It’s one of life’s great ironies, but there are few things more unchanging than the promise of change. In education, including at many private schools in Costa Rica, this offer has long been on the menu. And yet, isn’t it also true that the more things change, the more they stay the same? It’s the ouroboros of the academic world.
The truth is, for decades, major change to education has been more of a talking point than actual fact. (Case in point: See Part II of our Vote with Your Feet series: Despite university admissions officers’ talk of broadening the scope of what determines a candidate acceptance, a full 2/3 of all universities admitted “no change” to the weighting of their admissions criteria.)
That is, until 2020, when COVID-19 swept through the world and changed our learning environments in a way few of us could have foreseen. Suddenly, schools weren’t making promises based around “multiple intelligences,” “project-based learning,” or other trends, but were instead united against one challenge: migrating standard in-person education to virtual platforms and remote learning.
And if any of that makes you sigh (or wince), then first, a congratulations: You and your family have weathered the worst of it. The last year-and-a-half have been a challenge for all of us, students, parents, teachers, and school administrations, alike. You did it. And it’s nearly over. So, take a deep breath and let’s talk about the light that’s just around the corner.
But First, Let’s Discuss “Trends” in Education
Education – finding the right fit, nurturing your child or children, and fostering a life-long love of learning – is one of the most important jobs a parent has. It’s about more than setting your kids up for university success: Teaching your children to love learning is a gift that will perpetuate throughout their lives.
The question is, should you ever leave this incredibly important aspect of your child’s formative years up to a fad? We know we’re wading into the technical stuff here, but there are dozens and dozens of educational fads that have failed over the years. Don’t make your student the guinea pig.
Because, at its heart, education is about learning – not about the newest way to learn, but rather about achieving specific learning outcomes. (Of course, achieving those outcomes is dependent on teaching methods. But again, teaching methods should not be a trend; they are a path to reaching the individual student. And that’s something our teachers train for.)
Academic Excellence is Not a Fad (But it is Our 2021-2022 School Year Theme)
So, here’s the thing: Despite the trends (and, at times, the passing fads) in education, one requirement endures: Parents around the world continue to desire English-medium college preparatory schools.
It is abundantly clear, from the enduring parent demand for standards-based curriculum – and by that, we’re talking definite not-trends, like the IB Diploma, British A-Levels, and Advanced Placement (AP) / Dual Enrollment programs (see which one is best for you) – that families seek academic excellence for their children first and foremost. You’re right about that.
The best international schools in Costa Rica outperform international norms and demonstrate leadership in education. They do this, despite the pressure to adapt to the latest fad. Instead, they root their academics in time-tested, standards-based achievement.
As you research and consider, you will recognize this trait at the best private schools in Costa Rica via their adherence to rigorous standards and benchmarks for student learning. Here’s the litmus test: If a school focuses on telling you that their curriculum is “project-based” or “inquiry-based” or “transdisciplinary,” they’re trying to ride the coattails of a trend to achieve a sale (aka tuition). They’re not actually telling you what standards to expect or what student outcomes you can hope for at each grade level at the end of year.
And that’s what you are paying for in a school: the expected yearly academic progress within a balanced program.
Post-Pandemic Education: Student Learning and Educational Benchmarks
The past year+ has been a challenge but, as the light starts to flicker and grow brighter from the end of the tunnel – as we begin to see life and learning return to “normal” – you’re looking to what your child’s post-pandemic education will be like.
At CRIA, you can expect it to look like our enduring and rigorous academic standards. We understand the challenges and roadblocks and potholes that have popped up in the past year, but we also know how to remedy them. We are prepared.
Because the best private schools in Costa Rica use MAP assessments or similar external testing data (ex., IGCSE testing in a British curriculum) to track student learning in basic numeracy and literacy and subject level skills.
At CRIA, we use MAP testing to determine student strengths and weaknesses across standards for mathematics and English language usage/comprehension, and you, as a parent, will receive a report at each grade level. You’ll see how your child’s teachers are able to individualize the learning experience to your student, giving him or her the best opportunity for success. PSAT Testing, administered each October for grades 9-11, continues the academic data collection documented under the MAP assessments, and is instrumental for providing the best opportunity for students to succeed in a verifiable way.
And so, as our students return to normalcy, we’ll use MAP testing to evaluate their pandemic learning – to identify their strengths and weaknesses, as we always have, and then forge a path to post-pandemic learning and build on their successes.
Because, we’ve weathered a storm and now it’s time to re-focus on academic learning: on reading, writing, science, mathematics, history, and geography. Because all those things offer enough of a challenge, as we try and make up for academic deficits accumulated during pandemic times.
Along the way, we’ll adhere to our enduring CRIA traditions, values, and beliefs. We’ll instill in our students a sense of individual rights and responsibilities, compassion and kindness toward others, hard work and perseverance. We will foster, support, and maintain a passion for life-long learning.
Because at CRIA, we don’t follow trends. We don’t set them, either. We simply adhere to the forever principle of the Golden Rule: We teach kindness to others, not as the latest fad, but as a core value. This has always been our guiding principle and will continue to be so. That’s permanence. That’s CRIA. And that’s a promise we keep, as one of the best private schools in Costa Rica.
Interested in joining the CRIA family?
And with that, we’ll say that we look forward to meeting your post-pandemic expectations, helping your child achieve, and holding ourselves accountable to your student’s needs.
Please consider joining our CRIA family. We look forward to hearing about your journey. Learn more about the CRIA admissions process and get in touch to schedule a campus visit. We look forward to it!