Academics

Learning is an active and lifelong process in which all members of our educational community participate and strive for excellence.

A well-rounded education includes logical reasoning, languages, artistic sensitivity, social awareness, physical and mental health, and critical thinking. It allows for the nurture of each person’s special interests, qualities, and talents through real-life learning experiences and diverse educational opportunities.

The acquisition of skills and knowledge should be applied to the development of a social conscience and a commitment to peace, democracy, cultural diversity, and service to humanity.

Early Childhood Education (ECE) Primary School Middle School High School International Baccalaureate (IB) Program Learning Support Services

Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Early Childhood Education includes three levels: PlayKids, PreKinder and Kinder which include children entering with ages from 18 months up to 5 years 3 months. The maximum number of students per class is 20. In PreKinder and Kinder there are two teachers. In PlayKids, depending on the number and ages of the children, the ratio of adults is from 1:4 to 1:6. In Early Childhood Education, we also count on the support of a professional in psychology and early stimulation.

Our mission is to provide learning experiences and opportunities for our students that are constructive and consistent in promoting confidence and the ability to form part of a social group, as well as pre-reading, pre-writing and early mathematical skills. We promote enjoyable and useful learning that will build a strong foundation for intellectual, physical, and social-emotional development based on our pillars of values, technology, ecology, service, sports, and investigation. Our developmentally appropriate curriculum is based on English-immersion and involves individual and group work with hands-on activities through the use of concrete materials and technology. All of our efforts are geared to help students learn while having fun.

The daily schedule is divided into 30 minute blocks. In addition to instruction in basic skills, students receive weekly classes of Physical Education, Music, Library/Research, Skills 4 Life, Visual Arts, and Technology, which vary according to the level.

Primary School

The Primary School is composed of six grade levels: Preparatory through Fifth Grade. The subjects taught in this division are:
In English: Mathematics, Science, English Language Arts, Skills 4 Life, Visual Arts, Technology, Research/Library, Music, and Physical Education.
In Spanish: Social Studies and Spanish.

At the Preparatory level there is a Head Teacher and a Teacher Assistant. In First through Fifth Grades, each classroom is assigned a Homeroom Teacher and Spanish Teacher. Depending on the number of students per class a teacher assistant is assigned to the entire level or to each individual classroom. The six levels are divided into two sections: First cycle and Second cycle. Each cycle counts on the support of a learning specialists and a psychologist. A Language Support Program is required of students who are one to two years below grade level in Spanish and/or English.

The Primary School embraces a variety of strategies to guide the students in their learning process in order to acquire the skills necessary to develop their full potential. Consequently, learning centers and stations, cooperative and individual work approaches, study guides, critical thinking exercises, hands-on activities, experiments, research, service learning and field trips are examples of formative and summative evaluations implemented in all grade levels. Media and technology are utilized by teachers as resources to support the teaching-learning process.

Our vision in Primary is to promote a nurturing and stimulating environment through a challenging and integrated curriculum which encourages excellence through developmentally-appropriate instruction. Quality learning opportunities are provided in an atmosphere of mutual respect for individual differences and learning styles in order to prepare students to make meaningful contributions to the world.

Middle School

The principal objective of Middle School is to support students as they transition from Primary School to High School. Spanning sixth to eighth grades, Middle School provides gradual changes in structure in each grade to achieve a smooth transition from a Primary-like 6th grade to a High School-like 8th grade. Pan-American’s Middle School honors this important developmental transition, providing guidance and support through an inclusive atmosphere and an engaging, relevant curriculum. Our goal is to encourage the young adolescent student to think analytically, rise to new academic challenges, identify personal strengths, work effectively in teams, and continuously strive for success.

Middle School students start the day with a Fitness Program, in which they choose the activity that best suits their interests and needs. After a break for changing into the school uniform and having a snack, students are able to start their academic day with more energy and focus. The Middle School academic program at Pan-American School integrates the following areas in order to provide students with a well-rounded study program: Math, Spanish, English, Global Studies, Science, Music and Visual Arts. Students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades have the opportunity to participate in different academic and interdisciplinary projects that include the Science Fair, Model United Nations, Community Service projects, AASCA Leadership Conferences, National Junior Honor Society, Student Government, and participation in various sports.

