Brussels, Belgium Real School Experiences

Personal Experiences from Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium 02/08/19

British School of Brussels

School Website

http://www.britishschool.be/


Background Information:

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

Parent

View All Answers


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

Year 9 (US 8th Grade)

View All Answers


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

diplomat

View All Answers


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

My daughter liked the atmosphere at the school, the curriculum (with a variety of opportunities to try different subjects in middle school) and the sports facilities, particularly the pool and gymnastics facility.

View All Answers


Admissions & Welcome:

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

Absolutely spot on - they paired my daughter with a buddy who helped her adjust to her new school routine and answered questions. She made friends quickly and the school maintains a positive atmosphere. They are proactive in preventing a negative environment from developing and respond quickly and appropriately to incidents of bullying.

View All Answers


Administration & School Procedures:

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

The eBSB website is an excellent resource for parents to easily access school communications, view attendance information, top up cafeteria card balances, view grade reports, etc.

View All Answers


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?

Nearly everything is already rolled into the school fees (laptop, PE kit/uniform, swimsuit for PE, costs of field trips, etc.). The only things I have noticed are charged separately are voice/instrument lessons, the LAMDA drama exam preparation classes and exam fees, and the fees for a special optional theater trip to Prague.

View All Answers


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?

I imagine there is but I have not accessed this resource, as my child is not in high school.

View All Answers


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

Unsure because my daughter is not in the age range where she requires this.

View All Answers


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 and yes, my daughter borrows books to read at home on a regular basis.

View All Answers


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

A laptop for use for school work was issued to each student and homework assignments are posted online for ease in tracking.

View All Answers


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

Very up to date. In addition to normal computer resources, they also have an elaborate Design and Technology Lab, which is a class that all middle school students rotate through.

View All Answers


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

Excellent sporting facilities - gym, gymnastics, swimming pool, fields, etc.

View All Answers


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

There are about 20-25 students in her classes.

View All Answers


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?

Unsure - she is not at this level, but as it is British system I believe they have A levels and O levels.

View All Answers


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?

Yes, Math is differentiated according to ability (I believe there are 6 or 7 levels) and students can be moved up or down as needed. Foreign languages are also differentiated with the ability to move. My daughter moved to the highest level Spanish class and was moved up a level in French based on her performance.

View All Answers


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

Yes, she has homework but is does not consume all of her free time.

View All Answers


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

Middle school students are required to take music, art, drama, as well as other classes like Design Technology, textiles, and cooking. Drama is also available as an extracurricular activity, including a school play in the Spring. This year they are doing Around the World in 80 Days.

View All Answers


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

Yes.

View All Answers


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

I do not believe there is a specific gifted program, but math and foreign languages are differentiated by ability and the curriculum is engaging for high-level learners.

View All Answers


14. 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?

Wide range of sports - team sports, swimming, gymnastics, running, etc. I don't think there is anything specific missing, but I suppose if one were American and wanting to play American football, that is not offered. They do have rugby, however.

View All Answers


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?

As mentioned above, the school maintains a positive atmosphere. They are proactive in preventing a negative environment from developing and respond quickly and appropriately to incidents of bullying.

View All Answers


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

Yes, there is an atmosphere of inclusion in all respects.

View All Answers


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

Yes, there is a wide array of nationalities and no noticeable cliques that I have observed.

View All Answers


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, the school is very proactive in this regard. Maintaining a positive, supportive, climate is their top priority.

View All Answers


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, yes I would choose it again. I wish we could stay here longer.

View All Answers


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

Highlights have been the opportunities to study drama at school on a regular basis and participate in theater after school. She absolutely loves the history curriculum, which takes advantage of the location in Belgium to delve into Wold War I and World War II in depth. Recreational gymnastics has also been an area where she has progressed a lot, which is not offered at very many schools.

View All Answers


Brussels, Belgium 05/15/18

International Montessori School, Tervuren

School Website

http://www.international-montessori.org


Background Information:

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

Parent

View All Answers


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

3 and 4th grade. 2014-2016.

View All Answers


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

Government

View All Answers


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

tons! Our child started at a different school, but after a year and a half, we switched him to the Montessori school. We chose the Montessori School because of it's wholistic approach, the joy the teachers and kids seemed to bring to class, the differentiated learning techniques, and the ability to really dive deeply into certain subjects.

View All Answers


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?

Easy

View All Answers


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

10 out of 10

View All Answers


Administration & School Procedures:

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

Great. Although sometimes they'd post news on the door and forgot to email it out to parents. If parents weren't at pick-up, they'd miss it. But this was infrequent.

View All Answers


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?

All students are required to choose either piano/ guitar/ or violin and are expected to be able to practice at home. Each family has to provide their own instrument.

View All Answers


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?

none. too small.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

A small cozy library, just the right size for the small school.

View All Answers


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

Not used.

View All Answers


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

None.

View All Answers


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

Outdoor gardens with vegetable garden and chickens. The students go to nearby facilities for gym classes- either to Tervuren Park, or the nearby community gym, or the golf club when they did 6 weeks of a golf unit.

View All Answers


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

2:20

View All Answers


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?

This school campus ends after 5th grade. Then the kids can continue to the Middle School and High School which are located at Hof Kleinenberg. The MS and HS are IB.

View All Answers


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?

Yes. They have "Studies" that they work on over several weeks to present the information they have researched. One teacher always speaks to the children in English, the other always in French.

View All Answers


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

Yes. Only nightly reading, and taking home studies to finish as needed before presentation deadlines.

View All Answers


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

Art and drama are integrated into the regular class. The drama production that the school put on each year was LOVELY! Super creative and really showcasing the talents of each and every student. The kids have lessons on the instrument of their choice once a week.

View All Answers


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

Half the teachers are native English speakers. Half the teachers are native French speakers.

View All Answers


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

Students work at their own pace, so they can really fly in the subjects where they are good. And the teachers are great at providing the right amount of structure to make sure the students don't neglect other subjects.

View All Answers


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

The school prides itself in being able to make sure that all children learn at their pace and are integrated into the classroom fully. But, this does fall onto the regular teachers to help make this happen. There are no special counsellors or specialists to make this happen.

View All Answers


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 is very international and has children learning either English or French, or both... all the time. They do a great job of helping the kids within the normal classroom. But it is not a structured extra class.

View All Answers


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?

None. But this is typical in Belgium at this age. All activities are through private groups after school.

View All Answers


Social & Emotional Well-Being:

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

They all mix.

View All Answers


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.

None. The kids are inclusive, kind, and curious.

View All Answers


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- I would choose it in a heartbeat. Our son loved it. We loved it. We are elated our son had the joy of going there for two years.

View All Answers


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

The school is very small! The campus consists of two houses converted into large open classrooms that share a beautiful garden space in-between. One house has a mixed class for 3,4, and 5 year olds. The other house has a classroom upstairs for mixed 1st and 2nd graders. The downstairs class is mixed 3rd, 4th, 5th graders. The children work together within their class on projects, and engage in teaching each other. It's a beautiful, kind, caring, and yet rigorous environment.

View All Answers


Brussels, Belgium 04/18/17

International Deutsche Schule Brüssel

School Website

http://www.idsb.brussels


Background Information:

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

Parent

View All Answers


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

Pre-K 4 through 2nd grade from January 2013 through July 2016, and another child 1st through 2nd grade January 2013 through July 2014.

View All Answers


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

Government

View All Answers


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

Yes. There are numerous options. We wanted our kids in a German speaking school.

View All Answers


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. And they had no issue accepting us mid-year with only 2 weeks' notice.

View All Answers


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

The school provides no official support/ integration help to new families. But the families were welcoming and it was easy to become part of their community (I speak German, so that is a huge help too).

View All Answers


Administration & School Procedures:

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

Communication between parents and teachers was good and frequent via email. There was minimal communication between the administration and parents, mostly via email and the school's website, and sometimes just from signs posted to the front doors.

View All Answers


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?

Field trip fees were sometimes required, but they were minimal, 5-20 Euros per year.

View All Answers


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?

In the Elementary school the is no counseling. There is a school psychologist who can help decide whether your child could benefit from outside evaluations. But all extra support would need to be provided by the parents.

View All Answers


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

Before school, children can be dropped off early for supervised reading time. I believe it starts at 7:30am.
After school, children can stay till 3:30pm for afternoon activities. Or they can be signed up for after-care until 5:15pm for a fee. I don't know what theses fees are.

View All Answers


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 school has a small library with well maintained books. All students take home 1 or 2 books per week starting in the 1st grade.

View All Answers


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

There is none in the elementary school.

View All Answers


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 is a gym in the elementary school and an outdoor paved sport area.

View All Answers


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

In Pre-K 4 and Kindergarten there were between 14-20 children with 2 teachers. In 1st and 2nd grade there were 15-28 children with 1 teacher. Class sizes varied a lot year to year. Halfway through 2nd grade the school decided that 28 was too many and divided the 2 classes into 3 groups of 16-20 each.

View All Answers


7. 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?

