By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The American School, or Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro (EARJ), considered by many as one of South America’s finest, and certainly a top private school in Rio, offers innovative programming and three diploma choices. Since February, EARJ Andrew Sherman has replaced Bob Werner as the new headmaster for the three campuses in Macaé, Gávea and the newly inaugurated campus in Barra da Tijuca.
The opening of the Barra campus was a major milestone for the school, and it will cater to preschool through fifth grade and will host a 450 students. Mr. Sherman, who held leadership positions at schools in Ecuador and Mexico, took a moment to talk to The Rio Times about the vision of EARJ going forward.
With the three campuses, the new areas of focus for the next few years is “maintaining high quality educational services in all branches by continuously reviewing student academic performance and organizational effectiveness,” says Sherman.
“We will work on new communication strategies to make certain the community is informed of our accomplishments and success” adds Sherman. “This will include updated informational materials and a renovated website.”
Sherman is motivated to further EARJ’s proud tradition of innovation and continuity in building on the quality of educational services offered. “We will continue to explore innovative ways to stimulate reading with the understanding that this is a core academic skill and a factor in overall learning success,” says Sherman.
One of the biggest challenges facing EARJ according to Sherman is “managing the high demand for seats at the school combined with campus growth and maintaining the highly selective admissions process.”
For an educational institution to thrive, its teachers are another priority for Mr. Sherman. “EARJ teachers believe in committing to a program of professional growth,” says Sherman. “One accomplishment is that the teachers will engage in professional learning communities to further develop and hone their instructional practices.”
EARJ was established in 1937 by private individuals, corporations, and the American Chamber of Commerce. After launching in Ipanema and thriving in Leblon, since 1971 the main 12-acre campus has been located in the neighborhood of Gávea at the edge of Tijuca National Forest on a steep hill overlooking Rio. The recently renovated academic facilities are centered in eight towers that house the school’s three divisions.
The towers contain eighty classrooms, eight science laboratories, two libraries with a collection of over 45,000 volumes, three gymnasiums, a cafeteria, an infirmary, two snack bars, a student store, and a 350 seat auditorium.
The EARJ-Macaé Lower School campus was inaugurated in February, 2009 in a renovated house located in the beach neighborhood Vivendas da Lagoa, Macaé. Presently, the campus is comprised of over eighty students, from preschool to sixth grade. The new campus in Barra da Tijuca was inaugurated on February 20, 2014, and in August 2014, the Barra Campus will offer preschool through 6th grade classes and a new Middle School grade will be added every year.
EARJ is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the State Board of Education in Rio de Janeiro and holds membership in the Association of American Schools in Brazil, Association of American Schools in South America, the European Council of International Schools, and The College Board. The school is also affiliated with the International Baccalaureate Organization.