This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
International School of Arizona1
Posted July 27, 2014
- a parent
We left the school due to the absolutely poor education! We were promised a high level of education, but the majority of 2nd graders cannot read. The children are very far behind other students at their level and they will not be able to compete when they get into a "real" school. Parents excuse it claiming the immersion keeps their children behind, but that is just wrong. The school promised immersion, but how can you have that when they now combine the French and Spanish students for many hours each day due to lack of enrollment in the upper grades. It's just a poorly run school and the administration and board have no clue what they are doing so no one will be able to fix it. The only ones who lose out are the kids and that is very sad!
My son has attended ISA for 5 years now - starting when he was only 2 years old. I was a stay-at-home mom at the time and wanted to allow my son to socialize with other children his age but didn't want to send him to the 'typical' day care that just involved aimless playing. Language immersion sounded perfect - learning, nurturing intermixed with playing. The adjustment was hard at first but after only a few days, my son would literally run to his classroom excited to learn! Over the years, his classmates have become his extended family, all accepting of each other! The teachers are amazing as well and very dedicated to the entire process of teaching through immersion. Hearing my son speak fluent French with a perfect accent brings tears to my eyes! And he still runs to his classroom! ISA = Money well spent and an true investment in his future!
I am extremely pleased with the International School of Arizona. Our son has been at the school for 5 years and is fluent in French. In addition, he has had after school Spanish and Mandarin for the past 3 years and is progressing well with both. We don't speak another language at home so this experience has been amazing so far. The teachers are native speakers of Spanish and French and are absolutely amazing. The American English program is also now implementing a STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art and Math) curriculum and we are very pleased. ISA is certified by the Spanish and French governments as well they have been recently certified in the American curriculum through AdvancED. My wife and I believe in academic excellence and both have graduate and post graduate degrees. However, academic excellence is nothing without the leadership ability through global cultural intelligence. There is no other school like ISA in Arizona. Every year ISA has grown by 5-15% and so there are always some growing pains. They are in search of a new building in response to the overwhelming agreement of academic excellence through second language immersion.
I have two children at this school, and although I search every year to see if there is a better option, I haven't found it! The small class sizes are unbeatable, and sometimes I worry that it may be TOO small as they get older, but I'm not arguing about it now! They are searching for a new location that can encompass both campuses. You can pick which teacher you want your child to have, and we have been very lucky at picking the best! Our kids are VERY loved there (2-3 year old room, and pre-K), and I feel they are very safe. Any drama there may be is only evident because it is a small school with parents, teachers, and staff all involved; if one person is upset, usually everyone finds out about it. They are continually improving their English program, so my fears about that have subsided a bit. There is NO OTHER way to learn a foreign language than FULL immersion, and this is why ISA is above and beyond any school in Phoenix or Scottsdale. It may feel like a risk to you to have your child completely immersed in another language, but I urge you to look at the research and data which clearly state numerous benefits, and pretty much no drawbacks!
STOP the politics! Please start caring for our little ones! This is a preschool! You charge $11,000 a year, constantly harass parents to give more money and make my son teacher cry.... When will this stop????
I have 3 sons here and I absolutely love the school! My husband and I do not speak a 2nd language and I was worried this would impact my ability to help them with homework and such. It has not been a problem at all! This is their 3rd year and they are doing fantastic. My oldest started in Pre-k and is now in 1rst grade and he can read and write in both Spanish and English. The teachers are phenomenal and show great interest in each child's progress and the class sizes are small. I have not experienced any of the drama or behavior problems others have commented on so I find that really surprising. I also love the many after school activities at the school. There is a homework class, chess club, tennis, guitar, just to name a few. My only concern is what I will do after 5th grade since the school only goes to 5th.
International School of Arizona offers a lovely facility at the satellite location and a facility in need of updating at their main location. The teachers were wonderful. Most of the parents were very involved and went above and beyond in the parent association. We loved the curriculum - the 2 year olds are learning to categorize, letters, numbers, vocabulary, etc. We didn't see this much attention to cognitive development at other preschools. HOWEVER, where ISA falls drastically short is in the social and emotional supports for two-three year olds, which is a critical deficit when operating such a high-end preschool. The school counselor (1 counselor for 2 schools), administration and teachers are untrained in addressing the most typical developmental behaviors such as sharing, hitting, biting, and pinching. Friends of ours didn't enroll their child because they observed ISA kids out of control and unwatched. We wished we had listened to them. The playground and "free time" was always a free-for-all. We moved our child to another language immersion school in Scottsdale and have seen dramatic improvements in our child's relations with others and behavior.
My son loves this school, and so do we! He is in his second year and is learning French as it were his own language. All of the children in the school are performing above the national average in all subjects, especially math and science. The teachers are native speakers of the language, and many of the staff are foreign nationals from France and Spain as well as various countries in South America and Mexico, so the children are taught how to pronounce words in their chosen language as a native speaker would including colloquial phrases as well giving the children very authentic language skills. In the French language track, the school uses a curriculum from the French Ministry of Education and is subjected to oversight by the French education authorities via testing and visits to the school. We are very happy that our son is able to learn from a robust curriculum combined with being immersed in the French language. The school is also a good value; our son started at age 2, and the price was the same as daycare in the area. We know that this school will influence our son in a very amazing way for the rest of his life, thank you ISA!
We love ISA. The small school intimacy and the welcoming attitude of teachers and admin suits our desire to be involved in our child's education and community. The low teacher/student ratio is important to us. Teacher /parent communication is thorough. The children are well behaved and are testing well above their grade levels. Immersion study is not an easy program but our daughter gets one-on-one attention as needed and we feel the benefits are worth the extra effort. Plus, she loves it!
The International School of Arizona has been our home for the past 3 years. My now 4 and 5 year old daughters are thriving in the Spanish immersion program. I cannot imagine having my children in English only school when they have the ability to be learning in another language. It is one of the greatest gifts I will give them as parent. The school community consists of many involved families.