As a mom of a preschooler, my question these days is this: “Where do I send my daughter to school?”
Last month, I and another mom-blogger, Irene, through Mommy Bloggers Philippines were privileged to be invited to take a look at a Catholic International School at BGC. Two words struck me: Catholic and International. It was the first time I have heard of a school offering both criteria I was looking for, so it instantly piqued my curiosity.
I first heard of Everest Academy Manila from another Philippine Madrigal Singers alumna, who teaches in the school. During my visit to Everest, I even saw her in action, teaching a small class of all-boys who are in fourth grade.
You read it right, all boys. At Everest Academy, they separate genders starting fourth grade. From their website, “Research has proven that brain development differs between boys and girls which becomes significant when they are between 9 and 12 years old. Everest offers gender specific education in a co-ed campus starting in fourth grade.”
We were welcomed by their Communications and Administration Manager, Corinne Medrana. Her name rang a bell, and I later found out she was one of the founding members of LATCH.
Betty Rivera, the Executive Director of Everest Academy, explained to us how the school molds its students into becoming Christian leaders. She also elaborated on Integral Formation, the school’s most important “asset.” It is a registered trademark, which has four pillars — intellectual, human, spiritual, and apostolic development. Likewise, she stressed that the students’ parents and families are their “partners” in teaching, that’s why Everest encourages the active involvement of families in school activities and events.
Betty added that Everest has a sister school in Taguig, Mano Amiga, where Everest students interact with the less fortunate students of the school through outreach activities and regularly visiting and playing with them.
We also got to tour around Everest. Here are some snaps I got from the tour:
After the tour, their principal, Mr. Rosano Landar, talked about the school’s curriculum. Mr. Landar is my husband’s friend and kababayan from Iloilo, that’s why my husband was glad to know that I got a chance to tour Everest.
Parents nowadays are very much concerned about the teaching method the school is using. Mr. Landar mentioned that the main element of teaching in Everest is Integral Formation, which combines Progressive and Traditional methods. How progressive are they? I saw students in middle school history class holding iPads and laptops. Yes, they are allowed to use them for educational purposes. And with the very small class size that they maintain (maximum of 25 students per class), the teachers can focus both on individual and group instruction. Everest emphasizes this, because they want their students to get to know each other, not only classmates of one year level, but across all levels.
Indeed, it was a homey feel when we visited Everest. The administration knows their students by name, and converses with them like they were their own children. They invited one of their students, Santi Puno, who gave us a firsthand glimpse of how it is to be an Everest student. I found a Youtube video of Santi, also talking about his Everest experiences so far, which was taken last year. He was a well-mannered, eloquent young man, who we all think would have a good future in politics (his grandfather is former mediaman and lawyer, Dong Puno).
If you’re wondering how “International” the students are in Everest, the majority come from purely Filipino families. A small percentage are from foreign families. Also, since it is an international school Everest is using a curriculum designed and licensed by the National Consultants for Education which is based in Atlanta, Georgia. They have local DepEd accreditation for the elementary level and is accredited by AdvancEd.
Everest Academy belongs to a network of more than 200 international schools all over the world under the Regnum Christi Movement and the Legionaries of Christ. With their competent teachers and peaceful and happy learning environment, students nurture positive studying habits and create fun memories with their peers. Santi was asked to describe in one word how it feels to be in Everest, and he said with full smiles: it feels like “home.”
This school year 2014-2015, Everest is opening its doors to incoming Kindergarten and Grade 9 students. They shall expand up to twelfth grade as each school year passes. For more information, visit their website, follow them on Facebook and Youtube.