Would love feedback on EBI

We have two children - one entering Kindergarden and the other Pre-K. We are really interested in a Spanish bilingual program. Does anyone have information on Escuela Bilingüe Internacional?

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RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

There are definitely spots open for PK and K, if you're looking for something now.

We moved to the Bay last year, in the middle of the year, and EBI was amazingly accommodating. They took him into their youngest class, Amarillo, and we couldn't be happier. The teachers are amazing, dedicated, and really skilled at transitioning kids from English speaking homes to school life in Spanish. We're a bilingual household but no need to be timid if you/your child are not already bilingual. The school uses the Primary Years Program of the IB, and the inquiry-based model is used even with the smallest children. I'm constantly wowed by the level of conversation and questions that is happening in my son's classroom (2nd year of PK). All the teachers are from Latin American countries (unlike a lot of public dual language programs) so they are getting native Spanish and a range of accents/dialects. I'll selfishly say that my favorite thing about the school is the community. As newcomers we were immediately welcomed. My son and I have both made fast friends; families really come together for playdates and community wide events. I'd be happy to speak further with you, and I'm sure that they can arrange a tour if you want to come see the school. We're in session until June 14th.

RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

I posted a version of this response to someone else's question about preschools but I beefed it up since you asked specifically about EBI. 

My daughter has attended their preschool for the past two years and we will be enrolling her in their K-8 program next fall. A few of the reasons we love EBI are highlighted below:

 IB academic program - they start the International Baccalaureate (IB) in preschool with the primary years program. You would think it wouldn’t “matter” for preK but the way the program encourages a love for learning is amazing. My daughter came home one day and said she wanted to play math. I thought ‘huh?’ and said ‘sure teach me how to play’. Soon enough we were drawing numbers, jumping x times, counting, and adding. Her teacher told me that it is important the children begin to understand the connection between the number and volume. I love that! The ERB (standardized test for independent schools) test results for the school are phenomenal so it is clear the approach to learning really flows through the upper grades. If you can, check out the 5th grade exhibition and ask about the 8th grade project presentation.

School community - these kids are impressive. Thoughtful, kind, curious, resourceful. Did I already mention kind?? I really love the children at this school. The IB program at heart is rooted in caring for your community and being part of a greater whole. My daughter speaks often about caring for the community around us, being part of a family, and respecting differences. I am so proud of the person she is and am glad that she has so many others with similar values surrounding her. The parent community is fabulous as well!

Language immersion - My daughter speaks Spanish with, what I’m told, is a native accent. This school teaches through Spanish, which is a fancy way of saying she is getting an amazing education and learning to speak Spanish while doing it. The ability to speak another language is invaluable and will allow her to broaden her life experience. One of the school’s graduates is doing a year abroad at a school in Oaxaca, Mexico before starting at Lick-Wilmerding in the fall. 

Staff - the IB program is challenging and EBI has a dedicated staff and committed teachers. They really went above and beyond when we were dealing with speech language issues. Great student/teacher ratio. Head of School goes out of his way to make sure we know he is aware of our daughter and her progress. We appreciate that. 

Love - she loves it and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.

Other things - grounds are ok. PreK-1st location seems “light” on facility amenities but it is just the right size for the littles. We’ve had trouble getting our daughter to leave the play structures often. Lunch program is a nice to have option. We mostly pack her lunch. The 2nd -8th campus is great. I’d encourage anyone looking at the K-8 program to tour both campuses. Plenty of volunteer options.

Overall grade: 10!

RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

I'm an EBI parent (daughter in 1st and a son who will be in Pre-K this fall). I grew up going to public school and it 's been an adjustment for me to send my kids to private. But EBI has really won me over. The principal is remarkable -- every time I hear him speak, I'm impressed -- and the school seems to have a clear vision for the kind of school and community they want to be: diverse, academically excellent, globally-minded and well-rounded. Before EBI, my daughter attended a school that was 50-50 bilingual immersion and a regular SoCal public school. The education at EBI is far better than either. The IB curriculum the school uses is rigorous -- they're particularly strong in math -- but the part I like best is that it's inquiry-based and encourages the students to ask questions and take risks. My daughter loves going to school and finds learning genuinely fun. This isn't to say there aren't some bumps. No school is perfect or static; things change class to class, year to year. But we've been very happy with the education our daughter's getting. It's why we're also sending our son there. In fact, I'm particularly excited for him because the Pre-K classrooms are especially wonderful -- beautiful and bursting with interesting projects. I believe they still have a couple of spots available for kindergarten and I encourage you to visit EBI if you can. We had a good feeling about the school when we visited and if it's the right place for you, you'll probably feel it too. Good luck! 

RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

Hi!  I couldn't recommend EBI enough.  This is our second year there and not only do I love it, but my twins love it too.  The parent community is wonderful and they really teach the whole child. At the beginning of the year, they placed my kids in the appropriate classroom with the appropriate teachers for their personalities, they continually focus on what they need to work on individually and really listened to me when I had concerns about separating them into different classrooms this year.  We don't speak Spanish at home, but my kids will watch TV in Spanish, seem to comprehend very well and converse well in Spanish - especially considering we don't speak Spanish at home.  I know they have K (and PK) spots still open for 2018-2019, you should definitely give them a call and go on a tour.

RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

Hi there,

Yes! This is our second year at EBI; we have a child in 1st grade and a daughter in 3rd grade.  We can recommend EBI highly!  We were drawn to the school for the Spanish immersion and the IB curriculum, and we are very pleased on both fronts.  All the Spanish teachers are native speakers, which makes a big difference (and the kids are exposed to regional differences of the language).  Our children came to the school already fluent in Spanish, and my concern was finding a school that would value and support a bilingual upbringing.  We are very pleased with the academic level of Spanish that my kids have maintained.   We feel we are surrounded by parents "just like us", who strive to bring up bilingual (many are even trilingual) global citizens, as is characteristic of the IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum.  We feel our kids are getting a well-rounded education.

Let me add that the EBI community is very welcoming and 'down to earth'.  We have connected well with other parents and truly appreciate all the community-building events that bring us all together.

I'd be happy to discuss more with you... send me a message if you wish.

Good luck!

--1307mom

RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

Hi! My daughter is currently in PK at EBI. I volunteer as a parent ambassador. If you are interested, there is an EBI tour on Tuesday, May 8th! The program is based on the IB (International Baccalaureate) model. It is all about cultivating a love of learning, teaching kids to ask questions and find their own answers. What has always stuck with me is that at a parent info session back when we were looking at preschools, the parents were asked to greet their neighbor and come up with the types of jobs our kids would have in 20 years. Honestly, I had no idea. Maybe something in robotics? What I like is that EBI has the future in mind. It is more than just memorizing numbers; it is about getting kids to understand -- through the use of natural materials, songs, play -- why we count, what it means to count and how we relate to it. I feel like my daughter is learning the building blocks she'll need to face an unknown future. The community is vibrant, tight-knit, warm and welcoming. I can't say enough awesome things about it. 

RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

I have a 2nd grader and one entering pre-k in the fall at EBI. The school is very nurturing and our 2nd grader is well above his peers at other schools in math, reading ( in English and Spanish) and science.  The IB curriculum is amazing and the EBI kids test well above their peers due to the bilingual education. They also focus on teaching our kids to be kind, global citizens with a strong focus on socio/emotional awareness. In 2nd grade they have a kindness board where each day they nominate their fellow classmates who did something kind that day and it is a really lovely activity.

RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

Hi,

My kids went to EBI. One did two years of pre-K and the other just one and they have each been there 8 years now.  Needless to say, I am more than happy with it.  Spanish immersion was the initial draw but the international baccalaureate curriculum has taught my kids to think; the warm, caring a progressive community has nurtured them around identity and social justice and the super dedicated teachers and administration have continued to build a challenging and thoughtful program. 

RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

This is our fifth year at EBI and we love it. Our kiddo is thriving there. As many parents at EBI say, we came for the Spanish immersion and stayed because of the amazing teachers, the IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum and the wonderful community. I didn’t know a lot about IB when our daughter first started at EBI, but the more I learn about it, the more impressed I am. Kids at EBI are truly learning how to think critically, make connections and take action. Plus they’re learning all this in both English and Spanish and are fully literate in both languages. What a gift!

RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

Hi, I posted a version of this in response to a question re public school kindergarten and then realized that it would all be appropriate in response to this question as well.  As you can see, we cannot speak to kindergarten, but we were at EBI for 3 years for pre-k with my son and it was wonderful, and are now in pre-k with my daughter, and, if anything, it is even better.  They are very different children (she loves school but still clings to us at drop-off and has a harder time with personal relationships than he does, but does better in a structured environment).  I think the school accommodates both very well.  

We switched my son from OUSD where he attended kindergarten back to the school he attended for pre-K (EBI).  He had a wonderful teacher at Chabot (he got really lucky), so that was not the problem for him, but it was clear that the OUSD model was a bad fit for him.  He started off the school year excited about his new school but he soon changed from the happiest kid in the world, one who, at EBI, could barely be bothered to say goodbye at drop off and was always begging to be the last one picked up at the end of aftercare, to an unrecognizably sad kid who actually cried when I left his classroom after I volunteered and lashed out in all manner of other surprising ways.  Since I volunteered about once a week (until it became clear to me and the teacher that I was causing more harm than good), I think I understand the problem. There really is truth to that saying that kindergarten is the new first grade. And to accomplish that mandate re reading/writing/math, etc. -- especially where there is only one teacher for 22 wriggly and unfocused 5-6 year olds, some of whom require more attention than others -- there is necessarily a lot of worksheet work and an emphasis on body control.  For some children this is not a problem.  And for some parents, accountability re these metrics is paramount.  But that is not so much the case for my son.  He was used to learning in a far more organic way, having much more freedom to play and explore and pursue his interests, having an outlet for his curiosity, and working and interacting with other kids in the classroom.  We didn't realize how important these things were for him (and by extension, to us) until we tried to switch him to a different model.  And FYI, this is not a child that transitions poorly or has any difficulty making friends.  

He is in second grade now at EBI and he is reading and writing above grade level in English (though spelling is atrocious), he is above grade level in math, and he can also speak Spanish (very well), and read and write in Spanish (well, but not as well as in English).  But most importantly, he loves school.  I mean, so much that he gets slightly depressed during holidays.  

We never expected to be in private school, especially where we have the option to attend a very highly ranked free school where all my neighbors' kids seem to be doing well.  I assume the finance piece is the biggest concern for you, as it was for us.  It was definitely not an easy decision, and we feel fortunate that we are in a position to make the decision at all, but in the end we felt like 6 was too young to hate, or at least, mentally check out of, school.