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American Nicaraguan School

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American Nicaraguan School

American Nicaraguan School
Managua, Nicaragua
School type Private, international
Founded 1945
Grades PK-12
Enrollment 1021
Language English and Spanish

The American Nicaraguan School is a private school located in Nicaragua's capital city, Managua. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools[1] and the Association of American Schools in South America.[2]

About the School

The American Nicaraguan School, founded in 1944 in Managua, Nicaragua, is a coed, independent school with grades Pre-K through 12. The American Nicaraguan School (ANS) provides a rigorous academic preparation through an American curriculum with classes taught in English. The ANS community includes: diplomatic corps, international and local businesses, the Nicaraguan government and members from international assistance groups. The 26 acre wireless campus offers 80 classrooms, a library/media center with video conferencing, science and technology laboratories, athletics, drama, music and fine arts department.

ANS uses a semester calendar. Students are enrolled in seven courses. In the fall of 2012 ANS moved to a calendar in which those courses meet 6 times in a 7-day cycle allowing students to also be enrolled in 2 enrichment courses that meet twice in a 5-day cycle. The school year begins the first week of August and ends the last week of May. The school day begins at 7:05am and ends at 2:05pm, allowing time for the over 20 community service and academic clubs (MUN,NHS, Knowledge Bowl), and drama and fine arts clubs. The extensive athletic complex houses soccer, swimming, basketball, baseball, volleyball, track and gymnastic teams.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) - Nicaraguan Ministry of Education

Member of: AAIE, AASSA, NAIS, AASCA, College Board, OACAC


The American Nicaraguan School is a private, nonsectarian coeducational school, founded in 1944, which offers an educational program from Nursery (3 years) through grade 12 for students of all nationalities. The school year comprises two semesters extending from August to December and from January to June.

The purpose of the School was to provide a U.S. style education in English which would prepare students for higher education in the United States. It was originally situated in a two story house (Mansion Teodelinda) but rapid growth in enrollment soon led to the construction of a larger facility to meet this need.

In August 1947 the School became known as the Association Pro-Escuela Americana due to a change in its charter by the Nicaraguan government. The first School Board was established at this time.

The School calendar was changed to that of the U.S. school year in 1971.

Plans to rebuild the School on a new site away from dangerous fault lines began in 1973. The former site was sold in order to facilitate the purchase of new land. A new elementary school was constructed but ANS lacked sufficient funds to build comparable secondary classrooms. In 1973 the U.S. Government donated prefabricated materials to help ANS build “temporary” trailer style high school classrooms. Building materials were scarce due to the continuing recovery from the earthquake.

The inauguration ceremony for the new American Nicaraguan School took place August 8, 1975. Classes were held in a single session for the first time since the 1972 earthquake.

Throughout the latter half of the 1970s, ANS prospered. Yearbooks from 1976, 1977 and 1978 are filled with sports activities, service clubs and academic endeavors. The School was ranked among the most competitive international schools in Central America.

ANS history changed dramatically for the 1979-1980 school year due to Nicaragua’s civil war. The school year began until September 4 almost a month behind schedule. Student enrollment dropped from 600 to 217 and weakened the school economically. The yearbook theme for this year was “Survival”.

The next yearbook was published in 1984 and the senior class was made up of only 18 students. Enrollment continued to be impacted by political unrest in Nicaragua. Dr. Marvin Happel was Director General and led the effort to focus on the future of the school for the 21st century.

The ANS Alumni and staff members from 1981 – 1989 have contributed to our knowledge of the years at ANS during the country’s civil war. This was a period of time when ANS was assisted by the U.S. government to provide financial support due to a dramatic drop in enrollment resulting from the large number of families who went into exile. Additional measures were taken to keep the School solvent such as recruiting students from other private schools in Managua who were interested in learning English. The School community had as its primary goal to ensure the success of its students and provide a safe learning environment. This was achieved with the diligence of administration, teachers, staff, parents and the students themselves. Another important fact is that classes were segregated – Nicaraguan nationals and international students were no longer allowed to have class together. The School, once again, struggled through difficult times but remained focused on a bright future ahead as the new decade approached.

With elections on the horizon, ANS saw an increase in enrollment during the 1989-1990 school year. Many exiled families returned to Nicaragua from the U.S. and sought to educate their children in English. The student population quickly grew to 500 and continued to grow steadily throughout the 1990s as more and more families returned to Nicaragua. The new challenge was to maintain the level of academic excellence and find ways to accommodate the rapidly growing student body. Parents came together and focused their efforts on two important projects – the construction of a new gymnasium and a swimming pool. The school became the center of activity for the English speaking youth in Managua many of whom had begun their schooling in the U.S. during the 1980s. Community service clubs, academic competitions, and sports activities flourished during this period. College acceptances became increasingly competitive as did students’ scores on standardized tests. The 1990s represented a time of growth and prosperity for ANS.

In 1992, the School’s current by-laws stated a name change and the association became known as the Pro-American School Association or the American Nicaraguan School Association.

The transition to a new century brought change to ANS. Intense focus on academic standards and a college preparatory curriculum made the School increasingly competitive as other private schools began emerging to satisfy the need for bi-lingual instruction in Nicaragua. A School mission statement was developed and enrollment was gradually reduced to ensure that student/teacher ratios were in line with accreditation standards. The Advanced Placement program was enhanced and major investments were made in technology and security. A School strategic plan was put into practice and the ANS Board of Directors made the decision to create a master building plan to rebuild the School campus over a period of 15 years. The gymnasium was replaced with a US $1.5 million Covered Athletic Area, a new Elementary Music Room was completed in April 2010 and the long awaited new high school construction began in August 2010.


The American Nicaragua school has 931 students from 2 different nationalities.

  • Elementary- 460
  • Middle School- 250
  • High School- 221
80 students are awarded the U.S. high school diploma. A minority of these will also be awarded the Nicaraguan bachillerato diploma.


  1. ^ Online Reporting
  2. ^ Member Schools

External links

  • American Nicaraguan School Website

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