Pristina, Kosovo Report of what it's like to live there - 10/17/12
Personal Experiences from Pristina, Kosovo
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?
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?
A+ (I was impressed that the school sponsors "NEW PARENT COFFEE" mornings each term to welcome new families as they arrive.This makes the new families feel more at home and welcome!
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
Excellent class, native English speaking teacher who has her teaching certification from United Kingdom.The school is following the Common Core Curriculum (Massachusetts State Curriculum) and has spent a lot of money recently on new text books from the USA for Language Arts (Houghton Miflin) and Mathematics (EveryDay Math from University of Chicago) and Science (Scott Foresman) - excellent resources. Very positive class atmosphere, small class size (12 children currently in the class)and one teacher plus one assistant. No complaints whatsoever.Also the teacher is very good with parent-teacher communication and encourages parents to either send emails or meet with her whenever they have a question or concern.
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?
A The school is small and the Director sends out frequent newsletters and updates.Each class teacher sends out a monthly "newsletter" with details of classroom activities, Parents are encouraged to come to school to meet with Director or teachers whenever there is a concern.
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
A+ since the school is small, it is able to cater to learning differences, and teachers are able to "differentiate" to let children work on more advanced materials if appropriate.There is also a well established program of tutoring and extra help for children who need extra support.
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
A (Homework is assigned for all Elementary classes, with the standard being about 20 minutes-30 minutes for 1st grade, and slightly more as the children are older)
8. Administration-parent communication:
A (See above) The school is a non-profit NGO, so the parents are very involved in the day-to-day activities at the school and are involved in the extra-curricular activities as well
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?
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:
14. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
Yes, there are five "Special"classes which are offered twice per week in Elementary grades, they include MUSIC, ART, P.E, ICT (Computer technology ) and FRENCH.I was surprised at the amount and quality of these non-core classes.All of the teachers have specialized training in the above.
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?
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
Yes, our son has enjoyed the extra activities of DRAMA, DANCE, CHOIR, "Homework Club" , After School PE and others.
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?
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
AThe Library currently has over 2,000 Books in English which have been purchased in the US and UK. There is an on-going effort to add new books to the Library.
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
Athe school offers a ICT program.The computer room has 12 desk top computers, so there is one computer terminal per child. Children from Kindergarten up take ICT class twice per week.
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+ The PE Teacher is one of the favorites at the school, he is a young, former professional Basketball player (he played on the international team in Iceland!)He puts emphasis on general fitness, and the kids love running his "obstacle courses"that he sets up on the playground.He also teaches Basketball, Football (Soccer) and other sports.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
A+(Ratio is strictly held to 6 children per 1 adult, so the largest classes are only 12 children with 1 teacher and 1 teacher's assistant)
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?
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 school offers "After School Activities" including private piano lessons, Choir, drama, homework club, language classes for French, German, Albanian- and more.
9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Yes, all of the teachers (as of this year, 2012)are required to take an English Language course , and all teachers are taking an English Proficiency exam given by the BRITISH COUNCIL, to ensure that all teachers speak and write at a proficient level
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 (see above)
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?
International Learning Group was started as a small school to meet the needs of International (ex-pats) who were working in Kosovo.As such it has grown over the years to become a warm and welcoming school, with children from more than 30 nationalities.The teachers and staff are enthusiastic and committed to providing a nurturing and positive environment, and the parents/ family community is very supportive and involved.
2. Greatest challenge?
The size of the school is growing year by year, so there are issues of growing the staff to keep up with the children for example a 5th grade will probably be offered next year.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Absolutely yes. It has been a pleasure to see our son enjoying his school, both the academic and social aspects.The feeling of the school is very positive and I am happy that we chose to send him to ILG.