American Academy Limassol - A wonderful life starts with a better education

Hello everybody,

Choosing the right school for your child could be a difficult decision. Parents will have to think about so many issues. Should the school be private or public? Should children be taught in English or Greek language? Would parents afford to pay for a private education? How our children’s life will be improved by joining the classes of the private school? American Academy School is one of the oldest educational establishments in Cyprus that already proved its capacity to educate children for more the 12 generation. ”Kids Fun in Cyprus“has the pleasure to introduce you Mr.George Bargilis , the Managing Director of the American Academy School. He will be able to give our readers, the parents, some information and advice regarding children’s education private standards in Cyprus.

Thank you so much for taking time to share your insights and wisdom gleaned from your many years in different positions in the education field. We are delighted that we can share your expertise with our readers and the wider community.

Izzy: First, starting at the beginning, you've spent the past 20 years in education. What inspired you to go into teaching? Were you always interested in school administration as a part of your career?
George Bargilis: I have been actively involved in education now for nearly twenty years. My own children have been my own inspiration. Every parent wants the best for their children. What is the purpose of education? Is it simply to acquire the necessary academic skills to be able to serve society? Or is it to enable each individual child to flourish and reach their highest potential as human beings and make their own contribution to the betterment of our world. This is the essence of the word “education” at the American Academy.

Izzy: Most of the parents already know about the name “American Academy” as being a reputable and trustful school in Limassol. What can you tell us about the history and future of the school?

George Bargilis: The school in Limassol was founded 30 years ago, with the education of children in mind. It has grown from a small school of about 80 pupils, with just one primary and secondary school, to what we consider a community today. A new momentum has taken off in the American Academy during the past two years, a lot of fresh ideas having been introduced along with some innovative concepts.  With our thirty year anniversary beginning with the academic year 2016/17, there will be a lot to look forward to.

Izzy: What is the main ethos of the school and why it was chosen? Do you believe that your targets are the same ones expected by parents from an educational establishment?

George Bargilis: “Wisdom above all in a loving and caring environment for every child”; this is the motto at the core of our school philosophy. Is there anything else any parent would want for their child? We don’t simply teach at the American Academy, educate. We provide a supportive environment which recognizes each individual’s talents, encourages students’ aspirations and creates opportunities for them to acquire the knowledge, skills and qualifications needed to develop their personal qualities necessary for their future lives.

Izzy: How do you find the American Academy School’s children? Happy to join the classes every day or too busy studying? Can American Academy School provide a balance between the times spend on main fields and the other activities?  What about theater, sports and arts and what about of having fun?

George Bargilis: The comments we usually have from parents is that their children get up in the morning and are looking forward to go to school. They are happy to be here. If there are exceptions, as there are in all aspects of life, we try to find the root of the problem and seek for solutions, making it a priority to ensure that each child and their parents are satisfied with our services.
Our first concern is the academic performance of the child but we also emphasize a versatile and well-rounded development through their own personal experience within the school. Sports and the arts are encouraged throughout all ages via various activities like sports days, school performances and competitions.
 We combine various excursions and activities with lessons being done within the school. All children with us become involved in charity work, science and geography through experiments and also have the opportunity to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, which in itself combines, hiking, volunteering and learning basic survival skills for camping and living alone.

Izzy: “We believe that a good school is one that educates students for a successful life in both the academic arena and real life situations by communicating effectively, respecting individual differences and setting high standards for students, staff and administrators”. The above declaration is part of the ethos of the school. What are your techniques to improve communication between teacher and students and between students in order to facilitate a relaxing learning environment where children do not feel stressed? Is the teacher a “bad boss” over a group of small children or a friend? Would you say that your approaching is a successful one? How is the bulling taking care in a school with multinational students?

George Bargilis: We agree with your way of thinking. This is exactly what we are about. We encourage an open relationship between teachers and students, easily accessible at all times.
There are no “bosses” at the American Academy. There is constant team work between staff and students and continuous collaboration in order to achieve the desired results. In spite of the multicultural character of the school, there is no bullying at the American Academy. The philosophy of the school and the entire approach eradicates any unpleasantness that usually arises with bullying.

Izzy: What opportunities are you creating for gifted children? Would you be able to say that they will find at American Academy School the perfect place to evolve and to be noticed?

