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Old 24.05.2011, 14:56
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Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

Salut! I have an important meeting with the director of public schools in my Vaud town. Do any kind people among you have advice to help me prepare?

My 14-year-old boy is finishing his first year of schooling in CH, where is in the 8eme class in a VSG public school. When we first arrived we were ambivalent about whether to place him in VSG or VSB. The VSG school is in our town. The VSB is in the next town over, with a different director. Our town's director said VSG would be an easier introduction to the Swiss school system, but we could put him in the VSB school later if his French came along quickly.

I was a bit disappointed at the time, because my son is a strong student. He does better when the teachers challenge him. But I went with the director's recommendation (not that I seemed to have a choice!)

9 months later, my son is rather fluent and has about a 5 average. His primary teacher says that my son could go to VSB next year, repeating 8eme. But his teacher feels that it is a difficult choice and my son might possibly do better to move up to 9eme and remain in VSG.

If you ask my child, he'll tell you that he just wants to go back to the US, where he can get the highest grades possible. Otherwise, he wants to go on to VSB.

So I have this meeting coming up on Friday where the school director will probably tell me his recommendation, which may actually be more of a conclusion. The last time we had discussions about my son's schooling, the director said that we could choose between VSB and VSG. And when we thought about it and came back for our second meeting, the director informed us that, in fact, we had no choice and our son would go to VSG.

Are there reasons, beyond my son's interests, for why our school director would want to keep our son in his school system? Does the town lose money if our son goes to the VSB school in the next town over? Otherwise, would repeating a year but moving to VSB be an improvement over moving up to 9eme but remaining in VSG?

I'd appreciate any advice you have to give! Thanks so much!
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Old 24.05.2011, 19:00
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

uhmmmmm....what is VSB? and VSG?
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Old 24.05.2011, 21:35
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

Oh, right. I've only been here since July, so I keep figuring everyone on EF knows more than me about these things. Anyway, I don't know if other cantons in Switzerland have the same system, but here after 6th grade children are split into 3 different school streams. VSB = voie secondaire baccalaureat. This prepares students for university. VSG = voie secondaire generale. Most students here will go on to apprenticeships to prepare them for a host of professions. There are a couple of ways they can still get to university eventually, such as repeating a year, I believe. VSO = voie secondaire options. Maybe this is more like vocational schools in the US, I'm not sure. But it is for children won't be heading to university.
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Old 24.05.2011, 21:42
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

Get him into VSB as fast as possible. I think it is a great opportunity, repeating class isn't in any way stigmatizing. If you can, contact the VSB director yourself and get the ball rolling before you see the VSG director. He might have given you no choice since you might have been very polite and just wait which he might have interpreted as clueless. Sorry for being so direct but most admins are used to dealing with people who already know the system. Show him you know the system, and push your academically strong son into VSB. The option might not be there in a year since seats fill up quickly.
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Old 24.05.2011, 22:08
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

I agree with MC, tell them your son is going to VSB even if he has to repeat a year.
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Old 24.05.2011, 22:21
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

Okay, MusicChick and miniMia. Thanks so much, but I AM clueless! How is it that I get to push him into VSB? Tell them that he IS going to VSB? Sounds GREAT, but I thought it was the school that decides?!
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Old 24.05.2011, 22:33
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

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Okay, MusicChick and miniMia. Thanks so much, but I AM clueless! How is it that I get to push him into VSB? Tell them that he IS going to VSB? Sounds GREAT, but I thought it was the school that decides?!
Can you contact his teacher and get a statement that his grades are so and so and he should go to VSB? That would be worth a lot.
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Old 27.05.2011, 12:35
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

To follow up, I just had my meeting with the director this morning. He was very prepared to meet with us, had spoken with my son's teachers and clearly had thought through our situation. What impressed me most was that he was really able to present a pretty complete picture of my son - his personality, his manner at school, and above all - his ability. (I couldn't disagree with anything he said - the kid's brilliant )

I have not had this experience in our schools in the U.S. in general. For years I wondered if our school (which is supposed to be very good) really knew him, even in our small, tight knit community.

I explained that my son wants to go to VSB next year. They do not think it a straightforward situation, because his language skills after one year still slow him down considerably. This is to be expected after a single year, and they expect that with one more year behind him or so, he will no longer be handicapped by the language. Oral comprehension is great, it's the writing that is still quite tricky.

