Quito, Ecuador Real School Experiences

Personal Experiences from Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador 01/30/12

La Condamine (French School)

School Website

http://www.condamine.k12.ec/es/index.php


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?

Kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th (grande section, CP, CE2, CM2, 6eme)

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

2009-2010 & 2010-2011

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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)?

We are affiliated with the U.S. embassy on a government/military level. We were asked by many English speaking expats about the French school while we were there since many expats do speak French or want their children to learn French.

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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 - Our children were required to take a placement test to make sure they already knew French and could handle the grade they were supposed to be in.

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

D - I feel the school does a poor job at welcoming new students by there not being a program for children just moving in.It was difficult for my children to break into the groups that had formed since pre-school. There were a small number of children from Europe & Africa that my children were able to befriend.

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Administration & School Procedures:

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

Our children attended the primary school and the middle school.

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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:

A - I feel that the majority of the staff treated us very well and helped us to work out problems even though we were not French nor Ecuadorian.

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

A - Teacher-Parent communication is good, but outside of a quick note, the teachers preferred to have an official appointment.

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

I am unaware if the school has a gifted or special needs program.

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

A - For after-school electives, they chose from Soccer, lacrosse, rugby, cooking, indoor climbing, karate, drama, & basketball and more. These are offered at any age.

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6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

C - High standards were expected from all students, but we sometimes had a problem with teachers enforcing this by yelling at our shy mannered children. (like not completing homework)

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7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

C - In general, our children have an large amount of homework to do when they got home after their after school activity.

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8. Administration-parent communication:

A - The staff at the school sent out notices by letters sent home or emails.If a child was sick, a call was made to me.

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9. Teacher-student communication:

A - The teachers are fairly clear with all the students and wrote notes specifically for them on occasions in their homework books.

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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?

No

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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:

No

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

N/A

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

N/A

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

Yes

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

I think it would be great if they would have offeredthe children to play musical instruments.Also a chance to play teams in sports would be nice.

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

Each grade from 1st grade up usually takes a class trip each year.The cost is reasonable and the children always look forward to it.

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17. What activities do you feel are missing?

Dance, Art, chess

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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 on getting the children enrolled and everything else with being new.But there is no buddy system or new student program to welcome the actual student.

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

If your children are quiet natured, they may struggle at this school.If they are outgoing and/or start out in pre-school or kindergarten, they will probably do alright.

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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?

D - Two of our children had a problem being bullied.we were told by the director of the school that this is a phase that some children have to go through.The school was unable to stop this from happening to our children. We removed one of our children from this school for that reason. There is no one for the children to talk to (like a counselor).

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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 - They have a full library with a wide variety of books all in French.We did loose some books and were required to pay for them.

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

B -The children have a computer class twice a week.Learning how to type was not a priority though.

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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 - PE is twice a week and focused on Swimming, lacrosse, soccer, or rugby.

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

B - There are on average 21 children to one teacher. In Kindergarten & 1st grade, there was a class helper in the room as well.

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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?

I am unaware if the French system has any special graduating programs.

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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)?

A - The French are very curriculum focused. After school is when most electives are offered.Swimming however is offered during curriculum time as well as Spanish (for non-Spanish speakers). They also prepare for their Christmas concerts by singing practice.

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

They are required to speak French (since it is the French school). But Most of the children's teachers did also speak English ...which was helpful.

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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.Soccer, lacrosse, rugby, cooking, indoor climbing, karate, drama, basketball and more.

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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?

A large amount of students at La Condamine are Ecuadorians who have been together since pre-school and have strong bonds.They socialize with the new students at first, but then tend to go back to socializing with their long time friends mostly.The new children seem to socialize with each other and develop strong bonds...but they are few.

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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, Most notably on their buses where they mix high-school children with primary aged children.The bus attendants do not stop bullying. At school, bullying is minimal, but was not disciplined against in our case.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

The schools greatest strength is perfecting the language of French in children. They are very good at this.And my children all speak French fluently.

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2. Greatest challenge?

The schools greatest challenge is discipline.It is an avoided problem in the primary school but even more in the middle school where the children are often speaking out of turn, throwing paper and yelling with the teacher yelling back in effort to grasp control of the class (as told by our 6th grader). We changed our 6th grader over to Cotopaxi (American school) at this time.

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3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

I would choose this school again if my children are still in primary school. And this time with a very close eye on how my children are doing socially. I would not choose this school if they were older.

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