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Baltimore International Academy --Urgent Request

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
My son was offered a spot at Baltimore International Academy in the French kindergarten. Although we adore the idea of immersion kindergarten, we are hearing mixed reviews from sources that aren't exactly first-hand.....if anyone knows anyone who has attended the school, or can pass along info of someone who has attended, I would love to talk to someone first-hand. This is such an important decision and we are going back and forth about what to do.

Thanks in advance! You can pM me or post back if you are willing to share.....
post #2 of 28

Baltimore International Academy

Hi Jasper28,

Our son was offered a spot in the French Immersion program too and we're in the same boat. We don't know much about the school, but so far it is one of the only schools of our choice that he's been accepted to (he's on the wait list for 4 others). We're eager to know more about this school and we need information fast, like you! Have you found out any more information since you posted? Have you found any reviews online? I'm not finding much so far, which worries me, but overall the program sounds great and our son is really excited.
Maybe we'll see you there on the first day of school
take care...
post #3 of 28
Hi All,
My wife and I attended an open house at BIA last week. We met the principal Mrs. Lokounia and she gave us an overview of the schools programs as well as a tour of the school. We met several students and their parents that are in the Russian program. The students sang several songs and recited a couple poems in Russian. I was impressed that the children were fluent in the language by the 1st grade.

When we applied our first choice was Chinese. Our reasoning was that this language would be useful in international business..etc. By the time we got our application submitted the only space left was in the Russian class. We had some apprehension about Russian because we said " what use would it be as a second language..etc ".

After talking with the parents and giving it some more thought, I realized that it doesn't really matter what language my son learns at this point since he is only 4. The important thing is that he learns another language. Languages are like tools, it takes more than one to get the job done. Just because he learns Russian does not mean he can't learn Spanish, Chinese, French or any other language he chooses. The principal said that kids in the later grades can learn an additional language.

The school just opened in 2007 so it is still relatively new. That is probably why you have not heard much about it. I've searched the internet and could not find anything negative about it.

The staff seem dedicated and enthusiastic to teach. The parents seem happy with their children's progress and the kids are learning to speak their target language. The only language I can speak is English, I wish I had the opportunity to learn another language when I was young. I'm really excited for my son to start the program. The school also gives free access to the Rosetta Stone software so that the family can learn with the child. I don't speak Russian but I'm willing to give it a try.

I say give a try and see what happens. If it doesn't work out you can always enroll your child in a different school.
post #4 of 28
When we lived in Baltimore, we had neighbors whose children went there. They pulled them out midyear because the school was so chaotic and poorly run.
post #5 of 28
We were also offered a spot in the K class (Chinese program). After attending the open house we decided to decline the spot. I spoke with the head of school during the open house we attended last week and I just can't fathom sending my 5 year old into a building where they spend the full school day teaching in a foreign language. I would love for her to learn Chinese and be fluent, but IMO starting K is scary enough on it's own. I don't need to compound that by sending DD into a school where she doesn't speak the language.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 

Update -- my decision on BIA

We have decided to enroll our son in the French program. I think overall you have to believe in the concept of language immersion to enter any type of language program, you know?? I have hosted au pairs for 3 years and I truly believe in the how well immersion works so that isn't an issue for us. The issue was that I have heard mixed reviews about how well the school is run.

I have caught up with a few parents who stuck it out through the early 'chaotic' times and seem to be happy with the program. I have heard that things were not the best in the beginning and that the discipline issues and organization took a toll on everyone (I made sure this came from a reliable, first-hand source and not through the telephone game).

We will see -- we sat through the mornign program there and I think the teacher had a good handle on the class.

If it doesn't work out, we won't hesitate to pull him out. I think kindergarten is an age of incredible adaptibility. We can homeschool until we find something different, if need be!
post #7 of 28



I'm reviving this thread as my child was just offered a spot in BIA's French program for kindergarten. I'd love to hear more about other people's experience with the school. Anyone?


post #8 of 28

This may not be helpful for BIA, but I did full French Immersion from K-6 (in MoCo), and it was a wonderful experience for me.  What little I remember of kindergarten was pretty confusing, but mostly because of the new location, kids, bus, schedule - the language just seemed part-and-parcel of the whole "school is new and a little intimidating" thing.  What helped a lot was having one or two kids in the class who already spoke French and did some basic translating, that we were allowed to speak English (until Dec of 1st grade I think), and that the kindergarten teacher was so warm and loving, even when we couldn't understand her.  I'll be sending my kids to language schools if at all possible! 

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 

Just fyi..you can PM me. My friend is enrolling her children there next year. Maybe you can chat before the first day.

post #10 of 28



My child currently attends BIA so I would be happy to give you first hand information on the school, staff, curriculum, studies, students, etc. My child has attended the school since 2010 and is in the Chinese Language Immersion program. Selecting this school was the best thing I could ever do for my child. My child speaks Chinese "as good or even better than someone native to China". I was told this by several Chinese people at Port Discovery during the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Will it be confusing or difficult for your child to learn Chinese or any of the other languages offered? Absolutely not. If you can imagine going to China tomorrow - totally immersed in the culture and language - you would pick up the language much faster in order to communicate and be understood. You have teachers that are native to a country that speaks the target language, the students all use Rosetta Stone to re-inforce learning and dialect. Rosetta Stone is also available free of charge for use at home. It is up to the parents to be involved in the curriculum and make sure that your child is getting the English counterparts of what is being taught in the target language. I can go on and on but please feel free to ask me specific questions and I will give you an honest answer!

