December 2015 Update:  While we only had three short weeks to work with, December was one of our most active months of school year. During this period our students continued their academic growth in each of their classes while preparing for PCI’s end of semester play, A Midwinter Night’s Dream. In addition, all the teachers began preparing their review materials of topics covered throughout the semester, as final examinations will take place in the last week of the January. Finally, administration has been building next semester’s schedule and calendar.  We know that next semester will be equally as successful as the first and we thank you for your support; it makes a huge difference to all of us.  We hope you had happy holidays and a great New Year!  A Midwinter Night’s Dream:  This December we were treated to an amazing send-off by the students and teachers of PCI: the PCI Winter Production, A Midwinter Night’s Dream. The play could not have turned out better and we are very proud of everyone who was a part of it. The students were presented a play with easier dialogue, yet, they still chose the more challenging play (probably because of their Language Arts course) and they exceeded all expectations— students who learned English two years ago were now speaking Shakespearian English!  The play utilized and unified all of PCI; the students had to rely on the teachers and each other; the teachers had to trust the students and take on different roles in the play; administration had to support the staff and accept help from the parents; the parents had to respond to the constant requests from their children and the administration!  These are big asks, but they were all completed with smiles and good cheer… and all that work and support resulted in a really joyous communal event that has made PCI a much closer-knit family.      

  
     
    
       
        
           
                
           
        

        

       
    
     
  


     The play utilized and unified all of PCI; the students had to rely on the teachers and each other; the teachers had to trust the students and take on different roles in the play; administration had to support the staff and accept help from the parents; the parents had to respond to the constant requests from their children and the administration!  These are big asks, but they were all completed with smiles and good cheer… and all that work and support resulted in a really joyous communal event that has made PCI a much closer-knit family.   Thank you so much for the turn out and for the donations! The Production generated Q4,563.00 that will go directly into the student’s field trip fund for this upcoming semester.  This production would not have been possible without input from all of you, but especially the following people: David McKenzie, Carlos Aguilar, Jenni Lang, Lloyd Monroe, PCI parents, Scott Delapp, John van Lente, Lori Legator, Mike Toppel, Randy Chambers, PCI faculty and students.  Final Examinations and Parent-Student Conferences:  Please be aware that upon returning from their winter vacation, PCI students will have three weeks before their final exams that will take place from the 25th -27th of January. PCI will then host parents on the 28th and 29th of January for the Parent-Student Conferences. In these conferences, each student will present to his or her parent(s) information about each class and explore their grades with their teachers.  Sicknesses and Disease Prevention:      

  
     
    
       
        
           
                
           
        

        

       
    
     
  


     PCI, like any other school, has experienced a relatively high amount of sicknesses afflicting our students compared to the general population. While most of these sicknesses have been minor infections, others have been more serious. We would like to remind you that it is better that a sick student remain at home until he or she feels better, thus reducing the risk of spreading the disease. Moreover, we encourage healthy hygiene habits at home and at school that could prevent sicknesses. These include:   Hair washing  Skin care  Oral hygiene  Underarm care  Handwashing  Nail clipping  Feminine care

December 2015 Update:

While we only had three short weeks to work with, December was one of our most active months of school year. During this period our students continued their academic growth in each of their classes while preparing for PCI’s end of semester play, A Midwinter Night’s Dream. In addition, all the teachers began preparing their review materials of topics covered throughout the semester, as final examinations will take place in the last week of the January. Finally, administration has been building next semester’s schedule and calendar.

      November 2015 PCI Update:  As most of the Northern Hemisphere becomes re-acquainted to the short, cool days of autumn, Lake Atitlan residents are treated once more to the best month of the year: November. The orange and pink shades we observe are not those of the turning leaves, but of sunsets behind the San Pedro volcano. This month, PCI made the most of sunny days with an increased level of outdoor classes and activities. The month of November is an excellent period of uninterrupted academic growth due to the lack of breaks (besides thanksgiving); allowing us to really buckle-down academically.  English Language Learning (ELL) Program:      

  
     
    
       
        
           
                
           
        

        

       
    
     
  


     On November 3rd, 2015 we welcomed our new ELL class to PCI. The class consists of eight students at the moment and is looking to grow over the months of December and January (the limit being twelve students). Erin Giacomelli has returned to PCI as the ELL teacher and we expect the same level of success the program had last year. It is truly remarkable how much progress previous ELL students have made in one year.  The PCI English Language Learning program is the only English language program of its kind in the greater Lake Atitlan area. This one-year program is designed primarily for students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade (básico) and its goal is to enable non-English speaking students to obtain a middle school level of proficiency in English within one year.  If your child or someone you know is motivated to learn and study in English, please contact us!  A Midwinter Night's Dream:      

  
     
    
       
        
           
                
           
        

        

       
    
     
  


     This month, David McKenzie, our history teacher and theater director, has put the final touches on the script for our winter theater production: A Midwinter Night's Dream. The casting is done and rehearsals are in full swing. The school (staff and students) is in the process of creating props, sets, and light/sound effects. Parents are helping by volunteering their time and providing snacks.  The talent show and play will take place on December 18th, 2015 at 5:00PM. All proceeds of the play will go to the students' field-trip fund for next semester.  Science with Lisa Dettloff:      

  
     
    
       
        
           
                
           
        

        

       
    
     
  


     The last week of the month of November, PCI students were lucky to have Lisa Dettloff, a renown science teacher, give a lesson to the 7th and 8th grade on electromagnetism. In this lesson the students used basic batteries and magnets to engineer a basic mechanical motor. This lesson was very fun, hands-on, and the students had a great time! Lisa is the founder of Passion for Inquiry, an inquiry-based science education program for hands-on science curriculum development.    Government Evaluation- A Cause for Celebration:  the 16th of November of 2015, we have received the results from a government evaluation given to the class of 2015 when they were in the 10th grade, or, as it is known in Guatemala, 3ero Básico.  The class outdid itself. 100% of our students were where they needed to be in both Math and Spanish (let alone English). This is in comparison to the rest of students in Guatemala who took these evaluations (171,933) and obtained only a 26% and 8% passing rate in Spanish and Math, respectively. The numbers in Panajachel were much worse than the national average with only 14% of students passing their Spanish tests and 1% passing their math tests.  In addition, not only are we where we need to be, but most of our scores were excellent. These results are the culmination of great students, great teachers, and amazing work ethic by both.  What does this mean? These results show us how broken the public education system in Guatemala truly is, as PCI had plenty of room for growth last year (and today). They also demonstrate the important role that schools with high academic standards in our community can play in the education of all children living in Guatemala. Finally, it goes without saying that standardized tests are not the end all and be all for assessing academic achievement, however, these tests reinforce our reason for existing and give us hope for the future, as the school is only getting better and better!  Here is link to the scan of the document:  http://www.panajachelcolegio.org/pci-information-bulletin.html

November 2015 PCI Update:

As most of the Northern Hemisphere becomes re-acquainted to the short, cool days of autumn, Lake Atitlan residents are treated once more to the best month of the year: November. The orange and pink shades we observe are not those of the turning leaves, but of sunsets behind the San Pedro volcano. This month, PCI made the most of sunny days with an increased level of outdoor classes and activities. The month of November is an excellent period of uninterrupted academic growth due to the lack of breaks (besides thanksgiving); allowing us to really buckle-down academically.