Things I like about our school: 1. Dual Language 50% Spanish 50% English K-8 2. Strong emphasis on social justice 3. Very safe; almost zero incidences of violence in school 4. Very little teacher turnover; I've seen one teacher leave in 3 years 5. Great specials: library, music, gym, dance, computers, and art 6. Teachers with school-aged children almost all send their kids to IAMS 7. Great sports programs 8. Strong test scores without over-emphasizing standardized tests 9. Teachers who care 10. Parents who volunteer Things I do not like: 1. Some of these reviews are truthful: the current principal cannot spell in English or Spanish. He is more of a manager than an educator. I do not think he knows many students personally. 2. Sometimes, the top students in 7th and 8th grade leave for a selective enrollment middle school. Our students are accepted into selective enrollment schools at a great rate, but it is sad to see students leave IAMS early because of worries that they have to get into a top high school before they are even in high school.
The level of Spanish of some teachers is just ridiculous. They should be more prepared when it comes to teaching our kids. It is also embarrassing to read some of the school communications in Spanish full of typos and grammatical errors. Something needs to be done for the sake of the kids and their education.
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.
IAMS was the perfect elementary school for my children.My oldest one got into Walter Payton HS and he is now a Senior in Archtecture at Carnegie Mellon University and works as an Assistant teacher in technology at CMU. My youngest got into to Lane Tech ( a terrible school based on test taking) but now is thriving at Global Citizenship Lab HS. She is a senior in HS and loves languages. Art and Sciences which she developed at IAMS and GCE. Both my kids are very proud of their language skills. Both speak Spanish and Portuguse with ease and the oldest also speaks French. The youngest learned Chinese ansd sign language. The creative, nurtering years at IAMS were very important for their solid formation as great young adults. Thank you IAMS!
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.
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!