Secondary school ies gaspar sanz

Instituto De Educación Secundaria
Ies Gaspar Sanz


Meco is a municipality in the eastern part of the autonomous Community of Madrid and is located approximately 50 KM northeast of Madrid. Meco’s economic history is rooted in wheat, flour, bread, and salt mining. 

Over the past thirty to forty years, Meco’s housing has grown to be very affordable for families not wanting to live too far from the two nearby metropolitan cities of Alcalá de Henares and Guadalajara. Located between Meco’s middle class, modest community is lined with chalets and quiet neighborhoods and Alcalá, is a high-security Swiss-modeled prison built in 1981. The prison has been mentioned in movies, such as the Money Heist (La Casa de Papel) and its association with celebrities that give the prison its reputation.

Spanish Ministry of Education

The Characteristics

Through the Ministry of Education’s Bilingual program, I was assigned to the IES Gaspar Sanz high school located in a rural village in Meco. This high school has Compulsory Secondary Education (Educaciòn Secundaria Obligacion called ‘ESO’). The medium-sized school has two buildings, one designated for middle school classes (Secundaria) and the other for high school classes (Bachillerato). The middle school has 4 levels with approximately 24 classes, while the high school offers 2 courses of primary and secondary Bachillerato. The high school offers sciences and social sciences but does not offer professional education.

The Place

Also on-site, the school has a recreational building and two courtyards separated by greenery with a picnic table. Tucked away in nature, you can often see biology class students working on activities that involve the study of nature and climate-influenced projects.

In ESO, there is particular education program PMAR (Programa de Mejora del Aprendizaje y del Rendimiento), that try to help to some students that have education-learning problems (and maybe, another social problems or in their families), but with learning program could continue with academic studies in the future.

Fortunately, the students have access to information technology and audio-visual departments, highly qualified music teachers, physical educators, and a chemistry and biology lab.

Source: Google Maps

The population

On average, there are about 700 students and approximately 50 teachers.  At the core of the school, you will be greeted by 3 front desk attendants who are friendly and eager to meet the needs of everyone who enters. The school’s professionals are made up of a Director, Secretary, Bilingual Administrator, Counselor (with 2 support staff), and a Nurse, to name a few. The teachers are required to have, at minimum, a Master’s Degree in Education and a degree in the subject that they specialize in.

The Experience

My experience with the school has shown me a highly supportive and welcoming administration, staff, and caring teachers. I have seen this positive energy in various social settings: in how they treat me, how they interact among themselves, and with the students. During times of COVID-19, I felt safe when the school took precautions to comply with and adhere to national healthcare restrictions.

I learned that the students experience annual excursions, where the school allows each department to host excursions annually, with objectives related to their coursework. In years past, during the Spring, students traveled to London, and in the Winter, students traveled to colder regions to learn how to ski.  Additionally, the departments are allowed to make field trips to travel to various locations in Spain, and as far as Valencia to view museums, monasteries, ‘ferias,’ and other expositions.

The school offers what are called ‘tutoria’ hours. These schoolwide events are held for the purpose of discussions/conferences on: preventative accidents; alcohol and drug use, violent behavior, bullying, and gender violence, to name a few. These tutorias also allow civic professionals the opportunity to introduce themselves to the students, such as, police officers, medical professionals, and firefighters, to name a few.