Message from the Director General
We know that teachers are the most important in-school factor that can positively affect student learning. Other factors matter as well – curriculum, facilities, leadership, resources – but every day it is our teachers who engage our students in the rich and diverse learning that is at the core of our identity at ASA.
We are fortunate to have excellent teachers at ASA, who devote their time and care to helping our students become the best they can be. Many ASA teachers hold advanced degrees, certifications to teach AP courses or other specialized classes, or qualifications to serve as members of AdvancED or AP evaluation teams. Most importantly, though, our teachers care about students and give their best every day.
ASA teachers teach in an environment with talented students, supportive parents, and a future-minded Board of Directors. When you put these elements together, it’s no surprise that our graduates go on to accomplish great things. ASA prepares students for global success, and our faculty is the driving force behind that effort.
As Director General here at The American School of Asuncion, and a teacher myself, I believe in nurturing a safe and professional working environment where educators can not only do their best work for students but also grow in the ability to make a positive impact. I invite you to learn more about our school, see yourself working with us, and apply to join our team and serve our students!
Dr. Ben Ploeger
- HS Math Teacher - Applications deadline: 03/08/2024
- Lower Elementary School Teacher - Applications deadline: 03/08/2024
Applying for an Open Position
Qualifications When Applying for a Teacher Position
- Bachelor's degree.
- A minimum of two years of full-time teaching experience, preferably in a diverse setting.
- A valid teaching certificate (Licenciatura, in Spanish).
- A commitment to supporting and celebrating diversity.
- Significant recent professional development.
- Technology expertise and a commitment to continued growth in personal computer skills and the integration of technology in the classroom.
- Strong communication skills.
- Master's degree.
- International school experience.
- Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) testing background.
- Advanced Placement experience.
- Interest in and the ability to coach and/or sponsor MS or HS activities or clubs.
Please include in your application package, 1 (one) continuous PDF file that contains the following documentation:
- Cover Letter.
- Three Letters of Recommendation.
- Current References.
- Copy of Teaching License/Certification.
- Copy of Diploma for Highest Degree Obtained.
The American School of Asuncion recruits through Search Associates, Global Recruitment Collaborative, AMISA, and/or you can apply directly for an open position, by emailing: [email protected] As part of our commitment to child protection, ASA completes a thorough background check on all candidates.
Getting to Know ASA
Life at the American School of Asuncion is never boring. ASA hosts a number of events that bring the ASA community and Asuncion’s community as a whole together. Below are some videos that will give you a small glimpse of what life at ASA is like.
Teaching at ASA
The American School of Asuncion welcomes applications from qualified, progressive, and experienced teachers looking for a vibrant, challenging, and rewarding teaching experience. As part of our commitment to child protection, ASA completes a thorough background check on all candidates. Employees of the American School of Asuncion work at a beautifully green, open-air campus in the heart of Asuncion.
ASA Admin and its Board of Directors conducts an extensive market survey of both the local and international (South and Central American) markets for employee compensation every year. Our goal is to remain in the top quartile in overall compensation for the area and the region. The school’s benefits package is commensurate and highly competitive for the market, offering such benefits as a comprehensive medical plan, a generous housing allowance, and extensive opportunities for professional development. ASA actively solicits teaching candidates through the services of several recruiting firms. Interested candidates can find the particulars of the school’s compensation and benefits package on sites/or with recruiting agencies such as AMISA and Search Associates.
ES classrooms are very well-outfitted, and each teacher is given an annual budget to order needed supplies. Students bring their own materials and (older students) devices. ES sends a supply list home for the next school year, so contact your teaching partners if you have a particular item you want the kids to bring. Special items like stickers, bulletin boards, etc. are available but can be hard to find and expensive. If there is something you must have for your classroom, bring it, or contact your division principal about specific items.
