Brasilia, Brazil Report of what it's like to live there - 11/12/13
Personal Experiences from Brasilia, Brazil
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
I am a parent.
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
Currently 9 & 12th grade.
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)?
Affiliated with an international organization.
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
We wanted an international school with English as its method of instruction which offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma.
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?
Very straightforward and transparent. We knew exactly what track each of our children would go through.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
From the moment we first contacted the school with our not-so-finalized plans for moving to Brasilia, we have received immediate and continued support from the school, which continued throughout the first semester we were at post. We had the opportunity to participate in the New Family Orientation which helped us get through the first hectic weeks of our transition.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
This is our fourth year at EAB and the family atmosphere of both Middle and High School was the first thing that struck us when we arrived. The 9th grade cohort has about 35 kids and the senior class of this year (famously big) has 45. The small size of the classes allows for all High School kids to socialize together.
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:
This is our fifth international school in 18 years and this is by far the one that treats its students most fairly and equitably.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
I know that in Lower School teacher-parent communication is key and more structured (traveling folders, class newsletters, etc). In Upper School, teachers communicate to parents through dedicated e-mails to parents for particular concerns and parents are encouraged to schedule private sessions with teachers whenever they want.
Grades are in a Parent Portal that gives instant access to our children's grades.
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
Differentiation seems to have a greater focus in the past two years at EAB, both in terms of support to students with learning difficulties and for those who need to be challenged. I suggest you talk to the student services department if you need more in depth information.
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
For Lower School there is a large variety of after-school offerings, most of them offered on campus at no extra cost. They range from Jiu-Jitsu, capoeira, marimba band, cheerleading to homework help and much more. Most activities are offered every semester but there might be some changes depending on interest and season so check the school website under Club EAB to find out the latest offerings.
For Upper School Students, robotics, activity clubs, service learning, and athletics dominate the after-school scene. Depending on the semester, basketball, softball, cheer, futsal, volleyball and softball are offered as varsity sports. Rugby, and Football are also offered as non-competing sports. Again, check the athletics website for most up-to-date information.
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
All students are held to the same high standards irrespective of nationality.
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
Lower School is moving more towards the concept of Home Learning to make homework more meaningful. In Upper School depending on the program, expect home study time to rise consistently as grade level goes up. The IB Program is decidedly rigorous and requires supreme time management skills and dedication from students.
8. Administration-parent communication:
There is a school-wide newsletter that goes out every week about what goes on at the school.
One thing we appreciate most as parents is the open door policy of every administrator at the school.
9. Teacher-student communication:
A steady stream of student specific communication goes directly to students as a way of building up responsibility as grade level progresses.
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:
YES, for ADHD (making sure he is on track, organizational skills, etc)
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
13. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
14. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
More electives for Middle School students who are not necessarily athletics oriented
15. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
- Middle School Classroom Without Walls Trips
- Sports Tournaments
- International Student Conferences
16. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
17. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
Academics & Resources:
1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?
It is part of the Brazilian culture to be empathetic and understanding. That permeates through the school culture as well. Great group of counselors in hand to deal with any type of issue that might arise.
For college applications, the college counselor recommends Naviance as a tool to keep track of applications (it has been a great help for us particularly this year).
2. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
I know that my kids are encouraged to take a device to school for most subjects and tablets are common in instruction and most of my kids' teachers have some sort of online learning platform such as Edmodo or Socrative but I don't have enough information to claim to be an expert on this.
3. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
It is an integral part of the curriculum from Kindergarten onward. Depending on the rotating block schedules, students have PE two or three times a week. Apart from those times, all students are highly encouraged to enroll in at least one sport of their choosing as an after-school activity.
Older students can participate in junior varsity and varsity sports. Our kids have been participating in basketball and softball and have been competing regularly in tournaments since our arrival in Brasilia.
4. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
In Lower School the maximum number in a classroom does not pass 22. Depending on the age/grade level, teaching assistants are also assigned to each grade.
In Upper School the maximum number in a classroom is 25 but this rarely happens due to the large number of electives and creative scheduling for core classes. In Portuguese for Foreigners track for example, this ratio drops considerably depending on the proficiency level.
5. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?
As of last year, IB Diploma program is being offered as the only on-campus program and is expanding every year. Online AP courses are also available if the student chooses to take them.
6. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
7. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
Our experience only relates to Middle and High School offerings as we do not have a child in Lower School.
In middle school Arts, Drama, Band, and Technology (digital photography, digital video and media) electives are are offered. In 6th grade, all students take one quarter of each class to get the chance to learn about the fields and apart from 7th grade can choose 2 for a more in-depth track.
In High School all of the above electives are offered but at a more technically demanding level. The choice of electives depends highly on the diploma program/programs a student is enrolled in. If your child's schedule does not have room for such electives, after-school programs such as
Jazz Band and GleEAB for music and Theater Production are available.
8. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
9. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
10. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?
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, ALL THE TIME.
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.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
Sense of family, Open Door Policy of Administration, IB Program.
2. Would you choose this school again? Why?