Students are introduced to Middle School at Pan-American through a series of activities beginning even before they finish fifth grade. Our 5th-to-6th-Grade Academic Visits give students a chance to experience life in Middle School and to meet their future schoolmates and teachers. Just before classes begin, new 6th grade students come to school for a Welcome to Middle School workshop aimed to prepare them for a fun and successful new phase in their development. The 6th Grade Lock-in, an overnight program on the school’s campus at the beginning of the school year, continues the transition into Middle School with activities focused on team-building play and social integration.

Students in Middle School take elective courses in their weekly schedule, as the first steps towards their later decision-making process in the IB program. Students are encouraged to hone skills and deepen academic interests during Flex Period. In this unique lesson, students choose to work with a core subject teacher on a current project, clarify doubts, or to pursue additional interests in the subject area. Additionally, students choose a Workshop each grading period. These elective courses are offered by each Middle School Teacher in a wide variety of topics, such as sports, knitting, computer coding, or Model UN. Class sizes are usually small, allowing for a more intimate study of the chosen subject.

Many other events and learning opportunities mark the Middle School years as a memorable time of growth and development. Educational field trips allow students to integrate experiential learning into interdisciplinary projects, giving a deeper meaning to concepts learned in the classroom. Extending and deepening the ties developed through the 6th Grade Lock-in, the 7th Grade Social Retreat gives students a new opportunity to mark their progress and maturity as members of their community. This process culminates in the 8th Grade Rite-of-Passage Camp, an unforgettable experience for all involved, as students reflect on the Middle School experience and project themselves into their future in High School.

High School

Pan-American High School fulfills its mission of forming well-rounded bilingual individuals thanks to our integrated approach that includes the curriculum, student life, and support services. Our goal is for our young people to achieve their potential not only intellectually, but also artistically, athletically, and morally, so that they may lead responsible and fulfilling lives as citizens of an increasingly globalized world. After completing Middle School, students enter High School (grades 9-12). Students enter the IB Diploma program in years 11 and 12.

Pan-American School is proud to be the only school in Costa Rica in which all students can opt for three certificates: the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, the U.S. High School Diploma, and the National Bachillerato en Educación Media diploma.

Through an ample curriculum, we provide the preparation and opportunities to help develop abilities and attitudes that will help students become responsible citizens and find creative solutions to life’s challenges. Theory is combined with practice through research skills, state-of-the-art technology, reflection in the sciences, critical reading and thinking, and oral and written communication – essential to success in college and their chosen professions. Field trips, laboratory work, individual and group inquiry are essential components of this process.

High School students start the day with a Fitness Program, in which students choose the activity that best suits their interests and needs. After a break for changing into the school uniform and having a snack, students are able to start their academic day with more energy and focus.

A pillar of our program is Service Learning, where we emphasize the value of direct involvement in developing social awareness through hand-on experiences, combined with the giving of time, effort, and passion to improve the lives of others who are less fortunate.
Our student life is varied and encourages student input in the school’s decision-making processes. We encourage involvement in the Student Council and National Honor Society.

Both organizations carry out activities that encourage service and school spirit, and contribute to integration within generations.

Today’s world requires international mindedness to understand other societies and cultures. This is accomplished through exchange programs, camps, Model United Nations, and the opportunities available through the Association of American Schools of Central America and other international organizations.

For more information about our curriculum, course requirements, and policies, please write to info@panam.ed.cr

International Baccalaureate (IB) Program

Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) is a non-profit foundation which offers four high quality and challenging education programs for a worldwide community of schools. For more than 45 years, IB programs have gained a reputation for rigor and high academic standards, for preparing students for life in a globalized 21st century, and for helping to develop citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. Currently, over 1,250,000 students attend more than 4,350 IB World Schools in 147 countries.

