Our Professional Learning Community focuses on one central meaningful pedagogical goal per year so that teachers are not overwhelmed by the wealth of “best practices” available. In addition to this one focused goal we have weekly and monthly peer/admin observations and critiques that encourage teachers to refine and improve on their daily practice. In the past years our foci have been the following.
2014-2016: Dual Immersion Revisited: The La Paz faculty have refocused their energies on dual immersion education with several school leaders attending and presenting in prolific professional development workshops such as the annual Conference on Dual Language Immersion (Director Abel McClennen presented on Socioemotional Development and Cross-Cultural Competence) and the La Cosecha Dual Language Conference where Sara McGowan, Brian Crites, Shera Simpson, Elizabeth Howard (PhD) and Deborah Ellis (PhD) presented on the importance of morning meeting in a dual language multicultural setting, Cross Grade Learning Opportunities, and the Kindergarten Dual Immersion Classroom. Visiting Associate Professor of Dual Language Education at UConn and PhD Harvard School of Ed, Elizabeth Howard worked extensively with staff on dual language literacy. IB teachers continue with their professional development through workshops and teacher training via ASOBITICO (Association of IB Schools in Costa Rica). The Faculty and Community also enjoyed extensive mindfulness training thanks to our friends at Mindful Life.
2013-2014: Grit and Determination: Teachers focused on strategies to effectively instill grit and determination in our students. They started the year with a TEDTalk by Angela Duckworth to begin the discussion and set the stage for the year. Particularly teachers were encouraged to reflect on La Paz’s unique form of assessment and how to utilize rubrics as meaningful strategies to support a de-emphasis on traditional grading systems and an emphasis on process and creativity as they relate to Bloom’s Taxonomy.Equally teachers focused on Curriculum Mapping strategies through the Rubicon Atlas online mapping program in order to effectively document and build upon the place-based, experiential, dual language curriculum at La Paz.
2011-2013: Differentiated Instruction: The La Paz faculty received 3 days worth of workshops from Eric Carbaugh and Dr. Sandra Mercuri who are associates of the leader in DI; Carol Tomlinson. Workshops focused on best practices with respect to differentiated instruction and at the same time both Eric and Sandra gave lectures at the Universidad Nacional in Nicoya to public school teachers. Differentiated instruction is at the core of the teaching practices at La Paz.
2010-2011: Dual Language Instruction. The La Paz faculty received a 4 day workshop from David and Yvonne Freeman who are considered leaders in the field of Dual Language Instruction. They met with parents, students, and teachers in a comprehensive set of seminars to educate the community on one of the most fundamental unifying aspect of the La Paz curriculum.
Ongoing IB training is mandatory for all 10-12 grade teachers who are involved in the delivery of the IB curriculum. Through online workshops, local and international conferences, as well as IB school visits, educators are consistently exposed to the most updated IB principles and curricula.