USP Parents - Student Handbook

SECTION 1: OUR SCHOOL

1.01 Story of United School of Panama

United School of Panama was born from a need to give academic continuity to the students who graduated from our early childhood education centers. Motivated by the positive comments regarding the high academic and developmental level of the students who leave our pre-schools, we set out to develop a project that encapsulates the teaching philosophy and our shared values.

Our goal became to offer a first-class education with modern facilities and open spaces for sports, located just minutes from the city center. Planning the project not only as educators, but also as parents, we strive to be a teaching and support center for families creating a positive impact in the community.

As the project matured, our team grew with important contributions from each new member highlighting our inclusive, international, entrepreneurial and professional spirit.

United School of Panama opened its doors in August 2021 with PK4, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade; progressively growing one grade per year until providing a complete PK4-12th grade education.

The founders of United School of Panama are a multidisciplinary team with international experience and proven track record in: education, construction, business administration, finance, project management and logistics, who are committed to the future of education.

1.02 Mission, Vision and Golden Rules

Mission

United School of Panama is a multicultural family oriented international school offering a world class trilingual education grounded in literacy, critical analysis and problem solving. We promote an integral lifestyle built on values, knowledge, innovation, and sports. We inspire our students to become well-rounded individuals, achieve their full potential, and contribute to the community.

Vision

United School of Panama will be revered as a prestigious school with distinguished preparatory curricula that will challenge young minds in a multilinguistic and diverse multicultural environment. We pledge to all USP students a commitment towards personal development through discipline, merit, respect, individual growth and teamwork.

Golden Rules

Camaraderie

Camaraderie is the spirit of developing lasting friendships from shared experience.

Responsibility

We have free will and practice responsibility for our thoughts and actions.

Diversity

We are creatively different. We are creatively similar. Embrace diversity.

Tomorrow

We plant the seeds for a better tomorrow.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking fosters independence.

Communication

Communication is the key to understanding.

Compassionate

We are compassionate to the needs of others.

Courage

We have the courage to stand for what is right.


1.03 Philosophy of Teaching and Learning

At USP we are an evolving community of life-long learners.  We cultivate and nurture the lives of our students through critical thinking, innovation and purpose. We strive to provide the best environment for students to develop, learn and grow.

Innovative Approach: Our teaching philosophy is grounded on applying the principles of neuroscience to enhance learning. Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary science that is concerned with the study of the structure and function of the nervous system.

How does neuroscience influence education?

Education is about enhancing learning, and neuroscience research suggests that our learning outcome relies on interdisciplinary environmental habits. BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) explains that physical movement enhances natural hormonal growth in synapses through D.O.S.E. (also known as Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, Endorphins). These hormones are essential in brain growth, elasticity, and cognitive development.

Advances in the field of neuroscience have increased our understanding of the mental processes involved in learning. By understanding cognitive development and how the brain grows, we understand what activities are key in how the curriculum should be structured.

Physical Activity

The principles of neuroscience indicate that a child’s brain needs motion and physical exertion to grow, as such, our curriculum includes daily physical activity as well as brain breaks for students to engage with the material and concepts that they are learning.

Sleep

At United School of Panama, we are proud of our location just 10 minutes from Panama City. Our class and extracurricular activity schedules allow families to wake up, have breakfast, and get to school within manageable time.

Nutrition

Proper nutrition is essential for normal cognition and thinking skills, a healthy diet that is low in fat and high in essential nutrients reduces the risk of memory loss, helps prevent strokes and boosts alertness. USP’s school cafeteria will offer meals for our students with all the necessary nutrients to ensure their overall health. Students will be taught the nutritional value of different foods so that they learn to choose what they eat from our lunchroom and develop healthy eating habits.

Critical Thinking and a Multi-Disciplinary Mindset: Sapere Aude


Critical thinking goes beyond memorization, encouraging students to connect the dots between concepts, solve problems, think creatively, and apply knowledge in new ways. Critical thinking skills—which are based on the evaluation and application of knowledge—are not only vital for success in all subject areas, but in everyday life as well. Critical thinking is developed by encouraging our students to ask the right questions, make decisions and take responsibility for its outcome, connect different ideas, incorporate different points of views, work in diverse groups.
At United School of Panama, school culture enhances the creation of meaningful opportunities by engaging and challenging every student.

Evolution with Purpose


At USP we promote a purpose-based approach to prepare students for the world they will enter into, where content areas are integrated to promote deeper understanding, while developing a lifelong love of learning in pursuit of a meaningful life. The top sought after skills for professional development are: communication, leadership and teamwork skills. USP’s approach to the traditional way of education lays in our core beliefs of customs, values, morals and how we treat each other with respect as our bottom line.

