Kiev, Ukraine Report of what it's like to live there - 09/05/21
Personal Experiences from Kiev, Ukraine
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
Both! We had two children (preschool & elementary), and I taught in the middle school.
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
2018-2020, preschool and 4th-5th 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?
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. We didn't have any issues registering our children, with help from the Embassy.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Very good! It's a very welcoming community. All three of us quickly assimilated and felt part of the community. My spouse did as well, though he didn't work there.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Very good. There's a weekly newsletter that gives lots of information on what's happening. The administrators at every level were very friendly and responsive about specific questions.
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?
Middle School and High School students had to bring their own laptops. I don't know about musical instruments. School trips in MS and HS cost extra, though were not too expensive. It's very affordable to travel domestically and within Europe from Kyiv.
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?
Yes, there is a US counselor assigned to each level, including an American college counselor at the HS level.
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
Not when we were there. There are some after-school activities (more as you get into MS & HS). Most people had private babysitters or nannies hired to help with before/after school as need. Very good and affordable.
3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Yes! Don't know the size, unfortunately. Students did borrow books. My kids certainly found it adequate at the elementary level.
4. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
Yes, there are laps as well as robotics and a brand new maker space. Really cool stuff!
5. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
MS and HS use personal laptops. I think elementary had iPads that could be used by classroom teachers when requested.
6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
Two large gyms, swimming pool (many elementary grades get swimming lessons at school), weight room, large outdoor field for soccer and track. Nice playground for elementary students. Outdoor basketball courts. I think the tennis players played off-campus nearby (there are tennis facilities as well as all kinds of sporting facilities around).
7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
Probably like 10 to 1
8. 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?
KIS is a QSI school and follow the QSI curriculum for most grades. I am a fan of the QSI mastery learning model and was very pleased. In 11th and 12th grade, KIS offers both AP and IB courses and students can choose to get the IB diploma or a regular American diploma.
9. 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?
As a teacher there, I really liked the QSI Mastery Learning Methodology and Curriculum. Both my kids learned a lot and were appropriately challenged. We moved back to the US afterwards, and they both did well joining a US school.
10. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
11. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
All of these are available. I would say music in particular is a weak point of the school. It is available, but the program is not as well developed. Drama and visual arts are stronger.
12. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Yes. Most of the teachers are from the US with a handful from Canada and the UK. Many support staff are Ukrainian, and foreign language teachers are native in their own language.
13. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
I'm not aware of gifted classes per-say, but students have the opportunity to move faster in some subjects if need be.
14. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
There are learning support staff throughout the school who provided help as needed. Teachers worked very closely with them to give students support as needed.
15. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
Not aware of any issues.
16. 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 MANY ESL teachers in the elementary and MS who do a great job supporting students with learning English while continuing their education in core subjects.
17. 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?
In elementary, there are some weekend activities playing soccer, parkour, basketball, gymnastics, etc. for a small fee. Lots of activities and sports for MS and HS students, many which compete through CEESA (regional association of American schools in the region). Soccer, basketball, cross country, swimming, robotics, knowledge bowl, Math Counts, etc are some that I remember. The teams normally travel regionally to a tournament at the end of their season to compete. I chaperoned groups to Warsaw and Budapest while I taught there.
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 counselors are available and supportive.
2. What is the climate for children with special needs? Is there a general attitude of inclusion for children with special needs?
3. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Not perfectly, but yes. There are many Ukrainians, but they are not the majority. It's really a great international community and for the most part, the kids really do well at embracing the diversity.
4. 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.
KIS does a great job dealing with this. They strongly promote the 7 Success Orientations (https://www.qsi.org/academic-program/curriculum/exit-outcomes/success-orientations) and deal with such issues well when they (rarely) crop up.
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?
A ! Yes! I hope we can go back to Kyiv on another tour. We enjoyed the city and loved KIS. We miss it.
2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
Good experiences all around. Very happy, supportive environment. My 4th grader wrote a fan fiction book based on a fantasy series she liked, and one of the library took her under her wing, encouraged her, helped her to edit and "publish" it, put it in the library, and even made a poster featuring my daughter as a new author, advertising her book! This librarian went above and beyond; it was so special and meant the word to my daughter!
3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!