Frequently Asked Questions

What does the IB Accreditation mean for La Paz students?

As participants in an accredited IB World School, La Paz graduates will have diverse career and university paths available to them.  With the most internationally recognized Diploma Program, the IB is geared to developing the creative, globally minded thinkers that are necessary to guide the world towards a more sustainable future.  IB graduates are proven to consistently perform at higher levels in university and beyond due to the broad set of critical thinking skills that students are required to practice and demonstrate during their high school career; tools that are normally reserved for more upper level university courses.  As such, students who achieve a score of 5 out of 7 in their IB courses are usually exempt from introductory university level courses.  The Costa Rican Ministry of Education recognizes the rigor of the IB Diploma by awarding a Costa Rican recognized diploma to any student who earns a minimum 2 out of 7 on the IB exams and passes the National Exams for History and Civics.  In addition to academic rigor and integrity, La Paz promotes the IB community profile as the core of the learning experience and this is disseminated throughout the prek-12 curricular and extra curricular experience at La Paz.

What is meant by a dual language school?

At La Paz, the core content is delivered in either Spanish or English depending on the subject matter.  Through best practices in differentiated instruction, both native and non-native language learners are challenged to reach their highest potential on a daily basis.  As a new language learner, a student can expect the road to fluency to last anywhere between three and seven years depending on their natural abilities, family commitment to language acquisition, and personal effort.  As such, we strongly encourage families to consider a long term investment in dual language education at La Paz so that they can graduate with the uniqueness of being multilingual.  By passing the IB core courses in two languages students can also achieve the coveted bilingual IB diploma.  Learn more about the Dual Language Program here.

What is meant by a cooperative school?

As a cooperative, La Paz makes it mandatory for all families to contribute at least 18 hours of service to the school community. Whether leading a workshop, driving on a field trip, helping with fundraisers, working in the kitchen, or assisting with general maintenance and cleaning, parents are given many opportunities to contribute hours to La Paz. Parent involvement in everyday school activities has built a strong sense of community at La Paz.

When is the application deadline?

Applications are accepted at any time, however, they are not considered by the admissions committee until January before the academic year that begins in late August unless there is space available in the grade solicited. Families who already have children at La Paz are given the first right of refusal before the available spaces are opened up to the new pool of applicants. Potential families will be asked to come in for an interview with the admissions committee which includes an evaluation in order to complete the application process.  Read more on the admissions page.

How long is the school day and are there extracurricular activities?

Curricular classes go from 8am-3pm Monday through Friday except for preschool which is from 8am-1pm; however, activities such as Homework Help Club, Language Tutoring, Club Blue, Basketball, Tennis, Dance, Gymnastics, Knitting, Music, and Soccer may meet before or after school. Many after school activities are free of charge while some charge a modest rate for coaching/professional services.  Read more about the extra-curricular program here.

Is there transportation offered to and from school?

Bus transportation is contracted out to local certified transportation companies at an extra cost to the family. At present there are bus services from the areas of Playa Negra, Playa Avellanas, Tamarindo, Villa Real, Playa Grande and Huacas.

Will my child’s credits transfer and will my child be prepared for local and international universities?

La Paz is recognized locally by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education as well as internationally as an International Baccalaureate (IB) authorized school. Graduating seniors will have the opportunity to attend top universities around the world due to their IB experience.  La Paz credits are transferable anywhere in Costa Rica as well as outside of the country. If transferring out of the country, La Paz will supply the new school with the appropriate curriculum and course descriptions in order to facilitate the credit transfer/grade completion recognition process. Students who have departed La Paz have consistently met or exceeded the learning expectations of schools and universities from around the world. 

How does the year-round schedule work?

At La Paz, we work on a trimester schedule that begins in late August. There is approximately a one month break in December, a three week break in April, and a 6 week break from mid-July to late August. Many studies have shown that academic breaks longer than 6 weeks lead to significant issues with student retention of information which is why La Paz has minimized the traditional extended break between academic years.  See the school calendar here.

Does the school offer hot lunch?

La Paz parents, teachers, and administrators are committed to offering a healthy option for hot lunch on a daily basis at a cost of $4-$5 per student depending on age. We contract out the hot lunch program services and offer a wide variety of ethnic foods to choose from. Students are strongly encouraged to eat a well balanced meal on a daily basis as studies have proven that a healthy diet naturally improves performance in school.

Does my child have to wear a uniform?

According to Costa Rican Law, students are required to wear uniforms to school. Uniforms include a green polo top, khaki shorts, skorts, pants, or skirts and closed toe sandals or shoes. The uniform top, shorts, and PE apparel are sold by the school at a cost of $15-$20.

Do families need to financially donate to La Paz?

La Paz families are not mandated to financially donate to the school; however, as a recognized non-profit in both Costa Rica and the United States, donations account for nearly 10% of our revenue. As a result, families are strongly encouraged to financially contribute to La Paz in order to bolster the annual fund and scholarship fund as well as maintain an affordable tuition. The yearly goal for La Paz is to have 100% parent financial contributions that are separate from tuition payments.  Read more about our Guardians of La Paz donor program here.

How much homework will my child have at La Paz?

Homework and homework policies at La Paz vary by grade and the responsibilities associated with homework will increase each year.  Homework menus are common place in the k-3 programs where students are empowered to explore theme related topics with the support of their parents.  Teachers are guided by the administration to ensure that homework is meaningful, authentic, and directly related to course content.  Project based assessment yields homework assignments that may carry on over several days so this encourages students to be effective and responsible planners.  The math curriculum demands consistent practice in the home to ensure that students are able to understand basic math facts that are essential to their future growth.  While times will vary on a daily basis the homework load can be considered to increase by approximately 10-15 minutes per grade level beginning in first grade.