By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Founded as a home-based school in the Rio de Janeiro Zona Oeste (West Zone) neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca in 2000, the Rio International School has grown in the past fourteen years into a highly praised private international Christian school with a preschool through 12th grade educational system that serves the needs of the international community living in the city, as well as, Brazilian nationals.
The current student body consists of children representing more than 42 nationalities, the highest percentage of international students of any school in Rio de Janeiro. The faculty is equally diverse, as it includes professional teachers from the United States, Denmark, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Brazil.
Established by Christian expatriate families, the Rio International School (RIS) also holds the distinction of being the only international Christian school in Rio de Janeiro. “We have solid Christian foundations which are based on Biblical values,” the school defines. However Michael Lindsay, the school’s director also explains, “We have an open-enrollment policy regarding personal faith and religious backgrounds. Over half of our students and their families do not profess to be Christians.”
“Our school is focused on being great at being international. We are 75 percent international and 25 percent Brazilian, we work with students in small class sizes to eliminate the issues of bullying, adaptation issues, and provide students with a very diverse base of knowledge from teacher and peer-to-peer interactions,” Lindsay adds.
The school’s academic programs are accredited by AdvancEd and ACSI. Programs include; language arts, Portuguese, mathematics, science, technology, art, music, and physical education. For language arts, kindergartners start out by learning the basics of reading and writing through ACSI’s I Can Read and I Can Write series.
Thinking skills are then developed through literature instruction with the Pearson Scott Foresman Reading Street programs during grades 1st through 5th and the literacy program of Prentice Hall Literature Edition is taught to 6th through 12th graders to develop literature skills through thematically grouped content.
Mathematics instruction begins with the Harcourt School Publishing curriculum for kindergarten through 5th graders. Then the Prentice Hall Publishing curriculum is taught to 6th through 12th grade students. “Teachers are consistently trained in implementing best practices in mathematics to meet the needs of diverse learners,” the school states. “Students gain skills in conceptual understanding, computational fluency, problem solving and reasoning.”
Additionally, to help students to become competent and confident technology users, RIS teaches basic programming, software applications, desktop publishing and keyboarding skills through the ICT curriculum.
Rio International School also offers an After School Activities program with a wide variety of options including; ballet, Brazilian Club, soccer, surfing, capoeira, Worship team, dance class and guitar and piano lessons. Fees for the activities vary.
RIS is also home to a library with over 10,000 resources. The school offers a library class once a week to students in preschool through 6th grade. Additionally, parents are welcome to register for library cards to check-out books for themselves.
Further encouraging parent involvement, the school has an active Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) with regular meetings. The group helps to organize events that aim to strengthen community bonds including; Snack Shop, Family Fun Fest and Teacher Appreciation Luncheons.
Welcoming student and parents to the Rio International School for the 2013-2014 school year, Mr. Lindsay wrote; “Our school success is a collaborative process and we look forward to partnering with you in the classroom and throughout our school community. I am confident that with your assistance we can continue to build upon our strong educational base and provide a school which allows our students to achieve their full potential academically, physically, socially, and spiritually!”
The 2014-2015 school year will begin on Monday, August 11th. Each school year is divided into four quarters separated into two semesters; August to December and February to June. Students can enroll at any time of the year and the birth date cut-off for entrance into first grade is age six on or before September 30th of that year.
Lindsay describes, “Our school theme this year is ‘Ask, Seek, Knock’. We are dedicated to a culture of inquiry for our entire school community and our emphasis this school year is on developing all of our students questioning techniques, research methods, and their interpersonal skills. This will be the lens by which we evaluate school decisions, inform instruction, and bolster the critical thinking skills of our students.”
During each semester school is in session Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 8AM to 3:10 PM and from 9AM to 3:10 PM on Wednesday. During schools days, students are required to wear school uniforms and to observe a dress code.
Regular bus services are available to-and-from various areas of Rio de Janeiro for students during regular hours and for those involved in after school activities. For more information, see the school’s website, www.riointernationalschool.com. Contact them through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (+55) 21-3410 2807, (+55) 21 97945 0088 or if in the United States, (713) 984 4819.
The Rio International School
Av. Prefeito Dulcidio Cardoso, 4351
Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro
RJ – Brazil, 22793-012
* This is an Advertorial for the Rio International School.