Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Guatemala

June 28, 2020


Around the world, there are countries (like Guatemala) that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.

The big question always is…how do the comments about each school compare to each other?

This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same country.

Guatemala

Currently, we have 8 schools listed in Guatemala on International School Community.

6 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:

American School of Guatemala (47 Total Comments)
Antigua International School Guatemala (14 Total Comments)
Colegio Interamericano de Guatemala (124 Total Comments)
Han Al American School (11 Total Comments)
The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (75 Total Comments)

Amount of Money Left to be Saved

“If you are very frugal or share an apartment you can save money. If you have debt or loans to make payments on, you will likely not save any…” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya)

“After you have been there a couple of years you get extra bonuses which help with saving money. Most teachers save between 5 and 10k…” – Colegio Interamericano de Guatemala

“Because my experience was minimal at the time I made $1,500 a month. I was able to save $500 a month…” – Antigua International School Guatemala

School Campus

“Building is old but in working order. Reparations are done in a timely manner. Pre-K classrooms are recently renovated, plans to renovate all classrooms in the future. Class sizes are standard. Teachers are mostly from North America…” – American School of Guatemala

“The school campus is basically small, but cozy too. There are four buildings where classes are held…” – Han Al American School

“The school is located on the outskirts of Guatemala City. The campus is on a steep site that goes uphill from the carpark at the bottom to the elementary school at the top. There is a lovely nature-scape play area, primarily for use by the elementary school, at the top of the campus. There are also plans in place for a new “Innovation Hub”, which will then allow the school to relocate Middle School classrooms and provide more space for project-based learning…” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya)

Housing Information

“There was no housing allowance provided by the school…” – Antigua International School Guatemala

“$300/month housing allowance…” – Han Al American School

“The school provides gorgeous apartments which are usually 2 bedrooms 2 bath got a single teacher. The apartment standard is high with many teachers commenting on how great their place is…” – Colegio Interamericano de Guatemala

Pension Plan Details

“Your first year, the school will match a measly 2% of your salary. Your second year, 3%. This continues to a maximum of 5%. Plan is through Raymond James…” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya)

“No pension provided, teachers are expected to save from their salary and use the gratuity at the end which is one money salary per year worked…” – Colegio Interamericano de Guatemala

Are the Expectations High of Teaching Staff?

“As a bi-lingual school, foreign staff members in elementary/early childhood have a large amount of planning because their Guatemalan counterparts teach for approx. 1/3 of the day. Some of this time is spent in mandatory meetings, some is self-directed planning time. Middle and high school teachers have more than adequate planning time…” – American School of Guatemala

“The staff had to have a club each term. It could be an academic, sport or art club…” – Antigua International School Guatemala

“Extra curricular responsibilities are minimal especially when comparing with other schools. MS teachers and HS teachers don’t really do extra-curricular, and the ones who do seem to always be the same few individuals taking on that responsibility…” – Colegio Interamericano de Guatemala

(These are just 5 of the 66 different comments topics that are on each school profile page on our website.)

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Mexico

June 13, 2019


Around the world, there are countries (like Mexico) that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.

Some countries, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, how do the comments about each school compare to each other?

This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same country.

Mexico

Currently, we have 31 schools listed in Mexico on International School Community.

21 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:

American Institute of Monterrey (61 Total Comments)
American School Foundation of Guadalajara (111 Total Comments)
American School Foundation of Mexico City (72 Total Comments)
American School Foundation of Monterrey (105 Total Comments)
American School of Durango (39 Total Comments)
American School of Torreon (51 Total Comments)
Madison International School (32 Total Comments)
Westhill Institute (23 Total Comments)

Amount of Money Left to be Saved

“Depends on you, if you are single you can save 10,000 a month. If married with children then maybe 2,000.” – American Institute of Monterrey

“If you have any debt – school or mortgage – you will find it difficult to save any money as peso has weakened.” – American School Foundation of Guadalajara

“Depends on your lifestyle but I saved nothing because I had a child.” –
American School Foundation of Mexico City

School Campus

“The school building is excellent. The area surrounding the campus is desert and a nice suburban that is newly developed. It is on the outskirts of the town, but it is very safe and the building is new and very well-maintained.” – American School of Torreon

“The school caters for Elementary, PYP and MYP. It is quite a big complex and it is still expanding to cater for more classrooms. It is walled like any international schools over here so it is relatively safe.” – Madison International School

“School facilities are quite nice for Mexico (wifi, projectors, top notch gym and exercise equipment, etc.). As others have alluded to, the surrounding area is MUCH more proletarian than the school clientele.” – American School Foundation of Mexico City

Housing Information

“You have to live in the middle of nowhere (close to school) for your first year, unless you demand a housing allowance. It’s very unsafe. Someone was killed in our backyard a few years ago, and one of the teachers got his passport stolen. You have to pay for the utilities, but only if they confront you about it.” – Madison International School

“The teachers now have their own apartments. The houses are random.If you are a married couple you will be placed in a house. Some single teachers have houses due to availability.” – American School of Torreon

“Houses are very basic. Little or no furniture. When something is wrong with the house neither the school or landlord will help.” – American School of Durango

“I would recommend taking photos of your accommodation (walls, any marks, shabby painting) as now that I am transitioning out I am being asked to pay for things that may or may not have been my fault but I didn\’t expect the school to nickle and dime me at the end so I don\’t have any proof.” – American School Foundation of Monterrey

Health Insurance and Medical Benefits

“The private health insurance is only for major accidents, otherwise is pretty much useless and you must pay out of pocket if you get sick.” – American Institute of Monterrey