Starting in the 1st grade: The school follows the German norm of having all students work at the same pace. If students finish their daily work, they may be given things that are more challenging afterwards while they wait for others to finish. But they will not have the opportunity to accelerate the pace of their curriculum. And the same is true for struggling students. They may be given extra help or more time each day, but they are expected to keep up the rest of the class. There is no differentiated learning.

View All Answers


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

No. Officially the school says students will get 10 minutes per year of grade starting with 20 minutes in 1st grade. But often my child would spend 40 minutes or more on written homework in the 1st grade.

View All Answers


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

Starting in 1st grade: No electives are available. But each class has music, art, and sports once per week. And they had either French or English (as a foreign language) 2-3 times per week. The elementary school teachers are generalists and teach all specials too. Only Sports had a dedicated teacher.

View All Answers


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

Generally the teachers are expected to speak German as a first language. We saw one non-native speaker teacher not have his contract renewed. They try to have native speakers teach French and English, but are not always able to make it happen.

View All Answers


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

In Pre-school and Kindergarten the school is more inclusive and willing to work with all students. But Pre-school and Kindergarten are a very play oriented environment with minimal academic work.

Starting in 1st grade: None. The school has great difficulty dealing with any child who is not in the middle of the road. The school might not accept students if they require special support. Or they might accept the student on the condition that the parents pay for a one-on-one assistant to accompany the student to all classes. This even includes students with merely a strong case of ADHD.

View All Answers


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

None at the moment. The current school building has steps everywhere and no ramps nor elevator. The school is in the process of planning a new building that should solve this.

View All Answers


13. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

If your child is not speaking German at a native level, the school provides a language support class for a fee. This class used to be included for all students as part of the normal tuition. I did not feel like this class was well thought out nor effective. Now that it is required and with a hefty fee, I do hope that they have improved the class dramatically.

View All Answers


14. 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 Pre-school and Kindergarten there are fun activities offered for the kids to explore the arts, movement, and get extra language help.
Starting in 1st grade: After school there are once a week optional activities. Each student can select 2 activities, and for a fee sign up for a 3rd. The activities include Soccer, "Multi-sport", Geräteturnen (gymnastics using rings, and other equipment), dancing, zumba, pottery, theater, singing, recorder, Outdoor (going into the park next door and playing in the creek/ dirt), and a handful of others. Some are offered in English or French. Some are limited to only 8-12 kids and are very difficult to get into. There is no good system to make sure all children get to rotate through the popular activities. Most of these activities feel like a fun form of babysitting. They are not generally very engaging. The kids have fun, but don't seem to be learning much.

View All Answers


Social & Emotional Well-Being:

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

Students come from all over the world, but generally all speak some German. In the younger grades (pre-school and kindergarten) it is more common to find some students sho might speak no German and are learning it at school. There is a large contingency of students who speak English as a second home language. We found all the children to be equally welcomed and noticed no cliques.

View All Answers


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.

Nothing more than at other schools. Any issues we had were very minor and generally solved easily with the teacher.

View All Answers


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?

It really depends on the student.

For our daughter the school was an A-. She had phenomenal pre-school and Kindergarten teachers. Her first and second grade teacher was really lovely and effective too. Our daughter was happy and learned a lot. But our daughter was the ideal student: eager to learn and a hard worker who was happy to do her work and didn't get bored. Our daughter stayed there for our full tour of 3.5 years.

For our son the school was an F and he only stayed for 1.5 years at this school because of it. Beginning in the second grade, his learning style conflicted with how the school operates (slow processor and gifted). The school has no flexibility in dealing with different students. After attempts to gain help through the school psychologist, principal, and teacher we considered pulling him out of school mid-year. The principal convinced us to give the school another chance after they split up the oversized classes mid-year. Regrettably we stayed and finished the year. The following school year we had him switch to a Montessori school which was the perfect fit for him.

View All Answers


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

School starts at 8am (typical German start time) and class ends at 12:20 with pick-up times possible at 12:20, 1:15, 3:30 or 5:15. If possible, make sure you live nearby. We lived about a 25 minute drive away, but because so many students live near the school, organizing playdates at our house was not as frequent. Eventually I started to offer to pick up and deliver kids home, and then it was much more frequent. Stockel, Wezembeek, and Sterrebeek are very popular places for families from this school.

The school offers a "bus" to transport your kids for a fee to and from school. It is actually a contract with a minivan-taxi company. They try to keep the same driver all year, but this is not always possible. There is also no communication between the school and the bus service. If your child forgets to get onto the bus (as first graders sometimes do), the school won't notice (the kids are all playing outside), the bus driver won't notice (he'll just assume your child was absent that day), and you won't find out until your child is super late getting home. But calls to the school go unanswered after 1:20pm, and the driver won't answer his phone because he is driving. Then the two choices are to drive to school and look for my child, or wait till the driver stops driving and is able to call back. I attempted to convince the school that if there is any student remaining on campus, then there should be an adult who can answer the phone no matter what. They recognized the problem and attempted to inform parents of how and when phones would get answered. But I found this solution still didn't actually solve the problem, things did improve a little though.

