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The Oxford School Pedasi

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Everything you need to know about The Oxford School’s New Pedasi Branch

Photo and Video Credit: Allan Watson… a graduate of The Oxford School

If you are looking for a quality bilingual international school in Panama, look no further than the charming beach town of Pedasí!  As of March 11, 2019 the doors will officially open, welcoming students of all ages, races and nations to participate in an internationally accredited education!!!

For a small town like Pedasí to have such a highly regarded school in our community is a pretty big deal!  And although the school will start small, we anticipate steady growth over the years.  I want to thank Malcolm Griggs, the owner of the school for his willingness to come and for his commitment to educating students of ALL backgrounds.   Well, without further adieu let me get to your most pressing questions so we can all sign up, volunteer, and support this new school!!!

Where is the school located?

If you are not familiar with Pedasi, we are a small town of about 3000 people and approximately 300-400 foreign families. The area is known for its rich cultural history, fishing, surfing and GORGEOUS beaches! Although the area is listed as a tourist destination, the area is not commercialized.  The town is quiet, but with regular and fun activities and more restaurants per capita than most places.  A charming town with colorful painted buildings, mural art, and a friendly town square that draws locals and foreigners alike in the cool evenings to play or attend an event.

The Oxford School is located just outside Pedasi on the North end of town.  The back end of a commercial retail space is being outfitted to house the school.  Behind the building, there is a nice space for a playground and outdoor activities.  Besides the school area, there is a unit for a cafeteria.  The parking lot is large and offers additional space for carpool and recreational activities.  The school is in walking distance to town.

What is the school calendar?

The Oxford School operates on the Panamanian school calendar which runs from March through December.  This leaves the students free during the sunny months so they can enjoy the outdoors and gives them something to do during the rainier months.  For students moving from the international cycle, the children may start immediately as soon as you are available.  The school will help the child to transition into the proper grade.  Summer school will be available during the 2020 summer vacation.  The school will not close for power outages, rain, or other non-emergencies and any other days off will be planned in advance.

NATIONAL CALENDAR

  1. FIRST TRIMESTER:
    1. Classes: 11 March- 31 May
    2. Days off:
      1. Carnival: 4-8 March
      2. Semana Santa: 18-19 April
      3. Labor Day: 1 May
      4. General Elections: 5-6
  2. SECOND TRIMESTER:
    1. Classes: 10 June – 30 August
    2. Days Off: No National Holidays
  3. THIRD TRIMESTER
    1. Classes: 9 September – 20 December
    2. Days off:
      1. National Independence Days (Fiestas Patrias): 3,4,5,10 & 28 November
      2.  Student’s Day: 27 October
      3. Teacher’s Day: 1 Dec
    3. LAST DAY OF SCHOOL: 20 DECEMBER
    4. GRADUATION DAYS: 16-20 Dec, 2019
Is the school for all grades?

Yes!  The school will serve pre-kinder through secondary starting at age two.  If the classes have fewer than ten students to begin with, there may be a combination of two grade levels to one teacher in the primary grades.  In secondary grades, the classes are presented with blended learning offering some courses with traditional live teachers and others online through a new program created just for Pedasi!  In this program, the curriculum is presented through an online system and a classroom teacher is available to answer questions and help the students prepare for exams. Regular out-of-classroom activities will be scheduled to give the students the ability to learn from local resources.  The students also will have direct access to teachers in the Panama City or La Villa branches for course-specific instruction via skype.  It’s a great way for the students to take every advantage of the unique and fun environment!

Who is The Oxford School and what are Cambridge International Examinations?

The Oxford School has a history of over 20 years in Panama and has graduated thousands of students.  They have the principal branch in Panama City and four additional branches in Chiriqui, La Villa, Santiago,  and David. Pedasi becomes the fifth!  For more information about The Oxford School’s reputation and history, you can read our initial post here. 

The Cambridge International Exams are what make this school truly unique because it creates the opportunity for students to be tested on a global level, with international accreditation valid at hundreds of universities and USA Ivy league schools.  The school is also accredited by MEDUCA, the ministry of education in Panama and has a long history of success in this country.  Like all new branches, it will take some time for the new branch to receive their documentation, but the relationships and pathways are there, and the students can take their exams in the city if there is any urgency for your student. The Oxford School’s goal is to fully educate students at an international level. This is a fantastic opportunity for local Panamanians to achieve new levels in education previously not available in the southern tip of Azuero.

*Cambridge International Exams cost from $150-$180 per year for primary grades, and up to $1200 per year for the secondary students depending on how many courses you want to take exams in.  When you get your registration packet you will see how the fees break down and options.  You can also learn more at www.cambridgeinternational.org.

What is the tuition rate?

For mobile devises, please swipe table left to see tuition column.

Grade Admission Fee Enrollment Fee Tuition (annual)
PK1, PK2, PK3 $350 $255 $2,255
Kinder $350 $325 $2,695
1-5  $350 $320 $2,695
6-8  $350 $345 $3,410
9-10  $350 $400 $3,630
11-12  $350 $440 $4.125

Is it possible to start attending mid-year?