“There is no preventative care. Insurance is private and supported by the national health care program. For example, maternity leave is mandated by the state and paid for via IMS (national health care ). There is no international coverage – just 50,000 for accident coverage while you are visiting the US or Canada. Coverage is poor compared to other international schools. Doctors and service at private hospitals is very good!” – American School Foundation of Guadalajara

“Health insurance and dental but find a good doctor. Many are not good here.” – American School Foundation of Mexico City

“Unfortunately this school year the deductible went up substantially and the coverage is still not covering anything preventative. This was not told to staff until the week before school started which in essence dropped a lot of people’s salaries as now more is going towards health care costs. As someone who did not previously make any claims I did not appreciate this change when it finally came time to use the insurance.” – American School Foundation of Monterrey

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

If you work at an international school in Mexico, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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Recently Updated School Profiles

Recently Updated School Profiles #22: British Int’l School Shanghai – Pudong, Greenfield Community School (Dubai) & Carlucci American Int’l School of Lisbon

April 24, 2014


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Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:

21 Apr    Greenfield Community School (Dubai) (15 new comments)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “86 nationalities are enrolled at the school. It has been recognized for the support it gives students with EAL…”

19 Apr    British International School Shanghai – Pudong (12 new comments)
Shanghai, China:

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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “Teachers are housed near the school for the first year. They can choose to stay after this year or move with an accommodation allowance…”

16 Apr    Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (9 new comments)
Lisbon, Portugal:

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One of the new comments in the Travel Information section: “A lot of locals know English here, but there are definitely store workers and owners that don’t know hardly one word! It is good to know Portuguese here…”

Check out the rest of the last 40 international school profile pages that have been recently updated on International School Community here.

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Recently Updated School Profiles

Recently Updated School Profiles #21: Shekou International School, American School Madrid & ASF of Mexico City

January 14, 2014


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Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:

14 Jan    Shekou International School (14 new comments) Shenzhen, China
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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “Folks that live in Shekou can smell home from miles away…distinctly smelly and fishy. There is a staff bus that now runs to designated areas…”

 

12 Jan    American School Madrid (7 new comments) Madrid, Spain:

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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “The school sets high expectations of all faculty and staff, and there is a high degree professionalism displayed by all members of the school community. The workload is fair – teachers are given a prep period for every course taught. Teachers who agree to teach a sixth section are compensated monetarily…”

 

11 Jan    American School Foundation of Mexico City (16 new comments) Mexico City, Mexico:

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One of the new comments in the Travel Information section: “If you are traveling with luggage, only use city taxis, which is more expensive but trustworthy…”

Check out the rest of the last 40 international school profile pages that have been recently updated on International School Community here.

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Overview of an Int’l School

Overview of an int’l school #3 – Ak Lu’ Um International School

November 27, 2011


How great that each international school is unique!

In this overview of an international school, by Michele Kinnon, we would like to highlight Ak Lu’ Um International School in .

Currently there are 18 international schools listed in Mexico on International School Community.

Making a choice about a child’s education is perhaps the most important decision a parent is faced with. All children have different needs and interests and investigating all of the educational options available is crucial to finding the school that is right for each child. Over the past decade, the educational options for families living on the Riviera Maya have increased exponentially. While just a few years ago, parents seeking a quality private learning institution for their children were limited to two or three options, there are now nearly a dozen schools to select from with even more opening their doors every year. All of the schools vary in their methodologies, student demographics and facilities. Several of the newer campuses offer tremendous sports facilities and opportunities for students to participate in a variety of competitive sports. Parents looking for a more holistic learning environment may now look to one of the region’s Montessori or Waldorf inspired schools, the most innovative being the Ak Lu’um International School located in Playa del Carmen.

Fundacion Ak Lu’um A.C., the Riviera Maya’s only not for profit privatized school was created in 2006 by educators Siobhan Bowers and Gabriela Nunez. This Waldorf initiative employs a Heart, Head and Hands approach to education and Learning through the Arts methodology is used to teach curricular subjects such as Math, Science and Social Studies. In addition to the nationally standardized curriculum required by the Mexican Government (SEP), children are taught art, music and environmental studies complimented the facilities of the self sustaining jungle campus established in 2008. Students maintain a garden and raise chickens, harvesting the organic eggs for use in the school’s kitchen, and participate in a myriad of activities designed to stimulate not just their minds and bodies but their hearts as well. Ak Lu’um School is completely bilingual welcoming students from all over Mexico and across the globe.

Parents with special needs students will also now find a viable option for their school age children. The Waldorf trained teachers successfully integrate physically and developmentally challenged children into mainstream classroom settings, providing a safe and inclusive learning environment where each child is encouraged to reach his or her potential. Currently, 36 percent of the student population is on full scholarship support, ensuring that qualified families are not excluded simply because of their financial position. Parents whose children are receiving tuition assistance are asked to participate in the daily operations of the school, making a valuable contribution with their time and skills.

Ak Lu’um’s non-profit status allows for financial support from corporate and individual donors. Contributions go to expand and improve the physical campus, increase the curricular and extracurricular activities and allow more local children to be admitted on scholarships. This year Ak Lu’um has been chosen as the recipient of funds raised by Taste of Playa International Food Festival. Funds raised by Taste of Playa, scheduled for September 5, 2009, will provide clean and safe drinking water for the students, teachers and volunteers at Ak Lu’um International School for the 2009/2010 school year.

Each of the area’s private schools employs multilingual administrative staff members who welcome questions and visits from parents and can guide new families smoothly through the admission process. With all of the educational options available to families on the Riviera Maya, there is certain to be a school that is a match for your child, one that will support his or her individual interests while providing a well balanced curriculum. Look for a school where your child will be challenged and stimulated and you will help them pave their own road to success.

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