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Sep 19, 2014

Arlington Academy of Hope: Sept 2014

students hard at work!
students hard at work!

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!

A student's artwork for the 10th Anniversary!
A student's artwork for the 10th Anniversary!
Community service by volunteers and students
Community service by volunteers and students
Happy to be at school
Happy to be at school

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Sep 19, 2014

AAH July - Sept Report from the Village

Community service by volunteers and students
Community service by volunteers and students

While June-August is traditionally school vacation for primary school students in the U.S., in Uganda, schools have three terms with shorter breaks throughout the year.  At the Arlington Academy of Hope's (AAH) school in rural Uganda, students were busy learning and studying.  We had volunteers this summer from several countries, and they assited teachers, tutored children, and managed to squeeze in a little playtime at recess!

The Reading Challenge was kicked off with the help of visiting volunteers from the U.S. and Europe.  This is an exciting time of year, as students read at least 50 books each, and many read lots more.  There were also math challenges this year, to help demonstrate that math can be fun.

In July,  AAH celebrated its 10th Anniversary...ten years of transforming lives in rural Uganda by performing community service qnd helping out at nearby schools. .While we have had challenges, we have also had extraordinary success as measured by test scores, graduation rates, and acceptance at secondary school and university, and want to share this with others.

In August, our second class of secondary school graduates headed off to university!  One of the students is even studying to become a doctor.  This is an amazing feat for a humble rural school! 

Recognizing the suceess AAH has had academically, the Govrnment selected AAH to host a National Conference on how to improve public schools nationwide.  We were honored to be recognized as a model of what works, and delighted to have over 100 visitors for the day. 

Next quarter, 7th graders will take the all-important national standardized Primary Leaving Exam (PLE) to determine if they can go on to secondary school, so both 6th and 7th graders (and their teachers) have been putting in long hours of preparation.  This month, we will also be helping students at over 20 public schools be better prepared for the PLE by sharing practice tests and me=aterials with them. 

To our supporters, you cannot imagine how many heartwarming notes and messages we get from the students thanking you for changing their lives and giving them a future!  Thank you!

Students visit the US Embassy resource center
Students visit the US Embassy resource center
A student's artwork for the 10th Anniversary!
A student's artwork for the 10th Anniversary!
Kicking off the Reading Challenge
Kicking off the Reading Challenge
students hard at work!
students hard at work!

Links:

Jun 20, 2014

AAH April - June 2014 upate

Mother Daughter Day at school
Mother Daughter Day at school

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.

Secondary student Justine excelled at Girl Scouts
Secondary student Justine excelled at Girl Scouts
World Read Aloud Day 2014
World Read Aloud Day 2014
Amos lost an arm and leg in a wild pig attack
Amos lost an arm and leg in a wild pig attack
AAH student athletes qualified for Nationals 2014
AAH student athletes qualified for Nationals 2014

Links:

 
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