What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)
Brasilia International School (BIS)
In what town or city is this school located?
How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)
American Curriculum for an International Student Body taught in English.
What grade levels are represented at this school?
Pre-K through 12th Grade.
How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)
Mini-Bus (provided by respective embassies) or Driver.
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
Basic. BIS was founded in 1999, and is currently housed in the "Sector of Mansions" in a residence that has been converted to a school. Every year, construction and modifications are made to the school. Slow, steady growth has contributed to the solid foundation of the school, and when the time is right, the school will move to a permanent school facility. Sports and activities clubs are held throughout the year.
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?
The school is taught in English, and according to American standards. The intent of the school is to maintain those standards so there is no need to "transition" from the US, or back to the US. The low student to teacher ratio helps those students who are not in the "average" area of the curve.
How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?
Unlike EAB (the American School here in Brasilia), this school continues to remain financially stabile and improves with each passing day. A formal PTA is in place and thriving, and social activities for the parents and children continue to increase.
What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?
First, know that the school is a Christian School. That does not mean Christians dominate the student body, or that religion dominates the curriculum. Muslims, Buddhists, Catholics, Mormons, Agnostics, etc., thrive together at BIS. The presence of such diverse religious backgrounds of the students can best be explained by their parents, who typically say that the religious views taught by the school are providing opportunities at home to discuss and strengthen their own religious beliefs at home, or that the religious views of the school are not that different from their own views: God is God, whether his name is Yahweh, or Allah.
A by-product of the religious nature of the school is a more disciplined, tolerant, and compassionate student body.
The tuition is comparatively low due to the mission of the certified teachers from the U.S., who receive financial support from their respective churches.
The school, after its initial visit from the SAACS representative over a year ago, was awareded candidacy status immediately, skipping the provisional status entirely. The school is progressing through the wickets of accreditation at a noteworthy pace, and full accreditation is anticipated to be awarded by November 2006. The school recently was added to the "approved" schools lists of the Canadian and British Embassies.
My personal opinion about the school is that, within five years, it can be compared to a premium private parochial school in the U.S., leaving the American School (EAB) to continue to remain comparable to a typical, unimpressive public education, to which the Dept of State compares it now anyway, in its evaluations, rather than comparing it to private U.S. schools that charge equivalent high-end tuitions, as it should be. Afterall, both EAB and BIS are private schools.
This was written in Sept, 2005.