In each classroom, teachers have at least one PC desktop, digital projector, and a Smartboard. Additionally, all ES and some secondary school classrooms have document cameras. All ES classrooms have between 3-5 iPads and growing, with a class set being available for check-out. Finally, we are a BYOD school in MS and HS, where students bring their own internet-enabled devices for classroom work. In the division offices, in addition to a miracle-working secretary, a networked color printer is available with a hot cup of coffee! There are many technologies and services available schoolwide. This includes a teachers’ lounge with computers and a printer, a staffed copy room, computers and a printer in the Library and two computer teaching labs - ES and HS - which are sometimes available for sign-ups. Also, the MPR and MPR2 are available for booking presentations and events. The original Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) has a very large projection screen while the MPR2 contains a smartboard. In terms of tech staffing, The Technology Director and his IT team are knowledgeable and willing to help with whatever needs you might have. The Technology Director also serves as an Integrationist and assists teachers in effectively and creatively implementing technology into their lessons. For educational software, all teachers and students have Google accounts, which includes access to most tools in G Suite for Education including Mail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and several other Google Applications. All grades and attendance are done through RenWeb.
The curriculum is readily available for teachers via the Atlas Curriculum Management System. Standards and resources are also accessible via an in-house server, and a brief version on the ASA website. It is expected that teachers follow the general curriculum, map their lessons, and align both vertically and horizontally.
The school-wide PD goals and trainings are aligned to the mission, and to the curriculum. Recently, PD has purposely differentiated to fit the differing needs and preferences of teachers. Many teachers take the initiative to seek out training and development opportunities that they find beneficial and have received support from the school. Teachers are also sent to conferences a few times throughout the year. This year we had teachers attend the AASSA conference, a Google conference, School Counseling conferences, Advanced Placement Institutes, EdTech summits, and many more.
ASA parents care and are invested in their child’s success. Most parents are 100% supportive of the teachers and simply want to know what they can do to help their child improve. At the elementary level, parents are extremely involved. Room mothers (a structure supported via the PTA) are great for getting the word out or if you want holiday centers and assistance with celebrating birthdays. MS conducts student-led conferences, resulting in a high rate of attendance. Positives about children are always appreciated and one can never keep parents too well informed! There are newsletters, progress reports, and conferences, digital mailers--we have many ways we connect and communicate with parents.
Paraguay is a very social place and ASA students love to socialize--teachers should capitalize on this! Using a child’s natural inclination to share and express and treating it as a strength will only enhance group discussions, group projects, and pairs' work. Generally speaking, behavior problems here are minimal and our students are respectful. The ES has very successfully and thoroughly integrated the Second Step socio-emotional learning program, and you see the results on bulletin boards and in student writing.The common language and strategies developed within the program put everyone on the same page with regard to behavior and self-control in and out of the classroom.
The school is well established and the staff is wonderful! There is a good balance between work stress and satisfaction. There is a real sense of community and care but also a strong desire to enhance learning and teaching.
Like many places that are well established, the school has its traditions. Operationally, the school could run itself with little input--it knows how to be a school. However, education is about change and evolution and meeting the needs of the times. This, at times, but not unique to ASA, can be a challenge--moving in a different direction can take some work.
The American School of Asunción was founded in 1954 by parents from the U.S. community. In 1959 Paraguayan students were enrolled for the first time through a Paraguayan government decree. The school buildings on the present site were inaugurated on July 4, 1963, by the United States Ambassador and the Paraguayan Minister of Education. As ASA's program offerings and student population grew, the school's physical plant expanded to its present size. Our school has a rich tradition of educational excellence in the community and a commitment to continuous school improvement. Many children of alumni attend ASA and there is an Alumni Center on the campus.
Moving to Paraguay
There are many types of housing available depending upon choice. You will find houses, condos, and apartments. The neighborhood around the school is the most expensive, but even there you will find housing to fit your budget. With two or more housing allowances, or if you wish to live a little further out, you can live in a very nice house with a pool, garden, and a lot of space. Many staff employ nannies, gardeners, and housekeepers; these services are quite inexpensive. Generally, housing comes unfurnished so there is an initial investment for furniture and appliances. The allowance is generous enough to get things started.
Teachers walk, ride bikes, or may purchase a vehicle. Some teachers navigate the bus system. The resale value of cars is very good in Paraguay. Owning a vehicle enables newcomers to have freedom and explore the lovely country outside of Asuncion. If you choose to ride a bike, you have to be a very confident cyclist, wear a helmet and be aware of the roads. Riding a bike can be an adventure!
