El Camino Academy was founded in 1980 to serve missionary families by providing a quality, Christ-centered, U.S.-based education in English for their children. The current student body is about 300 with an average of 21 students in each class, Pre-Kinder – 12th. El Camino Academy serves around 15 missions and has families from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United States, and Venezuela.
The academic staff has almost 40 teachers, including special teachers for music, art, physical education, and Spanish. The majority of the faculty members are missionaries who have raised some of their own support. Primarily from the United States, most teachers are state certified and many are also certified by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Qualified Colombian teachers form the Spanish department.
El Camino Academy is governed by a self-perpetuating board chosen from Christian parents representing some of the missions involved in the school as well as Colombian Christian leaders. The director is responsible to the board and is a non-voting member. Asociación Educando con Cristo is the Colombian legal entity which runs Colegio El Camino Academy.
ECA is a non-profit educational institution with an operating budget that is based solely on tuition fees. Donations are sought for major capital expenses and other special projects.
In 1989 ECA purchased a 1.15-acre lot on the northern edge of Bogotá. Donated prefabricated buildings were erected on the site in 1994, with elementary and secondary around their own courtyards. In April 2000, an adjacent lot was purchased and a 2-story brick classroom wing was finished in 2007 and an administrative wing in 2011. Currently, the “new brick building” houses most of the classrooms, as well as teacher offices, administrative offices, computer lab, and library with 20,000+ volumes, 90% of which are in English. A 3rd floor with a large MPR, a science lab, and art, music, and science classrooms was completed in 2015. The “old building” holds the auditorium, cafeteria, and meeting areas. An external dining area with an open kitchen is used for cooking projects and special events. Recreational facilities include a soccer field, a basketball court, a playground, a small field, and a large room used as a gym.
Foreign mission organizations currently represented at ECA (families and staff) are:
- Assemblies of God
- Brethren in Christ World Mission
- Christian Missions in Many Lands
- Comunidad Cristiana Carismática
- Edmonds Lane Bible Chapel
- International Mission Board
- Investing Hope
- JILOA Ministries
- Little Changes International
- Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
- Resourcing Christian Ed. Int´l RCE
- TEAM Global Alliance of Christian Churches and Missionaries
- Youth With A Mission – YWAM
ECA uses a U.S.-based curriculum for pre-kinder through high school, and students can also meet requirements for a Colombian high school diploma. Bible, PE, and fine arts electives are an integral part of the curriculum for all students. Preparation for Advanced Placement exams is offered according to student interest and staff availability. Secondary class periods are 45 minutes and most core subjects meet 5 times a week. Bible, PE, and electives meet 2-4 times a week.
ECA has been accredited by ACSI – Association of Christian Schools International since 1998 and by MSA – Middle States Association since 2018. ECA is also officially approved by the Colombian Ministry of Education (Resolution # 1593, May 2003), so students are able to receive diplomas from the U.S. and Colombia. To receive a high school diploma, students complete 22 credits. To receive a Colombian diploma, students must complete the 6 years of requirements of the Colombian government.
School activities include yearbook, student government, drama, music, sports, service outreach, and retreats. All grade levels are involved in service projects. 9th and 10th graders must complete 20 hours of service per year, while 11th and 12th graders are required to complete 40 hours of service per year. All students in secondary are involved in small groups, and many are involved in mentor/discipleship relationships. These are designed to enhance the educational process and foster student growth, leadership, and responsibility.
ECA meets 38-40 weeks, starting in early August and finishing in early June. The daily schedule runs from 7:20 – 2:50p Monday through Friday. There is a 1-week break each fall (the week before Columbus Day) and spring (the week before Easter Sunday), and a break of about 3 weeks around Christmas.
Students wear ECA shirts to school every day.