Extremely disappointed in this school. We hoped that the focus on language and culture would support a sense of community and identity that we feel so passionately about. Unfortunately there is little to no communication between school and families. The new principal only talks about discipline and excellence and other buzz words when you do hear from him, but his only communication since the second half of last year was to ask for money. Before starting this school, our kindergartner wrote and illustrated bilingual stories all the time using invented spelling and dictating that she would give as gifts. She sat with books sounding out words on her own, excited to learn. Now two years in this place and she won't try to read and has not written a single story for fear that she will "write the letters wrong." She has a calendar of homework that includes weekends! All work and no play has killed her joy of learning. She constantly talks at home about how she wishes school didn't exist. We stayed for the use of our language. But exclusive English speakers are balanced to bilingual students not exclusive Spanish speakers, so English is the dominant language among kids.
If you want your children to learn Spanish and be a world citizen. This is the school for you. It's not perfect (what school is) but the parents care, are awesome, and the kids are even more fabulous. Read up on bilingual and learning two languages before you come. It's heavy on Spanish in younger grades (as research says it should be) and scores for the school will always be a little lower for 3rd grade due to testing inadequacies (standard tests only test one language) but all research says kids who are bilingual exceed in long term. There are some ignorant comments made in years past by parents who don't understand language acquisition. Most teachers are good and accessible but you do need. To be proactive if you think something isn't right or you don't understand.
My son currently attends preschool at Inter-American and I couldn't be happier. He loves going to school and he really enjoys and takes pride in learning to speak Spanish. His classroom teachers are constantly doing fun, creative art projects and his confidence in his ability to draw and write has grown immensely. On top of all of the Spanish that he is learning, he has also learned his numbers, letters and letter sounds in English. I am amazed at how much he is learning in a half day program. The JCYS is partnered with the school and runs an excellent aftercare program that my son goes to which I really appreciate as a working parent.
While there are a handful of caring teachers at t his school, the special education program, both the primary and middle school, is doing a complete disservice to the students it's responsible for. There is no process for documenting strategies and progress made other than the special education report card. The special education report card is a mere formality with no quality substance. The communication between general education teacher to special education teacher is lacking, the communication from the special education teacher to the parents and administration is also minimal. The lack of adequate training and staffing to properly serve its diverse learners is reflective of the large amount of students and lack of moving children from below average to at least average. An extensive investigation of the process is severely overdue both at the school and the district level.
My son goes to pre-K at inter-American. My wife and I were concerned about all the normal school issues, combined with the language and cultural specifics as well. My son had the benefit of a wonderful baby sitter that is from Mexico, so his comprehension is already very high. We could not be happier. The sense of community and the level of professionalism and caring teachers is noticeable right away. We are completely impressed by the new principal and vice principal as well. He comes home singing songs in Spanish, corrects my Spanish as I am trying to catch up to him with Spanish language classes. I feel that we could not have made a better decision.
This is so sad this lady passed up the chance for her child to go to such a great school. I have three children there and I could not be more proud to say I'm an IAMS parent. We are an English speaking home and my son's Spanish is perfect. This summer we did an immersion trip and everyone we came across couldn't believe how amazing my son's Spanish was. They couldn't believe he knew Spanish so well when my Spanish was so bad. We proudly said it was because of the school he went to in Chicago! We have turned down Blaine, Frankin, Hamilton and Newberry for IAMS. No other Chicago public school can do what IAMS does, especially for an English speaking family. The teachers are wonderful. Every one of my children have has this teacher, and she is a passionate wonderful teacher. My children are in a loving environment, that teachers children how to learn, not how to pass a test. It is a gem in Chicago!
My son speaks better Spanish than his pre-school teacher. We met her, realized she doesn't speak adequate Spanish to teach ANYONE and removed him from the school immediately. The new principal was unwilling to switch my son to the other classroom. What a huge disappointment!
I am an alumna of this great school from which I graduated back in 1993. My first language when I entered this school was spanish and I learned English there, perfectly mind you. I was there from the time of pre-school to 8th grade when I graduated. I never had a problem, the teachers were great and pushed me to do and become my best. I graduated from a great university, UIUC and I know that had it not been for the fundamentals which I learned at IAMS I would not have gotten and been succesful in both high school and college. I have nothing but fond memories of my old grammar school though I attended the old building which is no longer in existence, but the heart and fundamentals of what it represents is still very intact from what I'm told. If any of the old teachers from my time are still there, I hope you are all doing well! Ms. Rivera, Mrs. Kahn, Mrs. Rubalcaba. I believe Ms. Bruno is the mom of one of my old classmates that I graduated with. This is a great school and if I still lived in Chicago, I wouldn't hesitate to send my son there.
Inter-American is a beautiful school with very intelligent, sensitive and perceptive teachers. I am very impressed with the amount and quality of "specials" that my sons receive. This is a first rate school and I feel fortunate that bilingual education is available as a public school in Chicago. My children are very happy here. One thing that is important to me is the fact that they are proud to speak two languages - they have additional pride in their heritage - and appreciation and curiosity about people from all over the world.
