Founded in 1955, the American Cooperative School (ACS) of La Paz, Bolivia, is a private, nonprofit, nondenominational, coeducational, international school offering an exceptional educational program for learners in grades KG3-12. The school year is divided into two semesters extending from August 7 to December 13, 2019 and from January 6 to May 29, 2020.
Organization: ACS is governed by a 10-member Board of Directors that is elected for 2-year terms by the members of the ACS Association. Membership in the ACS Association is automatically conferred on the parents or guardians of children enrolled in the school. ACS is officially recognized by the Bolivian Government and accredited by SACS-AdvancED, a U.S. accrediting agency.
Curriculum: ACS offers a rigorous, college-preparatory, U.S.-standards-based curriculum. Instruction is in English except for native Spanish and Bolivian Social Studies, which are required for the Bolivian Diploma. Fine arts, technology, and physical education courses are offered to all children in grades K-12. Special learning services are available for students with mild learning differences or low English proficiency. ACS is committed to teaching the responsible use of technology and provides a 1:1 learning environment where all elementary students are assigned an I-pad and all secondary students bring their own device. High school students have the opportunity to take Honors math, science and Advanced Placement courses. ACS students receive extensive college counseling, and most graduates attend universities in the United States. In addition to curricular activities, the school also offers after-school athletics (swimming, soccer, basketball, karate, volleyball, gymnastics, and track and field), after-school fine arts (piano, violin, drums, art, dance, and choir), and club activities (National Honor Society, Destination Imagination, Operation Smile, Model United Nations, Technology Club, and Global Issues Network). All high school students are expected to complete 20 hours of community service per year organized by partnerships that ACS has with local and international nonprofits.
Faculty: There are 56 full-time and 8 part-time faculty members, including 1 Superintendent, 1 Secondary Principal, 1 Elementary Principal, 2 School Counselors, and 4 Learning Services Support Teachers. The school also employs a full-time doctor, 23 instructional assistants, 15 administrative support staff, and 15 maintenance workers.
Enrollment: Student enrollment at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year was 583 (KG3-grade 5: 363; grades 6-8: 114; and grades 9-12: 106). Class sizes range from 8-20 and the student-teacher ratio is 7:1.
Facilities: The school is located in a residential neighborhood of La Paz. The facilities include over 50 classrooms, 2 computer labs, 4 science labs, 2 greenhouses, 2 school gardens, an auditorium, 500-seat theater, a gymnasium, a soccer field, 2 libraries (with the largest collection of books in English in the country), 3 playgrounds, an observatory, tennis courts, racquetball courts, a climbing wall, and an indoor heated swimming pool.
Finances: In the 2019-2020 school year, about 94 percent of the school’s income was derived from regular day school tuition. Annual tuition rates are $3,370 for KG3; $4,110 for KG4; $15,040 for grades KG5 through 5; and $16,580 for grades 6 through 12, payable in U.S. dollars. There is also a one-time Capital Fee of $7,000 per student. Additional fees for experiential educational trips, including the Classroom Without Walls program and school trips for competitions, and service learning are not included in the regular tuition. (All fees are quoted in U.S. dollars.)
Community: Located in the heart of the Andes, the cosmopolitan city of La Paz has a population of 1.8 million composed of a rich variety of indigenous and non-indigenous citizens. Exposure to varied cultures, values, and perspectives on- and off-campus prepares our students to embrace diversity and act as responsible world citizens. ACS prides itself on the strength of its collaborative learning community and commitment to continuous school improvement. Faculty and staff cultivate strong relationships with students and parents focused on the development of the whole child. Additionally, customized parent education forums are offered throughout the year providing information and strategies relevant to educating and parenting the 21st century learner.
Information and statistics are current as of October 2019 and are provided by the school.