Timoneros, Steering TCS Into the Future


Laura Santa Maria, Discoverer Staff Writer

A group of school leaders, Timoneros, gather monthly to analyze data and monitor the progress of the school in meeting the goals laid out in the Columbus School Navigational Chart.

The Navigational chart was developed to guide the vision and mission of the school and how those goals will be accomplished. It is divided in several sections. The goal of Vision 2020 is for TCS to become one of the best international schools in Colombia, leading with English and global/critical thinking.

“We have the 4 H, which is everything that has to do with academics. So where are we going with that, again we are trying to work with coherence. We are trying to make sure that the grading systems in all the schools are aligned with the standard based system, the excellence in English and maths “Ruth Allen, TCS Superintendent, said.

The Navigational Chart includes eight subcommittees selected to guide each part of this process. Each section is responsible for implementing one aspect of the overall plan. The committees are: Columbus Heart, Ecolumbus and Columbus 4H, Character and Values, Columbus Talent, Columbus Voice, Columbus Accountable and Columbus Life. The job of the Timoneros is to monitor the progress of each section of the chart and assure that plans and expectations are met.

“So the idea with Timoneros is a way to ensure that things get done. Because frequently schools spend a lot of time and effort identifying areas for improvement, drawing up plans and having this beautiful excel files full of plans and ideas, and they don’t actually get done,” Allen said.

Teachers and administration members have been selected from different fields in order to involve as many students and other members of the Columbus community.  12th-grade science teacher Jose Vega a 12th-grade teacher is now the Timonero of Ecolumbus replacing Juan Fernando Mesa who previously occupied this position. His goal is to increase the student involvement in EColumbus projects. For Columbus Heart,  Mary Luz Mesa is the Timonero leading the social programs of the school including the Columbus School Foundation.

“Timoneros is a group which has been named as the responsible people for moving the strategies of the school forward. It’s named Timoneros because we use the symbol of the ship, these are the people who have been charged with leading that forward, they are “steering” were these strategies go,” Allen said.

In each meeting, the data for each area is presented to the board in a variety of ways. One of the most popular and useful are infographics. Some of them are hung around the school so parents, teachers, and students can see them. Currently, they can be viewed hanging in on the Boardwalk between the Administration Building and the Theater.

“I think it is a really good idea for Timoneros to show the progress and ideas using infographics around the school. Although these could be worked on so they are more appealing to the eye,” Valeria Arango, 11th grader, said.

The goals, the progress and the vision of each area are determined in monthly meetings when each timonero updates the progress made the previous month.  

“In Columbus Voice we identified that we needed to have a more coherent language in school, one that everybody connects with. So Columbus Voice is looking for a way to have a “soundbite” but there are certain focus words and ideas that drive us forward, so we identified create, connect, explore and inspire. With these 4 words, we can describe what the pedagogy is at school.” Allen said.

These meetings not only ensure that progress has been made, but they provide the leaders with ideas to develop in their respective areas. When infographics are created and presented on the meetings Timoneros have the chance to walk around the room giving observation, ideas, and compliments.

“Basically what we do is we meet more or less every month and we try to make sure that we are reporting on what each initiative has done. Each Timonero prepares a poster before the meeting saying what they have done during that month. We would then walk around and leave post it with comments or feedback on the posters. ” Allen explained.