The Banjul American International School (BAIS) was founded in 1984. It is an independent, coeducational day school for English-speaking students of all nationalities from pre-Kindergarten (age 2+) through Grade 12 (age 18). The school’s supportive learning environment and caring, creative teachers instill confidence, compassion, open-mindedness and critical thinking in every student. The school year extends from late August/ early September to mid/late June with approximately 180 days of instruction. Official Gambian holidays are recognized, and long breaks are taken for the December/New Year and spring break.
Organization: The Board of Directors consists of six members, each serving a two-year term. The BAIS Association (parents/guardians and teachers) elects five board members, and one member is appointed by the U.S. Embassy.
Curriculum: BAIS is fully accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, USA. Instruction is in English. The core subjects: English, mathematics, science, and social studies, are supplemented with specialty instruction in art, French, technology, music and physical education. The curriculum from Kindergarten through 12th grade is aligned with AERO standards (including NGSS standards for Science), and the PK curriculum is aligned with the New York State Early Learning Guidelines. All units develop the international understanding of students, including knowledge of Gambian and African cultures. The school follows ISTE standards for technology instruction and NASPE standards for physical education. Technology (ICT) instruction is integrated with learning across the subjects, and all classes have dedicated time in the computer lab and library each week.
BAIS opened a full High School program in September 2020 to allow students in in The Gambia to complete the four-year American high school program and earn a U.S. High School Diploma without leaving the country. Prior to this time, students in high school completed coursework individually via UNHS online classes. The new high school program opened grade 9 in 2020-21 and one additional grade level will be added each year. Advanced Placement (AP) or IB Diploma classes will be offered in future for students prepared to tackle more challenging academic courses. Families with students in grades 10-12 are encouraged to apply as individual students in grades 10-12 can complete credits through University of Nebraska High School Online courses.
BAIS is an incredibly nurturing school with high levels of individualized attention and strong Personal, Social, Emotional Learning (PSEL) and Service Learning programs. Three eight-week sessions of after-school activities are offered to all students in Kindergarten and up, including a variety of artistic, athletic, and academic activities, and a BAIS highlight is the annual musical with a role for every student in the school! The Service Learning program aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals and focuses on a different SDG goal each year. The goal is for students in PK through Grade 12 to apply learning through action that will improve their community.
Faculty: The faculty is comprised of 4 full-time teachers and 6 part-time teachers. BAIS teachers have Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees and internationally recognized teaching credentials.
Enrollment: At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, enrollment is 52 students.
Facilities: The campus consists of four buildings which serve as ‘bookends’ to the outdoor recreation area, soccer field and basketball court. At the front of the campus, the administrative building contains the reception office, director’s office, library, computer lab, teacher collaboration areas and safe haven 1. The elementary building houses grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4 and Music classes. At the other end of campus, families and visitors enter between the middle school/high school wing with its science lab, humanities and math rooms and the Early Childhood building which houses PK, Art and French classrooms. The outdoor areas include field space for soccer and ultimate Frisbee, a basketball court, playground equipment and grass volleyball courts as well as a dedicated, outdoor Discovery Learning area for PK.
Finances: Approximately 85% of the school’s income comes from tuition and fees. Annual tuition rates for 2020-21 are: PK1-2: $6,075 half-day and $7,990 full-day; KG-grade 5: $19,850; grades 6-8: $22,750; and grades 9-12: $24,550. The same tuition fee covers the cost of after-school activities, school social events, the yearbook, and other student activities. A $200 application fee and a one-time only nonrefundable school development fee of $4,350 for all new students are payable upon enrollment. (All fees are quoted in U.S. dollars.) A hot lunch service is available from an outside provider for an additional cost.
Information and statistics are current as of September 2020 and are provided by the school.