La Paz has an average attrition rate of approximately 5% per year and is lauded by the Ministry of Education of Costa Rica as one of the top private bilingual schools in the country along with one of only 2,500 IB World Schools on the planet. Nonetheless, many new families are interested to know how their child’s education will compare to that of school systems outside of Costa Rica and to hear the first hand perspectives of parents in the school. Here are testimonials from current and past parents of La Paz Community School.
Read what people are saying about La Paz:
We came from a school district where the conversation was about “instructional minutes.” Concepts like the morning meeting were dismissed because they took time away from valuable time on instruction. But this is backwards. The morning meeting makes all instruction more valuable and more accessible. The ability to feel at peace with oneself, connected to a community, and safely challenged provides the basis for all learning.
I think of the morning meeting as a challenge within an embrace. It is challenging to be still, to be patient, to speak in front of a large group, to take risks in presentations, to practice your second language in public. But the students are challenged in all these ways within the embrace of the La Paz community—filled with loving, skilled teachers and an atmosphere of deep respect—so that the challenges are not painful challenges but rather ones that instill in all students and teachers the desire to do their best. This desire is transferred to the classroom, making each “instructional minute” more productive and powerful.
-Amy (Mother of La Paz 2nd grader)
When we decided to make a life change and relocate from Canada to Costa Rica numerous factors impacted our decision- not the least of which was ensuring that our 8 year old son could continue to receive quality education that would enlighten, empower, and enable him to reach his full potential.
La Paz Community School has exceeded our expectations, not only from its creative and incisive teaching methods, but from its compassionate and world-centric philosophy as it relates to education. It is truly a model upon which many Western based educators could learn from, and we feel blessed to have affiliated ourselves with a school which truly understands what it means to inspire learning.
In a short period of time, we have witnessed our child evolve as a learner, a teacher, a friend, and most importantly as a compassionate human being who is integrating into his life those tools that will enable him to realize whatever goals he sets for himself. The environment at LaPaz makes this happen.
The IB accreditation that they have received, their innovative Scholarship program (which introduces and involves less fortunate Costa Rican children into this amazing environment), coupled with the dedication and vision of each staff member uniquely positions La Paz to deliver the next generation of critical and compassionate thinkers into the world. We are excited to be a part of this and encourage anyone looking to be part of “the change” in education to support and involve themselves in this eminently worthy environment.
Don M. – 3rd grade parent
Our family moved to Tamarindo two years ago. Before moving, I researched all of the local schools. I wanted our kids to go to a school where they would be challenged to interact with the local culture, where they would learn Spanish, and where they would be pushed in ways that a traditional school might not push them. When we visited the area before making our move, we toured the facilities and had more discussions with locals about our options. We came from a traditional public school setting in the United States, and I was worried to think about making a big move for my then 6 and 8 year olds. In the end, my discussion on the phone with Abel, the school Director, as well as many parents with children at the school was what clinched the decision for me to send our kids to La Paz.
Once we arrived, both the teachers and their fellow students embraced my kids. Speaking little to no Spanish was a challenge, but with the amazing help they received from their teachers and friends they they were able to carry on conversations with anyone and could write papers and stories in Spanish by the end of the first school year.
Academically, I have seen both of my children grow in amazing and unique ways. La Paz doesn’t focus on standardized testing or some of the traditional measures of success that we were used to coming from a public school system in the United States. It focuses on the whole child – making sure that they learn how to think, solve problems, make decisions, and implement those decisions in real and effective actions. My children have flourished in this environment and are becoming the most amazing people. They are above the standardized academic level of many of their friends in the United States who are in the “traditional” school that we left behind. La Paz Community School meets each child at their level and challenges them to go beyond that.
- Carolyn H. 4th and 5th grade parent
We came to Costa Rica expecting to stay for one year. We are now in our fifth year in this amazing community and that is largely based upon our love and respect for La Paz Community School. La Paz has the most dedicated, talented and amazing teachers I have ever met and they are the heart and soul of the school. My children are growing up with a love of learning. They are not being taught things in order to pass a test nor to memorize answers. They are being taught in meaningful, hands on, experiential ways that has taught them to question intelligently, inquire, and explore theories, ideas and seek answers in ways that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. The bilingual program at La Paz is exemplary and my children are fluent Spanish speakers, learning their subject matter in both languages every day. La Paz has provided my children with a multicultural environment surrounded by children from all over the world, where they are learning that there is so much more to this world than just us. The experiences La Paz Community School is giving my children are absolutely priceless.
