Vienna, Austria – There is a piece of the United States in Vienna. It is the American International School there.
Stephen Razidlo, former superintendent in Brainerd, Minn., is now the director of the Pre-K-12 system serving nearly 800 students. It is interesting to note that the majority of the students here are not Americans but Austrians and students from more than 40 countries seeking an American-style education.
American International Schools are in essence private, tuition-charging schools that cater primarily to the children of our diplomatic core in those countries and to the children of other Americans living abroad. However, they also accept students from the host country and other foreign students living there.
Our delegation was very impressed with the visit. The elementary school was celebrating United Nations Day and children were urged to come to school wearing their native garb. The photo above portrays a young lady in a Russian costume.
Cultural understanding and acceptance in such a bicultural setting is essential. Director Razidlo shared that in the height of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, students from those countries attending the school continued to maintain cordial relations with each other.
It was interesting to note that the school follows the Common Core curriculum, even though they are not required to do so at the elementary and middle schools, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at the high school level.
Tomorrow, we will review the differences between the Austrian and the American schools and why it’s popular with the parents who send their children there.
Dan Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, is blogging throughout AASA’s International Seminar Delegation in Austria.