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Our primary school and secondary school students are back at school and studying hard. This year, we have increased emphasis on math and science to help students gain the background and skills the workforce in Uganda seeks. The materials for the Annual Reading Challenge are being prepared for each grade at the prmary school. The Challenge, which begins in July, will incorporate some math and science topics as well.
We believe in well-rounded education, including physical education. We're thrilled that thanks to some very special donors in the U.S. and the U.K, we have at long last been able to get construction equipment to the remote mountain village to make the school field safe. It was fill of rocks and a very uneven surface which led to injuries. The field will be enjoyed by children from the village and nearby schools as well.
On a related note, 18 of our primary school students won at the district track and field event and went to Nationals in Lira! Competition was tough but it is a great experience for the students, and winners receive a point that helps them get into University. The results are not yet known but we're wishing them luck!
We have partnered with Asante Mariamu and Restore International to help students with albinism go to school. Every child deserves to go to school. We also have two schoolchildren with serious medical needs -- Amos lost an arm and a leg in an animal attack as a small child, and seventh grader Miriam is battling leukemia. We hope that both can be back at school soon. Check out our website or Facebook (Arlington Academy of Hope) for more details.
And on the outreach front, we are providing training, books, and some school supplies at nearby underresourced public schools. We are also giving some support for a school lunch program at the nearby Bulobi school, so children can be fed and stay for the full school day. It's hard to learn when you're hungry, and students at nearby schools often go home at lunchtime and don't come back to school in the afternoon.
None of this would be possible without you, so we extend our sincere gratitude. Thank you for making a difference!
At our Health Clinic in Bupoto, we're fortunate to have former intern Moussa return to put in place a new computer system which will make it easier to track patient information at the busy clinic. Prior to this, the clinic kept paper records for more than 10,000 a year. This was cumbersome and staff intensive. Also visiting the clinic was Dr. Peter from the UK, who developed the sytem. He has been kind enough to provide us the software and a laptop -- we are very grateful. We hope to upgrade the solar energy at the clinic, to keep the new computers and and everything else running! Staff are being trained in the new system, and it will be interesting for the students volunteering there on the break to be able to see a modern system in operation. The clinic serves as a trainining site for students interested in a career in health care, as many secondary and university volunteer there over school breaks, weekends, or holidays. There are also several health care scholarships for secondary school students. At AAH, we believe there are many paths to a child's success and our focus in on helping them gain an education, job skills, and experience which will improve their employment prospects once they finish school. We also had a six-week volunteer at the school looking at other training opportunities and programs which could help the children.
While June-August is traditionally school vacation in the U.S., Ugandan schools operate on a 3 term system with smaller breaks throughout the year. So over the past few months, our primary school student and teachers have been hard at work studying and learning! Teachers were assisted by many volunteers from a number of countries, who helped in the classroom, tutored small groups, and helped students needing a bit more help to keep pace with their classmates.
July marked our tenth anniverary...10 years of transformation and achievement. In the village, we celebrated by doing community service and helping at nearby schools. The health clinic hosted special events, including cancer screenings. There was also a big event where students showcased their musical and dancing talents.
The annual Reading Challenge was also kicked off, where students read at least 50 books and solve math challenges as well. The school and schoolyard is full of readers!
We were honored to host a National Conference on improving school performance. The Government asked to have the event at our school, and we were delighted to have over 100 visitors for the event.
At the moment, our seventh graders are studying extra hard for the all-important Primary Leaving Exam (PLA) which determines whether they will be able to continue on the secondary school. For the past 7 years, we have had a near 100% graduation rate! We also want students from area schools to do well, so we share practice materials with over 20 schools. The data shows that the area schools we have assisted through various outreach activities are among the most improved in terms of PLE results, so it is worth the effort.
A huge thank you to our supporters who make all this possible!
Mark your calendar! June 25th at noon EDT, Microsoft will give a 100% match on your donations to AAH made on this Global Giving website. Please join us on June 25th at 12pm. Please share this opportunity with your friends, as every donation matters!
This year is our 10th Anniversary, and with your support, much has been accomplished! There have been challenges and adjustments along the way, but that is part of the learning process and part of development.
Primary School. Our school is in the top 2% of more than 19,000 primary schools nationwide. We’ve been busy both at our primary school in a tiny mountain village in Uganda, as well as at the nearby local schools we lend a hand to. We can only accept a fraction of the students who apply to our school and local schools are often in dire condition. In addition, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our model by helping local schools interested in reform to improve their performance. We have provided school supplies, teacher training, girls mentoring, and in some cases, teamed with partners to build classrooms in order to reduce class size. We give scholarships to the top students at area schools we work with, as an incentive to their students.
There has been more emphasis on math at the school, as this is a growing need in the job market these young students will eventually be in. In order to give the students a strong foundation for secondary school and beyond, we are strengthening math and science. The AAH Annual Reading Challenge this year incorporates math and reading. The summer reading challenge is a big event at our school, and the children will each read at least 50 books and complete 5 math activities. The school participated in World Read Aloud Day, to encourage reading. AAH students read to lower grades, to local schools, and at nursery schools.
In April-May, we welcomed teams from Lasell College and Marymount University who did teacher training, helped introduce new teaching techniques and activities, did girls mentoring workshops, and helped teachers and students prepare for the all-important Primary Leaving Examination (PLE). In Uganda, it is not automatic that students continue on to secondary school after 7th grade; students must pass a competitive national standardized examination (the PLE). The assistance of Marymount and Lasell has an impact in boosting morale and skills at local schools, and building self-esteem. For example, we measure the impact of PLE training by testing students before the training, then testing them again after the training sessions and practice. There is a definite increase in scores – not just immediately after the training but also months latter when the students take the actual exam. We believe this is one of our more important “outreach” activities because it empowers students continue their studies after 7th grade, when primary school ends.
We aim to give all our students the where-with-all to succeed. The class was full but we could not turn away Amos, who lost an arm and a leg to an attack by a pig. He will have special challenges as he grows, and we knew local schools wouldn't have the resources to help him. He more than keeps up with the other children, inc. dancing or playing at recess!
Secondary students. About 280 secondary students are studying hard at school. On school breaks, they come back to the village and have access to tutors at our school. They also perform volunteer service, which is something we emphasize. For those students who completed secondary school last December and do not start university until August, we have created a program where they serve as teacher’s aides in local schools. We also had secondary school graduates gaining experience at the health clinic. We provide a stipend and orientation, and they gain some “real life” work experience that builds their CVs and will ultimately make them more competitive in the job market.
One secondary student, Justine, did so well in Girl Scouts at school that her group won a national competition and even got to travel abroad for an African competiion! This has been great exposire for her, and her leafership skills and self-confidence has really grown.
Tertiary education. Not all students will opt to go to university, and that is okay. Some will choose to go to a vocational school, nursing school, or teaching college. As each student chooses the path best for them, we recognize there are a number of valid options for gaining education and job skills.
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