What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)
Hong Kong Academy
In what town or city is this school located?
How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)
What grade levels are represented at this school?
pre K 3 to Grade 9 (2008/9) increasing a grade per year to Grade 12 2011/12
How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)
Mostly by school provided Bus service, some by private car, some older students catch public transport buses
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
Facilities are not yet a highlight, but programs are. The school has a very child and family friendly approach (see below) with the main emphasis on school programs. HKA are still searching for their own facility on the island, so are currently in an old facility on Stubbs Road but are rapidly outgrowing it. Technology is a feature - completely wireless facility, with one to one laptop program in middle and high school. Gym/auditorium, small well kitted out middle/high library and an additional one in the primary section. two rooftop areas for outdoor pursuits. Good size classrooms with plenty of materials. The outside of the school can be off-putting to those that like "pretty" though, as this is a temporary facility, and so money is not being spent on the outer appearance but rather what is happening inside.
Extra curricular program growing each year...Primary has a well developed after school activity program, and Wed afternoon workshops (school 1/2 day), and MS now offers several sports (basketball, volleyball, soccer) as well as a scuba diving club, MUN, Math Olympiad and Cultural exchanges. All students from Grade 3 up enter into an outdoor camp or experience - local camps for primary students, out of country for middle/high school.
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?
This is a small growing and constantly developing school - with a very interesting philosophy. Class sizes are no more than 18 students, with no more than 2 classes per grade level. Every primary class has a "co-teacher" employed on full time basis who works alongside the class teacher. Co-teachers are also used to help out with older students in the middle school - though not one per class as in the primary. The small class sizes and teacher student ratios really assists students in settling in.
Very international students body (about 30 nationalities for current population of approx 350 students). Parents must come to an open house to see and hear about the school before they can lodge an application (if available locally - other overseas applicants work with the admissions officer if unable to attend). Monthly curriculum evenings that detail the programs and philosophy of the school are provided for parents to attend. The school runs both the IBPYP and MYP programs and will become an IB diploma school when it reaches grade 11/12. These IB parameters ensure that the school follows set international standards to keep it in line with IB schools across the world. All programs are set up with repatriation in mind so that the transitions can be as smooth as possible, and no child is disadvantaged.
The school curriculum is based on an international framework that allows students from all to adjust with relative ease. While it is not American, it also makes sure that American parameters for school repatriation and even college entrance are being met as the school expands upwards.
How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?
The community is an integral part of the school, with an active group of "class parents" who organize activities across the school and assist teachers as and when needed. Communication is excellent with an internal email system, fortnightly class newsletters and fortnightly administration newsletters. Community activities include, school bar-b-q, school dance, cultural food festival and more.
Parents are encouraged to keep up constant communication with the school, and the size and organization make this possible.
What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?
Don't come if you like pristine outdoor areas and appearances, these just are not currently available for this school, but if you are willing to ignore this and take a look at what is happening inside - definitely come.
Similarly if you want a more formal classroom set up - all desks in rows, teacher at front lecturing, this is not the school for you. It is the school for people that want their children to learn to think for and organize themselves rather than just repeating facts. It is a modern education with a focus on the use of technology, critical thinking and breadth within programs.
Don't come if you want a large school, this is focused on remaining small with the students staff and students able to get to know one another across grade levels. It is, first and foremost a community school.