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Creative, Inclusive Teachers Matter

In Guatemala, one out of every three first graders fails and has to repeat first grade. But at New Hope School, it is rare to see a first grader repeat the year. What makes New Hope School stand apart from other schools in Guatemala?


Having taught at New Hope School for four years, Carla Valenzuela explains the secret to the school’s success. “We all work in a coordinated way with a special focus on the students who are struggling and think creatively about the different strategies we can implement both inside and outside the classroom to help those students reach the desired outcomes, not letting any student fall through the cracks.” This comprehensive approach of teachers working alongside Common Hope social workers and psychologists ensures that each student is receiving the support they need to succeed in school.

Carla has been a teacher for 20 years and she understands that the most crucial and influential years of education occur very early in a child’s life, which is why she loves teaching younger students. “You can really shape them and clearly see the fruit of your labor,” she explains. Carla also credits the success of her students to an approach that encompasses more than just books and learning.

“I love being a teacher. But for me it’s more than the academic part. It’s so important to support my students by being a good listener, to show them that I care about them, to show affection. Especially for struggling students, if they feel affection the academics will follow.”

EDUCATION AS A WAY OUT OF POVERTY All of the students at New Hope School come from families with limited resources. Carla hopes that through the education they receive at New Hope School, they will gain the tools they need to be successful in life, get a good job, and are able to break the cycle of poverty.

Dedicated teachers like Carla are living Common Hope’s mission every day. Thanks to the crucial support of a United Way Worldwide grant on behalf of the generosity of Target, the work at New Hope School continues to make a real impact in the lives of children in Guatemala.Target has supported the Early Childhood Initiative at New Hope School since 2008 and we are so grateful for their ongoing support.

Thank you Target for partnering with us! Together, with the leadership and dedication of exceptional teachers like Carla, we are giving students the tools they need to build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

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