Belgrade, Serbia Report of what it's like to live there - 05/25/16
Personal Experiences from Belgrade, Serbia
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?
Year 3 and Year 5 (British system, equivalent to Grades 2 and 4).
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)?
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
We were not satisfied with the pace of learning at the International School of Belgrade (ISB), and our chldren's standardized test scores dropped dramatically during their three semesters at ISB. We looked at Prima and Chartwell as alternatives, and were attracted to Chartwell's Cambridge Certification and its individualized learning strategy.
While the pace of instruction and type of instruction are tailored to individual students, they still have a specified curriculum of knowledge the school expects them to master by the end of each year. In just one semester at Chartwell, our children have regained their previously high scoring on standardized tests and have vastly improved their basic knowledge, particularly in the areas of math and science.
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?
A. We got an introduction to the class and teacher on the first day, a tour, and an explanation of all policies and procedures.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
The teachers are very child-oriented, and seek every opportunity to get the students engaged in learning activities. The teachers are also available to parents when needed, and have regular feedback sessions to let you know how your child is performing, and what things he or she can do at home to further enhance abilities.
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:
A. Great atmosphere. Discipline is enforced without stifling child enthusiasm.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
A. The best we've experienced.
4. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
5. Administration-parent communication:
6. Teacher-student communication:
7. 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?
8. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
No. We do not have special needs children.
9. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
10. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:
11. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
Art and music are available, but limited staff means limited electives.
12. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
13. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
No requirements, but school trips are organized on a volunteer basis. School trips have an additional fee.
14. What activities do you feel are missing?
15. 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. Good, but limited selection of books.
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
A. Not a tech-heavy school, but this is our preference. Children get structured courses in computer sciences and technology, but if you are looking for a school that gives each student a laptop or iPad, this is not the place.
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
B. Strong physical fitness culture, but facilities are somewhat limited. No playground.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
A. About 1 to 8.
6. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
7. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
B. Art and music are part of the curriculum, but staff size limits what the school can offer.
8. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
9. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
No additional instruction, but teachers tailor programs to the students, and we believe that our child is appropriately challenged.
10. 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, but we don't take advantage of them because our children use other local programs in our neighborhood.