Bangkok, Thailand Real School Experiences

Personal Experiences from Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand 04/19/19

Bangkok Patana School

School Website

https://www.patana.ac.th


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?

Year four, five, and six, from 2016-2019.

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

Government.

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

Yes, many. I liked their large curriculum and ECAs provided. I liked the caring teachers, large campus dedicated to Primary and buildings for each specific year group, open friendly school environment, multicultural and traditional school uniform environment. I really appreciated the good communication and frequent newsletters from the 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?

Yes, and easy to follow.

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

Clear and concise. Very professional and friendly to answer all your concerns.

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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?

Communication through newsletters, emails, website, and phone calls on occasion were great. They left messages/emails, if they needed you to call back.

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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?

Uniforms, year five needs to provide their own laptop, some ECAs, some instruments, and field trips. Uniforms are inexpensive compared to other places in Europe or the US. Field trips are also inexpensive, perhaps because we are in Thailand.

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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 personal and academic counseling, but I do not have experience with them.

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

ECAs are available. Costs vary from 0$ to $150 USD. ECAs for horseback riding is usually on the higher-end, middle would be cooking class, music, or Taekwondo, and for regular gymnastics or tennis it would be free.

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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?

Large library for each school, there is primary and secondary libraries. Each are well-equipped with plenty variety of books, authors come to visit with the kids, and there are dedicated librarians to help. Facilities are really clean, A/C, comfortable lounge areas and table areas to read at.

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

They need to bring their own laptop starting year five. Technology is integrated, as their home learning is on a schedule; set-up is on the school website and teachers can send emails to the students. Students can log into the Patana school website and check their Outlook emails from the cloud.

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

The IT department is up to date on everything and has good support. There are computer labs and regular computer courses they must take every week.

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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?

Multiple gyms indoor and outdoor, multiple swimming pools, many playing fields, basketball, t-ball, football, and tennis courts. School is facilities are the best in Bangkok, that I have noticed compared to ISB, NIST, and St. Andrews Sathorn.

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

One teacher to twenty students, at the most. There are six classes for each year group.

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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?

Yes, but we have not experienced it.

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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?

Yes.

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

Yes, although for my child, I supplemented with additional exercise books and that worked out well. The homework alone was not enough from my child.

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

Music, drama, dance, art painting, clay, crafts, choir, and many more like t-shirt tie-dye, jewelry making.

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

Yes.

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

Gifted programs were available.

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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.

There appear to be services.

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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.

Mandarin Chinese was available and the teacher spoke Mandarin, Cantonese, and English (quite well). She truly cared for each child's learning levels, and challenged them to improve. She was a good Chinese teacher compared to previous ones my children had at other schools. She spoke well, and was not afraid to communicate her concerns to the parents on how the kids can improve.

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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?

The school ECAs were all great. Participated in choir, tennis, robotics, water color painting, dance, clay works, gymnastics, pencil drawing and others like cooking. We are sorry they never brought back the Shaolin Kungfu program, as that was a good program. My understanding is it was taken away due to parental complaint.

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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, there were local children in each class, and they all got along well.

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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.

There was a little cliques, but just once or twice issues came up, and the teacher had a sit down with the girls and was able to manage it. The cliques are just normal part of growing up, and we didn't see it as a problem and the girls all got along well after the talks.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?

A, the school met my expectations, but the online work at home could have had some more exercises for the children; perhaps that is the new way of teaching in IB schools? Patana was the best experience for my child compared to schools in Virginia. She enjoyed her time at Patana, and does not want to leave. Patana also had a lot of school spirit.

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

She learned about school spirit through her time at Patana, and learned how to make friends in the international school easily. The first three months were difficult after the move from the USA. However, now she doesn't want to leave Bangkok, because she loves her school so much.

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

Originally we applied for NIST as we live in downtown Bangkok, but missed the deadline, due to arriving in October. NIST was the largest city school near us, and then Patana was bigger but it was further towards the edge of the city. We are glad we went with Patana.

NIST parents have told me that NIST had major bullying and clique issues, and besides that it would take almost 2 hours sometimes for a child to get home from NIST on a bus transport due to traffic congestion, and they lived fewer than two kilometers away. Some parents from NIST moved their kids to Patana. Patana had occasional traffic as we lived in the City Center, and the latest we had her home was about 30 minutes late (that happened twice during our three years), but never more. The Patana commute was normally about 30-35 minutes in the morning, and 35 minutes in the afternoon on the bus from the City Center to Patana. So the kids could relax/sleep during these commutes.

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Bangkok, Thailand 06/06/18

Kids Kingdom International Kindergarten

School Website

http://www.kidskingdom.ac.th/


Background Information:

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

Parent of children attending the school

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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?

