Why create The Sierra School?
We are an English and Spanish-based junior and senior high school program for local youth. Our school fills a market niche and provides a needed local and international, secondary school program. Our school seeks to build bridges between the Mexican and international communities in Todos Santos. The Sierra School is for high-achieving kids, offering a comprehensive, English and Spanish-based, liberal arts and maths, environmental science, arts and athletics course of study. We seek to create opportunities for motivated junior and high school youth who will pursue post-secondary education and professional careers. Our talented, experienced international teacher / leaders excel at the work of developing minds for a sustainable future.
What kind of student is The Sierra School for?
Our families and students value education. Our program is rigorous. We welcome highly-motivated Mexican and international students entering the 6th, 7th or 8th grade for the 2016-17 school year. In our long term plan, we will offer a demanding academic program for students of all levels of secondary school: 6th - 12th grades. Our students are hard workers, following the IB world standard. Our students love to learn. Our students have homework and do their homework. Our students speak English or Spanish or both languages; following the IB model, our students become bilingual. Our students are athletes, artists, ecologists, readers, problem-solvers and more. Our students are open-minded, open-hearted, caring, thinking inquirers. Our students will pursue a higher education and professional careers to intelligently contribute to a sustainable future in Mexico and beyond. Our students are leaders.
Is The Sierra School accredited?
While are not yet an accredited school, , we will become accredited by the national educational system, the SEP (Secretaría de Educación Pública) , in our first two years, and by early 2017. Furthermore, we will become accredited by The IBO, International Baccalaureate Organization, by the time our entering students are of age to graduate high school. SEP and IBO accreditation are both a comprehensive process based upon preparation for and a resulting audit of our school’s vision and mission, curriculum, teachers, resources, physical infrastructure, compliance with accreditation standards, as well as program for improvement. We are developing our education program with the essential counsel of the SEP in La Paz, BCS, our Mexican accreditors, and with experienced lead teachers, following the International Baccalaureate standards. Our advisory board members, led by our legal counsel, John Moreno, actively support our objectives to obtain Mexican, SEP, accreditation in our second year.
Is the school English-Spanish bilingual?
Mexican national, SEP, accreditation means that our program will become fully bilingual. Our year-long Spanish classes, taught by a SEP certified, native Spanish speaking teacher, meet five times per week for at least 4-5 hours of weekly class time. Sport classes, as well as educational outings are conducted in Spanish. Spanish classes focus on speaking, reading and writing proficiency and fluency in Spanish language, per IB diploma requirements. Students read literature in Spanish as well as study world and Mexican history in Spanish. Spanish classes study an enriched version of the Mexican national curriculum. Students who do not yet speak Spanish take intensive Spanish for beginners.
Does The Sierra School offer financial aid?
Yes. Financial aid is integral to the Sierra School vision. We know that motivated students come from all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. We are proud to have offered funded scholarships to at least half of our students in the 2015-16 school year. At least half of our students will be granted full or partial scholarships in our second year, and going forward. Scholarships are determined carefully, and reviewed and renewed annually. They are funded by individual sponsors and foundation grants. Financial aid awards are granted to very motivated, promising, under-resourced students whose families can prove financial need.
What are the Great Books?
In order to better understand our present society, and anticipate a sustainable future, we must understand our past. The great books are those texts that are considered to be the foundations of western literature and thought. See a definition of the great books here:
We study the great books of world literature as an essential element of our development as thinkers, inquirers, readers, writers and problem-solvers.
Can I Get Involved?
Yes! The Sierra School promotes a range of meaningful opportunities for parents and professionals in our community to get directly involved in our learning program. From helping our fundraising efforts, building community partnerships in Todos Santos and coaching sports, to promoting ecology, providing learning workshops, and helping students develop their skills in English, Spanish and other specific subject areas, we welcome adults to become engaged in our school. Just as important as encouraging adult support of our learning, we nurture engaged parenting. Engaged parents are aware of their child's experience at school, support their child's well-being, and help promote their child's studies and development as responsible citizens. Children of engaged parents are more well-balanced, confident, responsible and make healthier life choices.