New Delhi, India Report of what it's like to live there - 12/05/19

Personal Experiences from New Delhi, India

New Delhi, India 12/05/19

Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

A parent

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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, 2018-(2021)

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3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

US Embassy

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4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?

There are a few others- British, French, German, and many Indian "international" schools, but AES is the primary school for most Americans/expats/diplomats and the one that had the programs my kids wanted.

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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?

I would say yes.

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

The PSA is quite good at welcoming new parents, and there's a very good student-run orientation for new kids. However, they use a lot of acronyms which can be confusing for new parents and on the whole, admin seem to think people have been there for years and they don't explain things very clearly. They just expect you know where/what things are.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

Only in the middle school I have ever had ANY communication from a teacher. In our 1.5 year in the HS, zero communication from teachers (I guess that's good? It's just different from our past schools). Only occasional emails from the HS admin regarding events/testing, etc. Zero communication from the HS "college" counselors. Depending on who you get as your counselor (by last name), be prepared to do the college stuff yourself with your kid.

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2. 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?

School seems to have enough instruments for kids to use (don't think there is a rental involved). Several kids who are serious about music have their own personal instruments, but the school has a very good band and orchestra program. No uniform fees, except for the tournament shirts the teams buy. If your kid is makes the tournament team for MS/HS, you will pay for any travel they need to do as they compete against other schools in India and the Middle East.

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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?

All the HS counselors are "college" counselors, but they see kids from grades 9-12. In our experience, they are not great but I'm really not sure if that's because they feel like they deal with unreasonable parents or they are just bad at their jobs. As we prepare to navigate the college admissions process with our oldest, neither of us is filled with confidence they know what they are doing, or that they can provide the guidance necessary.

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2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?

MS/HS has a very nice library, often filled with kids before/during/after school. They have plugs for laptops and several private study rooms. Parents can also use the library and check out books.

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3. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?

School provided kids in MS with an iPad, and HS with a MacBook air. They use them for everything.

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4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?

There is a gym, pool, a couple of fields, tennis courts, and an outdoor basketball court. It's a very nice campus.

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5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?

Small classes- biggest class was 20, smallest is 8. It depends on the course, but most classes are on the small side.

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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?

Yes, they offer some AP (and AP US History is one of the approved US history courses for American students to graduate), and the full IB diploma in 11/12. Students can opt to do the full IB, take some IB/AP, or none at all. Most kids do the full IB or a mix.

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7. Are students generally challenged appropriately by the curriculum? Please describe any particular strengths or weaknesses in this area. Do you have any thoughts how the curriculum is applied and implemented at this school?

10th science is struggling, because in our experience, the teachers are just... bad. We believe the admin is aware but nothing has changed so far.

Middle school is perhaps the BEST middle school either of my kids have ever attended, though there's the question every year of "does 8th grade adequately prepare kids for 9th?" The answer is mixed on that- kids get slammed with the amount of homework/study required in 9th, after not having much of anything in 8th. Again, admin is aware but nothing seems to change.

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8. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

In 8th grade, no. They should probably try to ramp it up slowly so the kids understand how different 9th grade is. Otherwise, yes, homework assignments are appropriate.

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9. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

They have a good music/choir program, good drama, visual arts program.

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10. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

AES is trying to be more inclusive for mild/moderate learning disabilities.

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11. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

They have a really good ESL program, as AES has around 30% Koreans who arrive knowing zero English.

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12. 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?

Lots of activities for all ages- after school clubs, activities, sports (swim, volleyball, baseball/softball, basketball, badminton, tennis, table tennis, Speech & Debate, MUN, Academic Games, Mathletes, soccer/football, probably a few more I'm forgetting).

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

1. What is the climate for LGBT+ kids at this school? Are there resources they can draw upon? Does there appear to be any exclusionary behavior?

There is an active LGBT+ club for kids at school, and they are well supported and accepted.

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2. What is the climate for children with special needs? Is there a general attitude of inclusion for children with special needs?

There are very few, but the ones that are there have mild/moderate special needs and are included.

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3. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?

Indians need to have left India for a specified period of time or have another passport available, so there are few Native Indians (most are British/American by birth).

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4. 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.

Nope. Safe school, minimal student issues. Probably some of the nicest kids mine have ever met.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?

B+. And yes, because it's really the only option here if your primary language is English. It's also the largest of the foreign schools in Delhi, so many students start at the British/French/German, then they come to AES. Would I chose to come to Delhi again? No, but it's not been a bad place for the kids to go to school.

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2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.

Major challenges my kids have experienced: a few unqualified HS teachers teaching subjects they shouldn't be

Highlights: making new friends, playing sports here, being challenged academically (that might be a highlight for me!). School is safe and welcoming, and my kids like it, which is important.

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3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!

It's not the best school we've ever attended, but certainly not the worst. The school has been proactive in mitigating the air pollution inside the school, and they do their best to manage it. They are in the process of hiring a new Director, who will hopefully change a few things that need tweaking at this school, to make it deserve the reputation it has worldwide.

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