Skopje, Macedonia Real School Experiences

Personal Experiences from Skopje, Macedonia

Skopje, Macedonia 01/08/19

NOVA International School

School Website


Background Information:

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

Both.

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

Teaching.

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

QSI is also available.

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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?

They are there but in our experiences, the rules are not real. It's all a matter of who can pay and who people know.

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

Not poor, not weak, but bad.

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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?

From my experience, it's filtered and frequently seems untrue, if communication happens at all.

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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?

If students want a meal plan or to ride the bus, there is a substantial extra fee for each. I think it's not worth the cost. Also extra costs for special education support.

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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?

There are college counselors, but it seems like they are mostly familiar with "prestige" schools and more interested in helping students who are likely to attend those schools.

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

There is after-school care for young children. I don't know what it 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?

The elementary library is quite good, and students can check out books. The high school library is decent, with a relatively good selection of popular books, mixed with a confusing number of books. It's hard to imagine any student reading voluntarily.

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

There are two computer labs, but they are only for technology classes. There are very few resources at the school. There is not even consistent wifi for students.

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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?

At the high school level, it is expected that students will have their own technology, and they generally do. However, there is no clear policy or system by which they use technology in lessons.

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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?

There is an elementary gym, but most phys ed classes make use of the facilities at Forza sports club nearby, meaning students have to walk to a local establishment, essentially, for PE activities.

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

Classes at all levels tend to be around 20 students, with a teacher assistant in the pre-k and kindergarten rooms.

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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?

Both are offered, though, in my opinion, the programs are not very good and there is a poor variety of options available. Also, I am not sure if the teachers' training is up to date for these.

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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?

Most teachers have a local certification and my children report not being challenged appropriately. I have some concerns about the curriculum as it seems that the school owners/management does not have a lot of experience in the education field.

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

I understand there to be visual arts and drama (intermittently and with a local instructor with no teaching certification). Even in IB, I think these are the only two options. At the elementary level, the school loves to tout its dance and theatre program, but it is really just preparation for performances each year, which take students out of class and are, in my opinion, little more than a publicity event for the school.

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

Ostensibly, they must all be fluent. In practice, some are and some are not (including English teachers). My children report that it is not uncommon for class to be conducted in Macedonian, with students who don't speak the language left out in the cold. Also, students will frequently ask questions in Macedonian, which are then answered in the same language.

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

Absolutely nothing.

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

Some services are available at a significant cost.

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

None. The building is not accessible, there are no elevators, and even though there is a profoundly visually impaired student, the school frequently adds and changes furniture in public areas.

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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 some EAL classes which seem to have a decent rate of improvement for students. However, those services do not extend beyond the English learning class, leaving them with no support in their other subjects.

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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?

Some sports teams, in which students compete with other international schools in the region. Also a math competition.

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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?

Not great. I have heard that students and teachers are known to make anti-LGBT comments, and I have spoken with students who felt unsafe as a result.

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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?

I would caution against bringing children with special needs to this school.

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

They are not. Expat students seem to do better if they learn some Macedonian, otherwise they seem to be pretty isolated.

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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.

Yes. Many problems. Many real problems that are poorly addressed in my opinion. The school psychologist makes an admirable effort to work with students, and does make a difference on an individual level, yet the school culture is still not changing.

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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. No, I would not choose it again especially for children in upper elementary and above.

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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!

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Skopje, Macedonia 12/28/17

QSI

School Website

http://www.qsi.org/macedonia/mcn/


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?

5-7, 2015-2017.

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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?

NOVA is a bigger and better choice, in my opinion. There is also a small French school.

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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?

Just show up, they will take you, no need to apply before arriving at post.

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

Poor, there is really no effective PTA, no mentors, no welcome committee.

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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 found communication to be poor. Emails to some teachers went unanswered. Emails to the school head were ignored or sometimes answered with odd answers - when the French teacher was suddenly gone, with no communication, we wrote to the head to ask what had happened. His response "Why do you want to know that?" Our kids were in the French class....



