TIDE Academy - Total Immersion through a Dynamic Education

Education can be incorporated easily into any lifestyle – sometimes it just takes a little flexibility, and that flexibility is what TIDE is all about. TIDE is a schooling program for students with interests that expand beyond a conventional academic structure. While a traditional, five-days-a-week school program works well for some students, TIDE caters to students with interests outside of the classroom, who need to incorporate their traveling, training, and internships in their life.

Inception Story

TIDE Academy was established in 2011 in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with a mission to provide a personal and flexible education to each child. Their educational philosophy is that each child learns differently and should be celebrated. As educators it is necessary to have the flexibility to work and commend each child’s learning style and pace. They want each student to succeed to the best of his or her ability. They pride themselves in challenging students while simultaneously engaging students in vigorous academic work.

They have a physical school in Tamarindo, they serve up to 64 students in grade K-12. They also have developed flexible online courses for enrolled students. Their online program, TIDE Abroad, works with students year-round, or if they are away from TIDE Academy for a semester or less.

From the Leader’s Desk

As the principal of TIDE Academy, Chelsea Lisaius has contributed immensely to the its success. Chelsea’s parents run a theatre company centered in science education, which has always evoked a passion for STEM fields and education. In 2008 Chelsea received a Bachelor of Arts in Geoscience and a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. While working at another private school, Chelsea realized that students were being penalized for pursuing priorities outside of education. Addressing the needs of all students formed the mission of TIDE: to provide a personal and student-centered education. She is truly grateful that the idea and mission has helped and joined so many families, friends, and students together. Over the past ten years the school has grown from a population of three to 70 students, all while maintaining a consistent mission and vision.

Another top contributor to TIDE academy is the Assistant Director, Mr. Adam Daniel. Adam works in the areas of child behavior, curriculum development, and academic standards. His contribution to the academy has focus on overseeing the academic path of each student, providing insight on classroom development, and creating personalized curriculum for students.

TIDE remains aware of each child’s academic levels and social wellness by maintaining small class sizes. They follow a 1:8 teacher student ratio concepts which allow their students to work at their own pace; moving ahead when they understand a topic and working more attentively when a child is working to mastering a topic.

TIDE Academy uses the New York Standards of Education with the Common Core Curriculum. Being based in the heart of a Spanish-speaking country, the school has incorporated Spanish-based courses at every grade level: Civicas, Estudios Sociales, Costa Rican History and Cultura.

Diversified Curriculum and Facilities

“We offer every student core classes for the first half of the day. This includes Language Arts, Math, Science, Spanish, Culturas and Civicas, and Social Studies taught at each student’s pace for student-centered learning.” -Chelsea Lisaius

TIDE’s Elective program (offered everyday day after the academic courses) provides four different electives each day to each grade, including: Art, Graphic Design, French, Cooking, Coding, Ocean Awareness, Surf Analysis, Spanish, Gardening and more.

TIDE also offers both a Surf Academy and Dance Academy. These programs are offered outside of the school hours. Students who choose to surf or dance meet multiple times a week before and after school to fit with students’ schedules.

High school students also have the opportunity to get their diving certificate and participate in a diving trip each year. Students may join the competitive surf team which plays against other schools around the country.

TIDE believes that students should be an active part of their surrounding community. They has hosted beach clean-ups, picking up over 20 pounds of trash on the local beaches last year. They also work with a local program called, Costa Rica Makes Me Happy (CRMMH). With CRMMH they have help create a local recycling program and helped them build several sustainable houses for the local community. TIDE wants students to know that education is important, but it is not in isolation of the rest of their lives.

Proclaiming Holistic Development

TIDE Academy believes that the primary motivational tool for students is creating an environment where students feel safe, involved, supported and confident in their learning. Their small class sizes and overall small student population allow teachers to be personally involved in every student’s learning and help in providing them support in their academic interests. They pride ourselves on building personal respectful relationships with all of their students which in turn cultivates comfortable, enthusiastic working environments which promote student involvement.

Within units and lessons, TIDE Academy integrates inquiry, project and place-based strategies when applicable. They focus on developing units with exciting hooks, using differentiated instruction and allowing students the opportunity to show their learning multiple ways to maximize their interest towards topics. In these ways they strive to create space for students to become more involved and interest in learning.

Awards and Accreditations

TIDE Academy has a partnership with North Atlantic Regional High School in Auburn, Maine. Northern Atlantic Regional High School is accredited with Middle States Schools and Colleges. This accreditation is available for grades 9-12. In addition, TIDE is recognized by the NCAA and has students planning on completing at the National Collegiate Student level. TIDE has also been recognized as one of the Top 10 Leading International Schools in Costa Rica by Exelligent Magazine.

TIDE Academy is continually working with schools from the United States to ensure students have the credentials needed to graduate and attend university in the United States, Costa Rica, and Europe.

TIDE graduates have come from all over the world; they take pride in their pursuit of their dreams. Several students continue their professional surfing careers, representing Costa Rican in the ISA World Surf games as well as compete in the WSL series. This year TIDE had a student earn their pilot license and graduate in the same year. Other graduates have continued their studies in medicine, business, and education.

Advocating Rightful Education

TIDE assists between 8-10 local children per year with financial aid assistance, on a case-by-case basis. They strive to provide scholarships to local students; In the past 3 years, $30,000 of financial aid was directed to local students.

TIDE Academy is always trying to contribute to the community, and knows it will not thrive without support from Tamarindo. Financial aid is written into our budget because having well-rounded students that want to be in the classroom is the epitome of TIDE Academy.

When a student attends TIDE, the directors aim try to help them choose a path that fits their lifestyle as well has his or her future goals. TIDE try to support their graduates by helping them find local internships in the field they are interested in while they are still at TIDE. Students have completed internships at: local veterinarian clinics, architect firms, law firms, organic markets, and local fashion designers.

It is well-known that Tamarindo is a surfer’s paradise. TIDE designate time for surfing, encourage students to join the surf team, and since TIDE was established we have graduated

more professional surfers than any other institution in the area. Our unique class schedule allows the students to train and travel without falling behind on their schoolwork.

In tandem with becoming a professional surfer, we teach our students about the environment and bio-diversity. We want TIDE students to be stewards of our beaches.

Future Plans

TIDE Academy will continue to provide personalized learning tailored to students needs and family’s lifestyles. They understand that not everyone has the same perspective on education, and are continually striving to better accommodate and adapt to personalize individual’s education.

They hope to continually involve more experiential learning experiences, include service learning and off campus learning experiences. They will continually grow the school’s resources, materials, and facility to provide the most meaningful education experience.