Thessaloniki, Greece Report of what it's like to live there - 06/03/13
Personal Experiences from Thessaloniki, Greece
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?
Older attended grades 3-5, younger grades K-2.
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)?
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:
Excellent educational environment. Good relations among the children - no cliques or bullying - and teachers were very caring and attentive. Class size is capped at 22, but my kids has classes of 8-15 kids. Generally there is one class per grade level, except for pre-K.
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?
B. The easy familiarity and family atmosphere at the school causes occasional lapses in formal notifications.
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
B There is no formal gifted program, but the small class sizes allow for large amounts of individual attention and intellectual challenges; special needs available and high quality, but employer/parents must subsidize additional staffing costs; ESL good for commonly-spoken languages, but more difficult for languages not common in Greece; ESL handled as immersion for younger grades, older students must test to show proficiency.
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
A There is a wide variety offered at no additional cost and with transportation included. The school is small and flexible and will add anything for which there is sufficient interest.
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
B. Most teachers do great job, but one or two Greek nationals follow the Greek homework habits of formulaic drills.
8. Administration-parent communication:
A. The director knows every student and parent on a first-name basis.
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?
No, however the range of electives reflects the small secondary-school size.
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
13. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:
There is no gifted program, but teachers provide individualized instruction at all grades.
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:
Band/orchestra. Sports at high school level are limited to basketball, soccer, and tennis. However, the school supports the individualized instruction programs of national champions in swimming, rowing and gymnastics.
16. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
Band and orchestra, American football (they have cheerleaders), track/cross country, foreign languages other than French, Spanish, and Greek.
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:
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?
B. There is no formal counselor, but counseling services are contracted when needed. There is an excellent individualized college counseling program that addresses academics, career advising, and financing for U.S., Canadian, and European universities.
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?
A But note there is no swimming pool or American-style football.
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. IB and National Honor Society, but no AP.
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)?
B+ Excellent music, art and drama classes/electives for elementary and middle school with two major musicals each year; school-wide talent show; high school does formal art show at local gallery, but is too small for musicals/plays; rock band, radio club that does weekly show on local station, but no marching band or orchestra.
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?
Family-like environment; teachers who really care.
2. Greatest challenge?
The Greek language teacher at the elementary level is awful and unmotivated, but she cannot be fired under Greek labor law. She retires in 1-2 years.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Yes, but I would be careful about ensuring that the high school matches the personality and learning style of your student. Its small size and liberal arts focus makes it wonderful for some but confining for others.