Summers are hot and humid. Having a house with reliable AC is a must, a pool is a big bonus. During the Fall (April/May) and Spring, (September/October) the temperatures range from 75-90 degrees Fahrenheit. This is fairly pleasant. The winter is cool enough to need a down comforter at night and coats during the day. It rains frequently and it is a sight to behold, especially if you are not used to tropical-style rain storms. The thunder and lightning are incredible and even beautiful. You will need knee-high rain boots.
It is always advantageous to speak a bit of the local language. Note that though the language of Paraguay is Spanish, it is sometimes mixed with the local indigenous language of Guarani. There are many people here who speak some English, but most people you will encounter at the grocery stores, your hired help, the grounds and cleaning crew at school, and people on the street do not usually speak any English. It’s rare to find an English speaker outside of the city. The school offers free basic and intermediate classes for teachers-take it! Hiring a private tutor will speed up your language acquisition! Speaking a new language can be a difficult and frustrating experience at times, but Paraguayan people are patient and love it when you try to speak to them!
It’s affordable depending on your priorities. The cost of living is low, and the cost of living on imported goods is high! You can save money if have that desire, and do not have bills in the U.S. Families with only one working adult may have a harder time--it’s really dependent upon you. Medical, beauty, and manual labor services are very affordable. Once a teacher is issued a Paraguayan ID, salary deductions for social services and taxes begin.
Health services here are easily accessible and your ASA insurance does cover health care expenses. The insurance is excellent and you will be attended by the best doctors in the country. Currently, we pay upfront and are reimbursed upon filing the claim electronically. Many of the doctors speak English. Generally speaking, you can find whatever medical service you want by tapping into the greater ASA community.
Depends on what you are into! Life is much slower paced here in general so people spend a lot of time cooking and eating with friends. Many people travel out of the city on the weekends and for vacations. Teachers do the same things as eating with friends, exercising, watching movies and TV, going to movies, and spending time outside. There are some nice parks and recreation clubs in and out of the city. On weekends you can go out to clubs/bars--Asuncion has them! Many people also find volunteer work. There are several ongoing athletic events (soccer, for one) and various ex-pat sponsored groups meet--the embassy is well connected to the school. Fundamentally, everyone should take advantage of traveling in Paraguay and South America!
The people are super nice. Raising a family can be an awesome experience here - the best thing about living in Asuncion. The ethos of the entire city is tranquilo. In case you’re wondering, Asuncion is quite safe as compared to other capital cities and not at all overcrowded. The weather is beautiful and many people just love spending time in the backyard with family enjoying an asado (BBQ). Paraguayans are genuinely friendly and generous and you’ll develop some lifelong friends. Paraguay is a landlocked nation located in the heart of South America, bordering Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia. The total surface is 406,752 square kilometers or 157,048 sq. miles. (about the size of California), and is divided into two very different regions by the Paraguay River. The Eastern region consists of rolling, fertile grasslands and farming, and also large wooded areas and jungle patches near the Brazilian border. This region is home to the majority of Paraguay’s population of about five million inhabitants. Most financial and cultural activities are concentrated mainly in the greater Asuncion area. The Western region, also called the Chaco, is a low-lying plateau covered with grassy meadows, bogs, piney bushes, palms, and small trees. This region is flat and ranges from marshlands in the south to an impenetrable shrub desert to the north. Because of its centralized location, Paraguay is an excellent spot from which to visit other South American countries. Flying to the major cities in the Southern Cone region is reasonable in time and cost depending on the season. Some ASA Staff opt to travel by bus in order to see the countryside. There are impressive luxury bus lines at reasonable cost that go regularly to Rio, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Santiago.
