Tbilisi, Georgia Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia 10/11/20

Background Information:

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

I worked in a leadership position in the elementary PYP IB section.

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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?

Elementary

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3. What years did you live here?

2020-current

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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)?

Government

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

Yes- my children attend QSI. I took this job as an educator looking to continue my IB expereince.

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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?

No- often families seem confused on the process for admission.

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

Again not great. Often new parents and staff seem unaware of mission and basic procedures.

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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?

Poor. Leadership does not directly communicate with parents. All parents are given the phone number of a teaching assistant to facilitate communication.

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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?

Yes- uniforms. Your fees pay for the bare minimum of resources. There is limited access to devices and the library is majorly Georgian books.

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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?

Not sure for upper grades. It seems that only half of the staff is trained in working with students of different learning styles or needs.

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

Included aftercare that turns the teacher into a babysitter from 3-5. Therefore those teachers are not allowed to use that time as planning as they are in most schools. There is no before care.

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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?

Yes- it is very small. Most of the resources are in the Georgian language. The librarian herself is fantastic but the library is not well resourced for supporting the IB curriculum

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

They have a computer and robotics lab that the students can access- however not much else is well resourced.

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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?

None

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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?

There is a gym and tennis courts but no playground.

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

12 to 1

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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?

yes- but it does not use outside assessments.

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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?

No, the school teaches using old strategies and works from workbooks. A handful of teachers have training in the IB but often the school is unable to keep international staff. There are some great Georgian teachers but in my experience, they are often unsupported to initiate change.

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

No- all grades are given homework which consists of additional pages from a workbook.

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

nothing after school. There is music and art class.

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

no

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13. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

None.

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

Parents are required to provide additional services

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

Parents are required to provide additional services

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

There is English support after school- usually a firm grammar lesson.

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17. 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 sports, language, and tech

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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?

Not good. It is a religious atmosphere and I know of a teacher who was let go last year because parents learned she was a lesbian. Additionally this year a teacher was told she could not refer to her partner in staff meetings because of possible gossip.

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2. What is the climate for children with special needs? Is there a general attitude of inclusion for children with special needs?

Not good. If your child is a different learner in any way I would choose another school.

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

They integrate well in elementary. Currently, there are no native English-speaking students attending.

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4. 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.

There are issues with special status for both teachers and students.

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Overall Impressions:

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?

F. I would not send my children here. I worked here and many of the staff are lovely but in my experience, it seems that leadership is not interested in good education or supporting teachers. The main concern is a profit.

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

If your child learns differently I beg you to look elsewhere. If you are looking for IB, you should not come to Georgia.

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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!

I cannot recommend this school. I would encourage parents to look elsewhere.

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