Vilnius, Lithuania Report of what it's like to live there - 05/14/13
Personal Experiences from Vilnius, Lithuania
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?
Nursery and early elementary.
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. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
B. There is an orientation for new families before school starts, along with a welcome back coffee and family picnic, right at the beginning of the year. These are good ways to meet other families and staff. There could perhaps be a bit more support for new families, but overall I think it is pretty good.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
The climate is good. Both of my children really enjoy their classes, teachers and classmates. They also like the "extra" classes such as music, library, computers and PE.
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:
B. I have not noticed a big difference between the way expats are treated and the way local students and families are treated.
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:
B. This is growing year by year, and the school is very open to suggestions from parents about adding a specific activity.
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
B. In my child's elements class I feel the academic expectations are high. Overall, I think the standards for behavior could be higher, or perhaps just better inforced.
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
Homework starts in first grade. I felt it was a manageable amount. I have heard that the load increases, especially around fifth grade.
8. Administration-parent communication:
B. Good, but could be even better.
9. Teacher-student communication:
My elementary student seems to feel comfortable talking to her teacher.
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?
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
12. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
13. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
Sometimes we have paid a very small fee for a field trip, but for the most part the school covers everything.
14. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
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?
B. Library is well stocked for our purposes, and there seem to be plenty of books for older students, too. A wide variety.
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
I can't really speak to the whole program. I know my child really likes the computer class.
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
A. My older child really loves the PE teacher, and it seems like the program really pushes them to be active.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
B+. This varies from class to class. All younger grades have a teacher and an assistant, but class size varies.
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. The school recently became an IB school, but I do not have first-hand experience with this part of the school.
7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Yes, in my specific experience.
8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
A. My kids are very happy with the electives...music, art, PE, library and computers.
9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
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?
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
It really depends. That hasn't been our experience, but I know many other expat kids who regularly socialize with local kids.
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.
No, we have not experienced this at all, and I can't ever recall hearing about such an experience.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
The small size means that changes can be implemented quickly. Since the school is still growing, parents can have great input in shaping the school.
2. Greatest challenge?
Our space. The school is very full, but I know the board and the administration are working hard to solve this issue!
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Yes, both of our children have been very happy at this school. They have learned a lot and made great friends.