In 1956, two mothers began to teach the children of four families, using the “Calvert Correspondence Course”, in the Madalena Presbyterian Church building. They named their little school “The American School of Recife”. In 1957, the school was officially founded. For this reason, the 2006-2007 school year marked the 50th anniversary of the school.
From 1956-1958, other families joined the school community and the enterprise moved to a small rented house in Boa Viagem. The school population continued to grow, requiring two additional moves to provide for more space. Under the first official constitution of the American School of Recife in 1962, the first Board of Directors began to function with parents representing the U.S. government, missionary, and business groups.
The Board of Directors, the U.S. Consulate, and USAID joined forces and successfully secured grant assistance from the U.S. government, which made it possible to purchase the property and begin construction on the present site. The administration section and the elementary wing were built first. Starting in the second semester of the 1963-64 school year, the elementary classes were held in what today are the ESL, Brazilian History, 3rd Grade and PSL classrooms. The snack bar was where the present physical education room is and between the snack bar and the administrative offices, High School students had two classrooms. Construction of the library began in 1963-64. It was about half the size of today’s library and also served as an all-purpose room.
From this point on, the school proceeded to offer a professionally led and taught “Stateside” curriculum,. No longer did students have to depend on the mail service to carry their correspondence to the States and wait a long time to get back their grades.The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) first accredited the school in 1966.
Over the years, USAID, the U.S. Air Force, Peace Corps, and U.S. companies withdrew from Northeast Brazil. The school began to give attention to the Brazilian program and seek Brazilian recognition.