Guangzhou, China Report of what it's like to live there - 05/10/21
Personal Experiences from Guangzhou, China
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. What years did you live here?
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Yes. List of schools: http://guangzhou-expat.com/international-schools-in-guangzhou/
We heard that American International School of Guangzhou (AISG) was one of the best before our arrival to Guangzhou. Also, many American consulate families send their kids to AISG.
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?
Poor. First of all, we arrived to Guangzhou unusual time due to pandemic, and the school wasn’t prepared to welcome new kids. When my child complained that he didn’t have access to certain resources, the teacher dismissed it . It seemed like the teacher kept assuming he was a returning student.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Personally I didn’t have serious issues. However, a few families complained for lack of reporting and communication between two sets of parents when bullying happened.
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?
We have to buy PE uniform. I don’t remember how much we paid. It wasn’t much.
Academics & Resources:
1. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Elementary school library is very small. I was surprised that this elementary school doesn’t have much space for library considering that the consulate pays a lot of money. In a couple of years when they finish building part of the middle school campus, they are planning to move 3,4 and 5th graders there. Maybe then they will have a bigger library. Kids can borrow books to read at home.
3. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
They use iPads in a classroom. To be honest, I don’t like that my second grader uses iPad for writing assignments and as a result teacher’s assistant helps to finish writing assignment. I strongly disagree with this approach. I want my child to use paper instead of iPad for writing class. I think second graders need to work on handwriting and spelling.
4. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
5. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
No swimming pool. No tennis court. Playing field is small. They have gym.
6. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
1 to 21
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?
I have heard that the art teacher wants 4-5th graders to use Adobe publisher for art assignments (why kids are not allowed actually enjoy creating on a piece of paper?).
I think most local students have extra math classes after school, therefore they are fast in solving math problems. And new kids feel upset and discouraged. And it appears that teachers don’t help new students catch up or contact parents to let them know that their child possibly needs extra help at home. In my experience, it seems that sometimes local kids are not kind to a new student because new student is not as fast as local kids to solve math problem.
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)?
Music. However I think the elementary school is not appropriately equipped. One of the music videos they prepared for zoom parent -teacher conference was students drumming on the floor.
10. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
As far as I know all teachers speak English.
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?
They have extracurricular activities, but again no resources. My second grader at a STEAM class and a neighbor’s fourth grader at a “nothing cooler than absolute zero” class are both building bridges from straws (sigh).
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.
It appears that bullying is a big issue. I have heard of several families in the community complaining about bullying and that the school administration dismissed most complaints . I know two families who pulled their children from school because of bullying.
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?
Maybe C. I am not sure if choose it again.
2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
My child is smart. I don’t think there are challenges. But because of writing strategies at school, I feel that I need work on his writing skills during summer time.
3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
I find AISG to be overrated. I didn't think that many teachers support new students and I found that some do not communicate issues to parents.