American Collegiate Institute (ACI) was founded in 1878, by the American Board Heyeti (ABH) to serve as both a school and cross-cultural link between Turkey and the United States. In 1997, SEV Elementary and Middle Schools were founded to provide a quality primary level education in grades K-8. ACI has three sister schools in Turkey: Usküdar American Academy and SEV American College in Istanbul, and Tarsus American College in Tarsus. Similarly, there are three SEV elementary and middle schools currently operating as K to 8 institutions in the same cities.
Although the schools were first founded by American educators, they are now operated by a secular Turkish foundation composed largely of graduates from the American Board schools. The Saglik ve Egitim Vakfi (SEV), or Health and Education Foundation, is the governing body. SEV oversees the high quality of education from kindergarten through high school. In addition to the educational branch, the SEV Foundation administers a hospital and publishing company within Turkey.
At ACI, at least one fourth of the faculty is international. Those who are married to Turkish nationals live throughout the city of Izmir, while those recruited from overseas live in furnished apartments in a middle-class Turkish residential area adjacent to the school campus. Daily living and shopping, enjoying local tourism and entertainment, forming friendships with neighbors and Turkish colleagues as well as other international teachers all make for a rich cross-cultural experience.
While the word "American" is featured prominently in the name of the high school. ACI is a Turkish school for Turkish children operating strictly in accordance with the Turkish national school system. Unlike educations systems elsewhere, the Turkish Ministry of Education is very centralized and governs not only the curriculum, but also rules and regulations pertaining to all aspects of education including student discipline, dress code (student and teacher), examination systems, grading etc.
Today, there are over 1,400 students in Grades K-12. The İzmir campus is shared by ACI (high school) and İzmir SEV Schools. The languages of instruction are English and Turkish. The teaching staff includes the Turkish faculty (75% plus), many of whom speak English, and the English-speaking international faculty (25%). The international faculty currently includes teachers from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and Norway. All of our foreign educators are certified educators in their home countries.
Class sizes generally run 23-26 in the high school (the average being 24), and from 18-20 in the high school English preparatory year. High school elective classes have smaller numbers of students. Classes generally run 24-26 students in the İzmir SEV Schools. For English lessons, classes are split to reduce the student:teacher ratio.
ACI offers a “1+4” high school program. The “1+” references the prep program for students whose English language skills are not strong enough for the first year of high school. The students enter an intensive English language program (beginner to advanced) to prepare them for the rigorous four-year high school program. In the prep program, class sizes are no larger than 20 to allow for a productive language learning environment. Following the completion of the prep year students enter into the Turkish Ministry of Education system of grades 9-12. At ACI, students have the option of entering into the International Baccalaurate Programme in grade 11 or they can continue with their national curriculum. ACI is a fully accrediate IBO World School and is proud to be the first Turkish high school in the Aegean region to receive IBDP authorization. About 20% of the students select the IBDP option.
ACI has a solid record of university acceptance; annually over 99% of the high school graduates are accepted into the universities in Turkey and abroad. ACI students currently attend Bogazici University, Middle Eastern Technical University, Koc University, Sabanci University, Cornell College, Georgetown University, Columbia University, the University of California-Berkeley, McGill, Royal Holloway in London to name but a few. The typical percentage of students who elect to go to university abroad is usually around 25-35% of the graduating senior class, however, upwards of 50% choose to apply internationally. The school employs a professional overseas university counselor who works with the families and students during the selection and application process.
ACI is proud of its extra-curricular activities, sports programs, clubs, and strong service-learning program. ACI has a long history of service-learning and working with disadvantaged groups from Multiple-Sclerosis Society, senior-citizens, street children, the poor, and blind. Many groups and individuals benefit from the schools’ service-learning programs and the IBO’s CAS requirement. The schools have also supported a bookmobile that visits the poorer environs surrounding Izmir to distribute books and promote education. ACI has a sister school in rural Eastern Turkey whom it helps.
ACI was fully accredited by the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) in 1994 , re-accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) in 2003, 2008 and recently in 2014. ACI is proud to be the first school in Turkey to be accredited by ECIS and CIS and currently is one of a few schools in Turkey to be accredited by these prestigious organizations. Additionally, ACI is an IB World School since 2005.
The ACI calendar year is set according to the Ministry of Education rules for student contact hours and consists of two semesters with the length of each semester being approximately 18 weeks. School generally begins in late August with teachers reporting around the third or fourth week. The schools officially open in early to mid-September and the first semester finishes at the end of January followed by a two-week semester break at the start of February. The second semester begins in mid February with classes generally finishing mid-June. In the second semester, teachers and students have a spring break in April. Teachers stay until the end of June for the many end-of-year duties which are a part of the Turkish educational system. The school calendar includes 180 contact days of instruction.