The environment provides for diversity of thought and rich cultural experience. Great teachers, dedicated to educating the children and providing true international education. Excellent parent involvement, feels like a family.
This is a truly unique school for the US. The preschool (which includes grade K) is a full language immersion program in French, German, Chinese or Spanish. It is amazing how fluent the kids can get with play-based instruction, even those whose parents only speak English at home. In the elementary school (which starts at Gr 1) kids get about 12 hours of foreign language instruction (so about half the day) and the other half is English, Science, PE etc. My daughter went to a traditional K and only moved to IST at grade 1. My impression is that she learned just as much (if not more) in English in half the time and she started picking up a foreign language, so don't worry that the English suffers. Kid's brains are amazing. There's a great new head of school (Jul 2013 so ignore the review on the previous administrator) that added a science lab, a computer lab, an art studio, and is introducing international-level academic testing. It is a private school but for K and elementary they have access to foundations with scholarships with quite high qualification limits (eg, for a family of four the income limit is 80K/year) so there's great diversity. Ask for a "test" day to try it out.
We have been so fortunate to have our children attend such a wonderful school for past 8 years. The language program is second to none - it compares with bilingual opportunities one would find in big cities like New York and San Francisco. The highly talented teachers and staff work very hard on academics and at the same time create a warm and nurturing environment for our children. The old facility was the one drawback - but a little over a year ago the school moved into a 32,000 square foot former TUSD elementary school building complete with large classrooms, and auditorium, playground, and green fields. We are very excited for the start of a new school year with the new head of school, William Arthur, who has already been diligently working all summer to get the year started with exciting additions to an already brilliant program. One exciting addition is new fully equipped computer lab and the completion of the library.
Wonderful school with top notch education and programs. My kids have flourished at IST. New Head of School is wonderful! Love the fact they are fluent in Spanish. German, French and Chinese offered too. Also love the sense of community.
Very unhappy with this school. The materials are poor, the administration is rude and disorganized. The tuition is terribly high for the inexperienced and unqualified staff!
I love this school, my daughter has been going to IST for 3 years. She can understand Chinese enough to watch Chinese cartoons and speak with a friend's parents in China on skype. She is also doing a second language that she has learned a lot of in just 1 year. All of the teachers speak the immersion language in the classroom. Speaking is the last thing to come when kids are learning a language so sometimes they speak some English as they're learning to communicate, but the teacher responds in the immersion language. My daughter can use 2 languages well enough to do school work in- both of which we don't speak at home at all- so I know this school is effective:)
Bad, bad, bad. My child does not speak the immersion language in class and the teacher is not enforcing it. The leadership seems confused, the tuition is going up so I thine my best decision would be to go out.
We had the opportunity to attend the schools summer program in Chinese and in Spanish. My girls absolutely loved the program and the the teachers. They came home everyday singing songs, using new words, and writing in their new found language. I am so sad we can not afford to go here during the school year. What a wonderful place if you are looking to raise a child with global skills.
My son is bi-literate-which essentially means he can not only speak Spanish but read and write it. I don't speak Spanish at home so the only language learning he is getting is through school. I have friends who are native speakers and comment all the time how amazing my son speaks and how he doesn't have an American accent. And on a few occasions my son has even corrected their pronunciation of a word. Next year he will begin his 3rd language and be bi-literate and trilingual. Every unit they do an Expo and the younger kids sing songs and do plays to show what they have learned in the unit and the older children do plays or hold question and answer sessions to show off their knowledge. My son isn't afraid of public speaking because of all the opportunities he has to get up in front of an audience and speak-from the Expos to the Southern Arizona Language Fair. My son has many opportunities to grow and learn at this school that I don't think he would get at another one. The teachers are amazing!!! can't say enough good things about this school or the people in it.
The previous review is inaccurate. IST still has teachers from its first year! Many teachers are exchange teachers so they leave at the of their visa. I and most other parents think the exchange teachers are a strength and not a weakness. The school grows each year and most of the teachers hired because of the growth each year are still there. One of the people "leaving in droves" actually left at the end of last school year. One went on medical leave. One was a substitute. One was fired. And the other one left for a full-time job in China. We have been at IST for five years and could not be happier. We have friends with children in other schools and we see the difference This is the first year the school has asked for money and that is because of the new campus. IST is a private school and fundraising is important. One of the nice things about IST is that everything is transparent. The administration tells us everything in the parent-only newsletter or on the website. Last year the school expelled a student and this year they fired an administrator. Maybe this is the reason for the negative review.
My daughter loves this school and is learning a lot! The kids learn to be creative and share well too.
