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Sep 16, 2019

Trellising Teaching

Dear friends,

We all would agree that teachers require support. Just like grape vines need trellises to bear the weight of the fruit produced during harvest, so do teachers who produce the fruit of education need support to ensure learning and teaching  do not succumb to the burdens of schooling, parental challenges, administrative expectations and student behaviour challenges.

This is why Acres of Mercy created the position of an Education Support Officer to coordinate school- wide teacher and student support.

The various kinds of support given to teachers during the last three months beginning June have included:-

1. Curriculum support- Teachers are supported to plan for lesson delivery, resource identification and mobilization and lesson reviews.

2. Supporting teachers to achieve the set school goals namely; student mentoring, parental involvement and supporting literacy achievement especially in reading and comprehension

3. Supporting teachers on linking home and school

4. Supporting teachers in alternative forms of discipline

With this support teachers are better able to focus on achieving overall school improvement goals as they feel supported.

By supporting collaborative work, the teaching staff are able to achieve congruency in delivering of agreed upon goals.

In the period from June 2019, this program received slightly over $36 to support its work. We believe with more support we can even do better and achieve more with regards to teacher support and professional development in ways that will have lasting impact in the achievement of students within the school.

Thank you for your continued support and will look forward to seeing many more partners come on board to support this work.

Jun 17, 2019

IN PURSUIT OF GOALS

New Classes Already in Use
New Classes Already in Use

Dear friends and partners,

It’s my joy to report on some of the progress we are making 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.

Teachers agreed that the following three 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

The decision to have these priority goals was necessitated from attendance analysis from first term. 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.

As we work on the above improvement goals, a lot of progress has been made on our general goals for 2019.

  1. School enrolment: This has grown from 124 in February 2019 to 134 in June. We are on target to achieve 150 enrolment by the end of the year. This should be bolstered when we complete three new classes by end of October.
  2. Classroom Building- We have two complete classes now and three classes have been plastered and now only need to be fitted with windows, doors, tiles and painted a project that will cost about $ 3500.
  3. Reading Culture- Between February 2019 and June 2019 over 869 books have been borrowed and read. This is more than last years 2nd and 3rd term put together (598). Our goal is to have every child reading a book a day and every preschooler having a book being read to them every day.
  4. Skills, talent development: - Students continued developing various skills, namely through our Clubs. Active clubs include the Chess Club that has given students 26 hours of training from February 2019. The club has 2 boards and a membership of 16 players between 8 and 15 years. Students continue to learn problem solving skills, foresight, and strategy through this club activity. Scouting and Environmental Club have also engaged its students throughout the whole term and have a membership of about 24 students.
  5. Student Mentorship- We engaged a teacher in the full-time role of Student Support Officer to drive our student mentorship program. We will review the next quarter’s attendance records to determine the progress made since this intervention was initiated. The full-time support position requires $150 per month to be successful, and involves weekly home visits and phone calls to students who are falling behind in their attendance and engagement at school.
  6. Parental Participation- Teachers agreed to engage with parents at class level while the management finds ways to engage with the parents at a school and community level. At our first meeting in the second term in may we had 42 parents out of 58 parents attended the meeting. (72%). We hope to improve this figure to 85% by the end of the year. A challenge is to get parents voluntarily following up with their students on learning goals. Only 23% of parents school-wide currently do this. Our parental engagement strategies are targeted at improving this situation.
  7. Fundraising- As at June 2019 of the monies raised, 5.3% were from partners on GlobalGiving. We know that by working together we will find ways to raise this to 20% by the end of the year as we increase monies raised to directly support our children’s programs from $ 1700, currently to $5000 by the end of the year.

As our partners, I would like to make an appeal to you: - Be our ambassador this year, invite friends, find unique ways to give, donate a birthday, give a gift card especially as we celebrate this year’s Father’s Day.

To all our partners who are Fathers, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY.

 

Thank you all for your continued support to Acres of Mercy’s work with the children.

Students Learn by Working on A Desk Repair Project
Students Learn by Working on A Desk Repair Project
Jun 17, 2019

IN-SCHOOL TEACHER SUPPORT UPDATES

Staff at a Past Coaching Session
Staff at a Past Coaching Session

Dear friends, partners and colleagues,

In April 2019 we had a three-day staff training that covered the following topics: -

  1. Conflict management
  2. Achieving Congruency in Pursuing the School Vision
  3. Personal Development Goals

During this period, teachers identified three major goals to improve student’s learning outcomes.

The goals included: -

  1. Student mentorship to motivate students and support them during their time at school
  2. Improved the level of Parental Involvement in their children’s learning
  3. Improving students’ fluency in reading and comprehension

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 makes home visits, mentors the students to set and stay on task with meeting their set goals. The role also involves ensuring that teachers are getting support in engaging with the students with the aim that all students in school are learning. This involves a lot of counselling and alternative discipline methods.

To equip teachers in de-escalation strategies, we conducted a Conflict management training where 11 teachers and a volunteer attended. This training continues this month of June.

Our staff turnover rate measured for the same period last year dropped from 43% in 2017/2018 to 23% in 2018/2019. This is a marked improvement from previous years and indicates that more and more the support the teachers are getting are allowing them to stay employed with us. The organization is looking 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 is also currently being developed so as to allow the organization retain its staff during government recruitment seasons. The government plans to recruit additional teachers and mostly get their teachers from the ones currently employed in the private sector giving them better terms.

How do we 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.

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.

Teachers at a past coaching session
Teachers at a past coaching session
 
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