Vienna, Austria Real School Experiences

Personal Experiences from Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria 04/05/19

American International School Vienna

School Website

http://www.ais.at


Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

Parent

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

One child attending from Grade 5-12 (now a senior); and another child who attended Grade 11 and 12 (graduated in 2014).

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3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

Spouse relocated for work.

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4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?

There are a handful of international schools from which to choose. The overall quality of the curriculum (including IB) was the main reason for choosing the school; the music program and the extracurriculars were a close second.

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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.

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

The Welcome BBQ and Orientation included tours and the opportunity to meet both new and returning families. In addition, the PTF Newcomer's Meeting offered the opportunity to further connect with the school and its activities.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

We have never experienced difficulty when needing to contact teachers or administrators. Communication is facilitated through the weekly newsletter and on occasion all-school emails. In addition, the school hosts a Back-to-School evening to meet the teachers and get a sense of the syllabus; along with twice-yearly parent-teacher conferences.

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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?

Yes. At the middle school and high school level there are costs for athletic wear (jackets and pants); athletic trips (the costs vary depending on the distance (plane versus train versus bus) but is always made known when a parent signs the athletic participation contract. Extracurricular trips (music events, MUN, Speech & Debate, and so on) also incur fees.

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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?

The school offers a full range of counseling. There are dedicated college and IB curriculum counselors who are familiar with universities worldwide.

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2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?

There is no before care. There are after-school programs at the elementary and middle school levels; the fee varies based on the activity.

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3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?

The elementary library maintains over 12.000 books; there is a secondary library as well. Both students and parents are permitted to borrow books.

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4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?

Laptops are provided at the middle school and secondary levels. Technology is well-integrated into the curriculum.

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5. 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, a soccer pitch, and a playground. Nearby is a sports facility that the students use for some athletic practices as well. The Vienna Woods in the backyard offer hiking and running trails that the students use, as well.

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6. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?

At the HS level it depends on the course. Some IB courses have 20 students and some have as few as five.

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7. 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?

No AP. The IB and American Diploma are offered. Students are not required to pursue the full IB diploma.

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8. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

We think so.

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9. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

Music, Choir, Theater, Dance, Art is all offered.

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10. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

English fluency is required.

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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?

A wide range. There is a club or activity or a sport for everyone.

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?

It has been our experience that all the students socially engage with one another. The school is too small for "cliques" or "groups."

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Overall Impressions:

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?

We would assign an "A" to AIS Vienna. The school has served both of our children well, preparing them to lead in a global environment.

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Vienna, Austria 01/27/19

VIenna International School

School Website

https://www.vis.ac.at/


Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

Parent

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

8-12

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3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

Government

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4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?

Yes other school are availble but this school had the most international feeling.

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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?

Apply early. It is a rolling admissions. UN Children get priority but if you have a good application then your children have a chance

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

Terrific. They have a buddy system that pairs you up with kids in the same grades. Everyone is very welcoming especially members of the PTA.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

Good. Newsletter once a week to the community which covers all aspects of school from primary to upper school to sports and events.

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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?

Laptop program . Must provide your own laptop (Apple preferred)

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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?

College counselor is great and very well versed.

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2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?

?

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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 nice library for primary and secondary

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4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?

Laptops needed. Technology is integrated in classrooms. No cell phone policy implemented in the school.

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5. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?

Yes excellent

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6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?

PE is required. Nice gym but no swimming pool

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7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?

1/5?

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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?

IB school. Full diploma
Is not required. You can graduate with a regular high school diploma and IB courses.

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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?

IB curriculum. Teach students how to think manipulate, collaborate, explain and produce through independent thinking as well as group work.

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10. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

Yes

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11. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

Drama, visual arts, product design, food design, digital technology, film

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12. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

Yes

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13. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

Don’t know.

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14. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

Don’t know

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15. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

Don’t know

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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.

Mother tongue language program. Excellent

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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?

Basketball, soccer(football) skiing, tennis, badmitton, table tennis

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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?

?

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2. What is the climate for children with special needs? Is there a general attitude of inclusion for children with special needs?

Very accepting

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3. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?

