June-July Newsletter 2018

Dear PAS Community,

As we reflect on the 2017-2018 school year, it is exciting to review the highlights!  A total of 357 action steps were either achieved or in progress throughout the school year in the four areas of emphasis based on the strategic plan’s “4 Pillars 4 the Future.”

Many of these accomplishments are related to the 2018 PAS graduates.  This is the second year that Pan-American School graduates a group of 12th grade students, the second year completing the IB Diploma Program, and the second class of graduates on the international calendar.  Furthermore, this school year PAS has been named a candidate school for the Primary Years Program (PYP) and Middle Years Program (MYP) of the IB program, the first school in Costa Rica to implement the full IB Continuum, so that all students at every grade level can benefit from the skills and content PAS graduates received over the past two years.

We have also made progress on the remodeling of the gym to a multi-purpose auditorium, and the beginning stages were initiated for the installation of a synthetic soccer field, among many other achievements.

The School continues to make major investments in the areas of curriculum, campus and equipment improvements designed to offer students a high quality educational and student life experience at Pan-American School. These accomplishments, among many others, continue to drive PAS forward in achieving our vision of being “a leading bilingual World School in Central America.” 

We look forward to all that is coming for the 2018-2019 school year and seeing your children when they return to classes in August!
Our best to you and your families during this vacation period!

Elizabeth Head

General Director


On May 4th we had the opportunity to witness the talents of our Primary and Secondary students on stage during The Eddies concert.  This year, in addition to original music composed by our students, the program featured performances of the chorus and the orchestra.


Students from 6th to 11th grade participated in the Battles of the Generations with their choreographies and competing in different sports events.  This year the trophy was given to the 10th grade students.


We are proud of our students that received a special recognition from the Association of Musical Composers and Authors (ACAM) for their efforts in the composition of original music for the production “On Stage Pan-American School”.  This activity took place on May 25th with the presence of Mrs. Guadalupe Urbina and other well-known musicians.


On Thursday, May 31st, Pan-American School hosted its annual Technology Fair for the Primary School from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the gymnasium. A core value at Pan-American School is that students are creators. The Fair gave students an opportunity to showcase what they have created throughout the year, from digital photography and website creation to podcasts and graphic design.  The students also viewed examples of Middle School Design projects and had hands-on experience with our digital tech tools. Thank you to all who came to support our students and those who took who the time to make it all happen!


The PASsport for Education Foundation organized its annual bingo on May 25th for the enjoyment of our community and to collect funds for its social and educational projects.

Modeling Good Tech Habits for Children

One of the greatest challenges for parents and teachers of small children is the balance between digital and real life. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that during early ages unplugged playtime should be prioritized. During 2016 this organization provided a list of recommendations for technology use with young children. Some of this recommendations are:

For children 18 months or younger, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of young children who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
For children 2 to 5 years old, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.

For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
Therefore, it is clear that parents and teachers play an important role when introducing young children to technology.

In PlayKids children not only encounter the possibility to experiment with technology but are allowed and encouraged to enjoy the world that exists beyond smart devices. In our class, we find a balance between taking advantage of the big screen when sharing a story on the projector and allowing students time with regular-sized individual books. Playtime periods (Centers) are excellent to model good tech habits. A good example of this is when children make pretend phone calls. During these calls, children can be taught about the importance of setting their phone down to have face to face conversations, how to handle and take care of devices or even cutting calls short to exercise or go for a run.  The best way to reach young children is through play and this is also true for technology.

Use of technology in the English Class

Ninth Grade, English Language and Literature

Students had a unit on media and advertising in which they studied persuasive techniques and basic media elements to analyze advertisements, especially in terms of purpose, audience, and ethical considerations. As part of an interdisciplinary project with design and music, they created their own product, did a survey to their target audience, and based on that created their own TV commercial, including a graphic and sound logo. This required them not only to use technology in different ways (apps and programs for the survey, video, graphic design, sound logo) but also to analyze how big companies use it to influence our daily lives.

Pillar #1: Curriculum and Instruction

– Process continues for authorization as full International Baccalaureate (IB) Continuum World School, including the Primary Years Program (PYP) and Middle Years Program (MYP).  Expected date for authorization: 2019

– All Primary teachers and learning support staff trained and certified in PYP.  All Secondary teachers and learning support staff trained and certified in MYP.

– Continued implementation of Reggio Emilia inspired elements to ECE within the PYP framework. Nine ECE Teachers have also enrolled in “Project Zero” through Harvard University, a program focused on Reggio Emilia and PYP.

– Report Cards created with PYP and MYP Guidelines through ManageBac.

– Continued expansion of physical and online resources available in the library with a focus on PYP, MYP, and DP.

– The instructional coaches provided teachers with professional development sessions according to the needs observed through the coaching process.

– MAP data further integrated into the instructional process.

– An Educational Technology Integration Coordinator was hired in order to assist Secondary teachers to integrate technology in classrooms.

– Pull-out teachers are reviewing current research on ESL/SSL programs and experimenting with different approaches to deliver these programs.

– Creation of the new student-led school newspaper: The Panam

Pillar #2: Values, Ecology and Service

– 280 solar panels installed and in production.

– Ecology team has been trained in strategies to become Carbon Neutral.  Analysis of data and verification process continues.

– Institutional food drive achieved to help victims of Storm Nate.
– NHS organized a concert and raised c1.900.000, which was donated to TELETÓN.

– Additional CAS opportunities: CAS-Chirripó, CAS-México and CAS-Corcovado

– Cajas de Amor were donated to our maintenance staff to celebrate Christmas.

– 550 Christmas gifts were donated to six different organizations.
– IB Learner Profile and Attitudes were integrated during Sharing Time in Primary.

– Books and/or other resources purchased to promote PAS values.

Pillar #3: Technology, Innovation, and Investigation

– Successful integration of one-to-one Chromebooks to 3rd and 4th grade students with the purchase of 100 additional devices.

– Campus wireless network was restructured for improved wi-fi coverage.

– Implementation and training of all involved with new ManageBac system.

– Effective live streaming of numerous events.

– Additional multimedia resources purchased for the gymnasium.

– Equipment for simultaneous interpretation was acquired and utilized in meetings.

– Purchase of a class set of Virtual Reality goggles.

– Created a charging station in the library.

Pillar #4: Sports, Health and Wellness

New athletic flooring and branding for the gym walls (see other gym improvements below).

– Participation in numerous tournaments, AASCA Basketball, and ACEP Soccer (1st Place Boys and 5 teams to semifinals).

– Increased enrollment in boys’ volleyball, girls’ basketball and girls’ soccer in Primary.

– Continued development of the morning Secondary Fitness Program and increased enrollment in the Secondary sports program.

– Cafeteria implemented recommendations based on parent and student feedback.

– Training began in First Aid and CPR for all ECE teachers, Primary teachers, and Administrative staff.