We have two children in the school and they have been excelling academically and in their second (and third) languages. However in the last year they have really started to grow in the extracurricular activities such as music and basketball. It's nice to see that IST has championship winning sports team to complement their prowess in language and chess! Now the school is moving in January to a beautiful 32,000 sq. ft. facility near University Medical Center in Jefferson Park. This eliminates the only negative about the school which were it's crowded facilities. We couldn't be more pleased!
Our son started at the school on August 1 and we have been very happy with the school overall and particularly the quality of the teachers and the administrative staff. They are available, present, and interested in talking with you. Our son had no background with Spanish and within a week he was speaking Spanish in full sentences at home. We love the school and couldn't be happier with our choice.
Our son just started his second year at the school, and we have been very impressed with his growth, his development has really improved, and it has been a joy to see him so excited to learn! The program is a nice balance of academic and art, but what impresses us mostly is the dedication of his teacher to seeing that our child succeeds - truly a gift! Everyone at the school has been very helpful and pleasant! Bottom line is, our son loves going to school each day, loves his teacher, and loves every aspect of learning (edu). He is a happy well balanced six year old, and has a formidable foundation from which to build on.
I am a teacher at IST. I absolutely love the school and working here has been an amazing privilege. I have grown a great deal both professionally and personally during my time here, due in large part to the guidance and expertise of the schools directors and the collegial and supportive nature of my colleagues. IST is more than just a wonderful school it is also an extremely caring community full of wonderful people. The accepting and supportive nature of parents, families and teachers also extends to the way in which students interact with one another. This heightened appreciation for diversity and broadened view of the world both locally and globally, without a doubt helps to foster and encourage inquisitive, appreciative and confident learners and citizens that we are all very proud of. The global perspectives that IST promote equips our students with a vital set of skills that will help them to succeed in our increasingly international society. I strongly recommend the International School of Tucson for parents or families looking for a uniquely diverse and academically beneficial educational experience for their children. David Rutledge Junior School English Teacher
My daughter is now in her second year at IST. During her time there I have been continually amazed by the commitment of the teachers and staff and the quality of the education she is receiving. I love IST because it isn't just a school, it is a community, and diverse one too for such a small school!
We are not pleased with this program at all. Poor materials in the classrooms and school building. Paper thin shades and metal playground equipment that's too hot to play on. No field trips during the summer. No clear expectations from students 3-5 or list of class rules. Head of School and Head of Second school are unfamiliar with basic childhood cognitive and social abilities. Wished we vetted the accreditations and certifications this business list on their website prior to paying for services. It is clear they have memberships; not accreditations or certifications.
While it's true that the facilities are not 5 star, the education and opportunities are. This has been the finest experience we've ever had in a school. The fact that our children are completely fluent in Spanish is a bonus! When traveling to Mexico people often comment that they have no accent that would suggest they are American. The commitment of the faculty, staff and parents to educational excellence and the individual development of each child is unmatched. The curriculum is very advanced and kids that have moved away have found themselves a couple years ahead of their peers according to many friends that have transferred out of town and reported back. We feel strongly that IST is the best educational value in Tucson by far. I've observed only the best of care by the school leadership and teachers when it comes to helping my children excel in areas where they are strong and provide extra attention and creative solutions in areas that didn't come as easily. We have 3 children in the school and they have become very confident, sensitive, other-oriented individuals that are appreciated for who they are as well as what they know! IST teaches educational and emotional maturity.
I am a teacher at IST and I have been here two years. This is my third school. IST is in my experience the best school I have been at. When I hear stories from friends at other schools I am glad I am at IST. Children and teachers are valued and treasured. Administration always has time to talk, maybe not immediately. But they always follow up with a call or an email. There is an amazing sense of community. When a teacher is sick, everyone rallies around to help and to cover classes, cook meals, look after pets etc. As a teacher I really appreciate the clear guidance and support I receive. I have opportunities for professional development and personal growth. And I really appreciate how the administration goes the extra mile to help students.
The International School of Tucson has established itself as the best and only of its kind in Tucson. It really is an amazing school with a vitality and vibrancy that I have not encountered at another school in Tucson. If you would like your child's school to be similar to the one you went to years ago, then this is not the school for you. IST educates for the reality of the global future of our children. Teachers are passionate, caring, attentive and motivated to teach to the individual level of, and challenge, each child. My child, now 7, is fully bilingual, reading and writing not only in English, and is excited about learning. The facilities do not include a lush green field, but when my child is excited about learning, is happy and excited to go to school every day, is involved in so many different after school activities from theater to music to art and soccer, I am one happy and appreciative parent! Thank you, IST!
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