We receive many inquiries here at Italiakids.com from parents seeking answers to important questions on issues related to transitioning their children between their home school and an international school abroad while relocating for specified periods of time. Many thanks to American School of Milan Elementary School Principal Elizabeth Khoury for offering this expert advice.
Can you please describe the program at ASM?
Since 1962, the American School of Milan has offered a first-class, education in English to American and international students. With our International Baccalaureate program as well as the American High School Diploma, ASM students are put through a rigorous academic program that prepares them for the best universities anywhere in the world. Our student population is made up of over 50 nationalities, so we are a true international school, committed to working with families from around the world. Our aim is to provide a rigorous education while also meeting the diverse needs of ex-pat families and we have a long history of helping families transition from schools around the world.
What are the most critical aspects parents need to attend to in transitioning from one curriculum to another?
Many parents who are enrolling their child in our school from another country are concerned about the difference in curricula. Particularly those families who will be returning to their home country after a year or two abroad raise concerns about how to ensure that their children will be able to re-enter their home country schools with ease. ASM, like many international schools around the world, has a written curriculum that reflects the standards of our home base, which for us is the United States, whereas British schools have curricula which follow the British system. Important questions that American parents should ask the school they are considering are as follows:
-Is your school accredited? If so, by whom?
-Is there a written curriculum?
-What state or national standards does the curricula follow?
-What does your report card look like?
For parents of high school students, the idea of moving abroad for a year or two can be daunting, as college acceptance is the next big rock on the horizon. The following questions will help determine if the school you are considering will meet your high school child’s needs:
-Is your diploma recognized by the United States as a valid diploma allowing entrance to US colleges and universities?
-What resources are available to support students who are in transition (guidance counseling, peer mentoring, etc)
-What kind of collegiate preparatory support is available? (college counseling, help with application process, college fairs)
-What is the grading scale for the GPA and how is the GPA calculated?
-Do you have the National Junior Honor Society or the National Honor Society?
-Are varsity sports offered at your school?
-Do you offer service programs to allow students to volunteer or get involved in extra curricular volunteer work?
It is not uncommon for a family to ask for grade level standards or curriculum overview to compare with their home school’s program.
How do children benefit from moving internationally?
Families that have the opportunity to relocate for a period of time, who are able to locate a reputable and accredited school, will be offering their children the chance to live and learn in a new place, one that will expand their horizons, and the chance for travel and additional language learning will give their children a wonderful educational experience that they will bring back to their home country and which will continue to serve them for a lifetime.