Founded in 1955, the American Cooperative School (ACS) of La Paz, Bolivia, is a private, non-profit, non-denominational, 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 10 to December 18, 2020 and from January 12 to June 2, 2021.
Organization: ACS is governed by a 10-member Board of Directors that is elected for two-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 the US accrediting agency Cognia (AdvancED).
Curriculum: ACS offers a rigorous college preparatory, U.S. standards-based curriculum. Instruction is in English with the exception of 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 iPad 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 the majority of our graduates attend universities in the United States. In addition to our curricular activities, we also offer after-school athletics (swimming, soccer, basketball, karate, volleyball, gymnastics, and track and field), after school fine arts (piano, violin, drums, art, dance and choir) as well as club activities including National Honor Society, Destination Imagination, Operation Smile, MUN, Technology Club and Global Issues Network among others. All high school students are expected to complete 20 hours of community service per year organized by partnerships ACS has with local and international non-profits.
Faculty: There are 55 full time and 8 part-time faculty members, including one Superintendent, one Secondary Principal, one Elementary Principal, two School Counselors, one Literacy Coach and four Learning Services Support Teachers. The school also employs a full-time doctor, 22 instructional assistants, 15 administrative support staff and 15 maintenance workers.
Enrollment: Student enrollment at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year was 551 (KG3-grade 5 = 319; grades 6-8 = 119; grades 9-12 = 113). 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, two computer labs, four science labs, two greenhouses, two school gardens, an auditorium, 500 seat theater, a gymnasium, a soccer field, two libraries (with the largest collection of books in English in the country), three playgrounds, an observatory, tennis courts, racquetball courts, a climbing wall, and an indoor heated swimming pool.
Finances: Approximately 94% of the school’s income is 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 our Classroom Without Walls program, athletic competitions, and service learning are not included in the regular tuition.
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, our Cougar Parent University supports parents with many resources including customized educational forums throughout the year providing information and strategies relevant to parenting and partnering with the school to help educate and create future-ready 21st century learners.
Information and statistics are current as of October 2020 and provided by the school.