- Debra H. 3rd and 6th grade parent
THANK YOU for all you do so that my son can have the best education in the world. I wrote an email to my friend who jumped on board with me 22 years ago when I was pitching my idea for a school. I told her I finally found what I have wanted for my 4 kids. It took 22 years, and only 1 of my kids gets to reap the benefits of it…but it makes my heart smile knowing you guys have pulled off what most of us only dream about. I am SO thankful and excited to be a part of the La Paz pulse.
- Lynsey N., 10th grade parent
I thought you would take some measure of pride in knowing that (La Paz 8th grade student) took a battery of placement tests in order to see where she should be placed. As a result of her performance she is in the advanced placement section of every one of her classes. She is well above grade level in reading, slightly above in math (got those fundamentals down!), and more than a year ahead in science. Re: Spanish, they are placing her in the most advanced class in middle school and she is well ahead of where they are. As if this isn’t enough, the school she is attending is the highest ranked middle school in the district and among the very best in the state of Florida.
- Jim C., 8th grade parent
We would not have stayed in this little microsystem of Guanacaste without La Paz. The school continues to be one of the biggest reasons we live here. Our kids are getting an education we can be proud of, and that we believe will serve them well in the new world they will enter. The ripple effects of that are important enough for one family, and the small sphere of influence that we may have (the increasing number of good jobs we can offer to locals because we are a growing business, the cross-cultural connections that will have impacts well beyond what any of us can anticipate), and start to scale very quickly into something incredibly powerful when you consider the talent level, community, and opportunities that are created and sustained by having a great school in the area. Good schools really are “magnets” and La Paz is attracting and retaining some very cool families, who are shaping this area in a way that other areas throughout the country and the world are definitely not.
- Elaine F., 5th and 8th grade parent
I’m happy to say that when we arrive in Fort Collins, USA last April , both (of my children) were ahead by a quarter. They enrolled in Harris bilingual and they were congratulated by their teachers for their fast adaptation to a bigger school. Now (our son) is still in Harris and has all A’s and will be part of a new program next fall: bilingual IB program in middle school.
Same with (our daughter) now in middle school at Lesher she’s in honor roll and her lowest grade is A- , she is in advanced spanish course and does very well in all sectors. La Paz was a great experience for them and allowed them now to be in advance spanish.
- Carole L., 4th and 6th grade parent
My daughter just received a second consecutive report card in which she has made the Principal’s list for maintaining a 90% average. During this period she made friends with a group of exchange students and managed to keep her Spanish conversation skills sharp with a student from Spain while learning some Portuguese from a Brazilian student. She made the varsity basketball team with only one year of semi-organized basketball behind her at a sports-academy school… primarily due to her hustle on defence. (My daughter) has enjoyed the buildup to the upcoming Olympic Winter Games and although she remains costarricense at heart she can appreciate the beauty of being right where she is on the West Coast of Canada.
- Debbie T., 11th grade parent
My daughter has adjusted and enjoyed her 4th grade classroom of 36 kids in Hawaii. The first day she was participating in class and answering questions. The teacher was surprised and so were we! Especially because her classroom had 36 children, very different from the small student group at La Paz, but she managed perfectly. Her attitude is very positive and she enjoys the classmates (26 kids today). (My son) had some difficulties adapting, which lasted some weeks. He was insecure in his 1st grade classroom, with all the new rules and consequences. I talked to the teacher about this and magically he started loving school. He has adapted very well and has many new friends, his behavior at school here continues to be pretty much like last year at La Paz kindergarden, with Miss Kelly.
With the second report to parents, we learned that they both are doing really well academically and socially. Both 1st grade and 4th grade teachers said the kids level was the right one for their grade levels. (My daughter) is already working some of 5th grade material. Today, they both range among the more advanced students in class.
- Bruce J., Kinder and 3rd grade parent