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Mar 11, 2020

Progress Report and Plans for 2020

Library Makerspace Under Construction
Library Makerspace Under Construction

Dear Friends and partners,

The year 2020 started in earnest from day one. The following are some key indicators for our Education program -

  1. At the end of the year when schools closed in October 2019, we had a total enrollment of 142 students, 55% (78) were boys and 45% (64) were girls. There was a 15% increase for boys’ enrolment and 28% increase in girls’ enrolment compared to 2018.
  2. On 30th February 2020 we had an enrollment at the school of 121. Of these 44% (53) were boys and 56% (68) were girls. There was a 15% (21) drop in enrolment compared to February 2019.

This can be attributed the fact that we had a transitioning class that was exiting the school and no clear strategy and plan to ensure new admissions in the new year

  1. Of the 6 classes targeted for completion in 2019, we have completed 100% of Pre-primary 1, Pre-primary 2, Grade 1. 95% of Grades 2 & 3 is 95% complete with only lighting and a few fittings remaining undone. All the classes are currently in use.
  2. We transitioned 19 students at the end of October 2019, with 95% transitioning to high schools and vocational training centers.

 

A year ago, in February 2019, we set out to achieve the following goals. I have indicated how far we went with achieving them

  1. Complete the construction of 6 classes; 5 are generally three-quarters done, and have been roofed. 1 class has been tiled, painted and had glass windows installed. The construction of 1 will start from foundation level.
  2. Complete girls’ ablution block. In 2020 we will continue this goal by raising $1200 to complete its construction by end of July 2020.
  3. Complete building a Learning Makerspace for the school. The structure is halfway done and requires $2000 to complete. We target to finish this by August 2020.
  4. Install outdoor playing equipment for pre-school children.
  5. Enroll at least 150 children by the end of the year 2019. We enrolled 142, a 95% success. Our new target is to reach 170 students in February 2021.
  6. Skill and talent development are a core mission of the organization. We had the goal of students participating in cognitive games like Chess to build their critical thinking and logic skills. The Acres of Mercy Kings & Queens Chess club has now been active for more than a year. The club had an active membership of 15 students as at end of February 2019. We have 65% of all students active in club activities in the school program. For example, the Chess Club has an active pool of 20 students and a membership of 22 students aged 5-15 years. The club is fairly equipped with 14 chess sets. We hope to acquire 10 chess clocks and a demonstration board for $330 by the end of the year.
  7. Equip students with literacy skills through reading and comprehension interventions. Between January and February 2019 over 100 story books have been borrowed from the school library and remediation classes are ongoing for children without foundational reading skills beginning at phonetical knowledge and skills. By the end of the year 2019 students had borrowed 969 books. Our goal is to have 1500 books read by children by the end of the year 2020.
  8. Ensure children are attending school regularly and are learning. By the end of February 2020, 90% of boys were attending school regularly, a 12% increase from last year. Overall Absenteeism stood at 15.08% at the end of January 2020.
  9. We also had a goal to Improve parental participation in the school life of the children under their care. In January 2019, we have had 2 parents’ meetings with a parental attendance of 50%. In January 2020, parental attendance increased to 60% of the parent population. We are still working on achieving 85% parental involvement for our school programs. Our social worker visited 60% of parents and guardians in the year 2019.
  10. Our fundraising target was to increase the support to the children from $2554 to $5000 by end of 2019.  We managed to get to $4033 disbursed to the organization to support the children program, a success rate of 81%. We will maintain the $5000 target for the end of 2020/2021 year.

On behalf of the Board, the staff and the children of Acres of Mercy we thank you for your continued support. Let’s make 2020 with all its unprecedented challenges a successful year

Children Participating in Chess Club
Children Participating in Chess Club
Mar 11, 2020

Teacher Engagement Report and Plans for 2020

Teacher Working with Class on Reading
Teacher Working with Class on Reading

Dear friends and partners,

It’s my pleasure to report on the progress we made in pursuing our goals for 2019.