Yes very much so . Diverse and very friendly

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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.

No

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Overall Impressions:

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

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2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.

Open welcoming community

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3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!

Couldn’t be more pleased with our decision. If you want a true international experience is a world class international city, this is the place.

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Vienna, Austria 10/17/18

American International School Vienna

School Website

http://www.ais.at


Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

Yes.

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

3rd grade to 8th grade and 6th grade to 11th grade

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3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

Corporate

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4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?

Other schools are available that are excellent.
This school had no waiting list and a beautiful campus but sadly, we found the academics to be poor and the school atmosphere suffering.

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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

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

The parents take care of the welcoming committee events and do a great job.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

Terrible. We experienced a low level of transparency, candor and integrity.

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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?

Yes. All travel for all sports events and competitions; field trips and other events not in Vienna. Costs vary depending on the event but easily €5000 per kid

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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?

We did not find the counsellors to be helpful.

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2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?

It varies. Mostly reasonable prices for Vienna

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3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?

excellent library

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4. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?

They are basic

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5. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?

Laptops and ipads depending on the grade

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6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?

playing fields, gym, bubble tennis - richly endowed with sports facilities

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7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?

15 kids to 1 teacher but most classes have 21 kids

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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?

IB and fulll dipoloma available. We were made aware of some cheating.

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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?

No.

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10. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

Yes

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11. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

All. Music is especially fabulous.

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12. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

Theoretically, yes.

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13. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

None.

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14. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

We found these services to be lacking.

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15. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

None

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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.

EAL- generally well managed

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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?

Vast choice of extra curricula activities but other than sports, these do not seem to be well run.

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?

No

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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, many

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Overall Impressions:

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?

D

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2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!

Consider other options before enrolling here.

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Vienna, Austria 06/01/18

American Interational School - Vienna

School Website

http://www.ais.at/


Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

I have 2 children attending AIS.

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

One child attended from grades 1-3, the other from grades 4-6.

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3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

Spouse employed at embassy.

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4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?

Yes -- there are many options. We chose this school because it had a good reputation, but other schools did too. The proximity to our home was the deciding factor.

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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. Although I later learned how incredibly handicapped un-friendly this school is, and it's not clearly stated anywhere. For example, if your child is in a wheelchair, s/he cannot attend because it is simply not handicap accessible.

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

It's fine. Fairly standard as international schools go.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

Generally pretty good in elementary school, but middle school is pretty awful in terms of communication. There is a weekly newsletter, "Scoops", that includes key information from the principals of elementary, middle, and high schools. There is rarely any info from the middle school. And when information does come, it's often conflicting.

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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?

Most things are rolled into the tuition, but this school seems to have a lot of "sneaky" fees -- that can definitely add up if you have more than one child.

For example, in grade 2, students are required to play a string instrument. But if they want to continue after that, you have to pay a lot to rent or buy the instrument.

In middle school, in grade 6, students can play any band instrument and have one-on-one lessons each week. But if the student continues in higher grades, they have to find a private tutor for weekly lessons. None of this is explained at the outset, it's just something parents learn later.

In middle and high school, sports teams travel a lot internationally, and these can also be expensive. The fees are not announced in advance, they just suddenly appear on your overdue account.

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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?

Counselors for each level (elementary, middle, high). Elementary is awesome, middle not so good. Maybe staffing will change. I am not sure about high school.

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2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?

There is some kind of after-school care for elementary kids, I am not sure of the costs. I think the info is on the website.

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3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?

There is a library, but the elementary one is fairly small. Room for improvement here! Students are definitely encouraged to borrow and read books at home.

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4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?

Devices are provided in the class for elementary students as needed, and middle school students are issued their own laptops. It's quite tech-heavy once they hit middle school.

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5. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?

No computer lab since students are issued their own devices.

The school seems to do a good job of teaching digital citizenship, cyber bullying, etc. That being said, they don't really seem to check, monitor, or install filters or safeguards on any devices, which has been a bit surprising.

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6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?

Good resources, gym, fields, etc. No swimming pool but the school takes advantage of nearby pools and other excellent facilities to fill in any gaps.