A few teacher set up blogs during our time there, but they were abandoned pretty quickly. A few teachers sent out an occasional newsletter.

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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?

School trips if they happen....during our time the middle school teacher wanted to organize a trip to Greece but a few missionary parents were very vocal in the "unfairness" of that and the head canceled the trip...without any parent notice.

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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 know of any college counselor. We heard that they claim the kids can use one actually employed in Georgia. During our time there, they only had one graduating senior each year. We heard that one had no help from Georgia and had no idea that was an option. It seems that the other ended up joining the army in his home country...though the school is still under the impression he is a student at an American college.

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

No, but...K-6 grade lets out about an hour before the upper grades but the kids cannot go home. They have forced after school activities. We found these often poorly organized with very few things on offer. My 6th grader had to take Lego club one semester. Lego club was the gym teacher emptying out a tub of Legos on the floor and then playing on her phone for the hour....extremely unimpressed by all of it. Free play was also a common choice.

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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?

Library is very small. It seems that they get a handful of books every year. Many books have been donated by families leaving. Lots of religiously based books.

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

There is a computer lab staffed by the school 'doctor.' As far as I could tell the computers were there to let young children play games.

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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?

No need for anything really. Some upper school students have laptops but there are always several who cannot afford them.

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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?

There is a small gym. The floor was buckled most of our time there. No pool. There is a field and a blacktop area, but we heard that the regional head had plans to cover both with trailers in his grand plan for the school.

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

Small. 11 to 1 or 8 to 1.

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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?

We were not aware of anything like this.

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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?

I found the curriculum to be generally weak. It seemed that some teachers just ignored it. One year an embassy family member worked as the MS math teacher - his grand plan was to let the kids 'look up math videos on youtube' in lieu of any organized math. He was fired as science teacher mid year as that was also his plan for that...



Other child's teacher was using materials for 4th grade for his 5/6 grade class because there were many special needs.
No other parents either noticed or found these things unacceptable.

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

Homework was rarely given by some teachers. Though one teacher gave math homework every night, including Fridays.

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

Music is rock band. No choir or band/orchestra instruments. One of the two music teachers was nice but the other often video taped the kids as a threat when they were misbehaving.



Drama? Not really, they put on a school wide show every Xmas or spring. I found them uncomfortably badly done.



There is an art teacher but it seemed that she was stressed about supplies all year.

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

Yes, everyone speaks English. Though levels vary...the PE teacher, for example, seemed to allow cursing but I don't think she knows that is frowned upon by native speakers.



All written communication from the school is clearly not written by a strong English speaker. Makes the school look unprofessional.

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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! Daughter's 5th grade teacher was fuming when we met to discuss the issue. It seemed that he felt personally attacked...but then he was using materials a year behind because so many of the kids had issues. He argued, but when the spelling test says '4th grade' printed across the bottom...you're busted.

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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.

One HS kid with severe autism had a full-time aide, though she seems to do other things as well. One boy in 2nd grade also had a half-time aide for behavior.

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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.

A local woman who went to school in the U.S. offers ESL classes.

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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?

We were disappointed by the shortage of sports teams and extra curricular activities. Nothing offered for MS and HS during our time there - other than - take piano/guitar lessons.

It is a big missing piece from the school. Older kids are very bored in Skopje in general.

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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?

There were not too many actual Macedonians at the school. Mostly foreigners. Very large church clique at the school though. We heard that the regional head wanted to get all foreign missionary kids in (for free) so the school would look better to embassy families.

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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!! In our experience, bullying was rampant in many levels. Our son was called a 'faggot' by another boy for most of our time there. Head of school didn't believe us. Then we showed him a note written by the bully. Finally head of school reacted by asking, "Well, is he?" Nothing was done.

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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?

