This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
International School Of The Peninsula5
Posted March 27, 2015
- a parent
We have our older son in the ISTP Chinese Program for the past 3 years (from Nursery and now Kindergarten). We have an excellent experience dealing with school administration, they are always responsive and professional in all they do. The teachers were excellent. They focused on my son at every point of his development. Everything they do to guide him was "intentional". We feel that all the teachers are genuinely passionate in what they do, they care about the kids. The staff turnover has been extremely low. Every year, when your child is transitioned to the next level, they have a 'game plan', they try to match teachers/ students learning style. Onto parent community involvement. We experienced such a strong network of parent groups here. One family has a recent "in a pinch" need due to medical surgery (and subsequent recovery time). Almost 20 families over two school campuses helped where they can. None of that is possible, unless the parent groups actually support the school/ parents community. There is no "best" school. ISTP may not be the most suitable school for every family, but we looked far and wide, and this is a great place for us.
I tried to put my French kids in this school in the middle of the year as we arrived in mid December 2014, most of the people I met in this school was not professional (not answering emails or providing fake chances of succes). At the end my 3 kids are in other schools in Los Altos (Hills) and I'm very happy for that, I will not try to put them in ISTP anymore.
We have had children at this school for 4 years. I have been impressed with the teachers and the program that they run - we are part of the french. Unfortunately, the administrative staff are awful. They really could care less about the parents and their concerns, the lower schools admin staff is a joke, the principle at that school is clearly uncomfortable dealing with parents and in particular if the there is an issue. The worst part of it is you only have a voice with these people if you donate in excess of the gap. They don't seem to be concerned with the students, they seem to be concerned with the excessive amount they ask for as a donation. It is really a sad group of leadership. We will be pulling our children from the school in the coming year and plan to have them part of a new community which while still private does not revolve around the amounts of donation but instead on the volunteerism of the parents, eliminating the need for the excessive admin staff but also involving the whole family in the education of our children. Letting our children learn not just from excellent teachers, but from excellent parents who lead by an example. Not a popularity contest.
Unlike the prior reviewer, my experience with the school has been completely positive. When we investigated school choices for our children, ISTP was the most open and responsive one we looked at. The admissions department took a lot of time with us to explain the school's mission and approach to education. After we enrolled, as we had questions ranging from simple school day logistics to broader matters of curriculum, the teachers, staff and school leadership went out of their way to provide answers. The school is a great and unique institution. Its a rare combination of a warm, nurturing environment with a focus on rigorous academics. The school has an immersion, bi-lingual approach (French or Mandarin), but rather than just being a language school, it views its mission as teaching through language (rather than just teaching a language) and instilling a global mindset. Fluency in the chosen second language is an important outcome, but the philosophy also centers on the intellectual and cognitive benefit as children work hard to express themselves and solve problems in multiple languages. We've been very happy with ISTP and would recommend it strongly to other parents.
Both my children graduated from ISTP and received a first rate education. Not only are they bilingual, but they were very well prepared for a rigorous high school curriculum. ISTP has a close-knit and supportive community. The administration does an excellent job stewarding the school's resources.
The good: The teachers, kids and parents at the school are great. However, the teachers get held back by the administration. For example, if a child in kindergarden asks the teacher to learn to read, the answer will be that they are not allowed to. On the lower campus there is a lot of tension between the teachers and the director. The administration takes decisions that are not in the interest of the children such as assigning teachers to classes they are not qualified to teach (For example: a nursery teacher assigned to a 1st grade class. It's a good thing the teacher was wise enough to refuse the position) Fundraising is in the center of school activities and the children are also solicited to get the parents to donate to the school. If you are looking for your children to learn a second language, it's a great school. The kids and parents are fantastic. But be prepared to battle with the administration.
Fantastic teachers and community of parents. It is a great way to get the kids to learn a foreign language (French or Chinese). The little ones love to go have fun there while learning about the world. Unfortunately the administration is much more focused on fundraising activities and politics rather than children education. The school lost quite a few good teachers because of the administration. I guess it confirms that even in education principal leadership is key.
Our child is in the elementary school program, and so far we have had a good experience with the school. The administration and faculty are responsive, devoted to the idea of bilingual education and very much want to create a lasting and unique educational institution. The school does not have the endowment of other private schools in the area, but nor does the school want to become a haven for primarily wealthy families. This does create some robust fundraising efforts, but we haven't noticed any more pressure than at other private schools, and probably less. That simply is a fact of life for a school that views itself as having a particular mission (bilingualism, global outlook and academic preparation) that does not draw as widely as a traditional school.
We joined ISTP when my daughter entered pre-k in the mandarin immersion program. Ten years have passed and the promise and benefits of a bi-lingual education in combination with rigorous academics has been fulfilled. ISTP has prepared her well to take on the challenges ahead academically, socially and emotionally. The Chinese program has matured significantly during our tenure. The Chinese teachers are excellent from Nursery to Eighth. We have travelled to China, and it is easy to see her language competence and confidence. Whether her mandarin skills will be important professionally or simply personally, it is a wonderful gift for her to know both the Chinese language and culture. Regarding overall academics, she got the attention she needed, at each grade across all subjects, to be the best student possible. Homework is demanding but rarely overwhelming. There is time for other activities besides homework, and to go to bed on time. The small classes allow kids and parents to really get to know each other. The parent community is vibrant and warm, everyone bonded together to make ISTP a great school and experience for all the kids. We are happy that we made ISTP our choice!