In April 2019, during staff training and coaching sessions, a way forward on improving teacher performance and improve students’ involvement in education was reached. A fourth goal was incorporated during our teacher in-house training in November and December 2019.

Teachers agreed that the following goals should be pursued: -

  1. Student mentorship to motivate students and support them during their time at school
  2. Improve the level of Parental Involvement in their children’s learning
  3. Improving students’ fluency in reading and comprehension
  4. Improve teacher capacity to improve curriculum delivery and raise achievement of students and close achievement gaps for students not meeting expectations.

The decision to have these priority goals was necessitated from attendance analysis, student achievement and parental involvement data throughout the year. This Attendance Data taken from all classes revealed that average school-wide attendance at Acres of Mercy Learning Centre was 79%, down from 85% from the previous year (2018). The team agreed on a goal to improve attendance for the following term. To enable attendance and improve learning outcomes, two other areas were identified as critical. These other goals are aimed at supporting students both at school and at home.

 

During the year we had staff training that covered the following topics: -

  1. Conflict management to equip teachers in de-escalation strategies
  2. Achieving Congruency in Pursuing the School Vision
  3. Personal Development Goals
  4. Student Engagement

We made a decision to have a full-time teacher mentor whose main job description is to support students in and out of class. The teacher also doubled as a social worker making home visits, mentoring the students to set achievement goals and stay on task with meeting their set goals.

A total of 11 teachers and a volunteer attended.

Our staff turnover rate measured for the same period last year increased from 23% in 2018/2019 to 34% in 2019/2020. The organization has a target to change 30-45% of staff who are not contributing to the goals of the school without too much disruption.

We still have plans to have a Day Care Centre that will allow for lactating female staff to resume teaching at the school after their maternity leave. The planning is underway and once completed will be posted as a project on GlobalGiving upon approval by the Board.

A better remuneration plan was developed and approved by the board. The bulk of the work now remains in raising revenues to meet these changes.

By the end of 2019 year, we still haven’t found an answer to the question on how to sustainably finance our teaching costs. This is the main question we are now grappling with, and invite you our partners to share from your experience how we can implement such a strategy. The organization is in negotiation with local farmers to engage in joint agribusiness to supply the school feeding program whilst also funding core costs.

I trust that with our continued partnership we will be able to keep our current crop of teachers. in the coming months we will need help in meeting our increased direct teaching costs in salaries, which has gone up and $400 in monthly recurrent giving would cover the shortfall.

Thank you for supporting the teaching and learning at Acres of Mercy by giving to the most important people in learning- our teachers.

Dec 16, 2019

End of Year Report 2019

Dear friends,

As we draw nearer the end of the year, we begin to take stock of the past nine months and what we have achieved together. And it's been no doubt a great year and also a tough one! For the teachers and the students.

Let's go over the achievements and challenges of the year:-

1. The teachers saw the transition of 19 students, 6 girls and 13 boys.

2. We had an average school teacher to student ratio of 1:14

3. The teachers had a good annual attendance record of 93%

4. Teachers were able to achieve a content coverage of an average 82.7% school wide. Grades 4-8 achieved 100% completion on critical content areas  (examinable).

5. During the year we hard a turnover staff ratio of 28.57% (a total of 4 staff left during the year).

6. Teachers completed 3 in house training sessions and 3 teachers completed Competency Based Curriculum training organized by the Ministry of Education and the Kenya Private Schools Association.

7. In November teachers planned around 4 priority areas for the year 2020 around Curriculum Delivery, Parent Engagement, Student Engagement and School Safety & Environment.

8. Throughout the year, teachers had access to support in curriculum delivery and planning with the help of a full time Education Support Officer.

9. We capped the year this December by having a staff lunch out together.

As we head into Christmas, I'd like to thank you once again and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2020!

We celebrate you! 

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