Here is information on the four private schools in Boquete with which I am familiar. My son has attended all of the four schools listed. There are public schools as well and a few expat kids do attend them. The private schools here charge an annual enrollment fee (re-enrollment is typically less), plus a monthly tuition. Additional costs include uniforms; books, and the amounts depend on grade level. When we came here in 2008, William's 3rd grade monthly tuition was $45. Today, at AIB (Academia Internacional Boquete), we pay $165 a month (a nearly 30% increase over last year) plus I paid nearly $1,000 to enroll him. If you are thinking of moving here, good to have original transcripts with you, and have them sealed by the consulate before arriving. It is always handy to have a several copies of your child's birth certificate.
I have written a new post about the issues I have personally encountered on the subject of "Bilingual" education. Refer to the categories on this blog for the article "Bilingual Challenges."
COLEGIO BILINGUE EL PASTOR
This is a fundamental, Christian School. It is well run and has had very few staff changes over the past 6 years.
- The school presently goes to 10th grade and will continue growing with the class.
- Most classes have fewer than 20 students.
- The director is extremely organized, disciplined, kind and soft spoken.
- Students must achieve a grade of 3.5 or higher in core subjects: Math; Spanish, and English or attend summer school.
- Structure and discipline are tight and this can be very positive, especially for children with attention issues.
They introduced a "musical band" with brass instruments & have an accomplished music professor.
- They claim that their teachers are not "shouters."
- My son, having attended two other local private schools, attended for 2 full yearsand reported that because of the high standards for behavior, the children are extremely kind by comparison. He reported NO BULLYING to date (end of year 2012).
- If Christian values offend you, this might not be your cup of tea.
- If you are Christian, but not Evangelical, this style may not suit you
- Bi-Lingual means that a native speaker will be getting English at a below grade level. This can be addressed by continuing reading at grade level in the home.
- The boys must keep their hair very short.
COSTS:Enrollment Fees: (Re-Enrollment Fees are lower)
$138.50 (Pre-K and K) Re-Enrollment = $123.50
$143.50 (1st, 2nd & 3rd) ) Re-Enrollment = $128.50
$158.50 (4th, 5th & 6th) Re-Enrollment = $143.50
$163.50 (7th & 8th) Re-Enrollment = $148.50
Pre-Kinder & Kinder
First, Second & Third Grades
Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Grades
Seventh - 8th Grades
Higher grades will develop along with the children.
INSTITUTO GUADALUPANOApartado Postal 4068, Boquete, Chiriqui, Rep. of Panama
Telefax: (507) 720-3049
Director: Mayela Castro (Spanish only, however many teachers speak English and translate.)
This is a non-religious private school with a bilingual curriculum. The director speaks only Spanish, however so many of the teachers are fluent in English that translating is possible. The school has two very competent coordinators for primary and secondary, as well as a bilingual school psychologist on premise. Uniforms are required The school is located on the main road to Boquete, but not in the village. It is well-known and well-attended. .
- The school goes from kinder through 12th
- Boys must maintain short hair.
- Some classes have 18 students while other classes have had more than 36 children.
- Bilingual classes tend to be taught as ESL and are typically below a native speaker's grade level.
- There have been frequent staff changes over the years and also mid-term
- Students have reported bullying by other students as well as by teachers
Pre-kinder = $135
Kinder = $145.00
1st, 2nd & 3rd = $150.00
4th & 5th = $158.00
6th = $168
7th & 8th= $158
9th - 12th = $188.00
Re-Enrollment is less. Prices change yearly.
Some fees, such as in the 6th grade, are higher because they include a graduation fee.
Pre-Kinder & Kinder
First - Sixth Grades
Seventh - Twelfth Grades
COLEGIO PIO XIIDowntown on Avenue Central, Boquete, Chiriqui, Rep. of Panama
Telefax: (507) 720-1804
Sub Director: Amelia Landau de Lay (Spanish; English; some French.)
$142.00 (Pre-K and K)
$152.00 (1st - 6th)
$172.00 (7th - 9th)
$212.00 (10th - 12th)
Pre-Kinder & Kinder
First - Sixth Grades
Seventh - Ninth Grades
Tenth- Twelfth Grades
This is a long-standing, private Catholic school located in downtown Boquete The director speaks Spanish, English and some French. This school has been around for fifty years and is a well-established institution in the community. Uniforms and short hair for boys are required.
- Some classes have 18 students while others have as many as 36!
- If you are not Catholic, this may not be your cup of tea, as there is church attendance.
ACADEMIA INTERNACIONAL,BOQUETE(507) 720-2821
Director: Melissa Valliarino (Spanish; English)
This school is entering it's third year of operation. The "Academy" is presently located in downtown Boquete, but has ambitions to construct a "green school" on the outskirts of town for next year. Presently grades are Pre-K through 9th and growing,
The school's information and mission statement can be found on their link: http://www.aib.intracorppanama.com/
The uniform is casual: Jeans and a Emblem Polo shirt.
Hair for boys is not terribly short.
The curriculum is non-religious and bilingual.
Because of size and staffing, some classrooms have the maximum number of students; 24 while newer, upper classes presently have as few at 7 or 8 students.
Pre-School: $180.00 (Broken into two payments)
Primary School: ( K - 6th) $250.00 (Broken into two payments)
Upper School (7th - 9th & growing): $280.00
Primary School: $105.00
Upper School: $125.00
- The curriculum is supposedly one of the best available in Panama & many parents seem quite satisfied.
- There are utterly goofy restrictions on taking "junk food" to school, to wit: "No Doritos or Potato Chips" ... yet the school sells cookies, jello & deep-fried flour & water pastries known as Joladras!