Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
And we could not agree more. That’s why the Diaz Rivera Family, founders of Pedregal de Cabo San Lucas have been supporting education for the last 30 years through their role in Colegio El Camino. Over the years, this non-profit institution has grown to be one of the leading schools not just in Los Cabos but the entire peninsula. The next goal: to be one of the top in Mexico. And though summer vacation is about to start, we want you to meet the principal that is directing this school: Heath Sparrow. Find out how to volunteer or contribute to Education in Los Cabos at El Camino in here
Where are you from?
I was Born in Woodstock Ontario Canada and lived there until the age of 27 when I moved to Mexico. I lived in Torreon, Saltillo and Queretaro before coming to Cabo San Lucas.
What is your educational background?
I am a life-long learner and thus have successfully studied 4 Degrees. Wilfrid Laurier University (Bachelor of Arts), University of Toronto (Bachelor of Education), Framingham College (Massachusetts) (Master of Arts in Educational Leadership), State University of New York; (Master of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies in Education)
Teaching opportunities at the time of my graduation from the University of Toronto were limited and I saw an advertisement to teach in Mexico at the UofT, plus, I fondly recalled enjoying a spring break trip to Mexico and thought it would be a great opportunity to teach and experience a new culture, and escape those cold Canadian winters!
Why did you move to Cabo?
Principally to lead Colegio El Camino to
1. Become the first and only IB WORLD School in Baja California,
2. Become the first accredited American School in Baja California
3. Give my family the opportunity to live in a very distinct environment from Queretaro.
At El Camino we have accomplished goals #1 and 2, and I am happily enjoying goal #3.
What is (are) the principal(s) challenge Mexico faces in education?
Opportunity and equity for everyone as well as preparing students for an ever-changing globalized world. A nation is only as strong as its weakest member and education is power, the power that can exterminate ignorance, poverty, intolerance and corruption thus raising the standard of living for all Mexicans and internationals living in this beautiful country.
How does El Camino propose to prepare students?
Traditional programs of education focus on comprehension and understanding through memorization. Although these aspects are still involved in learning they no longer can stand alone in an ever changing world. In response to the demands and environment young people face, Colegio El Camino adheres to a skills based program with a focus on developing the attributes found in the IB learner profile. Our philosophy is to provide students a learning environment that is transdisciplinary in nature (making connections across subject areas and in their daily lives.) This curriculum model is student centered and inquiry based thus promoting curiosity and discovery through individual student responsibility for his/her learning. This requires teachers to prepare learning opportunities where they no longer are the source of information and the students as passive receptors of that information. We train teachers and create programs that facilitate students learning through inquiry, identifying different perspectives, reflecting upon their findings and developing points of view based on evidence gathered. Students are given opportunities to develop the skills of analysis, synthesis, comparing and contrasting, evaluation and creation. This model allows students to encounter new information and experiences without fear and develop into lifelong learners. This has been synthesized and summarized in our mission statement:
“Our mission is to develop honorable, inquiring and caring life-long learners with intercultural understanding and respect for others who, through creativity and rigorous curriculum, become passionate leaders and participants in a global community.”
Are there any extracurricular activities for the students?
Yes, Afternoon Academies such as Art, Math, English and Spanish support as well as Homework Club. Afternoon Sports such as Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, Tae Kwon Do and Flag Football are currently offered.
What do you think is the role of a parent regarding a child’s education? How does El Camino involve the parents in their education?
Parents are members of our community and share in our challenges and success. We encourage parents to be involved in their children´s education, and teach them the values of honesty, responsibility, tolerance and respect for everyone and everything in our school community. Our parents participate in a supportive partnership with the school to promote student learning and assist the school in providing the best educational opportunities for their children. Parents are also involved in our School improvement program that is a continuous cyclical process of evaluation, planning, implementation and reflection. Parents become involved in our school in several ways. Opportunities about such as committee work, volunteering on the parent society, through our family learning program, attending informational meetings on results as well as consulting children progress electronically.
How do you and your teachers continue preparing to teach and lead your students?
Being lifelong learners, open to new ideas and reflecting the same learner profile we are using to help develop students. Seek out learning opportunities and apply them in teaching and learning practice.
How do you envision Colegio El Camino in 5 years?
Our plan is to offer the International Baccalaureate Program at all levels, seek membership in the Association of American Schools of Mexico (ASOMEX) and continue to position ourselves as the first truly international school in all aspects.
Any other comments you’d like to add?
I accepted the position as Director primarily because this school wanted to become an IB World School and that it had the opportunity to do so because it is a bilingual, non-profit organization that is diverse both culturally and socio economically. This structure facilitated the successful implementation of the IB Diploma Program, and candidate status for the IB Primary Years Program.
For more information about the educational program of El Camino, visit their website http://elcamino.edu.mx/ or call them at (624) 143.2100
Find out how to volunteer or contribute to Education in Los Cabos at El Camino in here