Key Philosophical Messages that make USP unique


• Deep respect for children as individuals.
• Multilevel teaching approach allows teachers to develop close and long-term relationships with their students, allowing them to know each other’s learning style well, and encourage older students to become role models, mentors, and leaders to younger students.
• Integrated curriculum is carefully structured and connects subjects within programs (e.g., history and cultural arts to maximize the opportunity for learning and builds from program to program to progress from concrete to abstract learning).
• Independence is nurtured and leads to children becoming purposeful, motivated, and confident in their own abilities.
• Critical thinking and conflict resolution are taught daily and students learn to be a part of a warm, respectful, and supportive community.
• Character development is a central focus of USP’s curriculum.
The child creates, in a very real sense, the adult that is to be, through his/her experiences, interactions, and environments.
• USP engages students to be active rather than passive with their learning. Hands-on learning is central to the curriculum in all programs.
• Teachers, students, and parents work together as a collaborative and supportive community.
• Self-expression is nurtured in all students. Students experience art, music, poetry, theater, writing, and other forms of creative arts with confidence and passion.

1.04 School Governance

The Board of Directors oversees USP’s growth and development. The Board of Directors fulfill this role by performing four major responsibilities:
• Setting direction.
• Establishing an effective and efficient structure.
• Providing support.
• Ensuring accountability.

These four responsibilities represent core functions that are fundamental to the School. Board members fulfill these responsibilities by working together as a governance team with the Academic and Administrative Directors to make decisions that will best serve all the students in the community.

The Board of Directors delegates the day-to-day management of the school to the Academic Director and the Administrative Director.

1.05 School Organization and Administrative Structure

The Academic Director and the Administrative Director work hand in hand with the authority delegated by the Board of Directors, to oversee and manage the day-to-day operations of the school. They are supported by their academic and administrative teams.

1.06 Campus and School Hours

The regular campus hours are 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. except on Fridays that School closes at 3:30 p.m. Classes begin at 7:50 am through 3:10 pm, except on Fridays, when classes end at 1:20 p.m.

Extracurricular activities begin from 3:30 though 4:30 p.m. Mondays – Thursdays. Other special activities may be scheduled on Fridays after 1:20 pm. Parents of students participating will be notified accordingly.

The area designated for student drop off and pick up will be supervised by designated school staff during regular drop-off and pick up times:

ARRIVAL PICK UP FRIDAY EARLY RELEASE
7:30 a.m. - 7:45 a.m.
3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
1:20 p.m. - 1:40 p.m.

ECA teachers are responsible for the supervision of their students until 4:50 p.m. Parents are asked to respect this time and pick up students no later than 4:50 p.m. if a student is not picked up by 4:50 p.m., they will be sent to the administrative office to wait until their parents arrive.

ARRIVAL

PICK-UP

FRIDAY EARLY RELEASE

7:30 a.m. - 7:45 a.m.

3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

1:20 p.m. - 1:40 p.m.

1.07 School Contact Information

STREET ADDRESS PHONE CELL WEBSITE E-MAIL
Ave. Principal de Costa Sur, Corregimiento de Juan Diaz Panama. Republic of Panama.
(+507) 388-0888
(+507) 6968-8488
www.usp.edu.pa
gerencia@usp.edu.pa
ACADEMIC DIRECTOR ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ACCOUNTING PRE-SCHOOL/SPECIAL ED. COORDINATOR IT COORDINATOR
Nicole Lee n.lee@usp.edu.pa
Amanda Oliveira a.oliveira@usp.edu.pa
Jania Jacobs j.jacobs@usp.edu.pa
Amanda Da Rocha a.darocha@usp.edu.pa
Oris Mitre accounting@usp.edu.pa
Stephanie Díaz s.diaz@usp.edu.pa
Alex Carrión it@usp.edu.pa

ACADEMIC DIRECTOR

ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER

Nicole Lee n.lee@usp.edu.pa

Amanda Oliveira a.oliveira@usp.edu.pa

Jania Jacobs j.jacobs@usp.edu.pa

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

ACCOUNTING

PRE-SCHOOL/ESPECIAL ED. COORD.

IT COORDINATOR

Amanda Da Rocha a.daarocha@usp.edu.pa

Oris Mitre accounting@usp.edu.pa

Stephanie Diaz e.diaz@usp.edu.pa

Alex Carrion it@usp.edu.pa

1.08 School Calendar

School Year

2022 - 2023