Middle & High School

English Department

Poetry Showcase


In an interview with Marie-France Alderman, bell hooks said, “I am passionate about everything in my life—first and foremost, passionate about ideas.” Whether our students are just beginning with us or have been with us for many years, the English Department at Pacific American School is dedicated to the teaching, first and foremost, about the power of ideas. Our skill based writing courses build on each other to ensure our students learn how to ask the right questions because the right question can move a discussion forward better than the right answer. Our students are encouraged and taught to approach a variety of texts critically by interacting with them through annotations. Writing is incorporated organically in all our courses so that by the end of their studies at PAS, our students can handle language precisely with an awareness of context and audience. An emphasis on rhetorical devices and appeals is placed within our studies of nonfiction texts so that students are able to discern arguments and persuasive strategies authors use. By teaching our students to be passionate about ideas, we not only teach them to ask the right questions but more importantly, we expect them to learn how to answer those questions using multiple perspectives. Our department is employing Project Based Learning so our students have the chance to go outside of our immediate community to contact specialists while researching through databases to gain a deeper understanding of questions they have posed for themselves. These projects are a natural invitation for our students to challenge themselves through researching complex ideas and how to communicate what they have learned. More specifically, students study the nature of communication, where and how it has happened, the symbols systems we use to communicate, and the mediums we use to communicate in. The annual Poetry Showcase gives our students a chance to explore poetry written by authors around the world while also giving our students a chance to create their own poetry through various mediums of expression. While a great portion of our time is dedicated to the ever expanding world of texts, at the root of our department, we still believe that that reading literature enriches a student’s understanding of themselves in relation to the various cultures of the world. It allows them to enter into the lives of others throughout history so that they can compare their own thoughts and experiences to universal ideas. Students at all grade levels are encouraged to cultivate a passion for reading in order to learn what it means to be human.

Math & Science Department


Teaching and learning is made more meaningful in the classroom by teachers engaging their students in a variety of engaging tasks. Problem based learning, having students debate about ethical issues pertaining to Human Genome Project, gene manipulation, etc., conducting lab activities to consolidate concepts, and involving them in projects like planning a green building followed by a presentation by the students. Most teachers have Google classrooms through which assignments are posted and assessed. Assessments include both formative and summative. Rubric based assessments are used for projects. Students are given regular feedback on their progress. Elementary school students have interactive notebooks to make learning more interesting. Classroom activities include 10 minute question-and-answer session on a set day about homework, students practicing new problem-solving methods on the board, and having student name cards to randomly to call on students to ensure that every student has a chance to respond. Cooperative learning activities like Gallery Tours, Think-Pair-Share, Round Robin, Walk the Line, and Four Corners are practiced. Zaption is used for animated videos with embedded questions to verify understanding of concepts. Review games with use of technology like kahoot, quizlet, plickers and socrative are some of the student’s favorites. Students are also engaged in learning by conducting virtual labs. Math Olympiad is held during the first semester is an annual event. Students compete in Middle, Lower and Upper High School levels. They are given challenging questions that tests their analytical and problem solving skills. The other major annual event hosted by the department is the Math and Science fair held in the second semester. Here again students compete in Elementary, Middle, Lower and Upper High School levels. Elementary and Middle School students choose from Physics, Chemistry, Life Science and Earth Science categories. High School students have a wider range of categories like Psychology, Statistics and Computer Science apart from the standard science categories. Students compete in groups of either 3 or 4. They choose a project in a category that interests them and complete the project by applying the scientific method on inquiry. Participating in the Science Fair project gave opportunity for students to model the ESLRs identified by the school in a tangible way. The winning teams are recognized for both these events. Awards and certificates are given to them in an assembly. To plan and conduct study oriented field trips, to have an effective vertical and horizontal plan, to promote project based leaning, and to be evolving teachers are some of the realistic goals that we have set for ourselves.

Science Department Intro Video

Global Consumers Project

Social Studies

Social Studies Intro Video


The Social Studies Department at PAS offers a wide array of courses in history and the social sciences from grades 1 to 12 at the Regular, Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), and ESL levels. Because all students have unique strengths, interests, aptitudes, and prior knowledge bases, teachers aim to differentiate instruction and apply evidence-based instructional strategies to meet the needs of all students. Our focus in social studies is on preparing students with both the conceptual understandings and the skills needed to succeed not only in premiere universities but also as global citizens in our rapidly changing world. Accordingly, our courses emphasize the 21st Century skills of critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, research, and academic writing. Since students learn best when they are intrinsically motivated to succeed, they are given a high degree of freedom when choosing topics of interest for essays and other research projects. A large proportion of our students also greatly benefit from participating in our outstanding Model United Nations (MUN) club and go on to represent PAS at national and international conferences in such places as the United States, China, Singapore, the Netherlands, Qatar, and of course, Taiwan.

Art & Design Department


PAS Visual Art Department (PAS VAD) is a Discipline-Based Art Education (DBAE) system focused on production, aesthetics, critique, and art history.  Students are taught to integrate information, inspiration and skills from across the curriculum to provide visual creations and understanding on a personal and universal level.  The Visual Art program also creates a balance with other academic subjects by giving students the opportunity to be expressive as well as to excel in the visual language of art. The Visual Art curriculum has been sequenced to ensure that visual arts are available to all students in order to provide a solid structure for those students wishing to pursue art in college. PAS VAD focuses on guiding students to make connections with art as a method of communication, as a conduit for empowerment (whether in the act of creation or in the observed experience). It also focuses on engaging with art practice to develop students who are well-rounded, emotional, logical and globally-minded.  The goal of the Visual Arts program is for students to experience, reflect, feel, explain, and adapt through various approaches. Visual Art uses a variety of traditional and digital media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography as well as other material processes such as collage, print making, stenciling etc. The Visual Art program focuses not only on art production but integrates art history as a point of reference and with other subjects: math, science, technology and literacy skills.

Art Department Intro Video

Physical Education Department

Sports Day


The Physical Education program at PAS provides physical lessons for students ranging from grades 1- 12. The program is taught by one full-time PE teacher who instructs all students and coaches the boys’ basketball team.  In addition, PAS offers extra-curricular sports after school: MS/HS boys’ and girls’ basketball, MS/HS swimming, badminton, table tennis, tennis, and track and field. While PAS used to offer Health to ES students as part of the P.E. curriculum, it had been discontinued for the past two years. HS Health is offered as a one semester credit course at the high school level. The aim of the PE and Health program is to promote health awareness and fitness.  The MS/HS students attend PE in 90 minute classes twice per week, for four quarters of outdoor PE. Grades nine to twelve have the option to choose outdoor PE classes or basketball class. All programs in MS/HS have an emphasis on striving for individual personal bests in a safe environment. Fitness testing is a component of PE classes for all levels of students. The MS/HS PE program include the following components: fitness, sports, games, and health. Every third week assessment tests by the instructor is utilized for MS/HS fitness testing in the area of muscular strength and endurance, aerobic capacity and flexibility. Students participate in the following tests from this program: cardio-timing, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-n-reach flexibility test, shuttle test, and chair dips. Sports units include: soccer, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse, American football, ultimate Frisbee, softball, floor hockey and more.


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