of students allowed in each class in the elementary school. The class sizes were very large.
    • 3. They need to tear down the whole school and start over again, everything is terribly old or just plain worn out. Preferably the owner should build a new school in a less congested area. For a school that has been around for over 50 years, one would expect better facilities.
    • 4. Keep up the good work on the site and hopefully things will get better for the students, parents, and teachers still affiliated with ASK. If you are a school superintendent or school owner operating a private school in Kuwait, you should be paying attention to this site. Getting exposed like this is what happens when you’re not paying attention to your business.
  • Standards for students (holding them accountable). Caring about education more than profit. Caring about teachers more than profit. Teacher pay is poor. Infrastructure is terrible.

Note – these responses include current and past teachers as well as current parents. More detailed information will be provided after the poll closes.


 

This post addresses the following parts of our mission statement and beliefs:

  • Critique decisions and actions made by school leadership while providing constructive ideas for how to remedy these issues.
  • Educate the ASK community about current events at the school.
  • Solicit feedback from the ASK community via frequent surveys and providing a transparent accounting of the input received.
  • Encourage members of the ASK community to become more active in pushing the school to enact positive change in order to create and inspire a positive school environment for all members of the community.
  • A partnership among families, teachers, and students is essential for successful learning.
  • The diversity of our reader community is one of our greatest assets.
  • Institutional transparency promotes positive engagement and fosters trust between the school and its stakeholders.

Posted by American School of Kuwait Reviews

3 Comments

  1. The explanation of the Wael-Becky-Scott triad above is woke. Kuddos!

    Like

    Reply

  2. keepin’ it real, keepin’ it fresh

    Like

    Reply

  3. anyone can say if american school administration seen problems talking about here?

    Like

    Reply

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