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American Kids and Cozumel Schools


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#1 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 01:18 PM

I am looking for some advise and information on this subject. My Granddaughter wants to come stay with me for the school year, so I am trying to plan a year ahead. She would be in the 8th grade when she transfers.

She has some basic Spanish, so that should help her a little. My main concer is her transfering back to Vermont afterwards. Has anyone moved back to the states with school age kids after they attended school here? I just want to be sure that she will not actually lose a year of school credit.

Any certain schools that you would recommend, I live near 30 and Calle 17.
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#2 Carey

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 01:52 PM

School credit in the states-wise, that's something you should be asking the schools in Vermont. If I were you, I'd also check to see when tests like the PSAT's are offered in that state. There are tests that put kids who do well in line for National Merit Scholarships. But if your child doesn't take the test, she's out of the loop.

This is all stateside research. Do that first and then ask about schools here. People usually send their kids back to the states for middle and high school if they have citzenship and can do so. Not the other way around. The only advantage I can see if she would pick up Spanish fluency which is a not insignificant skill set to have in the US in this day and age.
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#3 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 02:26 PM

I do plan on calling her school for that information, but was looking for anyone who has had the experience.

The biggest advantage is for me to get to know my Grand Child better. I am closer to my youngest grand baby then to any of the older ones, because while my 2 older Children were raising kids...so was I. There is 22 years between my oldest and youngest.

This will give us the time to know each other better. She also loves taking Spanish so that will also help. And Kaytieanne say's it will be nice to have 12 months of summer instead of 1 month..lol
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#4 TRAVELER89

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 03:08 PM

My wife has been involved in education in Cozumel for 15 years, she is now an english teacher(completed the Cambridge TKT Course, the teacher training course for teachers and trainee teachers preparing for the Cambridge ESOL 'Teaching Knowledge Test' or other initial teacher training qualifications) and is the supervisior of the english as a foreign language program(state mandated) in the federal/public schools her in Cozumel, next year this program will fall under a federal mandate. Our son is 15 and has just finished the 9th grade, in the last 9 years, he attended several private and finished the last 2 years in a public middle school, this year his grade average was 9.4 out 10 and for the last 3 years his(with mother pushing) he finished with a 8.9 average. He has a 100% use of spanish(his 1st language), 85% english, and 90% baseball.

With some authority we can say that there is a shortage of qualified schools, teachers and directors, both spanish and english speaking, here on Cozumel. the only school that we think would meet your needs would be:

"Instituto Gardner"
Location: Calle 17 Bis Sur between Avenidas 40 and 45,
Email: info@institutogardner.com.mx Phone: 987- 869-2176

Most of the other private schools have 1 or 2 good teachers, but over all are lacking....... I would avoid them even if they were free, My son quaified for "scholastic scholarships" for 8 of the last 9 years and last year and 1/2 we went with "public schools" with outside "math tutoring". For high school, we are going with home schooling/escuela abierta, following a SEP(Secretaría de Educación Pública) federal mandated program.

T.
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#5 Carey

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 03:30 PM

Congrats to Laura! I knew she'd go far. Always has gone far!

The fact that Laura, a true educational professional, chose to homeschool Benjamin says a lot about the current state of the school system here. I have heard and read that there tends to be a preponderance of busy work, lots and lots of homework and lots of rote learning opportunities.

If you want to consider your grandchild's best interests, I think I'd leave her where she is and see her in the summer on Cozumel.