George Bargilis: For those children who need it, we offer a personalized accelerated learning programme according to their individual needs, whether that being higher level classes or even help for students that face learning difficulties and ensuring that each and every student thrives.

Izzy: How does the standard of education compare with that of the U.K. that many of the expats are used to? Class size? Level of professionalism? Understanding of child psychology? Are the graduated students of American Academy on the same level as their U.K. peers when applying for a university?

George Bargilis: The level of education is the same as that of the UK, yet in regards to results, we can proudly say that our results are higher than that of the UK. Our graduates have been known to obtain an average of 4 A’ levels at the American Academy unlike the average of 3 in UK. Our students last year managed to achieve 45% results in an A or A* grade in their A levels in comparison to the UK of 28%. We also had 100% pass rate which we were very proud of, which has remained a consistent percentage for the past 5 years. This may be due to a number of factors as for example smaller class sizes but also the care and attention we offer our students on an individual basis.

Izzy: Why would you encourage expats parents and Cypriot parents to enroll their children at your school? What are the advantages in comparison with other international schools in Limassol?

George Bargilis: The personalized and individual attention we offer children is out strongest point. They are not simply names in a class register but young individuals with their own thoughts, their own mind, their own ideas, who need guidance and care in cultivating their individuality. We have to offer them the best support possible so they can grow into independent thinkers as adults, ready to face the challenges of our ever changing world.

Izzy: Parents in Cyprus are used now to send their children to a public school and then to occupy their time by sending them to more tiring afternoon classes to compensate for the absence of various English/UK degrees.Is American Academy offering a better educational/financial solution for the children to obtain the same degrees?"

George Bargilis: Definitely, studying at the American Academy results in a drastic reduction or even exemption from private afternoon lessons. Our academic programs are structured in such a way, so as to make the use of private lessons unnecessary and at the same time facilitate the process of students entering a University of their choice.

This offers additional benefits to families as they save time and money and converts the free time children have into the ability to do something more constructive or they can spend with their parents or become involved with additional hobbies.

Izzy: Thank you one more time for the time taken to reply to our questions and we wish to American Academy School many successful years to come.  At Kids Fun in Cyprus we have a habit now. We ask our interviewers to share with us a story, an experience or simply a thought. What would be yours?
George Bargilis: 
A story-A young Palestinian boy, somewhere in Gaza, is hurt badly by a bomb. Through the various medical and refugee channels, he finds himself in our school on a full boarding scholarship. He finds himself in a foreign country, hurt physically and emotionally with no knowledge of the English language. Now, a few years later, he studies at the University of Nicosia on a scholarship he earned on his own merit. This is what makes our school a caring school, a school where children thrive, regardless of what their social, financial or academic background is.

An experience-The first time I was present in our graduation ceremony of our final year students, I was so moved by the experience, I was overwhelmed by a special kind of joy that reached the depths of my soul. The experience, this feeling, has been accompanying me during every graduation I attended over the years. There is a special sense of fulfillment in knowing that you played a very important role in these young people’s lives, during a very important part of their lives and helped them to acquire all the necessary tools for them to walk into a world full of challenges and unpredictability.

A thought-“ A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child”.

Forest E. Witcraft (Teacher, Scholar)

Lots of sunny days from Izzy the Cypriot lizard!

American Academy School

Address: 24 Despinas Pattichi Str., 3071, Limassol, Cyprus
Phone no:+357 25 335074
Contact person: Samantha Beer
Facebook: American Academy Limassol&Paphos

Information about the school: The American Academy (Private) School of Limassol is a multicultural community which provide quality education in a caring environment for children in Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary levels all the way to university entrance, from Cyprus and the whole world.
Curriculum followed: British National Curriculum
Language of study: English & Greek
No. Pupils in a classroom: 15-20

Entrance exams: Compulsory Secondary School Exams in Mathematics & English/Greek (depending on whether or not the child will be joining our Greek School or our English School)
Facilities: Library, ICT Room, Chemistry Lab, Biology Lab, Physics Lab, Art Room, Theatre, Playground, Canteen with daily fresh meals,
Starting prices: Starting price from Pre-Kindergarten €840 per term.
Summer school offer: Ages 2-5 €100 per week, Ages 6-10 €120 per week, Ages 11-18 €300 per week
Other information you might consider necessary: Our Entrance Exams for Class 1 Secondary School will take place on the 16th of April at 8:00 am.

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