It has been two years since we introduced this project to improve education in the State of Piauí. We would like to thank very much the 519 people who have dedicated their time to read our posts and contribute to our results. And we would like to share these achievements with you!
In total, over the two years that the partnership has been running, almost 120,000 children and young people, in more than 600 schools in 130 towns have been benefitted. These students’ pass rates, in the schools accompanied by the Institute, jumped from 86.5% in 2013, to 92.3% in 2014, whilst the percentage of students dropping out of school fell from 3.9% to 0.8%.
The Ayrton Senna Institute brought to Piaui’s Department of Education an administrative culture focused on results. The strategy implemented brought together leadership training, strategic planning, goals’ monitoring and the evaluation of schools’ indicators.
This can be demonstrated through the observation made by a school principal of São Miguel do Tapuio: “One of the most important contributions that the Institute has brought has been the daily monitoring of the students registered on a chart in each classroom, as well as the monitoring of reading and writing in the first years of primary education. The team from the Education Department developed this monitoring in all the schools, in the urban region as well as the rural areas, promptly intervening, whenever necessary, for the students’ success.”
There were numerous positive impacts on the lives of the students: from reading and writing improvement, to issues such as responsibility and discipline. The teacher Iraneide Santana, from Teresina, told us that her biggest problem had been the number of absences amongst the students, who often skipped school to help their families gather things from the waste dump near the school. “Today, my students choose which books they want to read. The awakening for reading, studying and their worth as citizens is what attracts them. Now they say that they prefer to come to school than go to the dump; they want to receive the green sticker, common and important goal of all students. No one wants the blue one, which means that they were present, but didn’t take part in the activities.”
We believe that the work developed has been incorporated by educators and should follow the path towards an improvement and strengthening of the public policies in the covered schools - policies that always have a student focus centered.
The educational solutions provided by Instituto Ayrton Senna demonstrate such impressive results because the organization is committed to training educators in a unique way. One of the greatest efforts has been the creation of training models that are up-to-date and provide in-depth content, as well as driven to solving problems effectively and able to be applied on a large scale.
Instituto Ayrton Senna strongly believes that on-going training as one of the most efficient strategies for the improvement of public education in Brazil, preparing teachers and connecting them to the demands of the 21st century. These trainings differ by the work with innovative methodologies, such as the practice of mentoring, coaching and the use of collaborative and long-distance learning, leading them to be protagonists of great changes in teaching.
According to Miracilda, one of the teachers benefited from these trainings “My first contact with the coaches was great. They made me believe that I could do much more than I was doing as a teacher. Today, I’m no longer that teacher from before who limited herself to looking at that student through their grades. Nowadays, I look at my student as human beings in development, who need my help and to be seen as persons. And it’s beyond the classroom limits that they will make progress.
Annually, Instituto Ayrton Senna Institute coaches more than 64,000 educators throughout Brazil.
Ongoing educator training adds to the quality of education in Piauí State
The work performed by the Ayrton Senna Institute has altered the administration of education in partner schools and this has been reflected in the students’ learning. Based upon an initial assessment and management tools, together with the ongoing training of the education departments’ staffs over the year, the education networks have been working with indicators and targets that guarantee the success of each child and young person.
One example is the result in relation to the reading and writing of the students in the 3rd grade of elementary education in the partner schools. According to the teachers’ evaluations, from February 2014, when the school year started, up to October, the children showed good levels of development.
With regard to reading, at the start of the year, one quarter of the students read slowly, syllable by syllable. The learning was so good over the year that, by October, this index had dropped to 10% and the proportion of children reading fluently had reached 68%. More improvement: the initial percentage of almost 60% of children who could only manage to read simple words fell to 20% in October, and more than half of them could also write words with complex syllables by then. Writing had an important highlight as well. Whilst 76.9% of the students could only write loose sentences at the start of the year, by October, only three out of every ten students still had this difficulty.
These are important victories that largely result from the ongoing training that the Ayrton Senna Institute teams provided over the year. In 2014, the central issue was the school curriculum and its implications in the school practices.
Here are some observations from educators working in the region:
“The texts from the ongoing training that cover the curriculum demystified lots of things that we hadn’t felt comfortable with up until then. A curriculum in our municipal education system was something that was still a long way away from being a reality. With this new knowledge, provided by the Institute, we can definitely work with the students’ needs and we will also be confident about what content and skills it will be important to develop within a specific period of time.” Silvana Pereira Maia – Teacher and Elementary Education Coordinator
“Studying the texts about curriculum led to a very important discussion on our school practices, making us take a fresh look at the purposes and the means of the education. From a broad perspective, from the classroom to the system as a whole, we are now able to see a vision of human and social development in our students in all aspects, and this has only expanded our sense of responsibility as educators, encouraging us to research and study the issue in more depth.” Francisco Herton Rodrigues Vieira – Municipal Coordinator of the Program
Maria de Sousa Municipal School is located in Água Branca, a small town in upstate Piauí. There are 215 pupils enrolled between the 2nd and 5th grades of elementary school, attending classes from 7a.m. to 3p.m.
In 2013, school principal Thais Cardoso Siqueira recognized that 30% pupils had obtained grades that were lower than those expected for the school year. On top of this, data collected on a monthly basis showed that there was a high level of absenteeism and many pupils were not doing their homework.
School’s administrators subsequently planned a task-force in order to confront these problems and increase pupils performance. Everyone was invited to take part in the activities involved in this process: secretaries, assistants, teachers, coordinators and the principal. Some activities were:
At the end of the third quarter, the rate of students below expected performance had been reduced to 23%, whilst there was a surprise at the end of the year: a 100% pass rate across all the grades. “This result was a victory achieved by all professionals involved in the teaching-learning process,” said Thais. “In order to obtain the trust and engagement of the staff, I had to show commitment, not swerve from the focus, be a true partner and believe in change.”
The actions developed at Maria de Sousa School are a success example achieved when management tools are implemented and when the watchful eye of the principal is equally focused on each one of the pupils. This is how Ayrton Senna Institute has been working over the past twenty years: believing that any child and any young person can recover and increase their knowledge to successfully move forward at school and in life.
A very serious education problem in Brazil is the high level of school failure that leads millions of children and youngsters to increase the age-grade distortion rates. This happens because of an educational system which still fails to deliver quality education to students, especially in the States of the North and Northeast regions, where Piauí is at. This State still features on the 2013 ranking with 34,7% of its students behind in their elementary studies, but has been investing to reduce this percentage. In four years, it achieved an 18% drop, while Brazilian average fell 14%.
This result is a consequence of public policies to improve education, like the partnership with the Instituto Ayrton Senna, whose educational programs have led hundreds of school leaders to believe their students are capable of learning and passing grades. Dropout has been decreasing and more children are moving forward in their studies with enthusiasm. The average passing rate at the municipal public systems that partner Instituto Ayrton Senna surpasses 90% and the qualification of results in external evaluations such as the Prova Brasil (large scale government evaluation) is a goal to be reached.
Thank all of you who contributed to our program so far, and allowed us to invest US$ 12.717 to benefit the children of Piauí. But we still need to raise further resources in order to reach our goal and we are counting on you to improve these children’s lives.
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