Tallinn, Estonia Report of what it's like to live there - 02/22/13
Personal Experiences from Tallinn, Estonia
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?
2009 - present
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
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. Seems clear.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
A-. It's difficult to say if the support is coming from the school or the community. There is lots of it, but I think the parents are supporting each other more than the school is directly supporting the parents.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
Very positive climate. Family-like environment. Good mix of nationalities. Small classes.
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+. The school gives a lot of individual attention to students and parents. The community is very close and a family environment is fostered.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
A. Teachers make themselves available. Easy to talk to them before or after school.
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
B+. The school provides services as needed for all students, but since the school is so small, resources and personnel are limited. It does a remarkable job for what it has.
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
B. After school activities vary year to year. Seems there could be a greater variety of activities offered. There is always something and many have been excellent.
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
A. The program's are rigorous. The school has remarkable success with the IB Diploma (over 90%).
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
A-. Homework depends on the teacher. Quality and quantity seems appropriate.
8. Administration-parent communication:
A. Also easy (see above). Weekly newsletters go home and school's Facebook page is updated frequently.
9. Teacher-student communication:
A+. Excellent. Small school with very caring teachers.
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?
Not that I'm aware of.
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
Yes. He has received in-class interventions and some pull out. He has a rare neurological disorder. The special needs teacher coordinates well with the classroom teacher.
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
Yes. I have known many children that have thrived at ISE.
13. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:
Yes. The teachers seem well versed on how to address the needs of the gifted students.
14. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
Yes. It strives to develop the kids to be well balanced.
15. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
16. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
Some. Most costs are covered, but big trips require parent payment. All supplies needed for study are provided by the school.
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
Seems there could be more variety from outside instructors. Karate is missed.
18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
19. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
Yes. Any questions are quickly addressed.
20. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:
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-. School has a part-time counsellor. Career/college advising has great success.
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. Great library with over 10,000 volumes.
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
A+. This year the school implemented a 1 to 1 iPad program, so every child from preschool to Grade 12 has an iPad available. The things that are being done with them are amazing.
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. P.E. is offered at all levels. The school's gym is quite small, but the school also uses Tallinn's sports hall, which is a high class facility.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
A++. I believe it is something like 5:1. Students get lots of individual attention. I feel this is the best thing about the school and helps foster the
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?
No AP courses, but school is fully accredited for IB-PYP and IB Diploma.
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)?
A+.The arts are well represented in the school. Multiple music and art lessons are given for elementary school and from middle school, there are numerous opportunities for drama, art, and music. ISE's art teachers are really great!
9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Yes. All teachers have a high level of English. There are many native speakers too.
10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
No. GATE program's were just started this year. I know there is a lot of differentiation in the classroom.
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?
Yes. Lots of play dates at the elementary level.
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.
There have been a few incidents, but were dealt with quickly. All students are genuinely very caring.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
The heart. The community (parents, teachers, and students) is warm and caring. Such a great school!
2. Greatest challenge?
The building. The building is very old and looks run down.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Definitely! This is a great school. All parents/students I've kept in contact with miss it terribly when they leave.