The curriculum is organized into the six areas of the IB Diploma program, and academic departments that oversee curriculum and instruction for their subject area. Diploma students also are required to complete the core requirements of the program. The study areas are complemented and enriched with a program of electives, co-curricular classes, student activities, and other opportunities beyond the classroom. The following graphic from the IBO illustrates the structure of the curriculum.

IB Program

Learning Support Services

College & Career Guidance

Library and Research Center

Service Learning and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

Fitness Program

Educational Field Trips

Language Support

College & Career Guidance

At Pan-American School one of our objectives is to prepare students for career decision making and to enter the colleges of their choice.

For this, Pan-American School has a College and Career Counselor whose primary role is to advise and prepare students for entry to post-secondary education. Our Counselor helps guide students towards their ideal post-secondary plan, whether that may be at national universities or international colleges and universities. We also provide service to graduates who need assistance in this area.

We are proud of our College and Career advising program and of our graduates who have gone on to success at prestigious colleges and universities in Costa Rica, the United States and elsewhere. Following are examples of the colleges to which our students have been admitted:

In Costa Rica:

EARTH: Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda

Universidad Veritas

ITCR: Instituto Tecnológico de Costa

ULACIT

Universidad de Costa Rica

Universidad Latina

Universidad Nacional

Escuela Libre de Derecho

Universidad Internacional de las Américas

Universidad del Diseño

International:

American University

Babson College

Berklee College of Music

Boston University

Hospitality School at Cunio, Piamonte, Italy

Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey

Louisiana State University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Northeastern University

Parsons School of Design University of Texas

Pratt Institute

Purdue University

Rice University

Southern Methodist University

Stanford University

Suffolk University

Tufts University

Universidad Anáhuac Cancún

University of Indianapolis

University of Michigan

University of Pennsylvania

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Pan-American School is an official SAT testing site, authorized by the College Educational Examination Board. The school also offers PSAT testing and SAT preparation for its students.

Library and Research Center

This school resource offers a large variety of materials that enrich the teaching-learning process. There are book collections for each level aimed at reinforcing the habit of reading for pleasure. There are also resources for parents and teachers, audiovisual books, digital books, and materials to support student research projects.

The Pan-American School community can use EBSCO and Follett Destiny databases, where current scientific articles are available to strengthen research and serve as bibliographical references for school assignments or reports. These can be used from any computer inside or outside the campus.

 

Service Learning and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

Service Learning is the practical expression of school values. Students and teachers identify different needs within a community and commit themselves to participate directly in addressing those needs.

The program aims to strengthen ethical, social and civic values, as well as encourage active participation in constructing solutions to institutional and community problems. At the same time, it helps students develop social responsibility and analytical capacity for problem solving and decision-making.

All Pan-American students and staff engage in an annual Service Learning project, and in Secondary School the emphasis evolves to the pre-CAS and CAS component of the IB curriculum.

Fitness Program

This program is offered instead of traditional physical education classes and it involves participation in physical conditioning activities for all levels of Secondary students from Monday through Thursday during the first period of the day. Students may select among many options, including yoga, cross training, cardio tennis, table tennis, self defense, walking, popular dance, zumba, and dodgeball, among others.

The objective is to start the day with physical activities, followed by breakfast, before initiating academic classes.

Research has shown the participation of adolescents in this type of program has a positive effect on attention, learning, happiness and general well-being.

Educational Field Trips

Fundamental to our educational approach, these trips are planned to sites within the country offering a high learning and formative potential. Trips are planned by several teachers, often involve external experts, and have an interdisciplinary character. In addition, field trips usually include a Service Learning project. Field trips increase in duration and distance as the student progresses through the grades. Fifth Grade includes an overnight trip, and in Middle and High School there are several trips, culminating with an international trip of 5 days in 12th grade.

Language Support

Pull-Out programs are personalized language classes offered to students who have performance difficulties in regular classrooms due to their lack of proficiency in English or Spanish.

These programs address the needs of students who are one or two years behind the required school grade proficiency level.