So the director of the neighboring town has to sign on to our son attending their VSB school. Otherwise, my child will have to go on to 9eme in VSG and then have year 10 as a transitional year before he can fully participate in gymnase, if I understand correctly. I'll update when I know more...please keep your fingers crossed for us

I know there are others of you out there with children around this age wondering what path their child should take. I hope that this information helps a little bit!
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Old 27.05.2011, 20:24
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

Sorry, I didn't see your post before your meeting. But it sounds like you didn't really need to fight! The director sounds like one of the good ones.
They seem to be looking after him.

I still think it's best for him to repeat a year in the VSB instead of staying moving ahead in the VSG. Hopefully you won't have a problem with the other director.

After another year he'll be much better with the language. But it's probably not a bad idea to maybe get a private language tutor who can work one on one & see where the problems are.

Good luck!
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Old 28.05.2011, 11:34
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

Thanks miniMia! Yes, also with 4 children I don't want to fight unless I absolutely have to, because I may be knowing these folks for a long time! Better to get on well and work as a team when possible...

I am wondering if a language camp for a week during the summer months, or maybe the tutoring you mention - good idea! - would benefit him before a possible year of VSB with some real hard work ahead.

Anyone know of a good French tutor/language camp in Lausanne area?
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Old 28.05.2011, 15:04
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

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I am wondering if a language camp for a week during the summer months, or maybe the tutoring you mention - good idea! - would benefit him before a possible year of VSB with some real hard work ahead.

Anyone know of a good French tutor/language camp in Lausanne area?
A summer camp with other native speaking kids might be an option as well?

If he is in a setting where he only can speak French his language abilities will improve quite fast. (And the camps are also less expensive than language classes.)

I do have very fond memories of my summer camps as a kid, they were great for making friends and exploring new places. There are some links below of summer camps for kids from suisse romande - the places they go to are in the Swiss alps, Ticino, or going abroad to Croatia, Greece, exploring volcanos in Italy etc...

http://www.camps.ch/p-camps/index.php

https://assets.wwf.ch/custom/magazin...log/index.html

http://www.vaudfamille.ch/N8142/rech...s-enfants.html

http://www.manitoo.ch/annuaire_roman...s/index1.shtml


Have a nice weekend.
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Old 28.05.2011, 20:10
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

Thanks m dalloway! Cool, I'm going to totally read up on these camps!

I'll also try to find that private tutor, as writing seems to be the biggest hurdle facing my kid. Not sure how psyched he's going to be to, but he wants better grades next year and I'm not sure how else he's gonna get there.
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Old 04.06.2011, 21:02
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

Hey all! Just wanted to put in a quick post. Heard back - already! - from the school director today. He writes that he spoke with the neighboring school's director and they have agreed to welcome my 14-year-old to VSB next year. He'll need to repeat grade 8 because of the language issue, but at least now he will be on track towards a university education, which is what he wants. They suggested that he enroll in studies over the summer to work on both his French (we're in Vaud) and his German (as he is still at least 2 years behind).

I have to say, I found the director to be quite reasonable. He even was chatty after our discussion and quite welcoming, as we explained that we plan to stay here not just for a few years - but for the long term.

Thank you to everyone at EF! This forum has helped me figure out the puzzle of my children's education for the past 18 months, since I began studying the problem of whether, and then how, to help them find their places in the Swiss educational system. Merci a tous!
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Old 04.06.2011, 21:29
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Re: Coming up: Important mtg with school director - advice for 14 year old?

My daughter is just completing year 4 of secondary. She is going to FMS (which is the level just below Gymnasium - the one where you can go the university). If she gets the grades in the first year, she can move up, but will have to repeat a year.

A girl currently in her class, is on her second go of secondary, and has, this time, achieved the required marks, and so will go to Gymnasium next year.

A lad who had been in my son's Gymnasium class, from which my son graduated in December, opted to redo the penultimate year.

OK, this is Baselland and different cantons do things differently, but I post just to reinforce the point that repeating years has no stigma, and that there are many routes. One point I wasn't aware of until recently, is that even if you don't go to university, you can still get a degree.
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