Our kid recently graduated from this school and got accepted to a great university but we would give this school an average rating and we would strongly advise any parents who look to send their children here to determine carefully. A few pros and cons from our family's own experience with the school to share with you. PROS: the school did have a great pool of teachers when our kid started there, but under the current administration, many very good teachers have left to other international schools. The language programs are as close to a fully immersion experience as it can be. For our family, we preferred the IB program over the U.S. traditional high school program. CONS: There is a so-called "e-lite" community in this school, mostly determined by social economic means so for those parents who labor their hard-work to save for their kids to attend AIS, be mindful of the social-economic peer pressure that your kids may experience at AIS. Related reason, we think, and other parents have voiced, is that the bad behaviors may not have been addressed properly to provide positive reinforcement to learning environment because either it may be a "who's who" situation with the student in question or the Admin does not want to deal with it. As other parents pointed out, if a student is not a native speaker in German, Spanish, or French languages, AIS's program would not proactively provide language help for non-native speakers of these languages so if your kids fall in this category, this may or may not be the environment. In general, the school lacks of supporting to non-native speaking students to achieve the benefits the immersion language program that such students are in. Our kid was not a native Spanish speaker and none of us speak any other language than English at home so we needed to spend significant amount of time with our kid (way lot more than we thought we would need to when we decided to invest in this kind of tuition). Amongst with other shortfalls of the school's administration and programs, my spouse had to stay home for a period of time to help our kid overcame the challenges inherited in the school's culture and practices in order to achieve the great features of the program. Similar effects could be seen in parent communities. The current Admin, the school is dominantly liberal. This influences the learning environment significantly.
The jury is still out on this school. We have a 5th and 7th grader. Its test scores were not great last year for the rising 7th graders and the enchantment starts to wear off for more parents after the 3rd grade. They have far too many teachers who are parents to the point that you wonder why so many are hired. It does not take incidents of inappropriate student behavior seriously and it does affect the learning environment. UPDATE AFTER THE 8TH GRADE GRADUATION IN 2015: So, there was a mass exodus of some of the very best students. About 15 students out of a class of 90-100 left. The administration should be asking questions about how they can keep their best students rather than driving them off. Many of them left competing schools in the Atlanta area including the well-known private schools and public schools with the reputation of being solid and helping their best students get into great colleges. AIS has administration problems and has lost many teachers.
I have gone to AIS for 9 years and I can assure everyone that it is one of the greatest experiences a child could have. Right away, not mattering in which grade you start, you are emerged in a world of many cultures. AIS being an international school gives an experience that no other school can. Being surrounded by other cultures gives you respect for others. In other reviews, many people were informed that there were many issues. I will admit that there are small situations that pop up but so does every other school. It is unfair to judge a school by small situations that may be over exaggerated. I have met many incredible people and learned not only new academic strategies, but also social strategies. This school is not a day care for your kids until they go to college. It is a preperation for life that will probably end up being a better experience than college. The accede oc standards are set high but teachers are always willing to help struggling students. We also have an incredible arts program as well as an amazing sports program at I was lucky enough to a part of. If I could give this school 10+ stars, I would. I highly recommend this school for anyone who wants their child well prepared for facing the world.
As many others have noted, AIS looks wonderful on paper. When I first toured the school in sixth grade, I got the impression that I would be able to learn a couple and languages as well as reap the benefits of high academic standards, all while being in an environment that does not tolerate bullying. Unfortunately, I am sad to write that my expectations were unrealistic. Although I did learn many new languages (and I cannot thank the teachers enough), the students were an entirely different story. I, like many other students, felt isolated from the "popular" clique that seemed to encompass three-fourths of the grade. Furthermore, the administration flat out denied that there was a bullying problem. Additionally, its academics were slightly below average, and keep in mind that I was taking very high level courses. On a more positive note, however, I did have the opportunity to work with some truly talented teachers. Educators from the Science and language departments come to mind. In summary, like all schools, AIS has its problems. If you want your child to be challenged academically as well as comfortable in a social context, I would not recommend AIS.
AIS This school sound very good on paper. However, if you are not native speaker in German, Spanish or French they will not tell you that your child needs tutor to teach your kids the language. Some of the teachers are great and very enthusiastic and some have absolutely no clue what they doing and would rather not be bothered if your child needs any special help. For example if you go to them with concerns about your students progress they will tell you to wait and keep telling you to wait. You will get a thousands emails about donations and useless information that you don't care about and none about you kids progress or problems. For that you will need schedule a meeting with teachers or find out about it at the conference that may be way too late to fix something. The administration is very unhelpful and don't really do anything. Overall my kids are okay and socially the class my daughter is in is diverse and the parents are wonderful. But ask yourself I you want to pay 20K for that plus tutoring which makes it closer to 30k? Big disappointment!
If you value your money and sanity, STAY AWAY from Atlanta International School. AIS not only tolerates bullying, it promotes a culture of bullying. If you want your children to go through serious bullying, this is the place to be. Per my knowledge, according to a recent school survey, 50% of children in each grade have been bullied in SS. After several yrs of AIS, we pulled out our children due to intense, prolonged bullying that remained uncontained for more than a year. Administration just does not accept there is bullying, and has no idea or inclination to stop bullying. In fact, they promote the bullies to leadership position in school because of serious nepotism. Some of the bullies are children of big donors or children whose parents work at school. They get away with anything! Headmasters are recruited every 2-4 yrs with very little US experience, leading to intense instability. Some teachers are good and some are poor. Very weak math and sciences program. SAT scores are low with poor college counseling. Socially, AIS is a very difficult school. AVOID THIS SCHOOL!
Our daughter entered this school in the 5th grade after we had been relocated to Atlanta for work. She was bullied from the start by a very mean clique of extremely rich girls. Every time we approached someone in an official capacity we were told, "Well, those girls couldn't be doing that. Their parents are fine, upstanding members of the school community." Later we found out that these parents contribute large sums to the school's annual giving campaign every year. The quality of teachers was also subpar. In 7 years at this school my daughter never had a decent teacher in either math or science. This unfortunately led to very low scores on those sections of the ACT. For the social, academic, and administrative reasons above, if you value your child's education, I would strongly encourage you to look at other private schools in Atlanta.
My family is very pleased with the level of education our children are receiving at AIS. It is a very enriching, diverse, caring and safe environment. Teachers and staff truly care for our children and our children are thriving. Families are from all parts of the city and are active in the community.