post #11 of 28

Thanks for the feedback. Nicosmommi, one criticism of the school that I've heard is related to the organization of the administration. Have you had any issues with the school being not-so organized? Also, our family is very into language immersion, but during an info session is seemed like other admitted families were not so enthusiastic about immersion. Is this an issue? Do you feel like the school offers a good balance between academics and arts?  (For what it's worth, my child is enrolled in BIA for French kindergarten, but is very low on the wait list at City Neighbors, so it's conceivable that we may be in position to choose between these two schools.)

post #12 of 28

My child has been accepted to the Chinese-K program and we are very enthusiastic about the 2012-2013 school year. I have a question about transportation; is anyone using a transportation service that you can recommend or do you know of any parents who car share? You can PM me.


post #13 of 28

Hey there! my son is also in 1st grade Chinese as well and I agree with your post entirely. My son always communicates in Chinese outside of school. The native speakers are always impressed. I even have looked into moving to a predominately Chinese neighborhood, met a Chinese mother who was looking for a child to communicate with her children so their language skills can go beyond her and whatever else that helps keep him intact All of the children are awesome and surprise me as if its the first time when I sit in class and watch them interact. It's an awesome experience and will benefit them greatly in the future. I chose Chinese for him to learn because in College it is my target second language along with Japanese and Spanish. I have a long way to go but It will be well worth it. To all parents considering the school, please keep in mind the school is still relatively new and if you choose this option for your child, be ready to immerse yourself as well so that they can stay on top of their English. Good Luck!

post #14 of 28
  1. hello your post just eased my mind about allowing my son to enroll into BIA. He'll be in the french K program and i really had reservation about whether he'll learn to read in English because he's already reading and i don't want to mess up his progress. i would love to hear about your childs transition. thank you in advance
post #15 of 28

it was chaos at first because doing homework was a challenge and I needed transportation.

I think if your child starts out in the kindergarden or 1st grade you will be fine. you must stay involved with activites or you will be clueless about changes and information with the school. I find the folks that complain the most they are not on any programs or involved to make a change. I say dont complain unless you come up with solutions to the problem. BIA has a new principal this year Mr Enirki?? I think he speaks Arabic and French. wow

post #16 of 28

So glad I stumbled upon this post!! We've decided to enroll our son in the French Kindergarten at BIA as well.


We just used the 4-week language camp as a litmus test, and were pleased with how much he seemed to enjoy it. He'd come home excitedly asking us if we knew this or that word in French. I, too, was worried about the whole Kindergarten is scary enough so why would I throw him into a foreign language, but I firmly believe that kids are extremely adaptable. Just met the new prinicipal last night at the camp finale, and he seems sharp as well. Overall, my husband and I are very comfortable with our decision. I hope I can meet some of you throughout the course of the school year! ToriPar, looks like our boys will be in the same class :-)

post #17 of 28

My daughter went there in 2010 for Kindergarten for Chinese Immersion. I pulled her out after a boy twice her size pushed her to the ground on the playground and choked her until she felt light headed and started to cry. My 5 year old was too afraid to tell the teacher because she thought she would get in trouble. She told me that night and I rushed her to the ER because she said her head was hurting because of it. I called the police to report the incidience. The problem was tey did not have enough adults watching these kids out of the playground. 3 teachers to about 150 kids on a playground?


When i talked to the prinicipal about ---first she said my daughter was lying---untill they called the 2 other children in who confirmed it. Then the principal tried to say they were just playing a game.Then she told me that MY DAUGHTER COULD just SIT OUT AT RECESS!!! (since they didnt have enough supervision) WTH?!?!? The little boy did not get introuble at all and they did nothing to fix the problem like add more supervision. I pulled her out in a second and never looked back but to fill a complaint because they did not document the incident.



Plus another young boy in KINDERGARTEN brought in a magazine of naked women to class. Again  I was not made aware of this by the school but in a private conversation with my daughter. At her knew school the nurse will call me and send home a letter if my child as much as falls and scraps her knee, or bumps her head into another little kids head (which they have done several times).


All the language immersion in the world wouldnt let me leave my daughter in such an unsafe environment! If you want your kid to learn chinese there are several sunday chinese language schools in the baltimore area.

post #18 of 28

Wow Asmaze!  I am SO sorry that happend to your daughter.  We turned down a spot in that class.  

post #19 of 28

We wound up turning down our spot at BIA because my kid got into a different school, but I'm still curious about BIA. Can anyone report on their experiences in the new building?

post #20 of 28

My daughter is a student at BIA, she is currently in 3rd grade and began at the school in K. She is scoring 91% in her target language. When I enrolled her at BIA for K I had some concerns, naturally any parent would since this is a language immersion school. However it has to be understood that for children (or anyone) to master any language they need to be immersed in it. I have had no problems with the schools curriculum.


Reading (in English) was a concern of mine as well since I knew that this would start a bit late, so I took it upon myself to go over site words with her at home. She also attends the after care program and they were at the time doing this with the kids as well. My daughter is currently reading and writing proficiently in her target language and also reading and writing just fine in English.

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