As of 2021, approximately 160 students in the Dominican Republic were homeschooling with Bridgeway Academy. But Bridgeway is making an impact on Dominican students in another way as well. Through Máximo Potencial, our partner school in the Dominican Republic.
About Máximo Potencial
Located in Punta Cana, Máximo Potencial offers education for local students in preschool through high school. A variety of pedagogical support services allow children to initiate their neurological, intellectual, and emotional development from an early age. And this enables students to reach…you guessed it, their full potential!
Máximo Potencial provides a differentiated follow-up according to age, learning level, and individual needs. The school serves as a link between children, their families, and the behavioral specialists who accompany them in training students.
The school provides an individualized early stimulation plan, functional neurological organization, and academic assistance that maximize the potential of the child’s overall development. A range of strategies and tools is also employed for the active participants involved in the child’s education. These include responsible adults, educators, and other specialists.
Máximo Potencial’s vision, led by Sandra Barcelata, the school’s principal and owner, is to continue developing innovation in education by providing tools that allow students to achieve high academic levels and education in values–all while maintaining close relationships between teachers, students, and parents. Regarding values, Máximo Potencial prioritizes equality, fairness, and respect for differences in order to create the most inclusive environment possible. That’s why their students and teachers live by the following tenets:
- Respect for oneself and others, the community, and the planet
- Honesty with oneself and others
- Responsibility for thoughts, actions, choices, and decisions
- Humility to learn from experiences and surroundings
- Strength to face the challenges that life poses
- Love to live together and learn from others
With values such as these, it’s no wonder Bridgeway Academy and Máximo Potencial saw the benefits of a partnership.
The Bridgeway Academy & Máximo Potencial Partnership
The relationship between Bridgeway and Máximo Potencial was born around 2018, when a Bridgeway staff member visited the school. Principal Barcelata, together with Tina Steimle, the school’s point of contact for Bridgeway up until two years ago, saw the potential to make this partnership a reality. There was mutual interest in a partnership, which Program Coordinator Dolores Escobar calls a “symbiotic relationship. Tina was a driving force in creating the partnership and holds a special place in the Máximo Potencial family.”
The partnership works so well, Dolores explains, because “Máximo Potencial benefits from using the various curriculum options available from Bridgeway, and our students have the incredible advantage of earning an accredited American high school diploma. From the other side, Máximo Potencial brings close to 100 students to Bridgeway, from 1st through 12th grade. And we’ve been growing for the past five years.”
From an academic perspective, Bridgeway Academy provides support and guidance through the help of two “incredible” (Dolores’ description) advisors. Angela Schmoyer advises 53 Máximo students in grades 1 through 7; Tammy Lyons advises 26 grade 8 through 12 students. Not to mention additional support from advisor Holly Morgan.
In fact, Dolores has plenty of praise for her Bridgeway partners. “With regards to administrative issues, Brittany Smith, the finance team, tech support, Shannon Kull…the list could go on and on,” she said. “They’ve all provided insight and help and have always been willing to meet us halfway and find solutions that work for both teams.”
The partnership between Bridgeway Academy and Máximo Potencial has certainly increased awareness of Bridgeway in the Dominican Republic. And it’s perhaps one of the driving forces behind such robust enrollment numbers in the island country.
How the Partnership Works
According to Principal Barcelata, Máximo Potencial provides the “school” experience, which makes life easier for parents who are interested in an alternative form of education but aren’t quite ready to be their child’s teacher or handle grading and assignments.
The students also enjoy face-to-face interaction at the school as well as the ability to participate in school activities together, such as the high school juniors and seniors fundraising ahead of their graduation. “In short, our partnership allows us both to grow while providing our students with what we believe is the best combination” of school experiences, explained Dolores.
Tammy Lyons, the Bridgeway Academy academic advisor and recipient of Dolores’ praise, agrees. “Bridgeway has a wonderful relationship with Máximo Potencial, one that is mutually respected,” Tammy said. “Máximo is a great school where the teachers are super-dedicated to their students and to seeing that they receive the best education possible. Dolores has a heart of gold and totally invests herself in these kids.”
“Our relationship with Máximo is beneficial to students because they have the best of both worlds. They get personal, on-the-spot help from their teachers in class, backed up by Bridgeway’s advisor support and guidance, along with our strong accreditation.”
Tammy, who has worked with Máximo Potencial for around five years, further explained her role as an academic advisor with the school as well as how classes and students are managed from a teaching and advisory perspective. “The Máximo teachers are there with the kids helping, guiding, teaching, connecting with parents, and they’re able to tell me the specific needs of each child so that I can help them choose the best curriculum,” Tammy explained. “It’s not one size fits all–Dolores and I work carefully to choose the best path for each student.”
From there, Tammy (and Angela) provides the proper curriculum and lends a hand with some grading–though the Máximo Potencial teachers handle much of that responsibility. Tammy also monitors progress and maintains records as each student progresses along the path toward graduation. She was even able to meet some graduates who traveled to Pennsylvania for the Class of 2022 graduation ceremony! “They were so excited to be here and take part,” said Tammy. “It was a gratifying experience.”
Education Options in the Dominican Republic
Between Máximo Potencial and homeschooling with Bridgeway Academy, there are plenty of options when it comes to education in the Dominican Republic–specifically in the Punta Cana and Bavaro areas. And it’s because of the mutually respectful relationship and hard work of both Bridgeway and Máximo Potencial.
If you live in the Dominican Republic and are interested in your child attending Máximo Potencial, contact the school by calling (809) 959-0441 or emailing them at [email protected]. If you’d like more information about homeschooling with Bridgeway Academy in the Dominican Republic, call us at (888) 311-0941.
Are you currently a Máximo Potencial family or homeschooling in the Dominican Republic? Share your experiences below!