View All Answers


Brussels, Belgium 06/27/16

St. John's International School

School Website

http://Stjonhs.be


Background Information:

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

Parent.

View All Answers


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

Middle School and High School.

View All Answers


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

Diplomat.

View All Answers


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

Yes, there are many options. We chose St. John's because is was small, extremely personal, and had more of a small-town feel.

View All Answers


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?

Excellent.

View All Answers


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

Very welcoming. Easiest transition for my children, despite being teens.

View All Answers


Administration & School Procedures:

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

Communication with teachers and athletics could use improvement.

View All Answers


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?

Sports are crazy expensive. 200 euros per season plus travel expenses.

View All Answers


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 counselor is amazing and dedicated. I can not imagine a school could have a better one.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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 school library is great, and the books are up-to-date.

View All Answers


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

There is a one-on-one laptop program, but the quality is not as good as at other schools.

View All Answers


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

Gyms, tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields. Lacking are a track and a swimming pool.

View All Answers


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

Very small classes. This is one of the best reasons for attending this school.

View All Answers


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?

Few AP classes; definitely more IB focused. In fact they grade incredibly harshly because they only care about IB scores. Also, they do not recognize GPA matters. This school is excellent for the exceptional child, but if your student gets B grades in the States, be ready for some C grades.

View All Answers


8. 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?

Challenging but very harsh. This is more of a European approach to education, as opposed to ISB where the students are more coddled. Definitely a tough-love school.

View All Answers


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

Fine amount. It is possible to have a proper balance.

View All Answers


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

Many, and the selection is very good.

View All Answers


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

YES!

View All Answers


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

This is the better choice for a gifted student. For others, ISB is the better choice.

View All Answers


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

They are still developing this service.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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.

There are many ESL kids. Approaching too many.

View All Answers


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?

They have great activities, but they are too pricey.

View All Answers


Social & Emotional Well-Being:

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

There are many opportunities to socialize.

View All Answers


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.

The least amount I have ever seen. It is incredibly welcoming to kids and families.

View All Answers


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. We would not choose it again, as the grading is to rigorous for our children.

View All Answers


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

The administration and teachers are extremely dedicated and hardworking. The students are amazing. If your GPA doesn't matter but IB scores do, this is the school for you.

View All Answers


Brussels, Belgium 01/04/14

International School of Brussels

School Website

http://www.isb.be


Background Information:

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

Parent.

View All Answers


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

Kindergarten; 2nd (also attended for 1st grade).

View All Answers


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

2012-present.

View All Answers


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

Government.

View All Answers


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

We had an opportunity to travel to Brussels before moving here and toured the school. We also looked at St. John's and the International Montessori School of Brussels. ISB impressed us with the separate learning center for younger children and it was closer to where we would live.

View All Answers


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-we had no problems with the application process. Most DOS dependents attend ISB so the school is familiar with the process.

View All Answers


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

A-new families are easily welcomed into the school community. There are special meetings and seminars for new families.

View All Answers


Administration & School Procedures:

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

The atmosphere is wonderful at ISB. The school is split into different "areas." The Early Childhood Center is PreK-2nd grade and that is where both our children are enrolled. The entire school is welcoming and we continue to be impressed with the level of communication the staff and principals have with families.

View All Answers


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-a very diverse school, truly international and all are treated fairly. Americans are the majority, but you wouldn't know it from the way the school is administered. To us, this is a good thing.

View All Answers


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

A-this depends on the individual teacher, but all have email accounts and are readily available for parents. Teachers publish a monthly newsletter and the ECC head/principal sends a weekly electronic newsletter.

View All Answers


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

A-our 2nd grader was assessed to have advanced math skills so was put into an advanced class. All grade levels in the ECC do individual reading assessments and students receive individual educational plans.

View All Answers


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

A-after-school activities range from drama club to martial arts to swimming to wall climbing. Individual music lessons are provided by independent teachers who are allowed to coordinate a schedule with the student's teacher.

View All Answers


6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

A-even though our children are young, they are academically challenged and expected to achieve high standards.

View All Answers


7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

A-an occasional take-home project for our older child, otherwise there is no homework for the ECC students.

