Pristina, Kosovo Report of what it's like to live there - 03/24/14
Personal Experiences from Pristina, Kosovo
International Learning Group
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. 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)?
I work for an NGO.
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
I had read good reviews about the school. Also the Director has a background in Montessori education, which even though the school is not Montessori, created some confidence that the basic philosophy behind the school would be compatible.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
The Director was extremely accommodating and fully available to answer questions before I registered and during an accelerated departure from the U.S. So, I truly appreciated that, and the flexibility to accommodate my twins in an almost full class. What was lacking was a basic information sheet describing what the kids needed to bring with them, logistical matters, etc.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
My boys are always happy when they come home from school. The environment seems relaxed and calm with appropriate discipline. There are 13 children in the classroom and they all get along very well. The boys are excited about what they are learning and doing in school.
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:
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
Given the small size of the school, there is a decent amount of after school activities. There are not many spaces though. I did not recall seeing after school activities that are athletic/physical oriented, which I would like.
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
I think this is a challenge of having native a English speaker mixed with non-native/new learners of English (might be less of an issue at older grades) but the teacher has made some effort to do extra work with the students who are ready. But my kids are re-learning some things they covered last year. It is hard for me to comment extensively here, but based on my observations and comments from other parents, there is room for improvement here.
7. Administration-parent communication:
Frequent e-mails and newsletters about events etc. and minutes from Board meetings.
8. Teacher-student communication:
9. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
10. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
Academics & Resources:
1. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
For pre-K, they have library every Friday and the kids are able to pick out a book to take home. They are assisted in finding appropriate level books.
2. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
PE is twice a week outside on the playground. If it is raining, then they have a space indoors for PE which is great.
3. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
4. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
Even in pre-K, they have art and music class.
5. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
6. 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.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
Class size, physical premises
2. Greatest challenge?
Overall, the small size of the school creates some limits as to what can be offered.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Yes. Although the school is a "young" school, the parents and administration are highly committed to nurturing it and improving the academics and extra-curriculars. There is a level of investment in teacher education that I think is appropriate and will go a long way to strengthening the academic instruction at the school. The teachers and staff are all very nice and committed to creating a positive environment at the school. It is challenging to teach in a school where children are constantly changing, coming from different school systems and speaking different languages and I think they do a good job of balancing that. The physical premises are very nice and I love the emphasis on outdoor play and PE. At the end of the day, my kids love to go and enjoy learning, which is very important at their age.