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University of Puerto

Rico at Humacao

English Department Humacao, P.R.

Laura C. Donato Sanes 842-09-2730 Dr. Aníbal Muñoz Claudio Practice Teaching Elementary Level EDPE 4018 February 3, 2014

Table of Contents Title




Curriculum Programs


Schools Strengths and Weaknesses








Students and Overall Attendance


Student organizations








Narrative: The Palmas Academy’s Nucleus Study contains information on school

structure, student’s enrollment, attendance, students’ organizations, educational professionals and non-educational personnel, the curriculum and how the school is organized. It also provides maps and charts about the school’s annual tuition fees, the school’s emergency plans and extracurricular activities. I have gathered enough information that can be considered valuable for anyone that wishes to enroll his or her children in this private institution. The idea of this project is for me to know the practice center to the fullest. As a practice teacher, I must know the center I am working in, as much as the personnel of the school. This helps me as a teacher to know whether or not I am in a safe place, what kind of students I am working with and to be aware of the materials that are lacking or provided by the school. It will also help me design strategies and suggestions for the areas that need improvement. The Palmas Academy is located inside the Palmas del Mar exclusive community at Humacao, P.R. and has over 18 acres of land surrounded by nature. The school’s level is from elementary to high school. It is divided from pre-kinder to twelfth grade. It has access to the Palma’s del Mar community facilities outside of campus such as swimming pools, tennis courts, golf and equestrian areas. The educational region and school district is Humacao. The school has three principles, Mrs. María Lomba, Principle of Academic Affairs, Dr. Sigrid Soto, Principle of Students Affairs and Dr. Lidia Verson, Head of School. They provide organization, discipline and have gained very good results in the operation of the school. My cooperating teacher is Mrs. Iralys Sanabria and she is the 4th grade homeroom teacher. She teaches English from 3rd grade-5th grade. The group that I am doing my practice with is 502. During my first few weeks in this school, I noticed that my challenge wasn’t going to be the things that are lacking in the school or to the students because this is a very well prepared school. The first thing I noticed about the school’s system during my first week is how engaged parents are to their children’s education. After all this school was originally founded by a group of parents and educators in 1992. It is only to be expected that parents are in fact part of the faculty. After observing their facilities and taking time to know my students I realized that my challenge was how to leave my mark 3

here and have them remember me rather than inspiring them to keep learning or to strive for something better. Students here have one of two things if not both, they either know what they want to be when they grow up or they know that at some point in their lives they will take over their parents businesses. In my group there are very little students that have no interest for school and it has mostly to do with the fact that they have everything. Another thing I noticed about their teaching methods is that they use exclusively Bloom’s taxonomy. This is something I found very contradicting because their curriculum is one of the greatest and most complete curriculums that do not frame itself into one taxonomy. Personally, I think this is something that should be revised because although Bloom’s taxonomy is an excellent source to teach by it is fairly out dated and with today’s students I believe that other taxonomies or a combination of them should be taken into consideration because they could be a lot more effective. II.

Curriculum Programs: The Palmas Academy’s curriculum is very challenging. It offers a variety

of instructional methods, including the Montesorri program for pre-school. The Academy has managed to integrate Montesorri program methods to the way they teach. For example, my cooperating teacher’s son came to the Palma’s Academy when he was two years old. Obviously he was very young and he did not have the age or maturity to be passed to other grades, but the teacher decided to teach him at his level and to go at his pace. Today the student is in kindergarten and already knows how to read, write and is beyond the academic standards of a pre-schooler. The Academy’s programs are focused on language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. The goal is for them to develop these skills and apply them on everyday life. They also have integrated instructions, cooperative learning strategies and promote hands-on experiences. As part of the integrated curriculum the school offers physical education, music, performing arts, fine arts and computer instruction at all levels. The secondary level program focuses mainly in college preperation. They have included honor and advanced placement classes for students who qualify. 4


Schools Strengths and Weaknesses: According to the principle of academic affairs, Mrs. Maria Lomba, the

school’s strengths are its curriculum, the Learning Center, which provides the best help for students with special needs and limitations, their facilities and their personnel. Most teachers in this school are either in the process of obtaining their masters or doctorate degree. This is one of the reasons why the school’s level of education is so challenging. Most of their weaknesses reside in their technological infrastructure and the lack of wireless internet antennas. These are already in the process of being solved. IV.

