Washington Academy is a private, bilingual (English/Spanish), K-12, co-ed school located in Caracas, Venezuela and is registered with the Venezuelan School System, offers a science-oriented High School diploma. Founded in 1966, by American and Venezuelan educators, the school is non-profit and has an enrollment more than 500 students, principally Venezuelan, but children from other nationalities are also present. The school, located in the east of the city, has classrooms of around 20 students, Science laboratories, a Library, two Computer classrooms, two Art rooms and excellent Sports facilities. The teaching staff K-12 numbers 77 with 27 of these specifically devoted to High School. All of the teachers in high school have Venezuelan teaching certificates from 5 year universities, most have Masters degrees and many are bilingual, English/Spanish. The motto of the school states that “Washington Academy will give students the tools to cope with life.”
Washington Academy’s curriculum follows the Venezuelan curriculum and adds to this an intensive English language curriculum with core courses such as social studies, math, sciences and the arts taught in both English and Spanish throughout all of elementary and High School, to be classified as a truly bilingual school. In addition to the traditional method of teaching through designated courses, the K-12 curriculum also stresses a project-oriented approach to learning which ties in material learned in the different subjects such as Language, Grammar and Literature, Math, History, Art, Science, Computer, etc. Each year, the students are required to research and show, act, or demonstrate to the school community their learning in a specific project designated for that grade, in the form of a science fair, math fair, Caracas yesteryear social studies fair, career fair, etc.
Washington Academy is an authorized school to offer the IB Middle Year Program and Diploma Program.
Washington Academy self-evaluates its performance through the Iowa achievement tests in English, math and sciences which is given every year to all grade levels. The school’s performance compares favorably with the median of U.S. schools.
In the Venezuelan system, High School is 5 years long and begins at 8th grade. The curriculum is compulsory, to be able to meet the standards of the Venezuelan system and the internal standards of a bilingual school. In these 5 years, students study 5 years of English language with emphasis on Literature, 5 years of pre-college Math, 5 years of pre-college Sciences, including Biology (5 years), Physics (3) and Chemistry (4), 3 years of Computer Science, 5 years of intensive Spanish and 5 years of Social Studies, both Venezuelan and World History.
World History, Art History, Biology and health Education in 8th and 9th Grade are taught in English, the rest of the subjects in High School are taught in Spanish.
The school started teaching the IB Diploma Program in September 2002 and is mandatory for all High School students in their last two years. They study Language A English (HL), Language A (HL) for Spanish, Biology (HL or SL), Physics (SL), Mathematics: Application and interpretation (SL), Mathematics: Analysis and approaches (SL), French a-b initio, Global Politics (SL), Environmental Systems and Societies (SL), Visual Arts (HL or SL) and History (HL or SL), under the IB terminology. Students graduate with the Venezuelan H.S. diploma with emphasis in Science and the IB Diploma upon successful completion of the IB exams. Also the school officially started teaching the IB Middle Year Program (MYP), which is a five-year- long program, for students in an age range 11-16 .Through inquiry and concept based learning, this is a challenging framework that encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world. The MYP is inclusive by design; students of all interests and academic abilities can benefit from their participation. Washington Academy is an authorized IB MYP school since April 2016, and is important to denote that this is the preparatory program for IB Diploma Program.
The number of students in the high school grades is small, on an average of 28 students annually since 2016 per graduating class since 2016. Washington Academy has consistently ranked between 2nd and 3rd place in the country, over the past 5 years by the Venezuelan Education Ministry, based on the performance of its students on the Venezuelan national entrance examination for national universities, comparable to the SAT test in the U.S. system. In addition, our students have received various prestigious distinctions throughout the years, such as the first place in the National Math Olympics (2009 to 2017) and among the top scoring students to enter national universities.
100% of Washington Academy’s students go on to study at a university. Most of them (95%) have the possibilities and decide to study abroad, although some elect to attend Venezuelan universities. In the past two years, 80% of the students entered the following universities in the U.S.: Princeton, Penn State, Florida International University, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Berkley, MIT, Mc Gill University (Canada), among others.
The grading system is based on a 20 point scale, non-weighted system. To pass any given year, a 10/20 average is required as an overall average and specifically a 14/20 is required in English, year after year. Honor roll is determined by an 18/20 GPA, and High Honors is defined as a 19 or 20. Class rank is derived from the GPA standing.
Physical Education and Extracurricular Activities
Washington Academy provides a complete Physical Education program, including P.E. as a subject and extramural and varsity sports. The school requires that students take 5 hours a week in Elementary School and 4 hours a week in High School. The H.S. sports include soccer, basketball, volleyball, kicking ball and track and field. The varsity sports are soccer for both male and female. Other school and extracurricular activities include Student Council, WAMUN (Washington Academy Model of United Nations), and other similar activities such as SAMUN (South American model United Nations, H.S.), HMUN (Harvard High School Model of United Nations, USA), PAMUN (Paris Model United Nations), JMUN (Junior Model United Nations, Middle school), the International Moot Court, and The Masters Program at London, UK.
In addition, students are active in community services as of their Sophomore Year, as part of the Venezuelan curriculum, required to complete 80 hours of service in the last two years of high school, plus the Community and Service in MYP and CAS program associated with the IB Diploma Program.