Kiev, Ukraine Report of what it's like to live there - 10/03/13
Personal Experiences from Kiev, Ukraine
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?
We have been here two years. While here, my four kids have been in K, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7th grade.
3. During what years were you affiliated with this school?
2012-13 and 2013-14.
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?
Before we moved to Kiev, the CLO gave me parent contacts at both KIS and PSI. I emailed the same questions to all of them. The PSI parents were overwhelmingly more enthusiastic about the education and environment at PSI.
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?
B: The PTA has a special committee that holds special functions for new families. They assign a buddy to new students to show them around. Of course, the more outgoing you are, the more quickly you are going to integrate into the school. The PTA is very active and if you want to meet people and get involved, it is very easy to do.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
In general, it is a very support, positive environment. My seventh grader just said, it is the "best school of the four he has been to."
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-: All kids are treated fairly and the school bends over backwards to treat kids equally. This is particularly difficult to do at times with local kids since the ones who attend, as I am sure is true at most international schools, are the uber-wealthy kids who have very rarely, if ever heard the word "no."
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
A: Weekly emails for general announcements but teachers are always available if there is an issue.
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
A: They have a dedicated teacher for kids with learning difficulties and they make accommodations for kids who need to go further than the class academically.
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
C+: The primary activities are generally good. I am pretty disappointed with the middle school offerings.
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
A-: I am pretty happy with what my kids are learning and how they are being pushed.
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
A: My kids seem to do the right amount. 1st grade - 10 minutes a night; 3rd- 20 minutes a night; 6th and 7th - 30 minutes or so;
8. Administration-parent communication:
B: The is a new director this year, so I am hoping this will improve. He seems great. The two principals, while they are always available, their responsiveness is lacking.
9. Teacher-student communication:
A: my kids love their teachers and definitely feel they are being "heard."
10. 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?
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
Yes; We have one son who gets special needs support. Instead of taking a foreign language, he meets with the SEN teacher, who helps him with organization, homework and anything else he needs to be successful in school.
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
13. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:
14. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
Not in primary or middle school which is my only frame of reference. Not sure about the high school.
15. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
16. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
Really anything "fun" would be good. Right now they just offer homework club and mother tongue classes for middle school. I have asked for robotics, lego stop motion animation, free play on the playground, strategy games, etc.
18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
19. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new 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?
A: great primary and secondary 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?
B: My younger kids are happy with it. My middle school kids complain that there isn't enough variety.
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
A: They just instituted a policy that all 6th graders and above need their own computers. For all grades, computers are fully integrated throughout the curriculum.
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+: My kids like it. My super-sporty son would like to see more organized sports available.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
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?
8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
A: They have a great art and music program in the primary school and a very popular art/music/drama/design tech rotation in the secondary school.
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.
Not exactly but when my (other) son tested way above his classmates in math, his teacher tailored a separate math curriculum for him to advance his learning in that area.
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 in primary; I am disappointed in the middle school offerings.
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- although there is a divide as the kids get older between the expats and the local 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.
Generally no, but sometimes yes. The few times bullying comes up, the school handles it very aggressively and does not tolerate it.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
Caring environment, active PTA, dedicated teachers.
2. Greatest challenge?
The distance the kids have to travel on the bus. A lot of the embassy housing is at least 45 minutes away. In the winter it can easily be 1-2 hours on the bus getting home.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Yes, definitely. It is above and beyond the best option of the international schools here for my kids.