Manila, Philippines Report of what it's like to live there - 09/22/21
Personal Experiences from Manila, Philippines
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
I am student, my parents are helping though.
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
I'm in tenth grade now, I joined in ninth grade.
3. What years did you live here?
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Yes, there is a British School but most students go to ISM.
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, I took a placement test when I arrived at post, but most of my classes were different from the results I got from that. The requirements for admissions were spelled out pretty clearly on the website and via email with administrators.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Most of the support I got regarding the school was through embassy kids. I was assigned a buddy by the school but it wasn't all that helpful. We did arrive right in the middle of the pandemic, so the school was probably just as confused as I was.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
A lot of teachers send out regular emails, most administrators are free to be contacted and are responsive. The principals send regular emails regarding school activities as well as things like the school newspaper.
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?
There are uniforms, but we've been online since we got here so there was no use for them except for yearbook photos and band recordings occasionally. Even now it is possible to rent instruments, I've heard through band class, but I had my own so I don't know the specifics. Yearbooks cost about the same as in a US school, they seem really high quality, they are mostly created by students.
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?
The counselors for juniors and seniors have experience with university applications and know about schools worldwide. The counselors are also there for any questions, I used mine for changing classes (which can mostly just be done first 2 weeks but it depends) and each grade has about 2 counselors.
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Being online, I've never been to the library but if I need a book for class or otherwise, you can email a request and have it picked up by and adult. There's also online libraries and resources for research purposes.
3. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
High school needs their own laptop, especially now everyone needs a device to attend zoom classes and for work. A working camera, mic and wifi is important to many teachers. In high school during some tests two devices are required to show the student's face as well as their workspace, a phone works fine for this.
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
Having been to the school once for testing, seeing images on google maps and hearing from other students, I've heard that there are two pools and kiddie pool, at least two gyms, tennis courts and outdoor field and covered indoor field.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
It depends on the class and the asynchronous students, but usually it's about 1:20.
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?
This is an IB school but there is an option not to do the IB diploma. There are also AP classes, which can be taken starting 9th grade as far as I known. The majority of the school does the IB diploma so resources for anything else is limited. They use IB grading which is 1-7.
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?
I felt appropriately challenged, the majority of students are very smart so the classes tend to be challenging for them.
8. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Homework dependent on the level of class. A lot of teachers just assign homework as finish what you didn't in class, but sometimes there are projects and essays.
9. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
In high school there are two sections for arts but they include classes on different levels, like band, dance, choir, film, drama, photography, digital graphics and animation, explore art, character design. There's many others, these are just the ones I know of.
10. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
All my teachers speak English, I'm not sure if it's a requirement but all the students speak at least some English, first language or not.
11. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
They are available, but I haven't used them.
12. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
There are assistants who attend some classes to help with English as a second language, but I don't have much experience with this.
13. 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?
Since we've been online there aren't any sports but there are some clubs. At the beginning of the year there is a club expo and most clubs will accept new members most times during the year.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. What is the climate for LGBT+ kids at this school? Are there resources they can draw upon? Does there appear to be any exclusionary behavior?
The school is inclusive, they have a GSA club that is pretty popular here.
2. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
It's hard to interact through online school but there isn't separation between the two, I would just say that the expatriate kids know each other better and the local kids know each other better.
1. 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?
I would grade it a B, my parents would grade it a B-, we would not choose it again since there hasn't been a single day of in person school since the beginning of the pandemic. It is a decent school though.
2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
Challenges would include having social interactions with students outside of class, online school seems to be causing issues here. Some highlights might be some of the classes I took, I enjoyed my arts classes, photography, digital graphic design and animation and band. Math was fun since the format worked for online school and in Honors English (first semester 9th grade) I learned a lot and was very challenged.
3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
It's hard being new but most of the people who are here now are in the same boat, people who've been here a year longer than us have only gotten half a year in person and a lot of people haven't ever been into school. We hear it's a really nice facility and lovely school, we hope you get to experience it!