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Parent's Review of American School of Warsaw in Warsaw, Poland

What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)

American School of Warsaw

In what town or city is this school located?

Warsaw

How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)

American

What grade levels are represented at this school?

PreK-12

How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)

Most children are driven by their parents, second most popular is the exrtemely expensive bus service, the third is by student-power (public bus, bike, walking)

How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?

The facilities are still rather new and wel maintained. There are many after-school activities. In the Elementary School teachers and assistants offer courses every tri-mester for interested students (Ping Pong, swimming, Sewing etc). the Middle School runs a rigorous 1.5 hour bi weekly sports activity for any interested stduents. They offer three different sports (for boys and girls) each trimester. The best students are then picked for travelling teams, but every interested student is encouraged to keep attending practices.

What has this school done to help your child transition from the curriculum in your home country into the curriculum in your new country? Are there programs to prepare your child for repatriation?

My children have attended this school since first grade so this has not been a concern. I will say that since my children are not ESL students I am concerned about their ability to intergrate back in to their home country curriculum. They receive no English grammar or higher level language instruction in English - although there are Native Language programs for Polish, Dutch, Italian, Swedish and any other interested non-English speaker. The children produce written work of a generally low standard (for high grades) and teachers don't bother to correct any mistakes. Any attempt to encourage higher level English for the native is always quashed by the administration.

How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?

The parent-teacher organization is undergoing a revitalization. They encourage parent involvement and there are several regular social activities offered every year. The Elementary is particularly active and there is a Parent Action Committee which meets regularly with the Principal and discusses changes to the ES which the parents feel stringly about. Many of these suggestions have been implemented. The Middle School and High School have little interest in parent input and although they also feature these committees parents are not encouraged to raise issues or suggest improvements.

What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?

The Elementary School is really very good and the kids and teachers very obviously enjoy their time there.

The Middle School is awful - the adminstration is arbitrary and scattershot. The make discussions and change policy without informing the parents or the students. Even something as minor as the grade average needed to reach the Prinicpal's List was changed after the Trimester ended and without informing any student or parent of the change. Surprise!

In general you will find people in the community telling you "well it's not really an academic school but my child enjoys himself" and that's the truth. They do not seek to retain teachers with high academic standards and although they have set curriculum standards (for example) one 5th grade teacher will pile on homework, the next will give none.

This is a once great school that has suffered over the past few years from poor leadership at the top and a general dumbing down of their standards.

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