Manila, Philippines Report of what it's like to live there - 08/06/13
Personal Experiences from Manila, Philippines
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?
Completed 1st grade.
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. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
B. There is plenty of communication to the parents from the school. There is a new family orientation is that helpful. They do placement testing and a meeting with the counselor (each student meets separately with the counselors, some siblings (maybe all?) have different counselors). I felt very supported at the beginning of school. A family I know wasn't able to schedule their own testings around their schedule, they had to bend to the school's schedule.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
The teachers and staff create an environment that is good for learning academic and life skills. They work with the parents to make sure the children are receiving a well-rounded education.
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:
This school prioritizes expat students, especially government families. There are local families there, but the student body is mostly international.
As far as I can tell treatment is equal to the whole student body once enrolled. I would give them an A to the enrolled population.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
B. The teachers give out their email addresses to the parents. They blog about their classes, on their own time. My son's teacher did it about weekly. I didn't get the level of communication regarding my son's learning that I would have preferred, but I didn't ask either.
4. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
A+. The after-school activity program at ISM is amazing for all ages. There's a wide range of activities: languages, sports, art, music, drama, etc. Most activities/sports for the ES are free, unless there's a supplies cost (e.g. art). The buses leave after the ES activities and the Middle/High School activities and do not require an extra fee.
5. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
A. The homework level for 1st grade was zero. If the child doesn't complete work at school then they can finish it at home, but it's not a requirement.
6. Administration-parent communication:
B-. There were times we thought we should have been communicated with and weren't. It improved, though, throughout the year.
7. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
8. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
9. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
Yes/No - lack of interest.
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?
A. The counselor we worked with was great with our son and was available to us if we needed him.
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+. The Community Media Center at ISM is beautiful with a large selection for all ages. The parents are also able to check out any of the books and take them home as well. There are computers with Internet available - though no Facebook or Google Mail is available.
3. 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 program for the ES covered gymnastics, sports, swimming, and other skills. My son isn't a natural PE person, but enjoyed many of the PE units last year.
4. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
B. There seems to be a 1:17-20 teacher student ratio. The grades do have teacher assistants that help with multiple classes.
5. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
6. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
A+. ISM Elementary has the children in art and music the whole year. The facilities and tools used in both art and music are abundant and seemed new-ish last year. The after-school program includes drama, even for young kids.
7. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Yes. All non-language instruction is done in English.
8. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
9. 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.
Not exclusion, but bullying and teasing is present, just as in every school around the world.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
The teachers/staff. They make the school experience amazing for students and families.
2. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Yes. It's a great experience in all areas. Even being on campus is peaceful in a hectic city.