Tucson International School

Rating: 4.5 stars   10 reviews

Issues: Education

Location: 1730 North First Avenue Tucson AZ 85719 USA

Mission: Education for an International Community, Language Immersion, Values for a Global Society
Results: "Confucius Classroom" with the government of China; "Partner School" with the government of Germany; top-performing elementary school in the "Grand Concours" US national French contest; top "Primary" (K - G3) in Southern Arizona Chess
Target demographics: We serve all of Pima County, expatriates and other temporary residents. We uniquely serve the full socio-economic range - perhaps one-third of our students would qualify for free or reduced-price lunches if they were in a public school.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Approximately 40 students or one-third of the school's population receive some form of financial aid.
Geographic areas served: Cities of Tucson, Oro Valley, Sahuarita, Green Valley etc - all of Pima County
Programs: We are the only school in Arizona offering an international program taught to international standards with immersion Chinese, French, German and Spanish. We are the only school offering such opportunities to Arizona students.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 4 stars  

I have had a child at IST for three years and it has overall been a wonderful experience. The focus is very academic, however, my childeren are very happy and enjoy their time at school. The teachers are wonderful and the parents/childeren are from all over the world...a rare opportunity in the U.S. to interact with people from many different cultures on a regular basis.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My childeren are learning English, Spanish, and are being exposed to other cultures.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Upgrade the facillities which belie the quality of the program.

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Rating: 3 stars  

My child is happy - and learning a second language. Wonderful!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my child's experience.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More artistic approach to learning / teaching, with more art projects. No more cookie cutter art projects, i.e cut on the dotted line; paste precut items; draw in the lines. Why not have them draw and Paint instead? Learning language while using their imaginations = big happy brains. This school would be incredible IF it incorporated more imaginative, tactile and inspiring art projects. This should be given much more value and is a serious drawback. Other parents I have spoken with feel the same.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Both our children have been at the school for a year and a half and we would not want to be anywhere else. This is after moving from excellent schools in Atlanta. The buildings are not much to look at, but the commitment and dedication to education of the staff is inspiring and the sense of community amongst the parents and families remarkable.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Please see above

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Needs more funds to continue to grow

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am thrilled that the International School of Tucson exists in Tucson as there is no other school like it. Our child is being challenged daily at her level which is similar to her classmates for some activities and different for others. The teachers teach to the individual levels of each child. Our child is not only bilingual now but is also having fun and learning new things even after school with so many activities offered -- art, soccer, choir, theater, kung fu, basketball, chess and more. Another reviewer wrote that families are charged for these activities but that doesn't make sense. All of these are included in the tuition. Only when an outside coach comes in, like for chess, or a private music teacher such as for violin or piano lessons, then are parents charged for these -- which makes sense! Where can you get violin lessons for free? Families, students and teachers are from all over -- from the U.S.A., France, Mexico, Germany, Malaysia, India, Russia, Italy, and many more countries! So our child gets to know first-hand that the world is composed of many cultures and countries. And the teachers are just excellent and care so genuinely for each student. It's so nice to see the teachers and students give each other a hug where in some schools this isn't even permitted! We love IST!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing how much our child has gained and how wonderfully she has grown. She is respectful to people she meets, she is not shy when talking to new people, she exhibits earth-friendly values and a desire to learn more about the world around her. She loves to learn!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

donate lots of money. IST is like a diamond in the rough. The program is excellent, the teachers are tops and the families are wonderful. IST could use money to improve the aesthetics of its environment.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Really a gem of a language school for kids! I've seen many children who when their parents come to pick them up after school do not want to leave. The school is fun but not a playschool; its focus is educating children to be fluent in at least a second language (some children speak three languages fluently because of immersion programs at IST). The exterior of the school is not pretentious; I've heard that some parents are put off with the non-flashy appearance. Make no mistake; inside is a thriving and top notch education facility. The school fees include all extra-curicular activities: soccer, chess, science,basketball,music and so on. There are a multitude of field trips: political, botannical, industrial, municipal, musical, artistic, etc. The children learn all aspects of local and global perspectives including interaction with people of different cultures and backgrounds. IST is unexceptionable!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing my grandson and other students interact with one another; they are taught good manners and the respect of other individuals like themselves or people that are differenct.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

donate some money to the school so that the exterior buildings and grounds could be more attractive. Otherwise, I can't see how the programs and the running of the school could be better; the administrators and staff are of high scholastic background; and the hiring of every teacher and staff member is meticulously scrutinized and screened.

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Rating: 5 stars  

We have been at IST for four years and couldn't be happier. The program is exciting for the children and academically demanding. But they don't notice the demands because they are enjoying what they are doing so much. They are learning another language and they have friends and teachers from all over the world. The teachers are excellent and all three principals are just wonderful. The preschool principal and junior school principal are just wonderful. They know the children and they are always available to parents. IST also has lots of clubs from chess to basketball to science to piano and guitar. We want our children to be happy, and to have fun, and to be academically challenged. IST gives all this and more.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My children love going to school, and they are better behaved and know more than the children of my friends. But more importantly, they love learning and doing new things and meeting new people. They also have wide interests and can skills and interests which will last their whole lives.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

IST needs funds for new buildings and to purchase their campus. If I could, I would help them with this. They also need funds to subsidize fees so that they can pay teachers more without annual fee increases.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I don't understand this negative review. IST does not charge any extra fees except for clubs like soccer or basketball when there is an outside charge. Parent Association events like potlucks are nothing to do with the school. If you don;t like it, go to a meeting and vote. Music is an extra charge because they are private lessons!! There is nothing at private or charter schools better than at IST. The school does fundraising because tuition doesn't cover everything. This is all published in the newsletter. Fees bring in $700,000. Salaries and rent are $700.000. That means building costs like the new preschool building or purchasing the campus come from fundraising. At a private school we cannot escape fundraising. We are very happy at IST. We have one child in PS and one child in JS. We have friends at other schools and when we hear their stories, we are glad to be at IST.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My children are excited about school and about learning. They are ahead of their friends and relatives. They have opportunities other children do not have: chess, soccer, basketball, science, music, theater, dance

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Donate a million dollars.

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Rating: 5 stars  

IST is a great school that provides a unique and quality education to children with limited resources. I think any resources donated would be used very well and really make a difference.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I am amazed at the quality of the education of my granddaughter. I with this school had been in Tucson when my children were little.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wish I could give the school the resources it needs. With more resources it could do even more.

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Rating: 5 stars  

My daughter loves IST. It is the only school of its kind in Tucson. My daughter is 3 and she is learning Mandarin, she can already understand a lot and speak some, and it hasn't even been a year yet. The school really tries to keep tuition low so children from all backgrounds can attend. It is an excellent school that teaches children languages and tolerance.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Yes, my daughter is already learning Chinese because of the excellent teacher and school

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I can't think of anything I would change, but I'm sure more resources could help since it's a new school

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Rating: 3 stars  

This school needs money, if only to stop nickel and diming the parents to death.

They claim that their tuition is all inclusive, while activities like science and music are activities with participation fees like other private schools in the area.

IST needs money. They'll ask you for it at every turn. Please give so that the parents cease to be the victims of IST's opaque pricing practices.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the constant requests for donations, giving, and extra fees for activities that public and charter schools take for granted.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

~ Make the pricing structure completely transparent and available on the public facing web page. ~ Charge activity fee to cover things like the exhibition pot lucks, ~ Separate the Pre-School and Junior School to better represent and serve the student population. ~ Enable the head of school (pre and junior) to represent parent concerns at any and all IST meetings ~ Involve & consult parents of affected facilities prior to any facility renovations

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