2015-2018, preschool years from nursery to K2

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

government

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

Yes, there are many other schools available. We chose this because it was fairly close to our home, was only for preschool ages children, so it has a small campus and very friendly staff and not at all intimidating. They also have a toddler playgroup that our children attended before they start formally at the school, so they were already familiar with the staff and campus. The rates are also fairly reasonable for Bangkok.

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Admissions & Welcome:

1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?

Yes, the process is very clear. The admin staff is very helpful

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

Very good - staff are very friendly and flexible.

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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?

Communication is great. In nursery the teacher communicates daily through a hand written note in a book that gets sent home at the end of each day. For K1 the teacher communicates once a week by email and for K2 the teacher communicates every 2 weeks by email. There are parent teacher meetings each semester and a parent coffee morning each semester.

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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?

There is an additional fee for uniforms, ID card, costumes for school performances, lunch and snack and school bus (if requested).

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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?

No, not relevant for this age group

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

No

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

yes, it has a small library with age appropriate books, which the children can borrow. For K1 and K2 the children choose a book to bring home each week

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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, which the children start to use (for a limited time period) in K1

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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 requirements and very limited screen time

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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?

The campus is small but there is a pool and playground with enough space for extracurricular football classes

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

1 teacher and 2 teacher aides for a max of 15 students

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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?

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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?

This depends a lot of the individual teachers and how interested they are on providing extra activities for children who might be ahead. The school has an inclusive education policy that covers children on all ends of the spectrum.

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

yes, homework started in K2, with a workbook coming home each week with 2 pages to be completed, focusing on literacy and numeracy

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

There is music and art and drama

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

Yes

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

As far as we know there are no specific services

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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.

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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.

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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.

ESL classes are offered on a weekly basis.

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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?

Soccer, ballet, zumba, gymnasics robotics, cooking, art, music, Japanese are all offered. Our children have only participated in soccer, which they love.

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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, but there are no very many local students at the school, it is primarily expat but from a large number of countries and regions

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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.

No

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Overall Impressions:

1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?

A, and yes, I would choose it again

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Bangkok, Thailand 06/05/18

NIST

School Website

http://www.nist.ac.th/


Background Information:

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

I am a parent of an elementary aged child.

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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?

Year 2 (U.S. Grade 1) - 2017 - present

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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)?

U.S. Government Embassy Employee

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

There are many other schools available, however we choose NIST based on its location to our housing and because of high ratings from other embassy families and within the greater Bangkok educational community.

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Admissions & Welcome:

1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?

Yes, everything is very straightforward. Because the school is highly sought after, make sure you submit a letter from Post HR stating that you're with U.S. Embassy to submit with your application.

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

Your welcome and integration into the school as a parent will be what you make of it. There are many organizations and groups to join but if you don't engage, you will feel as if you don't know what's going on. For my elementary child, the student integration seemed to go fairly well. The size of the school was a big adjustment for our child but over time excitement for school returned.

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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?

There is an over-abundance of communications. I wish they combined some of them so I didn't get so many messages from the school in a week. I've made the mistake of ignoring them only to miss notifications about school closures not listed on the school calendar. Read all the darn emails!

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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?

For my elementary child the required additional fees were: uniforms approx (3,000 baht); school lunch plan (25,000 baht for the year). There is a secondary account where you can add money for snacks in the cafeteria or library that the child can use their student number of finger print to order with. We added 2,000 baht per semester. School trips did not cost anything extra but there are a number of programs and sales that cost money throughout the year

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

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

There are 3 libraries. An elementary library, and primary (middle/high) and a parent/teacher library. Parents and students can borrow books.

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

High tech everything.

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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?

My elementary child is assigned an ipad to use on school property only. It does not come home. There is NO homework at this school in elementary.

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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 are 2 swimming pools, and indoor gym building with 5 floors and two outdoor sports/gym spaces with tennis court, soccer field.

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

22 children to 1 teacher + 1 aide per classroom plus an additional rotating teachers aid per grade level.

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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?

Yes, IB is avialable.

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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?

N/A for IB as my child is in elementary; however at her grade level, she is very appropriately challenged.

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

My child has had only 1 homework assignment which was to interview someone who'd migrated from one place to another and submit the video to the teacher.

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

Music, Art, Drama, Coooking, Woodworking, Glassblowing; all available.

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

Yes. All teachers speak English fluently.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

so many activities I couldn't list them all. Check out the list of ECAs: https://www.nist.ac.th/ecas/

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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?

Mostly. Segmentation happens naturally though.

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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.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?

A
We'll be there until the end of our tour in 2021.

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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!

The school bus is safe; but if you have a younger child, be sure to request an assigned seat for them so they don't get stuck in musical chairs at the back of the bus with older kids!

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Bangkok, Thailand 09/30/13

International School of Bangkok

School Website

http://www.isb.ac.th


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?

1st through 5th grades.

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

2012-2015.

