EdVillage envisions a world where all children, regardless of their socio-economic status, have access to schools that prepare them for higher education and a productive and fruitful life. EdVillage supports successful educators and education entrepreneurs that have proven they can create transformational schools and programs that prepare students from economically disadvantaged communities for higher education and life. Our mission is to help them scale and sustain their impact while enhancing the quality of their school(s) and programs.
Apr 21, 2014

EdVillage in South Africa: Scaling Good Schools

Vuleka students working on their fine motor skills
Vuleka students working on their fine motor skills

In March 2014, EdVillage expanded its work with Vuleka Schools, a growing network of primary and secondary schools that serve low-income children from townships in Johannesburg, South Africa. Working closely with Vuleka’s Managing Director, Mrs. Melanie Sharland, our team led a two-day school leadership workshop for her principals, offered a teacher development module for 50 educators (inspired by the work of Doug Lemov in Teach Like A Champion), conducted a full school review of Vuleka St. Michaels, and met with the central office’s fundraising team. These four activities are aspects of our EdImprovement work in South Africa.

A member of the Vuleka team wrote in an email to EdVillage CEO, Allison Rouse, “We have been so blessed to have you and your team at our Vuleka Schools over the last two weeks.  You have given us inspiration and new techniques to work with.”

Vuleka Schools began as a project in 1989 enrolling 59 black South African children. It was created as “a response to the crisis in black education during the apartheid years.” Vuleka was designed to prepare previously disadvantaged children for the rigors of selective private schools that were historically for white students only. Since its founding 25 year ago, Vuleka has grown from 4 classrooms to a network of 9 schools ranging from Early Childhood Centers to a nationally recognized High School enrolling over 1,000 students between the ages of 3 and 19. You can learn more about Vuleka Schools at: www.vuleka.co.za.

Our EdImprovement work is focused on helping Vuleka Schools, 1) improve the quality of the outstanding education they already provide and, 2) scale their impact by serving more students and creating new schools. We leverage the expertise of our staff, consultants, and volunteer instructional leaders from South Africa, the United States, and around the world to accomplish our goals.

A new EdVillage team member, Dr. Joanna Paul wrote, “This multi-faceted trip to South Africa was one of the most rewarding professional experiences that I have had in recent years. Our focus on conducting school reviews, training local review teams and delivering school improvement workshops provided me with the opportunity to learn new skills and practice or hone familiar skills in a new context with a new team.”

EdVillage is excited about our work with Vuleka Schools. In 2014, we plan to support a greater number of public schools through partnerships with districts, the national department of education, and corporate foundations. Stay tuned for more updates!


And, thank you for your interest and support.

Kate, Vuleka & Ky, EdVillage after observing class
Kate, Vuleka & Ky, EdVillage after observing class
Jul 23, 2013

3.2.1 School Leads the Way in India

The 3.2.1 School successfully completed its first year with over 100 kindergarten students. School leader and EdVillage Global Fellow Gaurav Singh, a Teach For India alum, recently won the Echoing Green Fellowship in recognition of this innovative school model. This summer, with the support of EdVillage, 3.2.1 hosted Juliana Worrell from Uncommon Schools to conduct teacher training as 3.2.1 prepares to expand. EdVillage also worked with curriculum developer TERC to provide their math curriculum free of charge for the benefit of the 3.2.1 students who come from the slums in south Mumbai.

In January, 2013, the Bombay (Mumbai) Municipal School Corporation adopted a public private partnership school model (akin to the charter schools in the US). The BMSC will partner with established low-cost school operators, like the 3.2.1 Education Foundation, and provide public funding for the education of disadvantaged students in Mumbai. The schools will have access to government owned facilities and will be reimbursed for a portion of their expenses. In return, the schools will prepare students for the standard assessments


Dec 26, 2012

Teacher training across the ocean

When EdVillage Global Fellow Gaurav Singh met Dr. Stephanie Smith of Georgia State University, he told her, “We must have you come to India.” Gaurav knew Dr. Smith’s work in cognitively guided instruction was a good fit for the 3.2.1 School he was creating to educate poor children in Mumbai. In founding the 3.2.1 School, Gaurav envisioned a place where students from low-income backgrounds can achieve the same academic results as their wealthier peers at elite private schools. Innovative instructional practices like the teaching techniques Dr. Smith studies are key to this vision.

Gaurav did indeed bring Dr. Smith to India this year with the help of Global Giving donors. She spent a week training the staff of 3.2.1 in cognitively guided instruction (CGI), an approach that helps teachers understand the ways in which children invent strategies to engage with the problems they face in arithmetic. This lets teachers understand the ways children engage with numbers so that the students truly learn. Gaurav is committed to ensuring that the curriculum at 3.2.1 is every bit advanced as the best schools in the world. 

Gaurav has furthered his vision of a school with “a focus on problem-solving and understanding versus just memorization” by using the TERC Investigations curriculum used in classrooms in the United States. This curriculum is specially designed to promote a deep understanding of mathematical concepts. Gaurav thought the cost of the Investigations curriculum would be a barrier to full implementation of cognitively guided instruction in the classroom but, with the help of EdVillage and Global Giving, he secured a donation of back-copies of the math curriculum from TERC. With these lesson materials as well as cognitively guided instruction strategies, the 3.2.1 teachers are well-equipped to foster problem-solving skills in their students.

Having worked closely with the staff of 3.2.1, Dr. Smith is excited for what their school will bring to the low-income neighborhood of Crawford Market just north of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminius (the old Victoria Terminus) in Mumbai.  She says that Gaurav is using the flexibility offered by a public-private partnership to “introduce a curriculum that will revolutionize what kids in India get.” Impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of the 3.2.1 teachers, Dr. Smith emphasized the value of young teachers who are willing to embrace new strategies. After seeing the teachers excited by a new approach to conceptualizing fractions, she noted, “They aren’t afraid to tackle [difficult material] and become better at the content.” She also stressed Gaurav’s role in building this excitement, praising how he “lets his staff see that this is really important just by his efforts and his dedication.”

Like many US charter schools, 3.2.1 is using these education innovations to help underserved students close the achievement gap. After visiting with members of the community, Dr. Smith remarked that the families who enrolled their children at 3.2.1 are “thrilled that their conditions could get better.”

The first 3.2.1 School opened in June 2012 serving 90 kindergarten students. The school will grow one grade per year all the way to grade 12. There are also plans to open more 3.2.1 campuses in the next few years.

Dr. Stephanie Smith, an expert in cognitively guided instruction in elementary mathematics, is currently an associate professor at Georgia State University.

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