Paraguay’s climate is variable ranging from cold to quite hot and usually humid. It is subtropical, with summer and winter seasons opposite those in the U.S. Winds are generally moderate, but high winds, thunder, and spectacular electrical storms are not uncommon. On average, Asuncion receives 59 inches (150 cm) of annual rainfall, which is well distributed seasonally but with a greater quantity in the summer months. The eastern and southern borders receive even more rain than Asuncion. borders receive even more rain than Asuncion. Summer is from November through March, with January’s average maximum temperatures at 95° F (35° C) and its mean temperature at 82° F (28° C). Hot spells with high humidity are common. Once the thermometer reaches about 100° (38° C), a tropical thunderstorm is sure to cool things down, at least for a while. The relative humidity ranges between 67% and 78% year-round and can be particularly high in the summer. Needless to say, this high humidity requires an adjustment for those unaccustomed to the heat. Winter extends from May through August. There are cold spells with night temperatures in the 30’s (32° F = 0° C) and low 40s Fahrenheit (40° F = 4° C) accompanied by daytime temperatures in the 50’s (59° F = 15° C). These cold days are interspersed with several days in the high 70’s and even low 80’s (80° F = 27° C). Frosts are rare near Asuncion but occur frequently in the countryside. During the winter months, there are frequent and abrupt changes from winter to summer-like weather and back again. Daily changes of 30 to 40 degrees can occur. Such drops in temperature occur whenever a thunderstorm hits. There can also be an incredible difference in average mean temperature from one winter to another. Moreover, even if you are following the weather forecast on CNN and/or the Web and it appears like Paraguay has been experiencing only high temperatures in June and July, please realize that the climate can change dramatically in just a few hours. Don’t be misled by these reports. Be prepared for hot and cold on the same day!
The entire country of Paraguay is located in a one-time zone east of Eastern Standard Time. Since seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are reversed from those in the Northern Hemisphere, daylight savings time operates in Paraguay from approximately the first Sunday in October through the first Sunday in March. Approximately when the US moves the clock backward one hour to Standard Time, Asuncion moves forward one hour to Daylight Savings Time, and vice versa. Consequently, during the northern hemisphere winter (e.g. in December) Paraguay is two hours ahead of New York. During the northern hemisphere summer (e.g., in July), it is the same time in Paraguay as in New York. During parts of March and October, Paraguay is exactly two hours ahead of New York since both are on Standard Time together for just a brief period of time.
There are beautiful flowering trees and plants year-round in Paraguay (e.g., poinsettia, lapacho, and chivato), and fruits such as mangoes and papayas are in abundance. If you like plants, you will love it here. Paraguay also has some of the oldest and some of the rarest animals in the world. Jaguars, pumas, monkeys, tapirs, alligators, giant lizards, sloths, capybaras (world’s largest rodent, nicknamed “water hog”), armadillos, coatis (the raccoon’s cousin), peccaries (wild pigs), and ant-eaters inhabit the jungles along Paraguay’s eastern border and/or in the Chaco just west of Asuncion. Local bird watching and fishing are said to be among the best in the world. Paraguay is home to over 400 bird species; including rheas, parrots, parakeets, macaws, storks, herons, and spoonbills. Fishermen, professionals, and amateurs, regularly catch Surubi catfish as well as golden Dorados.
Discovered by Alejo Garcia in 1524, Paraguay was settled by Spaniards. Asuncion, one of the oldest cities in South America, was founded on August 15, 1537, by the Spanish conqueror Juan de Salazar y Espinoza on a natural bay along the Paraguay River. It was from Asuncion that several expeditions departed to different parts of the continent to find other cities. Asuncion, the “Mother of Cities”, was the center of regional Spanish colonization. The Colonial era goes from 1524 through 1811 when Paraguay earned its independence from Spain. It was initially led by three long-term rulers: Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia (1814-1840), Carlos Antonio Lopez (1840-1860), and his son Mariscal Francisco Solano Lopez (1860-1870). The latter led Paraguay to war (Triple Alliance War 1867-1870) against Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay which ended when he was killed. After a series of internal upheavals, Paraguay again found itself at war in the years 1933-35, this time against Bolivia in an effort to defend the Chaco. These major wars (Triple Alliance and Bolivia) were fought on Paraguayan soil and nearly wiped out the country’s male population. As a result of this situation Paraguay became nicknamed “Land of Women” and welcomed thousands of immigrants from numerous European and Asian countries which resulted in the racial mixture characteristic of today’s Paraguayans. Following a decade of civil unrest in the 1940s, General Alfredo Stroessner assumed power in 1954 and ruled for almost 35 years. He was overthrown by a coup on February 3, 1989 by General Andres Rodriguez (his son’s father-in-law), who then served as President for the remainder of that five-year presidential period. Upon completing his term in 1993, Rodriguez handed over the presidency to his elected successor Juan Carlos Wasmosy. President Wasmosy completed his elected term in August 1998 and was succeeded by Pres. Raul Cubas-Grau resigned in March 1999 following a week of unrest. The Presidency was assumed by Mr. Luis Gonzalez–Macchi following the constitutionally established line of power. The current president is Santiago Peña.
