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: