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In 2016, Kara boarded a plane to Bolivia. When she accepted a job at Highlands International School in La Paz, she never imagined she would be there for more than 2 years.
Now, she mentors new teachers, helps the school maintain its accreditation, and gets to be part of providing an English speaking, Gospel-centered education that would otherwise be unreachable for children in this area!
After facing challenges from a year and a half of teaching virtually (due to covid and civil unrest in Bolivia), Kara is finally back in person with her students…
What does school look like with students back on campus?
Students were finally able to come back to campus on September 13th – 18 months after going online!
We are still operating on an A/B schedule, so we have half of our students on campus each day for four days a week. Highlands is one of only a handful of schools in La Paz with government permission to be operating in person at all, so we feel extremely blessed!
Working in this in person/online semi-present model has been very taxing on our teachers. They are all very tired, and we are hopeful that we will be able to move back into a fully in person model soon. It looks like we may be able to, pending government approval!
At the beginning of April, we have our official accreditation visit. I was encouraged by the “virtual readiness visit” we had in November that went very well, but we still have a lot of work to do to have everything prepared for April. I am working hard to guide everyone in this work, and I am growing a lot in this role. It’s been a big challenge for me, but I’m learning how to be a better delegator and also how to not be in control as often. I’m not very good at that!
We are just about to start a new semester, which always brings new challenges. We’re waiting to see what spiking covid numbers will mean for us and seeking wisdom with how to best proceed.
Like most schools, Highlands is facing staff shortages, and seeking to fill those gaps without overwhelming our staff. We are also working on our hiring for next year, which is always a process in prayer and trusting the Lord.
Any other exciting news to share?
Speaking of trusting the Lord, I have followed the Lord’s leading and signed a commitment to return again next year!
That will be my seventh year at Highlands. I panicked at signing the initial two-year contract, so every year I make a new commitment is a new stressor. However, I knew this was where the Lord was leading me.
Leaving at the end of this year seemed like a logical place to move on since our accreditation will be renewed and my discipleship girls (with whom I’ve been working for five years) will be graduating, but God is telling me that somehow my work here isn’t finished yet.
Even though I can’t tell what it is, I’m trusting Him to reveal that in His time. Nearly everyone in my community was surprised but excited that I am staying rather than going somewhere new. Since I’ve committed myself to this community, I now feel like I have stronger relationships than I ever have before, which is a new, wonderful sort of weird!