La Paz, Bolivia Report of what it's like to live there - 08/16/15
Personal Experiences from La Paz, Bolivia
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
First or Initial (Inicial) as it is called here...
3. During what years were you affiliated with this school?
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Close to home, Spanish immersion, preferred curriculum and pace of instruction, half days for first graders.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?
There is an interview and often a wait list. We had several people call on our behalf, so it seems that, sometimes, lobbying and knowing the right people count for something.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
B Communication can be a challenge as they don't utilize email and prefer phone calls- all in Spanish. There is a lot of responsibility put on the child because it is a Montessori school, which can be very challenging when you include a language barrier. There is a formatted email (sent out once a week) that is relatively impersonal. To get direct information about your child you have to make time for a face to face interview.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
Orderly, friendly, inclusive.
2. For the following attributes, down to the next blank box, grade your experience at the school on a scale of A (excellent) to F (unacceptable/terrible) and provide comments:<br><br>Overall fair and equitable treatment of all students and families:
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Handwritten notes are often exchanged.
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
In-house tutoring for any child who needs help.
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
Yes and a lot.
First graders learn script here, so there are 3 pages of handwriting homework a day in addition to whatever they don't finish in class.
Good quality, our son is definitely challenged daily.
8. Administration-parent communication:
9. Teacher-student communication:
10. Academics, answer the following questions "yes" or "no" with an explanation if appropriate:<br><br>Are there any classes or subjects where students are not appropriately challenged?
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
12. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
Cost for field trips and uniforms
Academics & Resources:
1. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
They have tech days, but they don't apply this to every day class or homework in first grade.
2. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
3. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
4. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
It seems a bit much for first grade.
5. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
There are some, though most are for the older grades.
6. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Yes, if you make the effort to invite the children to play.
2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.