Beijing, China Report of what it's like to live there - 03/02/21

Personal Experiences from Beijing, China

Beijing, China 03/02/21

Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

Parent of two kids attending WAB.

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

2017 to present. Middle school and high school.

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3. What years did you live here?

2017 to present

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4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?


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5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?

There are many schools to choose in Beijing. We choose WAB because it is a full IB school and an international student body.

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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?

It was easy to apply online. The admissions officer was very responsive and helpful.

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

They do a good job but you will get more out of the school if you get involved: Attend the parent coffees, join the class WeChat groups and volunteer. Many compounds also have unoffical WAB family WeChat groups which are also helpful.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

They send out a weekly newsletter, there are class or grade level WeChat groups and teachers or mentors email parents as needed. Less so the other the child.

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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?

No uniforms and gym suits are provided by the school. Laptops are needed in grade 6 and up. Instruments are provided to those in band/orchestra, field trips like WAB Wild and China studies are free but if your high school child is on certain sports teams that travel outside of Beijing, there is a cost associated with that.

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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?

There are four college counselors at the high school - one Kenyan, two Americans and a Canadian. They are familiar with admissions worldwide.

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2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?

There is no before or after school daycare.

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3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?

All three levels of the school have their own library, well stocked and updated often. Kids and parents can borrow books.

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4. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?

It is very helpful. The school is also an Apple Care site and can fix most problems. Buy the Apple Care! The school has loaners while your child's is being repaired.

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5. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?

Kids in grade 6 and up need MacBooks. The school will upload needed software for various classes prior to the start of the school year.

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6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?

All three levels of the school have gyms, there is an indoor swimming pool, large playing field with astroturf and a bubble with tennis courts that is also used on bad weather days for pe.

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7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?

In middle school and up it is 18 to 1, but in the high school that drops to a lower number for some classes. One of my kids has an IB class with only 3 students and really enjoys it.

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8. 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?

WAB is a full IB school though the full IB diploma is not required of all students. There are four paths to graduation, WAB high school diploma, Capstone, Full IB or IB certificates in some courses.

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9. 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?

My kids have enjoyed almost all of their classes.

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10. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

WAB may give slightly less homework than some of the other schools. I appreciate this as my kids can get their CAS hours done and just generally be less stressed out.

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11. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

Music, drama, art, film. There is a yearly play and musical in the high school.

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12. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

Almost all teachers are native English speakers, except the Chinese department of course.

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13. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

WAB can provide a variety of services to students with learning disabilities, including pull out classes, push in support services and a variety of modifications and accommodations. The school works hard to personalize the school experience for each child’s needs, so parents should contact the school to see what can be arranged.

WAB has well staffed student support programs in K through 12, including EAL specialists, Learning Support specialists, an Educational Psychologist and a low counselor to student ratio.

WAB is also currently developing an Enriched Inclusion program to serve students with higher levels of need, beyond the mild to moderate level that is normally served at an international school.

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14. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

WAB has an accessible campus and is willing to make further adjustments to serve the physical needs of those with disabilities. Currently there is one blind student and significant work was done to make the campus even more accessible.

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15. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

WAB has ESL classes at all levels.

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16. 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?

My kids have done badminton, ultimate frisbee, softball, tennis and art club as well as lunch time clubs like Roots and Shoots, Zero Waste Club andPodcast Club.

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

1. What is the climate for LGBT+ kids at this school? Are there resources they can draw upon? Does there appear to be any exclusionary behavior?

Very accepting of LGBT+ kids at WAB. There is a club and an LGBT+ Day of celebration.

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2. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?

There are no local passport holder kids at WAB, but there are of course Chinese kids. My kids say they speak Chinese at times with their friends, but not during class and are social with other groups. Same for the Korean kids.

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Overall Impressions:

1. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.

I am not sure they loved middle school but who does anywhere in the world?! They have really both come into their own in the high school.

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2. 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?

A, we extended so both kids could graduate.

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3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!

WAB has a warm and friendly environment and a really nice international feel.

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