View All Answers


8. Administration-parent communication:

A-the school head sends out appropriate electronic messages and the school also sends a weekly newsletter.

View All Answers


9. Teacher-student communication:

A-our two children have no problems with their teachers.

View All Answers


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?

No.

View All Answers


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

No.

View All Answers


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

Yes-we are amazed at what he is learning.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

None.

View All Answers


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

Our children go on field trips and there are no additional costs for museum admissions, etc.

View All Answers


16. What activities do you feel are missing?

None.

View All Answers


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

Yes.

View All Answers


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

Yes.

View All Answers


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

None that we are aware.

View All Answers


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-the ECC counselor is available for students with behavioral issues and to provide tools for problem solving.

View All Answers


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-great library and librarian. It is open to families and parents can check out books too.

View All Answers


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

A-all the classes in the ECC have PCs and iPads.

View All Answers


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-our 2nd grader has PE twice per week and they work on developing physical skills as well as team building and fair play. It's not just a free-for-all play time.

View All Answers


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

In the ECC, it's about 16-18 students per teacher. Most grades have teachers' aides as well.

View All Answers


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?

Our previous babysitter attended ISB and took AP courses.

View All Answers


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

Yes.

View All Answers


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

In the ECC, art and music are part of the curriculum; however, we have friends with older children who speak highly of the music and drama departments.

View All Answers


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

Yes.

View All Answers


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

Yes-as I wrote above, our son is in an advanced math class. It is taught by the ECC head.

View All Answers


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-drama, sports, music; it has everything (including American football).

View All Answers


Social & Emotional Well-Being:

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

Expat-both our sons have made friends from all over the world.

View All Answers


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.

The entire school is expat (very few Belgians attend ISB).

View All Answers


Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

The international community, the teachers and administration.

View All Answers


2. Greatest challenge?

Parking!

View All Answers


3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

Without hesitation. If we could stay in Brussels, ISB would be one of the only reasons.

View All Answers


Brussels, Belgium 11/08/11

International School of Brussels

School Website

http://www.isb.be


Background Information:

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

Parent

View All Answers


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

Kindergarten, fifth grade

View All Answers


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

2007-2011

View All Answers


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

Associated with the US Embassy to the EU and the US Mission to NATO

View All Answers


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?

All arranged by the Embassy

View All Answers


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

A: Very supportive, good communication with parents on a daily basis. Special meeting for new parents and students

View All Answers


Administration & School Procedures:

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

My kindergatener had a wonderful time while at the school. The school is located in a wonderful spot, the main administrative area is housed in an old building called the chateau, really nice.The kids had plenty of resources for all sort of activities. My fifth grader also a great time at the school, she did 3th and 4th grade there as well and has wonderful memories of her friends and teachers

View All Answers


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: The school welcomes expats with arms open, in fact they underscore the fact that they have kids from 70 different nationalities. Cultural diversity is valued highly.

View All Answers


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

B: Good teacher-parent communication, parents were always welcome in the classroom

View All Answers


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

Not familiar with these services

View All Answers


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

B: There is a variaty of after school programs, we tried them initially but did not stay because our daughter was not very interested. I would say I was not that impressed with the programs

View All Answers


6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

View All Answers


7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

B: Homework was more interesting as the kids were entering higher grades in elementary school. Our kindergartener had no homework at all which we missed thinking about establishing good habits, we ended up giving him some homework at home

View All Answers


8. Administration-parent communication:

View All Answers


9. Teacher-student communication:

View All Answers


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?

No

View All Answers


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

No

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

Yes, my kids are interested in music and the program is really good

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

There are no additional fees daily trips however for annual higher grade trips the fees are very resonable and the experience really nice for the kids

View All Answers


17. What activities do you feel are missing?

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


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: Library was big and welcoming. While we were there they reorganized it. This was my daughter's favorite place, she was even able to check out books for the summer vacation, which was very helpful. The had nice bookfairs as well. The librarian was wonderful.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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: Good specific facilities for different sports, we missed not having school swimming pool

View All Answers


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

B: Many classes, about 4 to 5 per grade, with up to 25 to 30 kids per class

View All Answers


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?

Not familiar with these services but know they are available

View All Answers


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

Yes for higher grades

View All Answers


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

A: The music department is very nice, my daugther starter her musical interest with solid basis because of their good programs

View All Answers


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

Yes

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


Social & Emotional Well-Being:

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

View All Answers


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.

Note at all, at the elementary level the school offers a very nice and safe social environment

View All Answers


Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

View All Answers


2. Greatest challenge?

Teachers, infrastructure, location, diversity

View All Answers


3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

I will because our experience was very positive, our kids loved it

View All Answers


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More