Tashkent, Uzbekistan Report of what it's like to live there - 07/31/20
Personal Experiences from Tashkent, Uzbekistan
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
Parent of two middle schoolers
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
grade 6 and 8, 2019-20
3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
It's the only school in town that the US embassy is directly affiliated with.
The school had good reviews and seemed welcoming from the beginning.
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. The school's admin office was very responsive right away.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
The school organizes a special half-day for new arrivals. We felt welcomed and well informed. They are clearly used to lots of new students every school year.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Communication is pretty clear, if sometimes a bit short-notice. There are weekly emails with updates, and individual teachers always seem happy to chat if there's additional need. In our experience the school's leadership is very open and eager to listen to questions, feedback etc.
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?
No additional fees, except for field trips with sport teams.
Lunch is also not included in the tuition, but fairly inexpensive.
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?
My kids aren't in high schol yet, so I don't know all the details.
Yes, there is a college counselor and I think the high school graduates move on to good colleges. My impression is that the last two years of high school (IB) are pretty rigorous and prepare the students well for college.
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
I don't believe there's 'before care', but there are lots of after school activities in the afternoon. Most of those are free or very 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! It's a real hub and very well stocked. Students can borrow books and are encouraged to do so. Best of all, parents can check out books, too! (Thank you, TIS!)
The librarian and her team have also organized readings with authors visiting Uzbekistan!
4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
Students receive laptops from the school from 6th grade up, I believe. These are 'theirs' for the school year and are used for most homework assignments.
5. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
Yes, the school is well-equipped and seems to use technology appropriately.
6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
There are two gyms, no pool. Outdoor soccer field. They are currently improving some of the outdoor fields.
Sports are a pretty big deal at TIS. There are several enthusiastic coaches and many, many kids participate in multiple team sports. Those who do well get to participate in regional/ international tournaments. If you like sports, TIS is a good place to be!
7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
In middle school I'd say about 1:15.
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?
Not sure of the details. Yes, it's an IB school, but I think high school students have several options of how many/ which classes to take.
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?
Our kids came from public schools in the US and adjusted well to TIS. It took a bit of time to get used to the IB style grades and report cards, but in terms of the curriculum it was quite comparable. They were challenged, but rarely stressed about school work.
Foreign languages might be a bit of a weakness. To native English speakers the options are to pick French, Russian, or Korean. Unfortunately Spanish is not an option. As new kids join every year, I get the impression that it's difficult to really make much progress in those additional languages.
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)?
Drama plays a big role and kids who enjoy drama can elect to participate in after-school drama classes. The school's theater productions are fun!
Music is also really supported and encouraged. There's an orchestra, a band, choir etc. Again: Very enthusiastic teachers really encourage and support the kids.
12. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
I'd say about 50-70% of the teachers are native English speakers. As far as I know, all others speak English fluently.
Russian is a common language around the school and some students will speak it during recess etc. Korean is another language that's quite prevalent.
But: there are probably about 50-60 nationalities on campus. It's truly international!
13. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
I don't know. My impression has been that teachers are good at challenging individual students at their level and to try to make sure that noone is bored...
14. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
No experience, but I'd say that the campus would be difficult to navigate for someone with physical disabilities.
15. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
The school seems to try very hard to integrate newcomers who don't speak English well.
16. 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?
Lots of sports: basketball, volleyball, soccer, cross-country, track and field, ...
Drama, music, choir, student council, school year book, etc. etc. It's a long list and our kids have enjoyed these classes a lot.
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?
Yes, I think it's an open-minded school that would make everyone feel welcome. The school counselors are great and teachers seem very approachable, too. Having said that, Uzbekistan is a Muslim country that might not be an easy place for LGBT kids to fully express themselves.
2. What is the climate for children with special needs? Is there a general attitude of inclusion for children with special needs?
I don't know. I would imagine the school would try to work with everyone.
3. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
I think so. Sometimes there are cliques of Russian-speaking or Korean-speaking kids, which can be hard to get into as an English speaker, but I think overall the kids seem to make friendships across those boundaries. Our kids made friends from many different places, including with some of the local Uzbek kids.
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.
See above re. cliques.
Bullying is addressed and - as far as I can tell - not tolerated. The school counselors do regular 'Social and Emotional Learning' sessions with each grade, and I think that's very helpful and successful.
When one of our kids had a (very minor) issue, it was quickly and successfully addressed with the help of the counselor.
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?
Yes, we really like the school and recommend it! It's a welcoming, supportive, friendly place.
2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
Week without walls trips, competitive sports, drama productions, UN Day etc. etc. Lots of happy memories!
3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
TIS has been fantastic in their response to Covid and switched to online learning very successfully. Excellent!