Blue Valley is a private, bilingual, international school that offers a rigorous American curriculum, yet is rooted in local culture and includes a strong Spanish program.
Blue Valley offers positions for faculty and staff twice a year because it has two yearly programs; one adapted to the Costa Rican schedule and another one adapted to the North American schedule. New teachers are invited to start either in mid-January or in mid-July.
Salaries are excellent by Costa Rican standards but only adequate compared to international standards. They are based on qualifications and years of experience in formal teaching, with extra credit given to English as the native language and instruction in formal English. Spanish as a native language is an official requisite for teaching the language and Costa Rican social studies. Being bilingual is not a requisite but it certainly helps when meetings and staff development workshops are held in either language. We try to hold them in both languages.
Most of our teachers hold a Master’s Degree but we also welcome recent graduates with a BA or BSc. For preschool, we require teachers to have Montessori training. For elementary: preparatory (kindergarten age children working on traditionally first grade cognitive objectives) through fifth grade, we prefer a degree in education. Candidates are asked to write their philosophy on how and why they prioritize academic knowledge, discipline, and rapport in their classroom. Experience in the classroom is rewarded. For secondary (middle school is sixth to eighth and high school is ninth to twelfth) a major in the subject to be taught is well regarded, but we also accept majors in associated subjects. Our teachers do not need to have the US teacher certification requisite.
Classes are small, preferably 22 students in elementary and 25 students in secondary school. According to demand, there are more or less in some classes and teacher aides are assigned when the number exceeds our preference. But the student/teacher ratio varies because of splits (part of the class going to another course or two teachers co-teaching) so teachers often have fewer students during specific periods.
Full time teachers are expected to be at school from 7:45 am to 3:15 am (variable when teachers ride the school buses). Lessons run from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. In elementary we have 45-minute periods (adjustable for some lessons), 38 periods a week. Full time teachers are face to face with the students for 25 periods at most, the rest being planning periods (not free periods, teachers have to be available). In secondary, periods are 40 minutes with occasional two period blocks for special purposes. The teaching load is 28 periods, leaving 14 for planning. Salaries are based on 40 clock hours per week, seven at school and an average of one at home. On Wednesday, students leave at 12:45 pm and teachers stay until 3:30 for meetings and staff development on the second, fourth, and fifth Wednesday of the month; the other two are free for teachers (one for staff) as personal days. Non-teaching staff spends all eight hours at school.
The yearly schedule also varies for faculty (teachers) and staff. Teachers have vacation when the students are off; offices are open four weeks more. Check the calendar to see how we accomplish 185 school days, distributing vacations and holidays appropriately.
Teachers with school-aged children may have them apply for total or partial scholarship.
Employee Association: ASEBVS is a voluntary savings account with the school partially contributing for severance pay.
Company Doctor: Twice a week a doctor spends the afternoon treating minor ailments and counseling on diagnosis of major problems.
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