Tegucigalpa, Honduras Report of what it's like to live there - 03/06/23

Personal Experiences from Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Tegucigalpa, Honduras 03/06/23

School Name:

Discovery School

Background Information:

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


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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?

Middle school 2022

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3. What years did you live here?


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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 two main international schools that US government children attend. We chose Discovery for their activities and it felt SO MUCH MORE comfortable and welcoming than AST.

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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?

We had great communication from the school. They arranged a tour for the entire family (we had 4 school-age children at post) and let us know how to complete testing to ensure accurate placement. I felt that the testing was really just a requirement to convince the parents that they take the students education very seriously and to scare you into the possibility that your student just may not meet their standards. Ha!

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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 were very supportive and very welcoming. Teachers chatted with us as we passed by on the tour, everyone smiled at the school (students and teachers). It just felt so welcoming!

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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?

I was hugely disappointed with the communication as none of the teachers reached out to me when my child was struggling. We did not realize it until the end of the term and they still gave our child good grades for absolutely zero work and effort. Hugely inflated grades that affected us the following year at the new school because our student was sooooooooooooooo far behind. Incidentally, we felt that the placement test at the beginning of the year was quite meaningless.

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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?

After-school activities all had costs associated. The elementary and middle school sports teams met early Saturday morning so our child opted out. The students provided their own laptops.

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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 appeared to be excellent counseling resources. Our student was in middle school so we did not spend much time with the college counselor, only met briefly and she seemed well-informed about global educational opportunities. Our student probably needed academic counseling and we were disappointed this was not recommended.

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

There was a very nice library with current new releases. My early middle school child brought home quite a few novels with pretty explicit sex scenes (think Sex and the City explicit) and we were a little surprised that these were regularly checked out to 11 year old students.

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

The students bring their own laptop. Parental controls must be turned off which made it a little difficult to monitor usage.

The students were on Google chat all day long. All. Day. Long.

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

We did not see a computer lab, my student did not use one, but I don't know if it exists. Discovery took COVID precautions to the absolute max and shut down large portions of their school and services. They are still masking when all other schools have been allowed to unmask for 6 months.

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5. 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 great outdoor gym, nice playgrounds, and other courts. The school is very open and encourages the use of the outdoor space.

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

Maybe 1:10

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7. 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, AP. I don't believe they offer IB.

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8. 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. Absolutely not. My student arrived with strong standardized test scores and well-developed as a student. We were not required to exert any effort, no homework, limited classwork, no studying. My student began the next school year at a school for struggling students so they could try to recover the lost year at Discovery.

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

I approve of the "no homework" mentality but I do not approve of the "If you didn't understand it in class, we'll give you a B anyways" mentality. Otherwise the work was age appropriate but DEFINITELY not challenging or advanced.

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

They had music classes and art classes. I don't remember any drama, but may have missed it.

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

Yes, fluently

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

I am not aware of any.

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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.

I was not made familiar with any services and would be surprised if they existed at all.

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14. 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?

Basketball, volleyball, etc. I believe the activities were very limited during our time there due to COVID restrictions.

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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?

There was one student in the middle school who was openly LGBT+ and loved to talk about it in detail. The school accepted this behavior and none of the students seemed to exclude this student...if anything it seemed to be the reverse. I have great confidence that the school would be open to LGBT+ students and willing to offer resources as needed.

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

Yes the socialization was quite integrated, as far as the students are concerned. Kids are kids and are always happy to meet new kiddos!

My student arrived after the year began and felt excluded from the Spanish class because they were behind. There was no effort to help make up this lack of knowledge, instead we were sent to the library to kill time instead of joining any Spanish class.

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3. 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. There is definitely hostility between some local students and the international students. The students who can afford the private international schools in Honduras have parents who are well connected with government and the other groups that dominate the local population. These students take great pride in their place in society and tend to be very aware of the social class order that exists in Honduras. This problem was not limited to Discovery, we saw it at other schools also.

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4. What can you say about diversity among the faculty and staff at the school and their experience in supporting minority students?

Very limited diversity among faculty and staff while we were there.

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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?

D. We absolutely would not choose it again.

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

We made friends quickly.

We enjoyed the campus.

We did not learn any Spanish.

We received inflated grades, more so than the usual grade inflation seen at international schools.

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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!

Lots of parents like Discovery but it seems to be on the "ebb" side of "ebb and flow" right now. Give it a couple years and that will change, as is the norm with these international schools.

Compared to AST, the students seem to be more comfortable in their own skin and less restricted at school. However, the academic performance seems to be less than AST, as well.

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