Vienna, Austria Report of what it's like to live there - 06/06/11
Personal Experiences from Vienna, Austria
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, middle and high 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:
High School is good to go, have an excellent curriculum.Middle School is wanting and has bullying situations that go unchecked.Elementary School lacks a consistent curriculum from teacher to teacher.
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?
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:
Depends on which school.High School excellent; Middle School, again, below average; Elementary School depends on teacher--some excellent, some horrible.
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:
Yes.Middle school was poor; teachers tended to be "old school" and did not accommodate special needs.High School and Elementary School (depending on Elementary teacher) were excellent.AIS makes a point to tell you they are not set up for special needs.
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
Depends on which school.HS yes, MS no, ES depends on teacher.
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?
No. but the music and strings department is worth the lack of other opportunities.
15. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
Special needs in MS.
16. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
Yes, lots.Every trip costs between 150-400 Euro, depending on whether the child is going to Munich or Istanbul.School athletic uniforms cost money.
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
American Football.Baseball at the school.Baseball is held downtown Vienna at Prater park.
18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
19. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
20. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:
School is very, very reluctant to take action against Austrian parents in bullying situations.The school seems more concerned about possibly losing tuition money and donations than safety of students at times.
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?
High school has the best resources for support.
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?
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)?
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?
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Depends.The Austrians tend to stick together and many do not include those whose tuition is being paid by a company or foreign government.
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.
Yes.Mostly by the Austrian local students.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
Academics at HS and ES (depending on teacher).
2. Greatest challenge?
Lack of continuing education for tenured teachers, administration that does not respond to needs of the children, drugs and alcohol use among students with lack of accountability from school.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Yes, because it is still the best international school in Vienna.