Brussels, Belgium Report of what it's like to live there - 11/08/11
Personal Experiences from Brussels, Belgium
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?
Kindergarten, fifth 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)?
Associated with the US Embassy to the EU and the US Mission to NATO
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?
All arranged by the Embassy
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
A: Very supportive, good communication with parents on a daily basis. Special meeting for new parents and students
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
My kindergatener had a wonderful time while at the school. The school is located in a wonderful spot, the main administrative area is housed in an old building called the chateau, really nice.The kids had plenty of resources for all sort of activities. My fifth grader also a great time at the school, she did 3th and 4th grade there as well and has wonderful memories of her friends and teachers
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:
A: The school welcomes expats with arms open, in fact they underscore the fact that they have kids from 70 different nationalities. Cultural diversity is valued highly.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
B: Good teacher-parent communication, parents were always welcome in the classroom
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
Not familiar with these services
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
B: There is a variaty of after school programs, we tried them initially but did not stay because our daughter was not very interested. I would say I was not that impressed with the programs
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
B: Homework was more interesting as the kids were entering higher grades in elementary school. Our kindergartener had no homework at all which we missed thinking about establishing good habits, we ended up giving him some homework at home
8. Administration-parent communication:
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, my kids are interested in music and the program is really good
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?
There are no additional fees daily trips however for annual higher grade trips the fees are very resonable and the experience really nice for the kids
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
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:
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?
A: Library was big and welcoming. While we were there they reorganized it. This was my daughter's favorite place, she was even able to check out books for the summer vacation, which was very helpful. The had nice bookfairs as well. The librarian was wonderful.
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?
B: Good specific facilities for different sports, we missed not having school swimming pool
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
B: Many classes, about 4 to 5 per grade, with up to 25 to 30 kids per class
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?
Not familiar with these services but know they are available
7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Yes for higher grades
8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
A: The music department is very nice, my daugther starter her musical interest with solid basis because of their good programs
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?
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.
Note at all, at the elementary level the school offers a very nice and safe social environment
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
2. Greatest challenge?
Teachers, infrastructure, location, diversity
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
I will because our experience was very positive, our kids loved it