The American School of Kosova (ASK) is a private, for-profit, school serving 501 students in Nursery (2 yrs. old) through Grade 12 in Pristina, Kosovo. The main campus is located in downtown Pristina inside the Sports and Youth Center, next to the “Newborn” sculpture and houses the administrative offices and serves Grades 6 through 12. The elementary program takes place at the Educational Center (Ed. Center) located in the family-friendly neighborhood of Matiqan, Pristina. This second campus serves students from Nursery through Grade 5. ASK students represent different ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds. In Nursery through Grade 8, 50% of the student population is Kosovar while the other 50% are from other countries. In high school ( 9-12), while historically there has been less diversity of the student body, this year showed an increase in the number of international students. Each year, half of the population in high school is new with Kosovar students entering in Grades 9 and 10 who often are new to English and unfamiliar with the American system of earning credits to graduate. Students at this age select our school with high expectations for “opportunities” to open for them in the U.S when they graduate and are not always aware of the challenges of entering a new school at this age.
The Administration Department consists of a total of 15 individuals including the Superintendent, Head of School/High School Principal, Elementary Principal, Business Services Director, Operations Manager, Transportation Manager, Finance Manager, Marketing Manager, Human Resources Manager, Student Counselor, Student College Guidance, Dean of Students, Upper School Coordinator, Elementary Coordinator, and a Receptionist. The Head of School, Elementary Principal, and Counselor are from the United States (US), and 12 are from Kosovo. The faculty consists of 44 teachers for preschool through Grade 12 of which eight are from the U.S. and 37 are from Kosovo. Three International teachers are in 1st through 5th; one international teacher in 6th-8th; and three international teachers in 9th-12th.
ASK follows a U.S. style curriculum based on standards identified in the AERO (American Education Reaches Out), Common Core, and California State Standards for grades K-12 which were adapted to meet the ESL (English as a Second Language) needs of the ASK community, as well as comply with the Kosovar Ministry of Education requirements and standards. All students at the end of 12th grade take a TOEFL exam to assess their level of English and the National MEST (Ministry of Education Science and Technology) exam to demonstrate their achievement of the Kosovo curriculum requirements. In order to minimize the academic confusion and overload some students may feel as they work to meet these curriculum requirements, we have begun the process of examining both our curriculums in each department to see how they might be best aligned and taught so that there is only “one” unified curriculum. We aim to complete this task by the end of this school year.
The ratio of teacher to students in preschool to grade 5 is 1:8, in grades 6-8 is 1:9, and for grades 9-12 is 1:13. The largest class of 29 students are in the 12th grade Senior Core classes and this is due to the late registration of students coming from nearby Prishtina High School. Daily instruction is given in English by all teachers in all courses, except the Albanian language course, and in all grade levels. In Nursery through Grade 5, students have a homeroom teacher who teaches all core subjects (English, math, science, and Social Studies), and in addition teaches life skills of organization, responsibility, and how to be a caring member of a community. Twice a week students visit specialized elective teachers to receive classes in physical education, art and music. In middle school (6th – 8th grade), students have a separate teacher for each core subject which includes: English, math, science, Social Studies, Albanian, and Physical Education. This year, we added additional electives of Computer Science, Music, Graphic Arts, Drama, and French provided by a full-time faculty member instead of a part-time adjunct teacher with hopes of encouraging greater common expectations for learning and behavior across all subjects and Journalism, Yearbook, Photography, Fine Art, Drama, Graphic Arts, IT, Fitness and Nutrition, Health, in addition to the core subjects.
On the main campus this year students are following an “A/B” schedule with four 80 minute core classes each day. Middle School elective classes are in 40-minute sessions. Students in Middle School start out their day with their homeroom teacher for a brief check in and return every other day for a 40-minute class focused on Character Education so that students can begin to build the necessary dispositions of being a successful student in a positive learning community. In High School, students alternate between clubs and homeroom during their lunch hour and homeroom teachers focus on team building, organization, and life skills with a new program designed around the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile which introduces students to ten character dispositions and encourages “Global Mindedness.” The intention of introducing clubs in the middle of the day next to lunchtime is to encourage students to participate in activities that are not graded so that they may have a “taste” of pursuing personal interests that encourage lifelong learning. The homeroom teacher also acts as a coach and advisor in connecting students to other students in the homeroom class, to the larger ASK community, and to additional support resources by recommending students in need to the SST (Student Support Team) or After School Support program. This year we introduced additional electives for high school students which they chose using our PowerScheduler system in cooperation with an independent consultant. By building schedules individually we have “broken up” whole classes of students who used to travel together throughout the entire day. So far we have all found this to be a very positive effect on the individual classrooms. We are also taking advantage of the new scheduling by traveling off-campus to a nearby “Pro-Basket” gym for High School P.E classes. We now have the time to travel and are able to provide a more adequate physical education environment, than what is currently available on main campus.
ASK graduates are accepted at a variety of U.S., European and home country universities in addition to many obtain substantial academic scholarships. In the school year 2017, seventy students graduated ASK. Fifty students said they would be attending a university locally, three said they would be going to the U.S for college, and seventeen said they would be going to college somewhere in Europe. ASK has maintained accreditation with AdvancED since 2005 and is licensed by the Kosovo Ministry of Education. ASK is also proud to have met the standards for ISO certification of business operations since 2008.