CLASS ACT

Dominican Republic 2015 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Marilu Bobadilla de Villanueva, General Director of St. Patrick School, on the role of the school in educating Dominicans for the future and sectorial trends.

Marilu Bobadilla de Villanueva
BIOGRAPHY
Marilu Bobadilla de Villanueva has been the General Director of St. Patrick School of Santo Domingo since 2007, and a founding member since 2005. Her higher education began at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, leading to a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration Cum Laude. She then earned a Certification in Banking Management, and she currently attends Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), pursuing a Master’s Degree in Educational Management. With her vast experience, she has assembled a team of professionals to develop the growth and consolidation strategies of her company in the Dominican market. Her formative experience in management and leadership has motivated changes in Saint Patrick School’s mission and vision statements; creating new enterprising leaders, capable of contributing innovatively to the country and the wider world.

St. Patrick School has existed in Santo Domingo since 2005. How did the idea of its establishment arise and how has the School evolved over the years?

St. Patrick School of Santo Domingo, was founded on March 17, 2005. The idea came from the need to provide an integral, modern education for students from preschool all the way to high school. In 2007, motivated by the need to continue promoting the strong principles that underpin our educational beliefs, we adopted the Catholic identity and included specific subjects in our curriculum, as well as special activities to promote the highest human values that frame our identity as a school: integrity, loyalty, and commitment. Recently we launched our new mission and vision, and three new values necessary for the 21st Century: leadership, innovation, and respect. St. Patrick School is currently in its 10th year.

What standards does St. Patrick School follow to ensure that its students will be well prepared to enter colleges and thrive in a constantly changing world?

As a preparatory school, St. Patrick School is committed to offering a program based on the Common Core Standards that has consistently high standards that provide students with a set of clear expectations to ensure that they all have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the 21st century, be it at college, in a career and in wider life upon graduation from high school, regardless of where they live. The standards promote equality by ensuring all students are well prepared to play leading roles and collaborate with their peers in the Dominican Republic and abroad.

What role do technology and innovation play at St. Patrick School?

Our school provides teachers and students with a secure WiFi network where they can safely navigate and use their tablets to get access to different digital tools like Schoology, Dropbox, Kahn Academy, and other sites. The publishing houses with which the school has signed contracts provide a platform for teachers and students to interact even when they are not in school. St. Patrick School strongly believes in innovation, as demonstrated in our updated curriculum which paves the way for facilitators to plan based on the Common Core Standards. Smartboards, projectors, and computers have been installed in most classrooms to provide time and space for innovative and interactive teaching.

What is St. Patrick School's midterm development strategy?

We recently opened our new preschool, in order to satisfy the demands of the community. This school year SPS has embarked on achieving on a new objective: the transformation of our mission and vision, to ensure our best intentions are actively pursued and realized. We need a true mission and vision, focused on leadership culture, which is applicable to all aspects of the school. It has been an adventure and taken much work to capture the essence of what we, and the country, truly need. St. Patrick School enables its students to develop skills such as leadership, creativity, emotional intelligence, negotiation, effective communication, teamwork, analytical thinking, self-motivation, decision-making, positive attitude, proactivity, and entrepreneurship, among others.

Our true mission is to contribute, from our classrooms, to the students' development and acquisition of knowledge and capabilities. We want to improve their surroundings, and help them to become enterprising leaders. Though this may not be a fashionable term, we believe it is a skill which correctly channeled can be fruitful.