Caribbean International Academy Updates

Dear Parents,

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff at CIA we were pleased to have been able to open our school as soon as possible after the Hurricane on September 25th.

We understand the importance of maintaining the maximum number of instructional hours for our students to ensure the successful completion of their studies.

Therefore, to compensate for the 3 weeks that students missed while our school was closed we have altered our school calendar and adjusted the length of our school day until the Christmas holidays.  Additionally, for our high school students this will ensure that exams can still be held before Christmas.

We have cancelled the October holidays next week.  CIA school will be open to students all of next week, as well as November 9th and 10th.  In addition, we have added an additional instructional day on December 21st, the last day of school before the Christmas holidays.

We have added an additional day and a half in June with the last day for students now being at the end of the day on June 11th instead of at noon on June 8th.

Starting next Monday, Oct. 9th, the High School day will begin 20 minutes earlier with first period classes beginning at 8:15am.  Each of the 4 High School periods will be lengthened from 75 to 80 minutes and the day will finish as it was before at 2:30 pm.

Our Elementary School (K-8) day will also be extended.  An additional 15 minutes will be added to the end of the day with students being dismissed at 2:30 pm.

These measures will help us re-gain close to the 15 days we lost due to the Hurricane.

Just a reminder that the school tuition fees are an annual fee and we provide parents the option to pay monthly.  Therefore, with the adjustments the annual fee remains unchanged.

Hurricane Irma certainly affected and altered the lives of so many on St. Maarten.  During these difficult times, the changes that we will implement will help ensure that we continue to offer a high level of academic excellence in a supportive and caring school environment.

We are hopeful that there will not be a need to further re-adjust the calendar.  However, with Hurricane season still upon us, we will clearly communicate to parents if there is a need to make further changes.


Todd Chisholm

Principal, CIA School

Dear Parents,

We’re pleased to announce that CIA and Montessori will re-open its doors to students on Monday, September 25th as promised.   We fully realize that your families have been impacted to varying degrees by the two recent hurricanes, but hopefully the school can provide some sense of normalcy in your children’s lives.

We would like to give you an update about our progress for the re-opening of the school after Hurricane Irma, as well as giving you an idea of what the school program will look like for the coming weeks.

As you know, we’ve been working hard to get the school in shape for students to return on Monday.  We’ve had parents and students help us in this preparation and we really appreciate their efforts. Despite Hurricane Maria’s arrival this week, we still have managed to get the classrooms ready to go.  The air conditioning companies are making the necessary repairs and replacements to ensure comfortable classrooms.  The school’s generator will supply the power and the Cupecoy area has had the water restored.  The school also has a backup cistern if needed.  We still have a few classrooms that are awaiting window repairs but we currently have sufficient classrooms for our revised schedule of classes.

At the CIA grade 1-8 level, we will be combining grades 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6, 7 and 8 for the time being.  Students from Miss Chitra’s class will join Miss Hanneke’s and Miss Esperanza’s Montessori class.  We expect that students will be returning at various dates, so adjustments will be made as needed.  We already have the necessary teachers on island for the elementary classes.  In Montessori, it will be classes as before.

At the high school level, we have a timetable set up for the arrival of the 5 key high school teachers who will be returning from Canada.  Hurricane Maria has complicated their return, since our routes through Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe weren’t available.  Fortunately, we have found several substitutes on the island who are available on a temporary basis to fill in the necessary gaps until the Ontario teachers arrive.

In high school, some classes will be combined at the same grade level.  In most cases this means that the two levels (Academic/Applied or University/College) of a course will be together to start with.  For example, the grade 9 Academic math students will be in the same class as the grade 9 Applied students.  Teachers are trained to deal with these “split” classes, since they exist in many small high schools in Ontario as well.  Additional teachers will be brought back from Canada when the class sizes are sufficient to split them up again.  We hope to have all students who are planning to return, back to school by mid October.  If a student’s return will be delayed beyond Oct. 15th, we ask parents to inform the school of the arrival date by filling out the survey at the bottom of this page.

We would like you to take note of the following important items.

  1. The school will operate on the normal hours.
  2. The playground area will be off limits for the first few weeks until the sand is restored.
  3. Students are asked to bring their own water (with their names on the bottle), snacks and lunch, since our food service suppliers are not up and running at this point.
  4. Students will be allowed to wear comfortable but appropriate casual clothes for the first week (sneakers only).  Beginning October 2, we ask that students wear the regular casual day school uniform.  If that is not possible, parents should write us a note with an explanation.
  5. ECA activities will be on hold until further notice.
  6. The swimming pool will be unavailable until it is drained and properly cleaned.
  7. For parents of Anguilla students, the ferry has authorization to come to the Police port. Busses will be arranged to bring the students to school from that port.

At the high school level, we’re confident that we will easily be able to have students complete all their credits as planned this year.  The Ministry of Education has been made aware of our situation.  Rest assured that all the necessary course content will be able to be covered under our revised plan.   We realize that there is particular concern for our graduating students.  We have the utmost confidence that they will be able to apply to universities with valid course marks at the normal dates (later in this calendar year).  They will also get the help required to complete University and College online applications.

We appreciate your support and understanding as we get the school back to normal.  We do realize that your family life has been impacted by the hurricanes and we will attempt to make necessary accommodations to ensure your child’s education can progress normally.  Please let us know if there are circumstances or situations that we need to be aware of.

Thank you and see you soon.

Caribbean International Academy & Montessori School in St. Maarten


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