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Compass in Action at the American School of Puerto Vallarta

The American School of Puerto Vallarta has been transforming itself into a community of compassionate and responsible systemic thinkers for 5 years now. Following the guidance of the Sustainability Compass, our students are learning how to think holistically about school subjects as well as everyday decision-making. Kindergartens and Seniors alike are using systems thinking tools in the classroom, on the playground and at home with their families. We have a lot of work yet to do, but we set a goal for ourselves to build continuity from the youngest of students in kindergarten up through the primary, elementary, middle and high school. 

Our staff is currently being trained through a series of workshops on how to incorporate the habits of a systems thinker into our everyday lives, as well as how to fold the systems thinking tools into our classrooms and utilize them to best prepare our students to be holistic thinkers for a brighter future. 

The Compass Mural project was an initiative originally proposed by the Sustainability Committee as part of a much larger cafeteria project. The Cafe project was composed of the art classes designing and painting large sustainability messages all throughout the cafeteria, on columns and the ceiling. We wanted to add the Sustainability Compass somewhere but felt it needed to really stand out as it does guide us in our everyday practice. Our parents are always wanting to get involved in our community projects, so we gathered a group of moms and had them trained in how to create mosaic murals. They came back to the school and worked around the clock for two weeks creating a beautiful final product. The mural is one of the first things everyone sees as they walk onto our campus. It is a shining reminder to keep all aspects of the bigger picture in mind.

Caitlin Barnum

Caitlin Barnum

Cait Barnum, originally from the crystal coast of North Carolina, now calls the beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico home. She moved to Mexico 7 years ago with the Peace Corps, and found her way into teaching Middle and High School Sciences, as well as being our Sustainability and Systems Coordinator for at time, but now is leading the STEM+ Department. Folding in systems thinking tools and habits into the whole school community is a passion as well as a goal of hers.

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