Happy 10th Anniversary
International Institute of Chapala
Lily A. Ehlebracht, Ed.M, M.Ed.
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the International Institute in Chapala, Jalisco. In our first years open, my team spent hours negotiating the 2020 mission and vision, debating where we wanted to go and the best ways to get there. There were many turns that we never expected, and a pandemic was at the bottom of that list.
Originally Academia Internacional, or International Academy, our primary intention when we opened in 2011 was to train artists (writers, musicians, visual artists, etc.). However, a successful artist in any field is also a well-rounded person. As an educational institution, we found the idea of sacrificing instruction of core knowledge for artistic instruction to be irresponsible. We had to find a balance. Any citizen of the world needs certain basic knowledge and abilities to survive in today’s economy and society. Mathematics, reading comprehension and writing skills in both English and Spanish (especially important for our geographical area), critical thinking, oral presentation and debate skills, scientific method, and research and citation skills were areas of improvement that we identified immediately. Before the end of the first year, the International Institute’s focus had changed from arts academy with accreditation to give a high school diploma, to full high school with a strong arts program.
In our first years, we chose names for our junior and senior high sections, with the intention to reflect proud moments Mexico has had in the international scene recently. Octavio Paz won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990, and Alfonso García Robles won the Nobel in 1982 for his role in Latin American and Caribbean disarmament. Our view of being an international citizen has always meant knowing and respecting oneself and one’s own culture first; only then can one offer the best of oneself to mankind.
Today, this solid foundation in applicable, 21st century skills and dedication to correct implementation of best practices in pedagogy has provided our community the fortitude and adaptability to react successfully to the challenge with which the COVID-9 pandemic has presented us. Our teachers have continued to provide high-quality education to our students, transitioning almost seamlessly from in-person to virtual education with only Spring Break 2020 to act as preparation time for completely restructuring their curriculum, assessment methods, and pedagogical techniques. Over the last 11 months, our teachers have continued to refine their methods and attend professional development, and I am truly grateful for the tireless effort of the International’s teachers and administration both, to serve our students and parents.
Many things set the International apart, but what I personally am most proud of, is the people. Our team is strong, adaptable, hard-working, and resilient. Our students are caring, adaptable, compassionate, ambitious, critical thinkers. It has been an honor to grow through and with this institution for the last decade, and I look forward to the years to come.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com