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

The neighborhood. Children are able to ride their bikes around freely without concern. It was one of 2 schools that the Office of Overseas schools suggested. The other was downtown where we would be living in a high rise with 4 very active kids. We wanted our children to be able to go outside.

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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 - Very easy process. We did most of ours via email before arrival in country.

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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 school offers Parent Education Seminars every month with topics such as curriculum (writing/math), and stress management. They also have a very active PTA that sets up "Welcome Coffees" that serve as a meet and greet/informational get together. Many, many options to learn more about the school and meet other parents, both new and returning.

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Administration & School Procedures:

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

The school as a whole is very inviting and staff is always eager to help with anything. After our first year I feel that the school is more concerned with test scores than the individual student. If your child doesn't fit into the mold, there is something wrong with your child.

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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:

B - We had a few issues with a couple of staff members but administration was helpful in getting these issues resolved, although very late in the school year.

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

A - Teachers and parents on a first name basis. Email and classroom blogs are used very frequently to convey any and all information.

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

B - No "Gifted" labels here. Classes are mixed with different learning levels. Programs such as "Math Olympiad" are offered for those who need a higher level of learning. There is a whole learning support staff who help those who need a little extra push or have learning difficulties. Speech and ESL/EAL also offered.

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

A - Everything under the sun is offered, very few without fees though. Sports include basketball, baseball, soccer, track and field, and the Swim Team. Gymnastics (competitive and fun levels), Dance, Music/Drama, Legos, Chess, Scouting (Boy and Girl), and many, many more. Some worth the extra fee and some not so much.

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6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:

B - Standards are very high.

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7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):

B - Homework time limit guidelines in place for each grade in Elementary. Minimal homework.

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8. Administration-parent communication:

A - Administration is very good at letting you know pertinent information. Always open to questions and suggestions, or to just chat.

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9. Teacher-student communication:

B - For the most part it is great but as in any other school, there are personality conflicts and teacher assignments are not always spot-on.

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10. Academics, answer the following questions "yes" or "no" with an explanation if appropriate:<br><br>Are there any classes or subjects where students are not appropriately challenged?

Yes - A lot of emphasis is put on writing but not on spelling and grammar.

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

Yes - One child was placed in a classroom with extra aids to help with completing tasks/motivation. One child has extra help with handwriting. These services are provided by the Learning Support Staff.

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

So far - This process is new to us this year but seems to be working thus far.

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

No - Not really much of a program. Just a few classes in specific subjects do not constitute a Gifted and Talented program. It seems more like they are offered just to say they offer them.

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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 - Every student not under the "Learning Support" umbrella is required to take a foreign language, Thai, the first year. Every class attends art and music at least once a week.

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

A true Gifted/Talented program. One where students are placed in classes with other students on the same learning level.

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

No - All field trips (including overnights) are included in tuition. Supplies included on the Elementary level also.

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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:

Not all of them - Many they are not interested in or are too expensive. Also, there are so many available activities that you cannot possibly do them all.

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

Yes - New student groups, classroom buddies for the start of the year.

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

Not enough supervision during non-structured time, i.e recess.

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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 - Elementary has 2 counselors, 1 for Pre-K through 2nd Grades and the other for 3rd through 5th. New student groups at the beginning of the year to help kids adjust. Open door policies.

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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 - Wonderful resources. Brand new High School library from which parents are allowed to check out books and movies as well. Elementary school "Hub" even has a 'parent only' section about puberty.

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

A - IPads used in every class, even in the library. Every student has his own blog. Every class has its own blog. Middle schoolers are issued laptops.

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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 - A wide range of activities and sports taught, including swimming towards the end of the year.

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

In the Elementary school every class has an aid to help the teacher all day, every day. Starting in 4th the aids are less involved and actually work in more than one classroom as the students become more independent and need less help.

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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?

Not available in the Elementary.

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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 - MANY options available in the arts. Dance, Gymnastics, Musicals, Choir, Strings program, Music lessons. The art and music programs during school hours are amazing. My kids come home excited to tell me about the new artists they learned about.

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

Yes.

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

Yes - Math Olympiad. Services provided as a pull-out during certain periods of the day by a Math Specialist.

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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 - The school is a private school but many local Thai children are enrolled. The neighborhood that the school is in is full of expats from all over the world. The majority of the students live within the gated neighborhood community, or right outside.

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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.

No.

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Overall Impressions:

1. What is the greatest strength of this school?

"Work-shop" model based curriculum. Technology.

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2. Greatest challenge?

Being more open to those that don't fit the typical mold.

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3. Would you choose this school again? Why?

Yes and No. We had a rough 1st year and the only reason we continued was for the stability for our children who had already made friends and were comfortable in the school after having a year under their belt. We learned of other schools in the area that could offer our children more emotional support but were not sure if they would challenge them academically.

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