Yspaniola Incorporated

Yspaniola empowers marginalized batey communities of Dominicans and Haitians in the Dominican Republic. Through university scholarships, a literacy center, and community development, we provide resources for individuals and bateys to access local networks and rise out of poverty.
Oct 31, 2014

An Expanded Staff

The Local Yspaniola Team
The Local Yspaniola Team

The past few months have been a time of growth and expansion for Yspaniola. In August, we welcomed four new staff members to the Yspaniola team. Sabrina Grille, our new Director of Community Education Programs, who received a Master’s degree in International Educational Development from Teacher’s College at Columbia University, will teach and direct programming in the Learning Center. We also added three Princeton in Latin America fellows, all of whom are recent college graduates and will be working with us for one year. Fellows’ responsibilities will include teaching in the Learning Center, grant writing, essay writing workshops for our university scholars, and administrative support.

The new staff is a great asset for the Learning Center, which opened in late September for the 2014-2015 school year. The new director, Sabrina, brings her knowledge and expertise to curriculum development and classroom management while the fellows contribute to lesson planning and aid in resource creation. With an expanded staff, we are able to provide greater classroom support including more individualized attention for the students. In addition, we have added a new class, Class 6, which is a guided reading club for our oldest students. The instruction in Class 6 develops critical reading and analytical skills for the older, more advanced readers, previously in Class 5.

We are excited for the progress and growth in the year to come!

Princeton in Latin America Fellows
Princeton in Latin America Fellows
Jul 21, 2014

Summer Camp and Assessments in the Learning Center!

Emily learns about the digestive system in camp
Emily learns about the digestive system in camp

Yspaniola kicked off its two-week summer camp this Monday, July 14th. The summer camp caters to students aged seven to thirteen in Batey Libertad and features lessons and activities in science, art, health, and sports. This year, we have over eighty campers, thirty-two local volunteers, and eleven international volunteers! In addition to providing the campers with two weeks of fun, the camp also gives teens and young adults in the community the opportunity to develop leadership skills. Teens receive training to be activity teachers and camp counselors, and are integral to the entire planning process.

To register for camp, children in the community were required to take the Early Grade Reading Assessment, which our teachers completed with the help of staff, interns, and community assistants. These assessments are part of Yspaniola’s Learning Center’s monitoring and evaluation system, which includes in-house phonics and reading assessments, as well as the Reading A-Z system. Preliminary data indicates that students who reguarly attend the Center are advancing in their reading levels far faster than expected. Our most at-risk students, children in 5th or 6th grade reading at a Kindergarten level or below, have had almost one full year of reading growth during the last 6 months of classes. Along with tracking student advancements, this monitoring and evaluation system allows Center teachers to track individual students’ strengths and weaknesses, enabling staff to tailor lesson plans and curricula to individual needs.

In the years to come, we are looking forward to more summers of fun, learning, and assessments in Batey Libertad.

Campers play limbo in "Sports"
Campers play limbo in "Sports"
Magdala, Angelica and Lovli make masks
Magdala, Angelica and Lovli make masks
Jan 13, 2014

Introducing New Curricula!

Geremy reading in the Literacy Center
Geremy reading in the Literacy Center

Yspaniola welcomes the New Year with revised curricula for students at the Batey Libertad Learning Center.  With additional resources, including over 70 children’s books and interactive math tools, our new curricula will focus on problem solving, reading comprehension, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence targeted toward individual student needs.   

Yspaniola will also be recruiting an additional teacher for the Learning Center and introducing a new and much larger space with additional classrooms, a library, and an office.  All of these changes will contribute to a better learning environment for the students of the Center as they continue to improve their reading, writing, and math skills.  With the help of students from the University of Rhode Island as well as community volunteers, who will be helping us clean, paint, and organize the new space, the Batey Libertad Learning Center is set to re-open at the end of January.  With these changes, along with the increased consistency in attendance we’ve seen over the past two months, we are excited to welcome the students back and are enthusiastic that 2014 will be a year of success and expansion for Yspaniola!

Assisting a community member in the library
Assisting a community member in the library
 
   

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