Facilities: The school has comfortable and accessible fascilities inside and out of campus. The school counts with: •



1-lunch room for pre-school

Spaceous playground

1-cover court

1-tennis court

1-soccer field

32- bathrooms:

4-the girls 2-the cover court 2-kindergarten

4-the boys 2- lunch room 2-pre-kinder

2-music house(elementary

2- music class room

level) 12- administrative

(secondary level)



Supervision: The supervision of the school is conducted by educational and non education personnel the main supervision is made by the school principle and the full time security guard. The school also has a board of trustees members who are in charge of all the decision making of the school such as curriculum changes, school policies and ways to improve the school. They are also supervisors of the schools well being and success. The secondary type of supervision is conducted by adminitrative personel, the maintenance staff and teachers.  School Principles: •

Mrs. María Lomba, Principle of Academic Affairs

Dr. Sigrid Soto, Principle of Students Affairs

Dr. Lidia Verson, Head of School

 Board Of Trustees Members:


-Mr. Rubén Chamorro, President

-Mr. Jaime Morgan Stubbe

-Mr. José F. Méndez-Méndez, Vice President

-Mr. Héctor R. Aponte

-Mr. Fernando Vargas, Treasurer

-Mr. Ed Siller

-Mrs. Gina Iuliani, Secretary

-Ms. Maribelle Muñiz Barletta

-Mrs. Nilsa Colón

-Mr. Obed Borrero

-Mrs. Berta Bull

-Mr. Michael Waddington

-Mr. Eugenio Vives

-Mrs. Lidia Verson Vadillo, Ex-officio


Personnel: The school has a very broad personnel. Starting with the educational staff, the school provide its clientel with 41 teachers from elementary all the way to secondary levels. It has a librarian, a councelor, a part- time psicologist and an extended program coordinator. The non-educational staff is composed of a nurse and two security guards, one full time and one part-time. The school also has 8 maintenance workers. Administratively the school has a receptionist, three accountants, 3 principles and an assistant to the Head Master.


Students and Overall Attendance: The Palmas Acedemy has a total of 487 students currently enrolled. It

has 212 male students and 224 female students. The school does not suffer from absenteeism. Its over all attendance percentage is a 96.30% of attendace from August 20, 2013 to January 30,2014. In average the school has around this same percentage each year. If we compare the total amount of students from a public school with the ones in private school, this could be considered a lot because we don’t usually see this amount of students in a private school. On the other hand, the percentage of school attendance is almost perfect. This is a great stepping stone for teachers and the school in general because today’s generation is growing up so fast that they are not completely focused in school and their main concern is not to be in school but rather to make money or to just get out from school. As a teacher, I believe that this is a great achievement because even in private schools we can have absenteism.


Student organizations:

The school provides the students with various clubs, events, school activities, assignments and extra curricular activities that they can choose from and add to their over all school experience. This is part of the reason why I knew that my biggest challenge was not what I could provide the school in terms of material things, infrastructure and extracurricular activities such as clubs, competitions and activities from this sort. In the elementary level: Clubs: Math Club Reading Club

Teacher in Charge: Gladys Tejada Iralys Sanabria

Club Leo

Ida Martínez

Science Club

Jennifer Seguinot

Elementary School Events:

Teachers in Charge:

PR Night

Jamie Álvarez

Easter Recycled Hat Parade

Doris González, Jennifer Valentín and Jamie

Classroom Events: Student of the Month Pillars: Sept. 25: Trusworthiness

Álvarez Grades in charge: 4th grade

Oct. 24: Respect

1st grade

Nov. 20: Fairness

2nd grade

Dec. 19: Responsibility

3rd Grade

Feb. 27: Caring


March 27: Citizenship

5th grade

In the secondary level they also have student community service activities, antibullying week and the extended day program where they design wall murals and take art history. Just like the elementary level, they have clubs, events and competitions. The teacher Juan Carlos García is in charge of their Sports Team Division 8

which counts with: soccer, basketball, volleyball, cross country, golf, tennis, swimming, bowling and in-door soccer teams. Dr. Sigrid Soto, Head Master of the school is in charge of the student council. The student council is composed of the 8 th and 12th grade advisers, teachers Myrna Rodríguez and Claudia Rodríguez for the 8 th grade and teachers Lizzie Sanabria, Maricarmen López and Maritere Cardona for the 12 th grade. Even though I am not a secondary level teacher, I believe these activities are a great way to integrate the whole school. If I were to be a teacher here, I would try to find a way for the school to be integrated in all activities and not have them so divided because these activities promote unity and integration. Clubs: Drama Club/School Plays

Teachers in Charge: Karimar Pérez, Lizzie Sanabria and The

Debate Club Oratory Club

Palmas Players TBA Maricarmen López, Maitee Figueroa,

The Greeen club Math Club & Pi Day

Brenda Ortiz and Karimar Pérez Carla Córtes Leanne Loftin, Ita Rodríguez, Claudia

Tutoring Club Book Club

Rodríguez and Sandra Dueñas Sylvia Rosaly Jamie Mejías and Student Leader Adriana

Yearbook Club

(12th grade) Lizzie Sanabria


Teachers in Charge:

Poetry Out-Loud

Marisabel Quesada and Karimar Pérez

Veterans of Foreign Wars Essay

Maritere Cardona, Verónica Rivera and

Competition/ Patriot’s Pen & Voice of

Anne Haug



Science Competition

Carla Cortés

TPA Gala Art Exhibition

Lizzie Sanabria and Art Students

National Junior Honor Society

Verónica Rivera

National Honor Society

Marisabel Quesada

Premios ENDE

Verónica Rivera and NHS member

Although the school has activites that have been divided between elementary and secondary levels, they also have activities that integrate both levels together. Events/Comittees: Deletrea Conmigo

Teachers in Charge: Elementary and Secondary Spanish

Student Achievement Day Red Ribbon Week

Teachers To be announced Magnolia Grullon, Karimar Pérez and the

Science Fair Social Committee

drama students Aura de León Gladys Tejada, Jennifer Seguinot, Carla Cortés and Aura de León



Appendix: a. School Organization

b. School Map 11

c. School Tuition: The Palma’s Academy is one of the most expensive schools in Puerto Rico. To have the top education you must pay a good price and as equipped


this school is, the econommical demands are just as big


the school. This is an example of the tuition fees parents pay for their children’s education.



Conclusion: The Palmas Academy is a school that has made it its mission to prepare students with excellence. The school is very well equipped and although it is still in the process of incorporating new systems, and technology it is still one of the top schools in Puerto Rico. For many people, Palmas Academy is consider expensive but the truth of the matter is that to find education that excells one must pay for it. Also, we must consider the fact that 85% of the students that graduate from this school go to Ivy League universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeston, Stanford and many more pretigious universities that are mostly in other countries.


I believe that this school could excell even more if it incorporated Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences to its curriculum, because the school is very diverse within its population. I have witnessed during my short time in this school, the amount of diverse talent the students have displayed in school. I have seen this in murals, seniors have painted, organizational skills displayed at the library and even talented athletes that have excelled in school sports teams. I know that as a practice teacher this school will challenge me to always be on top of the game and it will polish me into a teacher of excellence; that is what I am expecting from the school and what I am striving for everyday.


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