EDUCATION SECTOR UPDATE- JANUARY TO JUNE 30, 2016
The year 2016 started with winter vacation- school was closed in the month of January. The next couple of months were busy in school, with the syllabus getting completed in February and the final examinations in March. Before the close of the academic session the school celebrated its annual sports day.
The new academic session started on April 5, 2016. Update on student & teacher statistics for the new session is below.
- Total of 149 students – a decrease of 10 students from last year (a cause of concern, and the reasons are diverse- an important factor is perhaps the upgraded local Government school in the same village).
- There are a total of 73 boys and 76 girls this new session.
- Staff strength reduced to 19 full time members – this includes a Principal.
- January- June 2016, six teachers have moved on- relocation, securing a high paying Government job and one of our staff member was awarded a prestigious fellowship award were some of the reasons for this move.
- We hired 3 new full time teachers.
We had 240 days of teaching in the last academic session. We observed a marked improvement in our students' writing, listening, and reading skills in language learning. The academic achievement for the core subjects of Hindi, Maths and English are below.
- 80% of students from class 1-8 scored above 50% marks in Hindi. Of this 26%scored between 71-85%, and 18% were extraordinary performers and received marks in excess of 85%.
- 68% of our students from class 1-8 scored above 50% in English. Of this 25%scored between 71-85% marks, and 13% obtained extraordinary scores-above85% marks.
- 67% of our students from class 1-8 scored above 50% in Maths. Of this 23% scored between 71-85%, and 17% were extraordinary- scored above 85%.
We launched the ABS School calendar in April. The calendar tracks the school’s activities- working days, holidays, events, projects, workshops and monthly Parents Teachers Meeting (PTA), and School Management Committee Meetings (SMC) for the entire year.
School Bus Update
Seeing a sharp drop in new admissions this year, we decided to start a taxi service to the nearby villages to pick up and drop students. We have 30 children using this facility since May 1, 2016. The taxi picks up children from the villages of Diyari,Peora, Kumati and Kaphura. The response has been over-whelming and we started another taxi in July, from the villages of Chhatola, Sitla, Satkhol and Dobatiya- covering the other direction.
We received a large grant from Helping Elsewhere Foundation, UK and the Mercedes Benz International School (MBIS). This grant was specifically donated towards purchase of baby scooters, kick scooters and tricycles; we used a small part of this fund (with permission from the donors) to purchase other sports equipment- i.e., badminton rackets, shuttle cocks, cricket bats, tennis balls, football and volley balls. Our school sports and youth wing activities have received a huge boost now!
Alongside settling into the rhythm of academics, the children were exposed to a series of educational, creative, and artistic co-curricular activities. The first in line was Atul Pant’s science workshop, which was an extension of his ‘tinkering’ workshop conducted at ABS in December 2015. The entire activity of tinkering made our children think and collaborate and learn some essential life skills. Next in line was the butterfly workshop, conducted by Peter Smetacek, a leading expert on Indian butterflies. He gave an entertaining presentation to the students- demystifying everything about butterflies, took them for a nature walk and got them acquainted with local species and other flora and fauna and then taught our children how to make some stunning origami. In early May, we had Puranjay, Sakshi, Hemant and Raiva- all young and talented students from Delhi come down to teach our students to make shelves, coffee tables and other craft items. Later, the same month we organized 2days of art workshops. ‘AkkaBakka’, a New Delhi based team of 3 artists worked with our children and teachers to create a fun-filled and visually creative feast!
The month of May ended with computer workshops by the enthusiastic team of Gautam, Ashutosh and Dharmendra from Quovantis- a software company. They spent time introducing our children to HTML programming and then later introducing our teacher to e-learning videos to aid their teaching.
Teacher Training & Professional Development
Renu Sharma came on board in February this year, working part-time (3 days a week), as our Education Consultant. Renu comes with expertise in primary and middle school education in the field of language learning and enhancement. She has previously worked with an NGO called Pratham for several years with their “Read India” campaign. She has been actively involved in our teacher capacity building workshops, and introducing innovative and interactive teaching methodologies. Her presence has greatly assisted in stabilizing systems related to curriculum, collaborative planning and teaching, child-centered classroom activities, long term and everyday planning, maintaining of resource files, teacher mentoring and student and teacher evaluation.
In January 2016, four teachers were selected for the ‘Saral Tandon Award’. Theselection was based on their appraisals and performance. The top performers were Kamla Bisht, Neema Rajput, Poonam Bisht and Kumari Vimala. They spent a week in Mumbai and visited schools like Zaya Learning Center which uses technology to enhance student interest and learning as well as to support teachers in their classroom teaching. Akanksha, Muktangan, and the American School were other schools they visited, and also interacted with teachers. This award has proved to be a great motivation for our teachers to be more creative and innovative in their work.
ParibhashaYadav: Paribhasha, a vibrant 17 year old volunteered with us over a period of 2 weeks working on creating a template for ABS’s first ever community newsletter, teaching poetry to our children and putting a together a skit on cleanliness with children of class 8.
Monika Shukla: Monika spent 2 months with us in school, helping us review the early child curriculum and goals for the kindergarten- LKG and UKG. She reviewed the curriculum for Social Studies for classes 6-8. While she was here, Monika also supported Teacher training efforts in Lesson Planning and English teaching in the class rooms for classes 6-8.
Rajshree Doshi:Rajshree is a coach for Senior Programme Managers at ‘Teach for India’ (TFI). She also coaches principals at the Akanksha Foundation- they run the not for profit schools. Rajshree comes with an experience of coaching and mentoring teachers and Principals for almost 28 years. We were privileged to have her as a volunteer at ABS for 2 weeks!
Asmita Joshi &Madhu Upadrasta: Were both together for a period of 10 days and worked exclusively on the library- reviewing & reviving the older system that was put in place. They worked with teachers to coach them on the importance of creating reading habits among the students, and brainstorming with them on library activities and story-telling sessions!
ABS Staff New Joiners
- Pradeep Rastogi started on April 1, 2016 as the class teacher for class 7. Pradeep teaches Mathematics and Social Studies to classes 6, 7 and 8. He comes with a total teaching experience of 10 years. Pradeep enjoys sports, especially playing cricket. In his free time, he loves teaching the neighborhood children, meeting parents and engaging with the local community.
- Hema Bisht joined ABS on April 1, 2016. She is the class teacher for class 5. Hema teaches Environmental Studies and Science. She has a total teaching experience of over 6 years. Hema loves nature- feeding and taking care of stray dogs and enjoys pottering in her garden growing flowers and vegetables.
- Geeta Joshi started with us on June 1, 2016. She was earlier teaching in Kumati Primary school- classes 1 to 5, all the subjects. She has a total work experience of 2 years. Geeta’s father is also a school teacher. She enjoys teaching Mathematics and also maintains the upkeep of our library resource centre. Geeta takes a keen interest in getting computer literate and is spending time in our computer centre learning the skills.