Asuncion, Paraguay Report of what it's like to live there - 07/30/13
Personal Experiences from Asuncion, Paraguay
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
I am a teacher by profession but do not teach at the school.
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
Middle School and 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)?
U.S. Government assignment.
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. 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:
2. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
3. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
4. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
There are after-school activities although very limited. Mostly sports, but they also have art, computers, and chess.
5. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
6. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
In elementary school other than the "big projects," the homework seems a good quantity and decent quality.
Middle School there is a TON, and often I wonder what purpose it serves.
7. Administration-parent communication:
8. 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, Math is a real weakness for the school. They have been working on it and are improving but they still struggle. Also because most of the students are native Spanish speakers, often writing will take a hit because they have to slow down for the non-native English speakers.
9. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
However, I know of several who do and the special needs support is far from sufficient. The teacher is Paraguayan and although fluent in English she does not meet U.S. standards in servicing students.
10. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
11. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
Yes, my children are involved in art and music every week. They also have a school play for High School, Middle School, and Elementary School. This has been a great opportunity for my kids!
12. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
Yes, every year they send the big kids on overnight field trips. It runs between US$100-$300. Also if you are involved in sports, the high school takes kids to Brazil every year to compete. Lastly they have been making strides to take the kids on academic competitions to other countries.
13. What activities do you feel are missing?
I think this is an area the school is trying to improve. It would be nice if they offered a track and field program, swimming, maybe even baseball (although I know this is not the U.S., we are an American school.) The kids could also benefit from classes like pottery, yoga, science experiments, photography, etc.
14. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
15. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
It was fair. I feel that the communication is lacking although they are improving.
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?
However the elementary school also has a full time aid in each class, but I have never seen him "help" the students (just doing paperwork and other projects to lessen the load for the teacher).
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?
7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
I have not found any of the homework to be too difficult, however there are times where I feel like a lot is being assigned. I wish they would be better quality but less quantity.
8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
They have art, music and drama but the influence is not as strong as sports.
9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Yes and No.
All teachers for core subjects are U.S. teacher (with the exception of one Canadian credential). However for other subjects, PE, music, art they have a mix, some from the U.S. and others from Paraguay. Also they have several Spanish instructors. All students get both Language Arts and Social Studies in Spanish everyday. Many of those teachers don't speak English.
10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
My kids qualify for G&T. However the school does not support it. We have hired our own tutors to try to fill that gap.
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?
I think that depends on the 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.
Yes. The school is 70% Paraguyan, so being an expat is hard to try to break into friendships. Bullying or being excluded is a problem and in many ways the school is trying to deal with it, but in others they turn a blind eye.
1. Would you choose this school again? Why?
I might be willing to choose this school again because we really like Paraguay, however I would not send my high schooler here. I would say that the education at this school in elementary and middle school are about what you would get in your average (maybe a bit above average) U.S. school. However, before moving here my kids went to two really, really great U.S. public schools and this one does not compare.