New Delhi, India Report of what it's like to live there - 05/30/11
Personal Experiences from New Delhi, India
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?
Middle school and high 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)?
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?
F:We could not get the admissions office to answer our repeated emails. Poor record keeping - kept losing our files.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Good.Pro-active PSA, welcome coffee events.HS counselors were uneven for us, "checked out". A: Great 9th grade counselor, helped ease transition.Need to speak up to get attention for learning disabilities.School caters to high achievers.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
B: Positive, gifted teachers. Increasing focus on arts. Middle school administration is excellent. High school administration is struggling. Uneven IB program, large and growing drug problem in HS.
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:
C: My students report favoritism of local, Indian students over ex-pats, especially vs. Americans . Extends to grades and evaluations. Especially in Indian studies and arts program.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
C:Depends on the teachers.Middle school teachers tried hard to keep open communications. HS - we saw a decline in communication with parents except for the 2x year PT meetings (speed dating with your kid's teacher)
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
D-: Poor on either end of the scale.No T&G program and limited support for LDs.No testing available locally.School failed to notify when student was below grade (getting an F).
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
OK and getting better.Great service learning opportunities in HS - a real plus for IB students needing CAS hours.Increasing sports options for B: MS, including allowing some MS students play on HS JV teams.Physical facilities limit many after school sports.Constant construction keeps ball field off limits.
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
B: Middle school is transparent and even handed.Our experience in HS - local Indian students get more opportunities to perform at public events, are favored in Indian studies class.
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
B:Re balance of HS homework over two years, including finals, has helped.
8. Administration-parent communication:
F: Were not notified when child received failing grade, not notified when child was absent.
9. Teacher-student communication:
C: Depends on the teacher.
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?
Yes: languages - foreign language program needs an overhaul.IB students are failing the IB tests.
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
Yes - basic accommodation in standardize testing/classroom environment.
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
No - the school desperately needs a HS wellness counselor. 2011 parent survey showed that HALF the HS parents were concerned about the drug problem on campus.
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?
Yes in art and drama, no in music.The music program is geared to classical and individual performances/training.
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?
Yes - some HS sports activities in other countries - depends on the sport.
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
More MS sports, better music options (beyond choir and band).
18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
19. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
Uneven - you need to ask - the services are there but the admissions office won't point you in the right direction.
20. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:
The school is increasingly built on the expectations of wealthy, local Indian families. Anti-Americanism has popped up recently in some of the public art and performances, although is not wide-spread.
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?
F: Lost a great MS counselor and have not yet rebuilt staff -- friendly but ineffective.HS has zero family support, poor college enrollment support and career advising.HS counselors want to avoid risk of engaging too much with students - so tend to push off problem solving.Hard to know if they are aware of drug problem in HS.
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: still old fashioned in Middle School, but with re-design of HS should be better access to reference material and online sources
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
B: OK - HS is considering requiring laptops.
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
B: So-so.Emphasis on dance for a very few, general PE is general.
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?
F: An all IB HS school.Even if students want to take AP tests on their own, HS teachers are not supportive.
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: Improving as funding improves.HS drama facilities are impressive.Music electives vary widely from girls choir to ad hoc "coffee house" day programs.
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?
Yes - but the facilities are often closed off due to construction and priority is for classroom space over playing fields or courts.
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, but off-campus drug/alcohol abuse is a growing problem. Local availability of illegal substances is easy and cheap.
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?
The teachers, the teachers, the teachers.
2. Greatest challenge?
Drugs in the HS.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
No - the HS Administration is closing its eyes to the growing social issues(anti-ex pat/pro-India) and substance abuse problems.