The Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) Preparatory School is located on the RUSVM campus near West Farm on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.
The prep school was founded in 2000 in response to the need for faculty of the school of veterinary medicine to have a school with an American curriculum for their children. The first year, seven students met with a teacher in the Faculty Lounge while a three-room building was being constructed. Upon moving into the new building, children were divided between the three rooms with daycare through kindergarten in one room, grades 1-4 in one room and grades 5-8 in one room. Teachers were paid $5.00 per hour and there was no set curriculum. More students registered, more teachers were hired, and more rooms were assigned to the prep school to house the growing student body. During the 2005-2006 school year, there were so many students in grades 6-8 that a Middle School was created in what was once the vet school’s Faculty Media Center. We hired two teachers for the Middle School, one to teach Math and Science and one to teach Language Arts and Social Studies. At that time we also asked the vet school's shop crew to move out of their space so we could convert it to a High School for students who were enrolled in accredited online programs. In the summer of 2007, we converted one of the Middle School rooms into a library in order to get the library books and shelves out of the first and second grade room, where we had an expanding student body and need for more space. As the need for more space increased, we then moved into the vet school's Staff Lounge to create a specific daycare area. In January 2009, a new facility was completed to house the prep school and we moved into our current building midway between the main campus and the student residences.
Administration worked closely with professionals from the Carol Morgan School in Santo Domingo to develop a state of the art curriculum and library system. Curriculum specialists, Judi Fenton and Mary Lane, came multiple times to do in-services with the teachers and assist in developing the curriculum and standards for all subjects and grade levels. CMS Librarian, Laura Talone, set up the library and trained personnel to keep things moving smoothly. The move was made to standards based grading, using a WebGrader program, and all of the teachers were trained to use the system. Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) were used for standardized testing to measure student achievement for five years before moving to Measures of Academic Progress (MAP). The students who have returned to the U.S. and England have done exceptionally well academically and socially.
The student population is somewhat transient in that many of the students are children of veterinary medicine students who are on the island for just over two years before returning to the U.S. for their clinical year. New vet students arrive and leave three times a year (January, May, and September) and so the prep school loses and gains students at those times. The current enrollment is about 80 with more than two dozen ethnicities, including children of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine faculty, students, and staff, and children from various entities of the St. Kitts expatriate community.
Teachers hold current U.S. credentials certifying them to teach the grade levels to which they are assigned. They include spouses of the vet school, direct hires through the International Schools Services, and members of the community.
A calendar is developed for each school year with 180 academic days. School is held on U.S. and Kittitian holidays except for St. Kitts Independence Day (September 19). On the American Thanksgiving, students cook, set tables, and serve a huge Thanksgiving lunch for their families and invited guests. At the end of the 180 academic days, Summer Camp begins and continues through the end of the summer. Summer Camp is optional and parents may choose the weeks that their children will attend.
The prep school provides numerous hands-on activities for students. These include Science Fairs, Author Days, a school vegetable garden and butterfly habitat, field trips, assembly presentations, social studies projects, art displays, community service projects, catamaran trips, beach days, and cookouts.