La Paz Secondary School

A Summary of the La Paz Secondary School Experience (Grades 7-12)

View the 9-12 Grade Program of Studies here

Vision: The La Paz secondary experience is the culmination of the students’ path to discovery of their self, family, and community in the greater context of the world. Graduating La Paz students will have internalized the La Paz Peace Practices and be able to apply them to their future endeavors in order to generate thoughtful, progressive change in an increasingly complex, diverse, and dynamic world. The IB Learner Profile is a fundamental part of each students curriculum and process for learning at La Paz Community School. This short video from International Baccalaureate helps explain what the IB Learner Profile is and how this is implemented in the school’s core curriculum.

International Baccalaureate Learner Profile from International Baccalaureate on Vimeo.


GraduationPreparation for Multiple Life Paths: La Paz graduates are well prepared for continued studies at universities in Costa Rica and abroad. Students are more than capable of exceptional achievement on the Costa Rican Bachillerato as well as the International Baccalaureate and other exams that are necessary to continue their education. As they have developed the skills to be critical thinkers, effective communicators and life-long learners, La Paz students are capable of adapting and contributing to post-secondary life whether in a Costa Rican university, foreign university, or the local/foreign work force.

Graduate Statistics:

  • University Admissions:  La Paz Community School graduates have been accepted to or are attending the following universities.  
    • Costa Rica: University of Costa Rica, Universidad Latina
    • Europe: Stenden University School of Engineering (Holland), The Sorbonne (France), American University of Paris, Franklin University (Switzerland), CEFAM Business School (France)
    • United States and Canada: Antelope Valley College, University of Florida, University of Colorado, Northeastern University (MA), University of Denver, Rutgers University, St. John’s University (NY), Xavier School of Medicine (Aruba)
  • International Baccalaureate Exam Results:  70% of La Paz graduates have earned their IB Diploma with an exam pass rate of over 90%
  • Costa Rica Ministry of Education exam results:  100% of La Paz graduates earn the Costa Rican diploma.

stewardshipStewardship: A graduating La Paz student is also aware of the delicate balance in nature and culture around them. There are no limitations to their positive influence on their surrounding communities and ecosystems due to the fact that they are able to effectively communicate in at least two languages. Their academic career and extracurricular experiences will have prepared them to be active stewards of their local environment and culture.

ChirripóGraduation:  Upon successful completion of the rigorous and engaging IB curriculum, students travel to the highest point in Costa Rica, Chirripó, as a representation of their arrival at the pinnacle of their secondary education. On graduation day students receive diplomas representing not only the completion of their secondary education, but also their continued responsibility to fulfill the Peace Practices learned at La Paz.


For more detail about specific course offerings please click here to read the 9th-12th grade program of studies.

photo 2Authentic:The La Paz secondary experience offers a balance between academically rigorous hands on classroom instruction in core/co-curricular subjects as well as complementary projects, internships, and excursions that enrich and authenticate the academic experience through place-based learning. The La Paz secondary accommodates the various learning needs and multiple intelligences of the students by offering authentic opportunities to apply specific subjects of interest through local internships, experiential excursions, and community focused projects.

Service Learning Internships: Through our Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) class students explore learning experiences that aren’t necessarily within the curricular offerings of a typical Service Learningsmall school. By interacting with and utilizing the community around them as a learning resource while providing a service, students develop the skills necessary to prepare them for future leadership roles.  

Advisory: Advisory consists of a meeting with 10 students of mixed grade levels (7th-8th; 9th-10th, 11th-12th), twice per week for 35 minutes, and a staff adviser who provides academic and personal support and helps foster communication skills, cultural empathy, wellness, team building, trust, and individual self-esteem. The Advisory Program is the result of our conscious and deliberate decision to ensure that each child in our school has an adult advocate.

outdoor edCapstone Trip and Adventures: While students regularly involve themselves in learning outside of the classrooms, classes partake in learning “adventures” at the end of each trimester and a capstone trip at the end of the school year in order to engage in experiential learning, reflection, and personal growth away from the local community.

In the Classroom:

secondaryBilingual: As has been the focus since day one at La Paz, the bilingual aspect of the curriculum is a priority. It is expected that students will graduate with the ability to read, write, and effectively communicate in at least Spanish and English. Spanish classes continue to focus on language and social studies throughout grades 10-12. The potential for the acquisition of a third language becomes more feasible as some of the younger students pass through the La Paz system because they will have achieved dual language proficiency at a younger age.

differentiatedDifferentiated Instruction: Students achieve maximum knowledge and understanding of complex subject matter through small class sizes, self-motivated learning, and well trained teachers who know how to push students to perform at their maximum capabilities. Through multiple techniques in differentiated instruction, students have opportunities to master material by teaching others and learning from others, thus achieving a more comprehensive understanding of the material.

Self-Motivated Learners: The cultivation of life-long learners who understand how to develop their own knowledge through multiple forms of inquiry based learning is an essential aspect of the La Paz Secondary experience. Beginning with a foundation of knowledge, students are expected to be able to understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and subsequently create in order to demonstrate mastery of the learning process (as per Bloom’s taxonomy). The constructivist methodology is ubiquitous both in and out of the classroom where the teacher acts as a guide in the students’ path towards intellectual discovery.