THE AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF NIAMEY, FORMERLY THE AMERICAN SCHOOL OF NIAMEY, BEGAN IN 1982 AS A PART-TIME ENTITY DESIGNED TO SUPPLEMENT THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM OF AMERICAN STUDENTS ATTENDING THE LOCAL FRENCH SCHOOLS.
In 1983 the school began its full-time operation with fourteen students enrolled in grades one through eight. Within three years, enrollment climbed to one hundred and twenty-four students, and the school moved to its present site on land provided by the US Embassy.
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the school in 1987, the last building was completed in September 1988, and in 1989 enrollment peaked at one hundred and fifty-three students from twenty-one different countries.
By 1998, the school had taken over the management and operation of the former American Employees Recreation Center on the AISN grounds. Renamed the American International School of Niamey Recreational Center, or AISNRC, the center provides excellent sports facilities and healthy, tasty food. Facilities include a pool, tennis courts, volleyball, a softball field, and a snack bar. Special activities are also organized to take place on these grounds.
In the mid 1990′s, USAID and ICRISAT withdrew from Niger, and the enrollment of the school dropped considerably. Between the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 school years, AISN experienced a forty-eight percent drop in enrollment due, in large part, to a substantial reduction in the expatriate population in Niger following the assassination of then President Baré.
Severe cuts in staff were necessary to accommodate the reduction in tuition-based revenues. In addition, the entire academic program and grade configuration for the school came under close examination. While changes to the program involved hard work and a degree of sacrifice, the focus on students remained the priority. As a result, the school was able to continue with specialists in the areas of math, physical education and art. Programs in music and French were actually expanded and improved upon in the wake of the enrollment decline. ESL classes and tutorial opportunities for students with special needs were retained.
Guided by our philosophy and mission, the American International School of Niamey has worked to implement eleven principle goals. These goals were initially developed in response to recommendations made by the visiting team of evaluators from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools at the conclusion of the 1997 school accreditation process.
Throughout the fall of 1999, these goals were reviewed and modified during a series of work sessions involving parents, staff, and the Board of Directors.
Families are attracted to AISN for several reasons. Foremost is the American curriculum and accreditation. Other characteristics include the American philosophy of education, English as the instructional language, the employment of trained and experienced teachers, the quality and diversity of the educational materials, the quality of the facilities, its positive reputation within the community, its acceptance of international diversity, and the perceived relationship with the American government and higher education.
In April 2005, the AISN Association approved adding “International” to the school name to better reflect the composition of the school. Enrollment rose from 40 to 80 students between 2004 and 2008.
Following an accreditation visit in 2008, AISN became fully committed to implementing curriculum standards based on the AERO standards in all subject areas. In addition, an updated progress report was produced, addressing each of the principle goals since the last accreditation report.
In August 2009, AISN began the process of installing a school server so our technology abilities could be streamlined to better serve the administrative team as well as the staff and students. A new internet provider was hired to upgrade services to include the AISNRC.
During the 2009-2010 school year, the sixty-two students enrolled in Pre-kindergarten through Grade 12 represented thirteen nationalities from around the world: Niger, Togo, Spain, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mauritania, Liberia, India, Germany, France, Benin, Belgium and the United States. The international and multicultural makeup of the AISN student body is a wonderful asset for the school. The AISN staff has always dedicated itself to providing optimal learning opportunities that take into account our diverse population.
Until 2009, AISN taught high school through correspondence by enrolling students in the University of Nebraska Independent High School correspondence program; individually-tailored core academic subjects were offered online while students continued to participate in the physical education, music, and art classes offered within the regular school program.
In 2009, AISN began offering direct teaching for grades 10 and 11 and in 2011 expects to achieve accreditation for the high school upon the addition of grade 12.
In February 2010, a military coup that lasted approximately five hours removed President Tandja from office after he tried to extend his rule beyond the constitutional limits. In March 2011, Niger elected Mahmadou Issoufou to lead the country back to civilian rule. Unfortunately, in January 2011, two French hostages were kidnapped in Niamey and killed in a rescue attempt. At that time, the Peace Corps suspended operation in Niger.
In 2011, class sizes at AISN remained, small allowing for a close and attentive teacher-student relationship. With a population of 45 students, learners were grouped together in multi-age classrooms as follows: PK-2, grades 3-5, middle school, and high school. Class size varies from 8 – 12 students per class.
In 2012 AISN has increased enrollment drastically due to the hard work and dedication of the Director and staff. AISN has been able to maintain small classes sizes and remain true to the mission even though the enrollment numbers increased.
In March of 2013, AISN hosted a visitor from the Middle States Association to seek additional grades approval for Grades 10-12. Additional Grades Accreditation was granted in the summer of 2013 and now AISN is fully accredited from PreK - Grade 12.
In January of 2015, AISN created a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) to support families and build community within the school. Many outstanding events and activities have been hosted by the PTO such as "Donuts with Dads", Valentine Candy Grams, AISN House T-Shirts and a Family Fun Day. The PTO meets the first Tuesday of each month in the AISN Common Room.
In April of 2015, AISN hosted a team of visitors from the Middle States Association for a full self-study and 7 year re-accreditation visit. The visit was a positive and affirming one and the visiting team recommended re-accreditation.
During the 2014-2015 academic year, the US Embassy announced some significant changes to the US Embassy compound on which the school is located. These new facility upgrades are planned to begin in 2016 and will significantly improve the school's facilities including new perimeter walls, gate access, lights and landscaping as well as improvements to our softball field and tennis court. AISN has re-established our Facilities Committee and are working with an architect to upgrade our facilities to compliment the embassy's project. AISN classroom furniture and new technology have also been acquired and our campus' upgrades will serve to enhance our learning environment in the near future.
The school instituted the MAP Test of Basic Skills beginning in 2016 school year, and uses the results of these tests to drive instruction and measure periodic student progress.
As AISN enters its next phase of development and growth the teachers, students, staff, parents and Board members are committed to fulfilling our MSA action plans and attending to the recommendations that have been made. A focus on students and learning will remain the priority. With excellent faculty and staff in addition to work based on a strong mission, philosophy and principle goals, AISN is once gain growing in size and quality. As we commit to the accreditation process, revitalization of the goals, AISN endeavors to look closely at student learning in order to help teachers to reflect and modify practice for better results within a supportive professional learning community. AISN seeks to create an outstanding international experience, celebrating the rich local culture and building global understanding for our students.