Moscow, Russia Report of what it's like to live there - 12/01/12
Personal Experiences from Moscow, Russia
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?
2nd & 3rd grade.5th and 6th grade.
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?
A - as far as I can tell
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
A+ - excellent assemblies and open-houses before school starts to familiarize students/parents with the school policy and curriculum.
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 to F with comments:
B+ -- I've been very pleased overall with the treatment, education, and opportunities my children have received at AAS.
2. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
The younger grades 2-3, the school is excellent.My daughter is getting a more rigorous curriculum than we received in Maryland.I feel she's getting a more comprehensive and useful education.She has had wonderful, caring, teachers.The classes have been managed well with a great environment.5th grade was difficult for my son, as his teacher was trying to "prepare" the kids for the rigors of junior high.It made for a very stressful year.6th grade is a part of middle school, here.Middle school has been demanding, but very good for my son.His teachers communicate well with us.There are many, many extracurricular activities for kids of all ages.Sports teams are available.The school cafeteria, gym, pool, and library are open to all families of the school.
3. 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:
C+.Originally the Anglo-American School was limited to children of the British, Canadian, and US Embassies.A Few years ago they opened enrollment to Russians as well -- great source of income for the school.It is a mark of prestige for the Russians to send their kids to AAS or the British School.The administration appears hesitant to punish or regulate Russian students for fear of offending their rich, powerful parents.It's not to the extent of injuring the Anglo-students, though.
4. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
A+teachers respond quickly to emails.Teacher have always been willing to meet with me, whenever necessary.Parent-teacher conferences constantly.
5. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
A - My son has some challenges.The school was VERY helpful.He even got to take Occupational Therapy classes once a week during school-time.It was expensive - $2000 for the year, but very helpful.The school counselors are very involved and helpful.
6. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
A+ - elementary school - swimming club, jewelry making club, pottery club, art club, choir club, soccer, ice skating, homework club, computer club, etc.
7. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
A - Teachers show a lot of interest in each student and their progress.
8. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
A - just enough to reinforce lessons.Having kids write a lot in the early grades.Very happy with amount of homework.
9. Administration-parent communication:
A If necessary to contact the principals, I've never had a problem getting a hold of them.
10. Teacher-student communication:
B+ - My daughter has had great teachers who made their expectations clear.My son had a 5th grade teacher who just wasn't explicit enough for my son to comprehend.He needs detailed instructions that she wasn't willing to give - just didn't have the time.Hopefully she'll be retired by the time your kids attend.
11. 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?
12. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
yes.My son had Occupational Therapy once a week (it was very helpful).He also visits with the middle school counselor as needed.
13. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
yes.The only glitch was my 5th grader's teacher.She was not willing to implement some accommodations until we obtained administrative assistance.She adapted eventually, grudgingly.Just a case of one teacher - not widespread at this school at all.
14. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:
yes. as far as I know.
15. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
Yes - art, music, drama, debate, sports.
16. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
17. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
yes. -- The kids wear uniforms which initially cost a bit, but you'd buy clothes for your kids anyway.Appropriate uniforms available at Gap, Marks & Spencer, Old Navy. Etc.Just check school website for standards.I've heard of other kids going on debate trips, sports trips, etc.
18. What activities do you feel are missing?
19. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
Yes.They've been great!!
20. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
Yes.Being an international school, nearly all the schools are new (except the uber-rich Russian students).
21. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:
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?
A+ The middle school counselor especially is very proactive.His door is always open.He has organized discussion groups/presentations on common middle school challenges.Good email communication.Good concern over individual students.
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
A+ - two libraries.One in elementary grades, one in high school / middle school grades. (The building is large, with wings and floors sectioned off for certain grades.)
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
A+ - laptops are available from the "computer carts" for middle school students whenever necessary.All grades and much teacher communication is online.Grade school students learn early to make presentations on power-point, etc.They use word-processing applications all the time.My daughter is required to play "math-games" on a certain website each day at home.
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 - All students have PE at least twice a week with a qualified PE teacher.In the warm months they swim once a week.In the winter months they ice skate once a week.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
A - My daughter's class has 18 students (3rd grade), my sons classes also seem to be below 20 in middle school.
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 - I don't have high school students, but I've heard other mothers talking about the IB classes.
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)?
A - all grades in grade school have art once a week with a specific art teacher.Musical instrument instruction also available for all grades.My son is learning cello.Grades 2-3 do an after-school drama club, with a performance (last year they did Jungle Book).Grades 4-5 also do an after-school drama club, with a performance (last year they did Alice in Wonderland).Great!
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.
no.Unsure if it is available.My daughter does have difference math groups in her 3rd grade class as well as different reading groups.
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.I've described them above.
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.Kids usually associate with the kids of their living complex.Embassy compound kids associate with embassy compound kids.Rosinka kids associate with Rosinka kids.Pokrovsky kids (that was us) associate with Prokrovsky 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.My daughter was being teased by a Russian boy.It took a lot in order to get the administration to take action against him.His father was rich/powerful.It's better now.My son is always teased and excluded, no matter the school.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
How it welcomes family involvement, use of facilities, diversity of cultures, etc.Fantastic!
2. Greatest challenge?
Dealing with local Russian students and their influential parents.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Yes - It's fulfilled all our needs.Very satisfactory.Very pleased with our kids' overall experience.