On a Monday morning in San Cristobal, a cluster of students sits in the town square. All eyes are fixed on a young woman who reads an oversized picture book in a loud, sing-song voice. Around the group, birds caw, dogs bark, diesel trucks jug by, but the children’s eyes remain on the book. When a child calls out, spurring a ripple of conversation, the woman stops, touches one finger to her lips, raises the other hand, and the kids quiet down again.
The kids were brought out to the square for this special reading activity by Ligia, one of our education promoters. They are outside because their classroom has no room for a group activity. It’s a bit hard to tell a hallway from a classroom in the San Cristobal school. The school is so small and overcrowded, corridors have been turned into classrooms so long and narrow they fit just two columns of desks with a slim walkway down the middle.
Outside, students encounter even more distractions than in the classroom, requiring a command of the class that is challenging for even the best of teachers, but here there is much more room for interactive learning activities.
Education promoters like Ligia will help San Cristobal teachers to lead new, engaging lessons and to learn new techniques for keeping students’ attention. Expanding our reach San Cristobal is one of two new schools benefitting from our education promoters in 2012, bringing our total partner schools to six. The other new school is the afternoon school in San
Miguel Escobar, several blocks from the morning school, which we already partner with.
San Miguel Escobar Vespertina
Like the morning school in San Miguel Escobar, the afternoon school has a very large student body—600 students—that will benefit greatly from the extra
classroom support. By partnering with a second school in this community, we will be able to share staff, resources, and facilities, including the homework center space that we have already rented for the morning school.
San Cristobal el Bajo
San Cristobal is a small village where we have many sponsored students, yet there is still great need—many more children and families are eligible to join our programs. The community is comprised of ravine dwellers who live in homes perched on the hillside behind the school. While the school building is small and cramped, the staff is very
eager to partner with us. They have a long-standing principal who is a strong leader and will be a great facilitator of the education promoters’ efforts in the school.
More schools, more impact
We are excited to expand into two new schools, to strengthen the reach of our School Partner Initiative’s quality education programming in 2012. Work in the new schools will help us continue to increase the efficiency of the program, as we further develop this pilot that could be replicated more broadly down the road.