Q+A: KIS International School, Bangkok
KIS International School, an IB World School in Bangkok, Thailand, answers our questions and takes Winter's readers on a guided tour...
What happens when parents visit the school?
We ask families to make an appointment to visit the school so that they can be rest assured that we have plenty of time to answer any questions they may have. Tours are personalised for each individual family, although we can do group tours on request.
We usually have a chat in the admissions office first over a cup of coffee, so we get to know each other, and talk about the school and its programmes. Then someone from the admissions office will take the family around to see the school facilities and the classrooms. We will then come back to the office to answer any additional questions. Every family will have the opportunity to meet the Principal at the assessment stage.
What do you do to help children settle in?
Our community is used to having new students start throughout the year. At the start of the first term we have an orientation session for new secondary school students, run by the student council. Primary school students will join the Newcomers Club, and meet several times in the first weeks of school. Buddies are assigned for all new students so no one feels lost or left out.
We will help the students with their schedules, and we may put them in touch with classmates before the start of school. The teachers and counsellors will be extra alert and keep an eye out for new students in particular. Our school is very welcoming, but should a student take more time than usual to settle, our counsellors will provide them with the necessary support to do so.
Before a new student starts school, background information is sent to the teachers, so they already know a few things about the new student, and can prepare for their arrival in the classroom.
Can you give me a breakdown of where your students come from? (nationality)
At KIS around 45% of the students are Thai and 55% are international, coming from 44 different countries. Many of our students (as well as the teachers) have lived in several countries, and many of them hold more than one passport.
How old is the school?
KIS was established in 1998. The school started as a primary school only, but then grew year by year to include the secondary school. KIS has always offered the IB Programmes exclusively, and as such it is one of the first and few full IB schools in Bangkok and Thailand.
Why should I send my child to your school?
We hope that when you visit the school you will get a good feeling for the atmosphere at KIS, and that you and your children will feel at home. As a mid-sized school KIS has a caring community, where students are well known by their teachers and by other students.
If your child joins KIS, she or he will not only receive a top-notch education through the IB Programmes but will also be given a lot of individual attention. Your child will interact with children from around the world, both during the school days and while taking part in the many extra-curricular activities.
How have your pupils performed in examinations in recent years?
All of our graduates partake in the International Baccalaureate Diploma, and the average scores and pass rates are always well above the world averages. Last year, for example, all of our students did the full IB Diploma, and all of them passed. Our average IB Diploma scores are usually around 34 points, and our pass rates have been 100 % over the past two years.
What additional help do you provide for children with learning difficulties?
The school has some additional staff for Learning Support. At KIS we can accept students with learning difficulties, provided that we can offer them what they need to be successful in our regular programme.
How are pupils with English as an additional language supported?
In the primary school, students receive EAL support in the classroom, and as pull-out sessions. In secondary school students take EAL classes that replace some of their regular classes, depending on the level of EAL required. For admission into secondary school, there are minimum requirements for levels of English for each grade.
Do you offer parent workshops relating to what the children are studying?
Yes, there are many parent workshops held regularly throughout the year. Some are for specific grades, others for a more general audience. Some examples of topics: helping your child with their homework, university application procedures, bilingualism, health at school, residential trips, transitioning to MYP etc.
What opportunities exist for parents to speak to their child's teachers should they have any worries or concerns?
Parents all have access to the teachers’ email addresses, and they may also speak to the teachers when they come into school. They may request a meeting (or the teachers may request a meeting) to discuss any concerns. There are regular parent-teacher meetings scheduled each year, and an online portal for learning and communicating allows parents to see what the children are studying at school.
Do you have a swimming pool on site?
Yes, KIS has a swimming pool and a swim team. Swimming is a mandatory part of the programme from Early Years to Grade 10.
Do you arrange for guest speakers, such as authors and experts to come to the school?
The school regularly has guest speakers to provide the children with an external perspective on their learning. The guest speakers may come for specific age groups, specific subjects, or for the whole school. They include experts, authors and motivational speakers. KIS recently had a visitor from Scotland, who was travelling around the world with the goal of playing the bagpipes in every country!
What is your approach to languages in the school?
Students learn at least two languages. English, Spanish, Mandarin and Thai are part of the curriculum, but students at KIS study between 10 and 20 different languages through the mother tongue language programme.
Do you have an annual production?
Our drama club in secondary school puts on a large annual production, such as “Grease” or “Alice in Wonderland”. In primary school, students participate in the holiday concert (December) and the end-of-year concert (June).
Does the school provide after-school care or a homework club?
Yes, in addition to a wide range of extra-curricular activities, there is after-school supervision for primary school students, and each primary school class has a homework club once a week. Secondary school students have a study hall they can use after lessons have finished. All students have easy access to the teachers if they need some extra help.
What is the background of your teaching staff?
Our teachers come from native English-speaking countries such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US. But there are a few other nationalities sprinkled in such as Finnish, Spanish and Taiwanese. The Thai language teachers are from Thailand.
All of our teachers have degrees in education, and most of them have Master’s degrees. In addition to their teaching degree our teachers are trained by the International Baccaluareate. They regularly partake in professional development opportunities and many of our staff have leadership positions in the IB (Board members, workshop leaders, examiners, authorisation visitors, etc).
How can you ensure continuity if my child moves between countries?
The IB curriculum in itself was designed for families who move between countries. There are IB schools all around the world which offer the same way of teaching, with the same expectations. The IB doesn’t just focus on content (knowledge) but it also emphasises skills, attitudes and understanding of concepts. This means that students are well prepared and equipped with the tools to transfer to another school, be it a new IB school, or a different curriculum.
Do you have a wide range of food options?
Our canteen cooks fresh hot food on site. The menu includes Asian, Western and vegetarian options, and changes regularly. There are soups, salads and fruits available daily. The canteen also provides morning and afternoon snacks, and sells sandwiches, yoghurts and smoothies. Most students have the canteen food, although some bring their own packed lunches. Everyone eats together in the canteen.
How do most children travel to and from school?
Children come to KIS from the centre of town, the suburbs and even other cities. Many travel on the school buses, but others use public transport and our shuttle buses from the stations. We also have students who walk or bike to school, as well as those who come in family cars.
All images: KIS International School
To view the Winter's profile for KIS International School, please go to this link.