Pristina, Kosovo Report of what it's like to live there - 01/11/20

Personal Experiences from Pristina, Kosovo

Pristina, Kosovo 01/11/20

School Name:

Prishtina High School

Background Information:

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

Parent

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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?

3rd and 7th

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

NGO

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

There are others and we have tried a few. Prishtina High School (PHS) is the best fit option for our family. PHS provides a more nurturing environment and my children have flourished there.

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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?

Yes. The PHS website is very informative and all administrative staff are readily available via phone or email.

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

Before transitioning to PHS, we had a lot of questions about academics and teacher recruitment and longevity. The PHS staff were available to us and always replied to emails promptly. Our concerns were treated seriously and we always received information needed for our decision making.

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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?

Teachers and staff communicate primarily through email, which is more than fine with us. We receive weekly updates from individual teachers as well as from the school director. Further, PHS uses 'Renweb' online which provides up-to-date information regarding administrative, ongoing studies, homework, projects, progress reports, etc., so that we parents have access whenever we like. This application answers most questions which can arise during the school year.

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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?

Approximate costs vary from grade to grade. We've experienced minimal costs outside of regular tuition.

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Academics & Resources:

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

We do not have need of 'Daycare', however there are many after-school activities/clubs which can be taken advantage of at additional costs.

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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?

The PHS Library is a great tool and available to all students attending. Books/materials can be checked-out by students and the selection is pretty good.

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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?

PHS has a computer lab and has recently purchased many laptops for student use.

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

PHS does have an IT Section and a computer lab.

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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?

PHS has a gym and an outdoor PE field/area.

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

7th grade = 11 students per class, with students rotating to different classrooms, each being taught by one teacher. 3rd grade = 13 students with one homeroom teacher responsible for Math, English, Science and Social Studies, and additional teachers for Albanian Language and Art, Music and Drama.

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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?

My children are challenged daily and I believe their learning needs are being met.

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

3rd grade, yes. With the 7th grade, I believe the homework is a bit much and could be scaled back while still meeting the requirements for individual learning and lesson plans.

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

Music, Drama, Visual Arts are all available.

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

Yes.

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

PHS teaches primarily in Eglish Language and offers Albanian Language classes to all students as a required subject.

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12. 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?

Many after-school activities are available with most being at extra cost.

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

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

Yes.

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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.

One of our children experienced 'bullying' in the previous year, however when brought to the attention of PHS administration, all appropriate efforts were made and the issue was resolved adequately.

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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.

Our children have flourished while attending PHS and they actually love this school! They have both improved academically and enjoy their time spent at PHS. I think that speaks volumes about PHS, the environment offered and the school staff as well.

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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?

Overall I would give it an A, but we have experienced issues with teacher 'turn-over' during the school year. Being Expats ourselves, we certainly understand contractual issues associated with working abroad and the strains that such opportunities can impose on one's family life. I do wish though that PHS hiring managers would focus a bit more on 'longevity' requirements for recruited teachers. The instability for students associated to changing teachers during the school year is just not necessary and can only be considered as a negative for all involved, especially the students. Having said that, this was also an issue at previous international schools which we have attended.

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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!

We've tried other very popular schools in Pristina, Kosovo and none of them compare to PHS. We're quite satisfied with PHS and we plan on our children staying with them so long as we are located in Kosovo.

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