The government of Paraguay is now a republic with an emerging democracy. Paraguay’s most recent constitution was adopted in 1992. There are three main branches of government – executive, legislative and judicial. There are two main traditional political parties (Colorado and Liberal). A good relationship exists between the American and Paraguayan governments. Paraguay’s diplomatic representation in the United States is the Paraguayan Embassy which is located at 2400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 2008; telephone (202) 483-6960.
The mix of native Guarani Indians, Asians, and Europeans has created a unique Paraguayan culture. Less than 1% of Paraguay’s inhabitants are indigenous, mainly from non-Guarani tribes which represent numerous language families. They still live in isolated villages as far as possible from encroaching civilization. Unfortunately, many have lost their lands to agriculture. A relatively new aspect of Paraguay’s population is the large number of Asian immigrants, primarily Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. This immigration pattern is also evident at ASA, which has had a noticeable increase in Asian students.
The official languages of Paraguay are Spanish and Guarani. Most government and business transactions take place in Spanish. Guarani is still alive and spoken. Although it is an indigenous language it is not spoken by the few remaining Indian tribes but rather by the population in general. This type of bilingualism makes Paraguay a unique sociolinguistic phenomenon. Unfortunately, Guarani was forbidden in the schools until the 1970’s when it was introduced into the national school system as a required subject at the junior high level. In 1994, the Ministry of Education implemented Bilingual Education (Spanish/Guarani) in the elementary schools which are designated as Spanish-medium or Guarani-medium. Visitors who learn even a few words of Guarani will be most appreciated by Paraguayans. Interestingly enough, the scientific name of several South American species for both flora and fauna are based on words from the Tupi-Guarani language family, as are also several of the common names such as jaguar (dog like), piranha (devil fish) and jacaranda (a flowering tree also found along the coast in Southern California). ASA recommends that teachers model language learning for students and parents by trying to learn the language. Teachers can find off-campus tutors to help them learn Spanish even more quickly. In fact, many popular tutors are ASA Teachers. Depending on one’s current knowledge of Spanish, it would be very useful to bring a bilingual dictionary and phrasebook to Paraguay. Basic Spanish is taught to New Staff (for free).
Paraguay is primarily a Catholic country. There is a patron saint for most aspects of life. December 8th is the national pilgrimage to the Virgin of Caacupe, whose Basilica is located about 35 miles east of Asuncion. Religious freedom, however, is respected and assured by Paraguay’s national constitution. Several Protestant and Christian churches are well represented such as Mennonite, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, and Anglican. Some of these offer services in English, as does one of the Catholic churches. There are also congregations of Mormons, Assembly of God, Disciples of Christ, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Eastern Orthodox. A Jewish Synagogue exists as do centers of worship for Muslims and Buddhists.
During their orientation, ASA’s new staff are provided the opportunity to visit a few of Paraguay’s tourist attractions. By the end of their two years in Paraguay, the majority of our stateside staff have visited such sites as: Jesuit ruins (Southern Paraguay and Argentina) Yguazu Waterfalls (between Brazil and Argentina at Paraguay’s border) Golden circuit (Caacupe, Piribebuy, Chololo, Pirareta, Paraguari) San Bernardino on the Ypacarai lake (resort, casinos, and summer homes) The Chaco, west of the River Paraguay (abundant in flora and fauna) Franciscan church and Gaspar R. de Francia Museum in Yaguaron Nearby towns are known for their artisan handicrafts: Aregua and Ita: Pottery Carapegua: hammocks, bedspreads Itagua: Ñanduti (lace) Limpio: wicker and straw Luque: Jewelry, guitars, harps San Miguel: woolen items (handspun and hand woven) Tobati: wood carvings Yataity/Villarrica: aho-po’i (embroidery) Ypacarai: leather goods.
