Vientiane, Laos Report of what it's like to live there - 04/27/12
Personal Experiences from Vientiane, Laos
Vientiane International School
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?
EY and Grade 2
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)?
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?
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
great, dynamic teachers and happy student, with motivated school principal and hard working primary principal. Parents are mostly very supportive and organise a good range of fun events for the primary students over the year. As it is a small school (approx. 380 students EY-12, secondary students often help with activities for primary students.
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:
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
8. Administration-parent communication:
9. Teacher-student communication:
10. Academics, answer the following questions "yes" or "no" with an explanation if appropriate:<br><br>Are there any classes or subjects where students are not appropriately challenged?
yes, level of foreign languages is basic; however school has several mother-tongue programs (financed in addition to the school fees by parents)
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
no, I heard from other families that they wish more support from teachers. School lately has made some progress, but it still depends on the homeroom teacher how involved the school gets.
13. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:
14. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
the Art/Performance center is under construction and will be finished in August 2012, so improvements can be expected
15. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
more foreign languages
16. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
all regular ones are included in the fees, however sport, cultural exchanges within neighbouring countries is to be paid in addition
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
Yes with great pleasure
19. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
Yes, support for new students and parents is great. If needed due to language barriers even same language buddies are organised.
20. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:
Some of the families are very rich and others are at school beacuse the employer pays the fees. So for activities outside school this can create some exclusion.
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?
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
6. 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?
A (full IB with PYP, MYP and DP)
7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
yes, only native English speakers or teachers with high level of English. Teacher Assistants English level is varying, but generally very good for Lao context.
10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
no, no idea
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?
Yes, great selection mainly for primary students. After school life for secondary is a bit limited.
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. There is often little interaction outside of school between neighbourhood kids and VIS students due to the lack of language. Improvements are done with the VIS sister school (a very poor neighbourhood school)
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?
A fabulous principal, motivated teachers and a bunch of fantastic parents who make that you feel home in Laos immediately when having kids at school.
2. Greatest challenge?
Incredible heat and heavy rains when doing outdoor activities
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?