Bogota, Colombia Report of what it's like to live there - 09/18/10
Personal Experiences from Bogota, Colombia
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?
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)?
Work for an international NGO
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?
A: Apparently there were problems with this in the past, but the board has worked hard to eliminate the problems.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
A: Very good.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
Very satisfactory. Small classes, extremely motivated and committed teaching staff and management.
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:
A: There are more local kids than ex-pats. This is the case with all private schools here. This is not an 'international' school per se. There are none here. This is a Colombian private school with a British curriculum and system, a British rector and many British teachers. A percentage of ex-pat kids and a majority of Colombian kids.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
A: Really good - online communication as well.
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
A: The school has a very high level of academics that would easily serve a gifted child. My child has Down Syndrome. The board made a special policy to admit kids with developmental disabilities as a pilot. There is also another child with DS here. The support has been stunning - exceptional, wonderful.
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
A: Anything you can think of.
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
A: Lots of homework, but good quality.
8. Administration-parent communication:
A: Has been very good in my experience.
9. Teacher-student communication:
A: Very good.
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?
No, none I have experienced.
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
My child has a classroom assistant who helps her in her classes. She goes to an off-site facility (Anthiros) for therapy.
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
There is no other school that really provides this, so I am thrilled with the level we have.Colegio Nuevo Granada (CNG) supposedly does, but I have heard it is chaotic. And in reality, if you have a special needs child and are not a diplomat or a Colombian with 'palancas' there is NO CHANCE your child will get into CNG. Supposedly they admit kids with special needs. They wouldn't even give us an interview!
13. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:
14. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
15. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
I don't know of any.
16. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
Yes, lots of them.
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
I can't think of any.
18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
19. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
20. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:
I don't know of any. The school works hard to address all issues as they arise.
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?
A: Very good.
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
A: Very good one.
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
A: Very good one.
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
A: Very good - see above.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
A. Around 18 kids per class.
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?
7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Yes, in my experience.
8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
A: Very good selection of just about any art, music, drama, sports you can think of - both through the normal curriculum and as extra-curricular activities.
9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Yes, most. I think the Spanish teachers do not. Not sure about the PE, music, etc teachers. This is not an issue for my child, who speaks Spanish.
10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
My child does not, and I don't know about this.
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?
Yes, lots of them.
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.
Those I know are very happy at this school. No bullying or exclusion.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
Gosh, everything. The quality and commitment of the teachers and administration, the grounds, the location, the activities, the academics.
2. Greatest challenge?
Can't think of any.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
In a heartbeat.