Lisbon, Portugal Report of what it's like to live there - 10/28/16
Personal Experiences from Lisbon, Portugal
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?
2014-17: grades 6-8
2014-17: grades 10-12
3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Yes. American curriculum.
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?
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
newletters, on-line grade system. This system functions. The problem is when parents try to advocate for something special, a course offering, advanced classes etc.. the Director is not receptive and easily dismisses those requests. The Director has a similar attitude with teachers and many good American teachers leave. The Secondary Principal is very good but has little power to do anything.
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?
Field trips. Annually about 300-500 euros.
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?
American teachers also familiar with college application process and willing to help.
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Yes. Excellent librarian who makes excellent reading recommendations.
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
No lab, school issued laptops. Support just ok.
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
No pool or tennis courts. Excellent field, gym.
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?
IB, full diploma, but not required.
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?
In high school, not many elective choices. If you don't do IB, even worse.
Any time you have students who are not native English speakers, the challenge will diminish.
8. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
9. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
Choir, drama, art.
10. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
No. Had a big problem last year with a native German teacher teaching English class for 7th grade.
11. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
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?
Major sports. Clubs etc. Private providers also.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Some do. Reports of some local teachers giving preference to local students, urging them to "beat the Americans".
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.
The social pressure is intense. The majority of those in the high school stay out all night, anything goes. Reports of some coming directly to school after a night of clubbing. The school nurse assumes students who ask for a tylenol have a hangover. Very atheistic culture, even with some teachers.
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?
C, I would explore other school options more fully.
2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
Some teachers use condescension and shame to control students. I just witnessed a local teacher belittle my student in a parent teacher conference. My student told me this teacher was on her best behavior in the conference and it is much worse in class. Have had other experiences with teachers exhibiting weak character traits. Have also had some excellent teachers, who foster a rich learning environment.