Buenos Aires, Argentina Report of what it's like to live there - 07/18/12
Personal Experiences from Buenos Aires, Argentina
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?
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
I wish to discuss elements of the high school experience.I am not involved with the elementary or middle school at this time.
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?
Cnearly non-existent unless initiated by high school parent
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
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):
8. Administration-parent communication:
9. Teacher-student communication:
seems adequate - teachers use electronic system called Moodle to communicate assignments
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?
yes. The IB program at this small high school means that students have the same teacher for two years.Some of the teachers are great; others are not.Also, the 2nd half of the year for high school seniors is mostly a waste of time as the classes and teachers are entirely focused on AP/IB testing. No new curriculum is taught in most of the classes.The seniors have some senioritis, but the weak curriculum and lack of education do not help.Also, if your younger high school student has a teacher heavily involved in the IB program or IB/AP testing, he or she will learn very little the second semester of the year.One of my student's teachers was hardly ever present in the classroom during 2nd semester.My student learned almost nothing new 2nd semester and was very disappointed by the lack of teaching and learning.
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
The school does not have a special needs program as far as I know.You would need to check.For study skills and lesser issues, the high school has a learning specialist teacher who is very good at what she does to support students.
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
Yes. Program worked very well for special assistance with minor learning and study skills issues.
13. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:
I don't believe the school has a G&T program - you should check with the school.The high school pushes the IB program which has its weaknesses:it locks teachers and students into an inflexible two-year curriculum with hardly any extra time to discuss side topics that may arise, it focuses on testing results and meeting worldwide standards instead of education, and students are locked into the same schedule with the same weak or strong teachers for two full years.The IB program is a marketing tool.
14. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
There is a narrow band of options - one of each type.Each elective is taught by one teacher.Scheduling can be tricky due to the one elective/one teacher situation which is likely necessary because the high school is pretty small.
15. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
By the time your student fulfills their academic requirements, there won't be much time for many more course options.With a larger student body, the school could hire more teachers and have a few more options and more flexibility so your student could take additional courses that are often now not possible due to scheduling conflicts.The high school is pretty small; the classes and programs are probably relevant for the size.The high school should initiate a class for all second semester juniors and first semester seniors where they study for SAT/ACT tests, work on college essays, work together with students and with teachers to prepare college applications, etc.The high school should help students to prepare for college applications and testing and essays during class time.
16. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
sports and arts exchange trips and community services trips cost additional sums - usually between US$200 and US$500.Argentina is not an inexpensive country for travel, but all of these opportunities are great for getting out of the capital city and fun for participants.High schoolers do a one-week community service stint working in various rural communities and it is an excellent experience.
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
Sports for high schoolers that develop skills for all in a fun, balanced and supportive manner.Soccer is a main sport. Because Argentine schools don't have sports teams, there is not much play against other schools or sports clubs.There are sports exchanges once or twice a year with other regional American schools.High school boys' soccer is coached by contract coaches, non-teachers at the school.Weekly practices revolve around play between Lincoln high schoolers.The contract coaching staff does not succeed or is not trained in positive interaction with participants in a way that promotes skills and self-esteem for all and emphasizes health and well-being and fun.There is an over-emphasis on the outdated model of competition and playing only the best players.Favoritism and lack of transparency for student athletes selected for special games, exchanges or opportunities is an outcome.The high school administration does not get involved much in decisions made by the contract coaches, even when parents raise concerns.
18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
19. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
yes - the school is very friendly and supportive of new students
20. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:
The school is very social.Kids of all backgrounds seem to mix well.This may not be a problem, but be warned:Argentina is a late-night environment for house parties, many parties start at 1 a.m.Driving age is 17 and, thankfully, very few students have cars.Kids travel in hired cars to and from parties.Also, alcohol is frequently served at parties.
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?
C- college/career; A courses selection; family support - no experience
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
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?
these programs exist
7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
depends on the teacher/the high school administration should carefully monitor an overall high school schedule so that students are not tested with multiple tests on the same day or given large projects at times when they are busy with other major events such as IB project deadlines, trips, exchanges or the high school play, college applications, etc.
8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
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.
no - school is basically college prep.AP and IB classes theoretically offer a bit more challenge for more motivated students.
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?
there are some - it is not a wide range, probably due to the small size of the student body and participant numbers
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
yes - students of various cultures and backgrounds mix easily.The student body is a good mix of Argentines, expats from many countries, and North Americans.There doesn't appear to be any one group in the majority.
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 to my knowledge - anything like that is dealt with quickly.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
friendly - some great teachers - great campus and facility - great location - nice students from a myriad of cultures and backgrounds; friendly and supportive relations among students
2. Greatest challenge?
there are administrators and high school teachers who need new challenges - a number have been at the school for over a decade.Buenos Aires is a nice place to live, but the school would benefit from more frequent turnover and school staff would benefit from new challenges in new locations.Individual career/college counseling is deficient despite the fact that graduating classes are only 60-70 students, not of all whom go on to college.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Yes, because I sought an American curriculum and schedule.Argentine schools start in March and end in November which is tricky for those returning to the U.S. calendar.