We have 2 kids at Inter-American and will definitely send our third there as well. I still can't believe that such a wonderful program exists in CPS! We absolutely love the immersion program and have been thrilled with the quality of the faculty's instruction. The principal, Dr. Vallez, is doing a fantastic job, and it has been great to be a part of such an active, inviting parent community.
worst school to send your child too. there is little to no communication between the teacher and parents regarding the child's education. children have no textbooks and test our hand written and meet up by the teacher classes spend more time learning about arts and music then they do about the fundamentals of reading and math. it is not a dual language school 90 percent is in spanish.
BEST SCHOOL EVER this is my school im in 6th (2011-2012) i love my school it is so fun i have learned so many things in this school. my teachers are really fun and they are really nice i know 2 languages and im glad i do. im so happy i go to this school :)
My son has attended IAMS since Kindergarten. He is now in 3rd grade. He loves his school. We have had excellent relationships with each teacher every year and our principle Dr. Vallez. Our principle is tough; she is not a push over but that s what we need, a strong leader for our kids. Her Spanish is impeccable and her knowledge on education caught me by surprise. I was scared when we got a new principle but I must say I m impressed. Parents are very involved. Our son reads about 35 minutes each night. He has math and grammar homework every night. This school is very challenging so we help with homework every night. Our son learned about the Taino s from Puerto Rico and this year the 3rd grade class is doing a project on the Inca s. They explore different parts of the world each year. I encourage more science and math studies or programs developed at IAMS. I hope I will see this as my son progresses into the upper grade levels. IAMS partners up with the Chicago Children Choir which is amazing. As I look towards the future I see a boy who can speak two languages equally and have the communication skills and heart to be a great world leader.
This is a great school headed in the right direction. The new principal is making good changes that make some people uncomfortable, however I am optimistic about her efforts. I think she needs to be given the space to figure out how to improve student learning and maximize the benefits of the unique dual-language curriculum that makes Inter-American families proud. My children love the school so far.
Our school has become a joke. The new administration has taken a once great school and brought it to new lows. This WAS the school all other dual-language programs used as the model. Our school was started by parents and the parent involvement had remained incredibly high until the new principal "took control." We have somehow lost the feeling of community. I've always thought the communication from the school could use some improvement, now it is completely nonexistent. Last night at the FELE meeting the principal was asked about this and her response was "I don't have enough time in my day" and than put blame on the parents. If your thinking of sending your child here, look at other schools including your neighborhood school. Don't think that magnet school is not the same as great or even good school. I'm willing to stick with this 2 more years when we get to select a new principal, I know others changing at the end of the year. I'm sure anyone looking to get in won't have any problem, just think about why.
I have been an Inter-American parent for 12 years. Until now I have been happy with the school, despite some turmoil several years back. The new administration is instituting changes that are effectively locking the parents out of the school. In its prime, the school kept its doors open to parents throughout the day. We were able to come and go, having free access to our child's classroom. If my son forgot his lunch, I could deliver to him. If my daughter had to leave early for an appointment, I could go to the classroom to pick her up. Now, when I come for whatever reason during the day, the new security guard blocks the way when answering the door asking what I am doing there. Now the kids are no longer allowed to dress up for Halloween. Recess has been shortened. I will be removing my kids next year.
Having 2 kids who have gone through InterAmerican from Pre-K, I can say it's an amazing program. Many Inter American students have gone on the the best Selective Enrollment schools. Most of the kids tested out of high school freshman algebra thanks to Ms. Bruno, the amazing 8th grade math teacher. Once in high school, the kids can go on to advanced placement Spanish for college credit. No other school profides so many options for testing out of freshman classes. Most importantly, the progressive curriculum of the Americas gives the students a broad view of the world and a hightened sense of social consciousness.
The school is very cultural/ spanish driven. The immersion in Spanish is to the point of teaching the kids the bare minimun in English.The teachers are very unprofessional and comfortable at this school.
Our family loves being a part of the IAMS community. Yes, it can be difficult to be English only speakers, but if I am signing up for my kids to attend a school where they will become bilingual, I feel that it's my responsibilty to immerse myself into that world. And yes, there is a core group of parents that do a lot of the work, but I am grateful that they do. Every school needs ringleaders and I don't have the availability to put in that kind of time. They are always more than welcoming and are always encouraging parents to get more involved. My son has Mrs. Lopez this year and she is amazing. She is everything you would hope a Kindergarten teacher would be; warm, fun, energetic, accessible and organized. He is excited to go to school every day.
I am now a single mother of three beautiful boys. Inter-American is not just a school to my family it is our family. We have been a part of this school for 15 years and yes we have gone through our up's and downs like every other schools. Inter-American is a great school it might not be for every one but it is a great school.
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