Jerusalem, Israel Report of what it's like to live there - 09/12/14
Personal Experiences from Jerusalem, Israel
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?
Elementary and Middle 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)?
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Basically there are only 2 international school options in Jerusalem. I heard that bullying was an issue at the other school so I opted for JAIS.
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?
Yes. Very straight forward procedures. Nothing tricky.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Fortunately, this area is improving!! This year JAIS started the "Buddy Family" system so that each new family is partnered with a family that has been around for a year or so.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
The classes are small so ideal for optimal learning. The largest class we've had has consisted of 17 students. The teachers are approachable and willing to adjust to create a better learning environment.
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:
I never felt nor heard of inequitable treatment of students or families.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
This has been a positive aspect of JAIS. The teachers respond to emails and initiate communication if there is a problem.
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
There is no formal class for gifted students but due to the small class sizes, it is very possible for the teacher to adjust to meet the needs of those who excel. There is also a staff person who addresses the needs of those with learning difficulties.
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
This is one area where JAIS could definitely improve! This semester chess, tennis, soccer, baseball, yearbook, and school newspaper are offered.
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
Personally, the best way for me to gauge this is by my childrens' attitudes. They enjoy going to school and they are definitely learning!! One class decided that rather than read the standard 6 literature books, they would read 10 instead.
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
The school has a standard view -- 10 minutes per grade. So a 4th grader should have 40 min of homework. If it takes longer to do that, the teachers are willing to alter the homework to fit the child's individual needs.
8. Administration-parent communication:
The current head of school's motto is "Communication and Partnership". Yes, the administration is good at this!
9. Teacher-student communication:
This has been a positive issue. No troubles here.
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?
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
12. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
13. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
14. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
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?
Sadly, no counseling available.
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Another area that needs improvement. Yes, there is a library, but it is small.
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
Oh yes! Starting in 6th grade, each student must bring a laptop to school.
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
PE is one to three times a week depending upon grade level. Swimming is once a week for Kindergarten-5th grade.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
A definite advantage at JAIS is the small classroom sizes.
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, AP is available.
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)?
Art and music are required at all grade levels. Music is a daily class in middle and high school. It is 3 times a week in elementary school. Art is twice/week for all grade levels.
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 they are limited.
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.
No. Thankfully this has NOT been an issue at JAIS. What a blessing!!
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
Very much a family-feel among the students. The small teacher-student ratio.
2. Greatest challenge?
Library needs more books!!!
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Definitely, without question!