Or homeschool her if you feel up to the job. You won't get a more definitive answer than you just got from Traveler, let me tell you!
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#6 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 04:12 PM

Thanks Traveler...I will take your advise and look into Gardner. Carey I am quite capable of home schooling, as I did so with my youngest son, but I prefer that she have the experience of going to school locally. She is an A student and very bright and sociable and we believe this will be an excellent experience. If she needs additional classes she can take the via the virtual school.
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#7 scubawoman

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 04:31 PM

I agree with Traveler and Carey. Having substituted at Gardner, and having taught for 31 years, I was very impressed with the administrative support for both teachers and children and the quality of the educational materials. The atmosphere is very pleasant and the staff is very child-orientated.
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#8 nauticab

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 08:10 PM

my kid is attending the montessori school here but it only goes thru 6th grade. (he's in kinder II, which is for 4 yr olds). gardner covers more years and from what i understand, each lesson is taught in spanish, english, and french. as you look into gardner, keep in mind the costs. it is VERY expensive....count on at least $300 a month plus materials, uniforms, books (yes you have to pay for all the books). my friend chose gardner for primary school for her soon-to-be 6yr old. for post 6th grade, it is probably the best option, mostly for the english option. pre-6th grade, montessori has earned 1st place in cozumel for years and in the top 3 to 4 in the state for ALL schools taking the enlace testing (kind of like SATs). aside from that, i like the open-minded, thinking out of the box, creativity breeding system of montessori.
i know that some of this info is not relavant to this person's specific request, but i posted it for those who may be lurking for different ages.
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#9 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 11:11 PM

I agree, and if they had 8th grade it would be my first choice. Not too worried about the cost as her Uncle is going to pay for it. LOL not that I want to spend a fortune, but I was planning an approximate budget of $500 per month. I am in awe of Montasorri and wish they had the higher grades.
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#10 Carey

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 08:34 AM

It's spelled Montessori, so named for the famed Italian educator/reformer Maria Montessori who founded a school in the slums of Rome for children who were considered beyond help by the regular school system. Her radical new approach was so successful that it turned around the lives of almost all those kids who were later able to 'mainstream.'

Our daughter went through 7 years of Montessori and I produced a 12 part children's music vid series based on the tenets of the method. So I'm very familiar with the system as well and can't say enough good things about it.

Interestingly, the series is a huge hit with parents of autistic children. So, just for general information and in line with what Nauticab already attested, if you have a child with autism or ADHD, Montessori is ALSO something you may want to consider.

On a side note and to show what a small world we live in, Nauticab's aunt was one of the Montessori teachers I used as a consultant when I developed the Preschool Power! series back in the 90's.
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#11 Coz2wonder

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 11:38 AM

My son also went to Montessori in NY.

Perhaps, some enterprising folks will develop a curriculum here that is based on this educational philosophy for upper grades here.

If it where me, I would work with the school in Vermont to see if they had an established program for education overseas. That way you know what elements of her education are necessary, and mandatory so that she does not loose traction in her education when she returns home. It will also tell you what you will need to do to supplement her eduction if necessary.

Not knowing the level of education here, nor what the curriculum is, and how it tracks to her US education, I would be very concerned. This one year "experience" may work out, or it may put her at a disadvantage further down the road when she returns home.

Also, aren't the US schools starting class within the next week or two?
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#12 jsmflake

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 01:53 PM

I don't know about Vermont, but in Illinois, all students must pass the Illinois and US Constitution tests or they do not graduate to go on to High School. These can be given in either 7th or 8th grade, depending on the school district. Vermont may do something similar, so this may be one of those details you may want to check into.

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#13 Carey

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 02:01 PM

I agree. The bottom line is what is best for the child. And in the states, 8th grade tends to be a key time for setting the agenda for the final years of school. I seriously doubt US schools will accept Mexican school credentials. Homeschooling maybe. But you might have to do something they recognize like the Calvert School program.

We all have to make sacrifices for our kiddos -- or in this case grand kiddoes.

AJ and I, for example, delayed our move to Cozumel two years even though we already had a home here ready to move into and had sold our house in the states. We lived in an apartment for two years so our daughter could take two years of advanced placement courses in NC and get a scholarship to a good college.

