Hong Kong, China Report of what it's like to live there - 02/23/15
Personal Experiences from Hong Kong, China
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?
8 and 12.
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?
Convenience, music program, recommendations of other parents with children at this school.
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?
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
Grades 6-8 (middle school): the kids have a LOT of homework but it is not busywork. My daughter generally enjoys her work and her classes and has learned a great deal. The teachers are all very kind - we've particularly liked the middle school.
Grades 10-12 (high school): oddly, my daughter does less work than her younger sibling, but it still appears to be enough. Everything is on the computer so it's a bit hard to know what the kids are up to. Her teachers are mostly very good, and provide a lot of extra help if the kids go in to get it. If the child does not though... he/she will be largely left to his or her own devices. Also of note: very good guidance on college applications, & tons of college reps visit the school (5-10 a week in the fall).
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?
4. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?
uniforms (middle school, not high school), required laptops, required calculator (high school only). Lunch can be purchased or brought in (there are a variety of options).
5. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
A for gifted students
6. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
7. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
8. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
9. Administration-parent communication:
10. Teacher-student communication:
11. 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?
12. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
13. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
14. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
yes - all of the middle schoolers are involved in music, and the high school has a very good wind ensemble and decent string orchestra. there's also a good art program and drama program (with a few in-school classes as well as after-school productinos).
15. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
yes, though there are nearly always cheaper Hong Kong options (while the away options can be very pricey -- and for grade 6 the Beijing trip is mandatory and costs around US$3,000).
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?
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
6. 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?
A (AP, not IB)
7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
11. 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?
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?
very international, and it successfully brings the kids from all walks of life together. both of my kids have equal numbers of expat and local friends.
2. Greatest challenge?
Moving from a pre-IB program to an AP program (there are no IB options here)
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Possibly, though I would also give serious consideration to the Canadian International School. Its Mandarin program is a bit more intensive, and it has a wonderful music program (and better concert facilities than HKIS). The Canadian school would also have been closer to home.