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7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

Generally, yes, although grade 6 (start of middle school) is notorious for a very large amount of homework (often deemed "unreasonable" by parents).

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8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

A little bit of everything -- lots of options for anyone with any interest.

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9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

I assume so.

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10. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

Some support for learning disabilities, but we did not have any first hand experience with this.

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11. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

Practically ZERO. Also keep this in mind if you have a baby/small children. The school is NOT accessible with a wheelchair, stroller, or similar. There are a lot of staircases throughout this windy school, and you cannot avoid them. It is a challenge.

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12. 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?

There is a little bit of everything in elementary and middle school. As noted above, communication in middle school is lacking a bit. We often learned about teams and activities AFTER they happened (and I read everything and am a fairly actively involved parent).

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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 and no. In elementary and early middle school, yes. But I have heard, and seen, that locals versus expats become more separated and segregated in the later years.

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Overall Impressions:

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?

B. It was fine. Maybe my expectations were too high since it's Vienna and I figured everything was top-notch. It's a good school, my kids learned and had a good experience, and I would generally recommend it to others.

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2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!

My biggest concern is with the school's bus system. From what I (and my children) have experienced, there are no bus monitors, and in our
experience, the drivers do not appear to speak or understand English. I have heard of more than one incident where the school's buses were involved in accidents with trams. As a parent, I'm very concerned about how my children would communicate with the driver and/or
emergency assistance, especially if they were directly transported to a hospital. Having a monitor would greatly alleviate my fears.

I'm also concerned about bullying on the buses in the absence of monitors, and about the use of personal devices on the bus, which
evidently has free wifi. My 2nd grade son has told me that he would intentionally sit behind older kids so he could "watch them play
inappropriate games and videos" (his words, not mine). I have been advocating that the school add monitors to the buses, and I understand
others are doing so as well, but I have not yet seen a change in the situation.

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Vienna, Austria 06/06/11

American International School of Vienna

School Website

http://www.ais.at


Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

Parent

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

elementary, middle and high school.

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3. During what years were you affiliated with this school?

2009-2011

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4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

Government

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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

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

B

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:

High School is good to go, have an excellent curriculum.Middle School is wanting and has bullying situations that go unchecked.Elementary School lacks a consistent curriculum from teacher to teacher.

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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:

C

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3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

C

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4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:

C-

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5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:

A

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6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

B

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7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

A

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8. Administration-parent communication:

F

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9. Teacher-student communication:

Depends on which school.High School excellent; Middle School, again, below average; Elementary School depends on teacher--some excellent, some horrible.

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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?

Yes.

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11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:

Yes.Middle school was poor; teachers tended to be "old school" and did not accommodate special needs.High School and Elementary School (depending on Elementary teacher) were excellent.AIS makes a point to tell you they are not set up for special needs.

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12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:

Depends on which school.HS yes, MS no, ES depends on teacher.

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13. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:

None.

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14. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?

No. but the music and strings department is worth the lack of other opportunities.

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15. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:

Special needs in MS.

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16. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?

Yes, lots.Every trip costs between 150-400 Euro, depending on whether the child is going to Munich or Istanbul.School athletic uniforms cost money.

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17. What activities do you feel are missing?

American Football.Baseball at the school.Baseball is held downtown Vienna at Prater park.

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18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:

Yes.

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19. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?

Yes.

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20. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:

School is very, very reluctant to take action against Austrian parents in bullying situations.The school seems more concerned about possibly losing tuition money and donations than safety of students at times.

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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?

High school has the best resources for support.

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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

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3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?

A

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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

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5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?

B

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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?

B

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7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

Yes

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8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

B

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9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

Yes

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10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

No.

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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.

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?

Depends.The Austrians tend to stick together and many do not include those whose tuition is being paid by a company or foreign government.

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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.Mostly by the Austrian local students.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

Academics at HS and ES (depending on teacher).

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2. Greatest challenge?

Lack of continuing education for tenured teachers, administration that does not respond to needs of the children, drugs and alcohol use among students with lack of accountability from school.

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3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

Yes, because it is still the best international school in Vienna.

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