The kiddo comes first in my book.
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#14 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 02:13 PM

They do not start up north until after Labor Day...BUT I am looking at NEXT year as I told her it would take time to check everything out and have everything that was needed in place. Yes they take the constitution test and 1 or 2 others. I went through that when I homeschooled my youngest and arrangements were made for them to be taken. I can assure you that she will not get behind, as I will be certain all is covered.
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#15 dawnb

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:27 PM

Having worked in education almost 30 years, I know our foreign exchange students who are sent to different countries to assimilate the culture and attend school have to repeat the grade they missed in the US once they return. In Iowa, randomly selected 8th graders take the FAFSA, which is a measure of how we compare to population world-wide and in the US. Not all 8th graders have to take the test. Not sure if this is applicable in your situation. Our 8th graders do not have to take a US constitution or state test, other than the ITBS, which would be taken only if they are here.

There are some decent curricula available on line if you are interested in homeschooling your granddaughter. Then she may not have to be held back. I agree that your local school would be the best source of info.

Good luck!
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#16 GringaErin

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:59 PM

I'm going to put my 2 centavos into this one too, even though I'm a newbie. My daughter is 6 and attends Gardner. No Spanish when we arrived 6 months ago, and she is getting along great. Gardner is a great school, I can't say enough good things about the teachers, staff and fellow parents. Right now it's running around $400/450 a month including uniforms, books, and parties/extracurricular stuff. When compared to private school in the US, 400 bucks is kind of a joke. I was paying $450 for half day kindergarten when I left...

If it was me (which it's not), I'd ask my daughter (or your grand-daughter) how she would feel about having to repeat 8th grade when she gets home. If she is mature enough to want to study in a foreign country and leave her friends for a year, she might not mind having to do 8th grade when she gets back to the US. I think the experience of living in a different culture for a year might be worth being behind a grade when she returns. I think life experience outweighs anything taught in a classroom.

Alternatively, she could do the minimum requirements for Vermont online while she is here, so she isn't behind when she returns. Might cut into the social scene, as she would be doing double school, but if she wants to enter 9th grade when she gets back, it might be worth it. Depends on her personality. www.k12.com is accredited by most states as an online alternative to traditional school and some states will even cover the cost.

I wouldn't worry about colleges seeing her "year off" as a problem, only an asset. Foreign study/exchange students have a broader world perspective than their peers that set them apart. Not to mention total immersion into another language is an awesome advantage that can only help her in the long haul.

Like I said, my 2 cents on the subject. Good luck to you and your granddaughter, she's lucky to have an opportunity like this!!
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#17 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:13 PM

Thank You Erin, now your post was great. We seem to be of the same mind. Vermont has a Virtual Svchool but only High School right now. They are suppossed to add Middle school next year and that would solve any missing requirements. She is a fiesty little thing with tons of energy...if only I could have some...but I think she can handle a little extra load since she really wants to do this. What is the actual tuition at Gardner? Do you know who I need to speak to there?

Thanks
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#18 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:31 PM

Erin, Do you know if Gardner has a website?
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#19 GringaErin

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:34 PM

I don't think they have a website.

For primaria (1st-4th grade) the tuition is 32,712 pesos/year, this doesn't include uniforms, books, or extras. I am assuming that the secundaria is more.

I walked right in with no notice and told them I wanted to sit in on a class, and they were very accommodating. I walked out with a packet of information (in Spanish) and a great feeling about the school. I worked with Ms. Jimena to test/place my daughter in March. Her teachers were great and made our big move a lot easier. I was worried about the daily "I hate school" battle, and it never came up, in large part because of the loving and kid focused environment that they create.

The address is Calle 17 Sur between 40 and 45 Av. phone #987-869-2176 or 869-2177. I recommend popping in and speaking with Ms. Jimena about your situation to get her take on the situation (she speaks perfect English).

Let me know if you need any other info!!
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#20 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 08:39 PM

You ROCK Erin!!! That is only 2 blocks from me so that is even better. I am printing your response...lol...easier that trying to remember it all. I will ask to sit in on one of the classes also so I can report to KaytieAnne and her parents.
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