Asuncion is an outdoor city where many people spend their leisure hours chatting with family and friends in the front yard, along sidewalks or at poolside barbecues (“asados”), often passing around a gourd (or thermas) or horn cup (“guampa”) with a silver straw to sip the national tea, “yerba”. When served iced cold, this Paraguayan tea is called “terere,” and it quickly becomes a favorite beverage for many foreigners living in Paraguay. When this tea is sipped almost boiling hot, it is called “mate,” which is also consumed throughout all of the Southern Cone countries. When yerba is prepared like a regular herbal tea, often with burnt sugar, and drunk from a teacup, it is called “cocido”. Strolling is another common pastime for all age groups. Since the weather can be hot and humid many people take advantage of the air conditioning and head indoors to stroll through malls or go to the movies. In fact, there are several movie theaters in the city, and most films are in English with Spanish subtitles. Asuncion is a port city of about 900,000 people. It is located on an inland bay along the Paraguay River. The Paraguay River starts in Brazil and empties into the Atlantic Ocean about 800 miles south of Asuncion, at the ports of Montevideo and Buenos Aires, which is the mouth of the River Plate. As one could expect of a city 474 years old (founded 1537), the architecture shows some samples of Spanish colonial style, mixed with modern buildings and houses. In the last 15 years, a few skyscrapers have helped give the city a new look. In the residential areas, one finds exciting architecture with many beautiful homes and mansions surrounded by attractive gardens. Since Asuncion is a capital city, there are many diplomatic delegations representing the major countries of the world. Most embassies are located along the city’s principal avenue, Avenida Mariscal Lopez, including the United States Embassy. Asuncion is a city with beautiful plants and trees. The main avenues and important streets are asphalted but many of the side streets are charming rough cobblestone. In recent years, the government has developed a program of decentralization. For example, the Central Bank, Court House, and City Hall have moved away from the downtown area. Although most offices, banks, and hotels continue There are many pubs and discotheques and a large variety of restaurants that range from a simple “parrillada” (barbecue) to more sophisticated, international cuisine. You will also find standard fast food such as McDonalds, Burger King, and Pizza Hut. Some restaurants also offer colorful shows featuring guitars, harps, and famous Paraguayan songs sung in Spanish and Guarani, as well as local folk dances. The nightlife is active and fun!
Soccer is the national sport in Paraguay, and professional games are played almost every weekend. Tennis is a popular individual sport. Jogging and aerobics are common pursuits. Exercise opportunities abound with health clubs, gyms, pilates, and yoga. Basketball, volleyball, and soccer are popular. Water-skiing and jet skiing are possible not far from the city. Paraguay is well known as a fisherman’s paradise. Gyms and pools are available. SPORTS/extracurricular activities. Bike riders: You can buy bikes and helmets locally.
There are two major universities in Asuncion, the National University and the Catholic University, both offering a range of career choices. Many offer university courses in the evenings, and if fluent in Spanish, one might be able to enroll.
At various times during the year, concerts (classical, rock, and folk), plays, and ballet performances are offered to the public. Participants are local artists while sometimes international artists come to Asuncion as part of programs sponsored by the cultural centers of the various embassies. Cultural centers provide the city with a variety of other programs as well. A very active Paraguayan/American Cultural Center (CCPA) is available for your cultural use. In addition to its cultural program and English language classes, the CCPA also houses an excellent lending library of English books and sponsors lectures, displays, art exhibits, and conferences for English-language teachers.
Art galleries and museums are also popular. They offer exhibits of works by Paraguayan and international painters and sculptors. Asuncion and its surrounding suburbs have numerous museums as well as several historical monuments. Some of these museums are House of Independence, Casa Viola, Pantheon of Heroes, Ethnographic Indigenous, Fine Arts, Ceramics, Myths and Legends, Military History, National History, Botanical Gardens, Biological Inventory, and Natural History. They all make for great class field trips and for your personal enjoyment.
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