F-. We would either choose NOVA or SMA. We curtailed our tour.

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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!

Choose NOVA, or if your child is small, the French school, boarding school or don't come.



There were concerns regarding the behavior of a male teacher toward female students that some parents did not feel were adequately addressed.



We also heard that as of May 2017 the school was over $5 million USD in debt.


I know other people have loved the little school in years past but it has really turned into a disaster, in my opinion.

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Skopje, Macedonia 09/20/13

Nova

School Website

http://www.nova.edu.mk/


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?

2nd and 3rd grades.

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

2010-2012.

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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)?

U.S. Military.

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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.

The student body is composed of over 40 different nations, actively seeks diversity, and maintains an open door policy in terms of admissions.

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

A.

The NOVA PTA has a Welcome Committee whose responsibility is specifically tailored to addressing the needs of new families. The committee members are those parents who are very enthusiastic and willing to make new friends and help newcomers. The school also actively collaborates with the Macedonia Welcome Center, which is responsible for providing orientations and tours to new families and distributes their magazine.

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Administration & School Procedures:

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

The classrooms are structured and the climate is exactly what you would hope for as a parent. The teachers are attentive and the students seem to enjoy their time in class.

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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.

All family needs are taken seriously and are accommodated with the same courtesy and urgency, but at times it may seem that administration spends more time on U.S. expats, both due to natural adjustment to a new culture, and because they make up the bulk of the proactive parents.

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

A.

The school has an active presence in the World Wide Web. It updates its website with the latest information (Calendar) and events (News Section). It has active FB, Twitter and Youtube pages, updated daily/weekly with new content. The school utilizes an online learning system (Edline) when communicating student progress, attendance and grades to parents, and uses the same system to send e-mail notifications to parents. Report cards and other information get mailed/delivered to parents in hardcopy at the end of each quarter. Parents are invited to quarterly Parent-Teacher meetings and I have continuous communication with my child's teacher. We’re also notified by phone if a situation requires our immediate attention.

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

B.

Center for Differentiated Learning (CDL) was started 2 years ago. The center is staffed by foreign-hire education specialists experienced in work with multiple types of learner profiles, and their teachers. Next year the Center will include the gifted/talented. These needs are not neglected inside typically small classes, by teachers and/or assistants who are able to differentiate, and who have successfully accommodated such learners. Families of gifted children are generally satisfied with their kids' progress, but additional support will be offered by the Center next year.

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

A.

NOVA has an impressive number of Extracurricular Activities, including soccer, basketball, table tennis, swimming, fencing, karate, chess, mountain climbing, rock climbing, swimming, bowling, choir, band, ballet, and ice skating, made possible by a coordinator who is in charge of planning all aspects of the activities for each division. The school offers most activities free of charge, as an excellent way to build community and team spirit, and it has a smaller number of activities that require a nominal fee.

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6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

A.

Teachers set appropriate student learning goals by getting to know students well, by utilizing frequent formative assessments, and by benchmarking progress to standardized tests such as the MAP test, DRAs, Stanford-Benet, PSATs, SAT 1&2, APs and IBs.

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7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

A .

Students in the Elementary and Middle School receive Homework Logs which parents monitor. Parents are encouraged to help with homework. Parents are also expected to actively read with their children and assist in project preparation. In the high school, the time spent on homework could vary greatly depending on course load, from less than an hour, to 3-4 hours a day.

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8. Administration-parent communication:

A.

See above.

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9. Teacher-student communication:

A.

Students have full access to teachers and an amiable relationship.

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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?

Not in my experience. I have on numerous occasions visited the school where I witnessed the teachers interacting with the students. The students seemed enthusiastic and comfortable within their respective classes. The teachers are intelligent and creative with their approach, and more than anything, you can see that they are very invested in each child's success.

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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:

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

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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 find the programs to be thorough.

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

Yes, but they are optional.

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17. What activities do you feel are missing?

