What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)
American International School
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-School - 12th Grade
How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)
At least half of the students are driven to school by parents or guardians. The school offers bus service from most Northern Suburbs and the City. Some middle and high school students take public transport.
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
We are at the school because of it's Academics. As temporary ex-pats, it was very important to me that my children can re-enter the American Schools as seemlessly as possible. As a young school there are limited extra-curricular activities. My children have been involved in the creation of two music CD's. They are very involved after school activities outside. It makes a great balance between keeping a "normal" school experience and education level and having a positive Aussie experience with their friends at their activities outside schoo.
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?
A huge percentage of the students are ex-pats who are used to moving. It is amazing to see how quickly new students are incorporated into the social life because they are all aware of how hard it can be as the "new kid." The school is accredited by the American International School curriculum and has the usual standardized tests. It also is accredited by the New South Wales Board of Studies which gives them some more local flavor in some classes than they would be exposed to back home. Because the students are used to friends moving, they talk about where they've lived and how they have handled different situations. While repatriation will have its challenges, the overall experience here will be useful in making the transition easier.
How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?
The Parent Volunteer Group is very active in the school. We run the canteen fully staffed by parent volunteers. We have parents running the library and helping in the classrooms. On a monthly basis, we have scheduled social activities for parents during school hours as well as some more family oriented activities. Informally, I don't think I would have survived the first few months if it hadn't been for others like me who could understand my challenges and frustrations with my new environment.
What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?
My advice would be to get involved with the other school Parents immediately. It really eases the transition. You can vent your frustrations without insulting locals and can find out about all of the things Sydney has to offer that would take years to find. The kids make friends quickly in school, but I was very happy with our decision to get them involved in some of the same after-school activities they participated in at home. They felt at school and after because a lot of it was very normal.