Yes!  Many students move to the area year-round because they come from other countries or school systems.  While it may be a little more tedious to get everything synchronized, the school is prepared to help people move later in the year.  They appreciate families to go ahead and register and pay the enrollment dues so they can reserve a spot and hire the correct amount of teachers.  If that is not possible, please don’t hesitate to come!!

What paperwork is needed for registration?
  • Two passport sized photos
  • Birth certificates (if foreign, get apostille)
  • Certificate of good health
  • School transcripts
  • Certificate of good conduct from previous school
  • 9th Grade certificate (if applicable)

What happens if you are like me and you can’t provide all the documentation because your child was not attending an accredited school last year?  Well, The Oxford School is prepared to give the students who do not have access to proper documents an onboarding/placement examination or otherwise assist them to send the correct paperwork to MEDUCA.  MEDUCA is aware that many foreign students do not have proper documentation.  My strong recommendation is to try to get as many documents as possible sent for apostille while in your home country, as this is more expensive once you are here.

How to apply for teaching positions

Please email your resume to Mr David Aparicio at daparicio@oxford.edu.pa.  Be sure to put PEDASI in your subject so he knows you are applying here.

Is the curriculum only English?

The Oxford School has a very high rate of English fluency among its students.  For Panamanians, the privilege of an English language curriculum opens doors to new opportunities and higher salaries.

For foreign families, we also desire bilingual learning for our children.  While Oxford’s typical student base is Panamanian, they recognize that the Pedasi branch will attract a more global clientele and therefore they will emphasize Spanish as a second language for all grades and provide additional classes taught in Spanish as allowed by Cambridge. The students also study French, and there are a growing number of French speaking students in the area.  The primary language in Pedasi is Spanish.

Will transportation services be offered?

Transportation services are being seriously pursued.  But, as with anything, the first question is “How many students need and can pay for the service?”  If transportation to and from areas as far North as Las Tablas and as far South as Cañas, please speak about this with Miss Lorena Watson who is coordinating transportation services.  In the meantime, if you are willing to carpool with other parents from your area, please let her know also.  lwatson@oxford.edu.pa

What about Books, Uniforms and School Supplies?

The books required, when sold direct through Oxford are very expensive.  You can get a much better price online.  We are in the process of planning on online book buying collective event… if we can pull it off we can maybe save on shipping with a bulk order.  Stay tuned!

Uniforms can be ordered at the office.  Until the new school location opens, you will find the school office in the same plaza, on the right.  We have samples of each size so you can try the uniforms on and place your order.

You can get a school supplies list at the office also.  Maybe I’ll upload something but probably not.  I am going to talk to Katherine who owns Pedasi Center across the plaza to stock required supplies for our convenience.

Is it easy to find housing in Pedasi?

If you do not live in Pedasi yet, but want to move here, your next question will likely be “Where will we live?” or  “Is the area affordable for our family?”.  Because of our beautiful beaches and the tourist aspect,  the long-term rental market is tight in Pedasi… especially in the lower price points. That is not to say that good options are not available, but we do recommend that you plan ahead.  Although our services are mainly in real estate sales, not in rentals, we are well-connected and actually know most of the rental opportunities in the area.  Besides that, we are specialists at pairing people with the right area and we prefer you to be happy in your new home whether you are ready to buy something now or not. Let us help you get connected!

If you do have funds available to buy and have already decided that Pedasi is your new home, please consider contacting us for great service!  We are very excited to welcome the families that we have anticipated for the past few years during this development process.  Our kids are excited to welcome new friends, and we can’t wait to see what you and your family bring to enhance our town! No matter what you decide to do for your living arrangements, please stop by our office on main street and say hello!

– See you soon! Karla Adams

Click to view our beautiful and ready-to-move-into homes for sale in Pedasi

Are there scholarships or financial aid?

We are working towards the goal of raising scholarships for local Pedasieño students that will be awarded based on their previous school performance.  If you are in need of a scholarship, please visit the school office and inquire there for more information.  Also, if your family can afford most of the cost, but not all of it, please also let us know that.

If you would like to give the gift of a quality education to a student, please contact me directly for information on how you can be involved.  Darla Williams, a retired teacher and newcomer to Pedasi, has volunteered to assist in this project, so I will put you in touch with her to get latest details.  Please excuse us for being at phase one of getting this ball rolling!

How to register for The Oxford School Pedasi branch

To register for school, you can fill out the form below to be contacted by school administration.  Or, call the branch directly at +507-995-2658 ask for Lupe or Lorena.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Okay, well I think I have covered the bases here… for additional questions, use the comments section below, or if you want you can add them to the notes as you fill in the form for your students in the form above.

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Comments
  • Bob Shapland

    What a major advancement for the village of Pedasi! Prayers for a smooth rollout.

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The Oxford School Pedasi