None.

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

Yes, she found the activity quite enjoyable and as a parent, I believe that it has enriched my child's overall experience.

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

Absolutely. The staff is very welcoming and the attention given to each family is exactly what is needed.

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

Honestly, we did not have a single issue at Nova, ever. My daughter has been enrolled in three different international schools, one in Japan, one in South Africa, and Nova in Macedonia, and while they were all excellent schools, Nova has far surpassed in so many ways. The staff are excellent, the overall feel at the campus is positive and alive. You can really sense that the students are happy there whenever you roam the campus and hallways.

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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?

A+.

The counseling program is fantastic; counselors are proactive, capable and caring.

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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?

B.

The school has two separate libraries, one serving the needs of the Elementary and Middle School, and the other one for the High School. The libraries have seen the number of volumes significantly increase over the course of the last years, as the school is investing and fundraising. The library is well stocked on teaching resources and classroom materials, but still lacks periodicals and reference materials. It has recently provided everyone with an online access to EBSCO. It works actively with Scholastic to organize Book Fairs. The school staffs both libraries each with a full-time employee who is assisted by an electronic library management system.

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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 school has three computer labs and offers computer science classes in all three divisions, but it's slowly moving into integrated computer education, rather than offering standalone courses. The high school offers electives such as Database and Visual Basic programming, C++/Java programming, Multimedia and Web applications. Each classroom is equipped with a computer, the school is Wi-Fi enabled, and some classrooms are equipped with smart boards and projection equipment. There is a full-time IT person on staff.

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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.

Physical Education classes are offered in all divisions. The school uses a full-size equipped volleyball, basketball, soccer, and handball gym. The school has an on-campus basketball and tennis court, and a small indoor gym, intended for the Elementary School students. It has two dance studios, equipped with mirrors, bars, and changing rooms, used for dance, aerobics, and ballet, across all three divisions. The middle and high school students (girls and boys soccer, basketball, and volleyball) are actively participating in international CEESA athletic events, and some local tournaments.

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

A.

At 79 full time teachers and 476 students, NOVA nurtures a small school culture, by maintaining a low student to faculty ratio of 6 to 1.

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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?

A.

NOVA is one of the few schools, not just in Macedonia but in the entire Central and Eastern European region, which offers both the IB and AP programs. The school offers the IB DP program and students can choose between a total of 15 subjects, offered at the standard and high level. The school offers 17 AP courses to choose from. NOVA students receive better than world average IB and AP scores, and consequently place at top universities around the world.

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

Yes. I found the balance between school work and homework manageable.

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

A.

There are a great variety of electives for each grade level. Fine Arts, Music, and Dance are offered in all divisions, and Foreign Languages (Italian, German, French and Spanish) classes are offered in each grade level in both middle and high school divisions. Additionally, at the high school level, within the Fine & Performing Arts department the school offers Drama, 2D and 3D Art, B&W and Digital Photography, Band, Choir, and Video Production. The Physical Education department also offers Aerobics, Personal Nutrition, and Fitness. Christmas and end of the year drama/music/dance performances across all divisions tend to be big productions and ambitious undertakings. Monthly events include classical music performances, student art exhibits, and family dance workshops.

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

Yes. As a native English speaker, I have never had trouble communicating in English with any of the staff.

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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.

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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, there is an extensive extracurricular activity program available.

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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, my daughter is American and most if not all of her friends are from other countries all over the world. One of the most important draws for locals to the school is the international and wonderfully diverse community; locals are generally driven to make new friends different from their local culture, and this often times results in shorter adjustment to local culture, and lifelong friendships with the expat community. Cliques or intolerant behavior typical of any school is highly unusual for our community.

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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.

Never in my daughter's experience.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

The international student population and the professional staff.

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2. Greatest challenge?

Maintaining their excellent standard.

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3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

Absolutely yes! Our experience there was so positive, and the education level that my daughter achieved set her up for success during our transition to South Africa. Thank you Nova for what you are doing. Keep up the great work!

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Skopje, Macedonia 08/03/11

Quality Schools International of Skopje (QSI)

School Website

http://skopje.qsischool.org/index.html


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 grade, 3rd-4th, 7th-8th

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

2010 and 2011 school years

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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?

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

A

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Administration & School Procedures:

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

The class sizes were perfect - 12 students in K and 3rd grade, and 8 students in the 7th/8th combination.Each of the classes were like mini families.

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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 - The school has MANY nationalities represented (including Macedonian), and I have never seen anyone treated differently.The teachers and staff love all the children, and know everybody's name.

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

A - I have found communication with the teachers to be very good.I could e-mail or send a note in, and receive a response the same day.If teachers were not in class if I dropped into the school for something, they were always willing and happy to discuss any issue I had, or were able to schedule a time for me to come in and talk.

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

A (for gifted services) - Because the classes are so small, the teachers are truly able to focus on the individual student and their needs.This was very true for our 7th grader.She was given placement tests at the beginning of the year and placed in the appropriate level of math.

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

A - Many after-school activities had a fee, but next year all activities will be offered free of charge (except for music lessons).

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6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

A

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7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

A - It never seemed like homework was just busy work.

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8. Administration-parent communication:

A

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9. Teacher-student communication:

A - My children always knew what was expected of them by their teachers.If they had questions, they felt very comfortable talking with their teacher to receive more instruction or clarification

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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:

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

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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 - Art, music, drama, and language classes for all students.Classes then share things they have learned in these classes in presentations at Community Time every other Friday morning.The school also has an Open Stage night where students are encouraged to perform.Both are fun ways to showcase the students, and Open Stage is a great way for families to socialize outside of school.

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

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

Yes - Some of the upper grades went on trips to other QSI schools in neighboring countries.The trips were elective, and parents paid for airfare and any other fees for the trip.

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17. What activities do you feel are missing?

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

Yes - The lower school grades (K-6) were able to participate in after-school activities.The upper grades did not, as the activities were during the last period of their day.

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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:

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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?

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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 - The library is surprisingly good for how small the school is.My children rarely had problems finding books to read that were appropriate for their reading levels.

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

A - There is a computer lab with new computers.It is in the upper-school building, so the upper grades have access to it when a class is not in it.While there is a technology teacher, all the teachers are technology savvy and utilize computers in their classes

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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 - Macedonians are big on physical fitness, and the teacher is incredible!They learn many sports throughout the year, and participate in several fun runs throughout the year.After school sports clubs are also available.

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

1:8 - 1:12

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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?

A - Many AP classes were offered last year, with more being added this coming year.

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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 - All the students receive art, music, and drama.Because the school is fairly small, everybody just takes them - they are not necessarily "electives".

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

Yes - all the main teachers are native English speakers, and all the local staff speak English very well.

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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.

Yes and no.While several of our children have tested into gifted and talented education at previous schools, there is not a G/T program here.However, the teachers were aware of their needs and were able to push them in their learning.I feel that they actually got more just in their classrooms at QSI than they did in their former gifted and talented pull-out classes.

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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?

Yes - Birthday parties, after-school playdates, etc.

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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.

We have not had any issues with these problems.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

This school feels like a big family.It is small enough so that we feel like we know everyone, but is still big enough to offer the programs that our children need.We are on a first-name basis with the administration and staff, and feel that they truly want what is best for our children.It is wonderful to know that the people they are with for half of their waking hours care for them and their well-being as much as their parents do.

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2. Greatest challenge?

Parent involvement is the biggest challenge that this school faces.The same parents volunteer over and over.It would be wonderful for more of the Macedonian parents to get involved in the PTO and activities put on by the school.

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3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

YES!!!Our children have excelled here!The class sizes combined with the quality of teachers has been exactly what they need.

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