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By Felicity Clarke, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Considered the oil capital of Brazil, the city of Macaé 180km north of Rio de Janeiro city is often a base for oil company employees posted to work in the region’s burgeoning oil and gas sector. For families moving to this new place, the question of education is always a top priority, a priority shared by the International School of Macaé.

Campus entryway to the International School of Macaé, photo provided by ISoM.

Often referred to as ISoM, this well-established international school in Macaé, offers a high quality, individually tailored and internationally certified curricula in its pre-school through upper school classes. ISoM is committed to providing innovative education programs that develop critical thinking and global citizenship in students. Designed to help students feel at home, the 11,000 square meter campus is marked by the prominence of a large family house, and is surrounded by a pool area, two athletic courts, science lab, art room, music and dance studio and a social cafeteria that caters for both students and teachers.

Beyond the Early Years, Primary and Middle School programs, children may enroll in the Upper School program, designed to prepare students for study at the world’s top universities. Developed by the University of Nebraska, (United States), the curriculum provides college-prep coursework in grades nine through twelve of all core and optional subjects that will allow a student to obtain an internationally recognized diploma accepted by all universities worldwide. Subjects offered include, but are not limited to, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, History, Psychology, Language and Arts, World Languages and International Relations.

Due to the nature of international schooling, where there can be a frequent entry of new students throughout the year, ISoM has developed an admissions process to assure that each newly admitted student is properly assessed and a course plan for graduation is readily prepared.  Marcelo Salvini Fernandez, the school’s headmaster, notes that “the program is designed to accommodate the unique characteristics of the international student profile.”

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ISoM has structured the Upper School to allow for small classes, and one-on-one tutoring, of all core curriculum and optional subjects and promote independent study with daily teacher support. At the same time, the teachers develop a more comprehensive learning experience through activities such as class projects, laboratory activities, group readings, interviews and essay writing.

The Upper School class develops a spirit of fraternity and leadership as it participates in various projects throughout the year, linked to an educational excursion or service learning, building community and school spirit among them, and allowing for greater social skills development.  Recent service learning projects included a community action linking the Upper School with a center for children in need, whereby students led a toy drive to acquire and deliver toys to children at the center.

The Headmaster sees service learning as “fundamental to the growth of students coming from around the world, as they come to experience the importance of civic participation, and more so the global citizenship that is desirable in the world leaders of today.”  Charity drives for school supplies, foodstuffs and other important items for the surrounding community is part of the school’s academic calendar each year.

In addition to the core and optional subjects offered, ISoM teachers instruct and guide students in career studies, college preparation, social skills development and service learning with tailored support for a student’s individual objectives. For example one student eager to prepare for university studies in the States was coached in SAT test-taking skills, assisted in registering for a practice test and provided with private tutoring.

Students from the Upper School recently led a toy drive for a children's center, photo provided by ISoM.

Parents play an important role at ISoM in helping students acclimate to their new learning environment and are kept informed of their child’s development through monthly report cards, twice yearly parent and teacher conferences, daily bulletins as needed, individual meetings where appropriate and increasingly, via email.

ISoM considers these continuous efforts to keep parents involved in their child’s education as key to the success of their students.   The Headmaster points out that this is particularly important to the international student who may confront numerous challenges adjusting to new cultures, new friends, and a new home.  At ISoM, these challenges are taken on as opportunities to enrich the growth and development of tomorrow’s generation.

As the school year has just ended, admissions are currently open at the Upper School, enrolling students in the 9th through 12th year. For more information on admissions and other aspects of ISoM, please contact the school for an informational interview or guided campus tour.

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This article is a paid advertorial for the International School of Macaé.

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