The school library has continued to be a beehive of activity since school opened in early February. And more recently, our volunteers from the U.S. arrived in Agwata with many activities planned for teacher training, student learning, and older girls' life skills training. And need we mention videos--a favorite of everyone!
We're grateful the library is available to be the center of all these activities while we are here. And we had to carefully request and fit ourselves into the library's already busy "normal" schedule. Each class teacher is encouraged to schedule time in the library weekly with her/her entire class, and most of them do!
This trip, our volunteers brought more videos, more laptops, more books on specific subjects which had been identified earlier, and also several classroom sets of books for our oldest two classes of nursery students.
So thank you, library donors, for making all these activities in the library possible:
The library gives the Agwata school teachers and students an enhanced opportunity for learning more about the entire world!
Thanks for making this awesome opportunity available to them!
Please share if you know others that might like to help with this!
I finally was able to visit the Agwata school for six weeks in August and September along with a teacher, Tricia, who traveled with me. I'm happy to report that the Agwata is now very heavily used and a key part of the Agwata community. The librarian, Lucy, remained at the library during Covid and has been a dedicated employee since the library opened its doors in mid-2019.
The library is used for many things. While we were there, Tricia was able to do training for both teachers and students in the library. Normally, when we are not there, the library is used by teachers for their daily planning activities, as well as special teaching sessions for their students. Students can also use the library during their lunch and free times to use textbooks for their studies and homework. Students who board at school can check out books as needed.
During August and September, students learned how to use encyclopedias for research and how to write reports on specific assigned topics.
In order to support this increased usage of the library, additional funding is needed to purchase more textbooks as well as to provide a more extensive solar system to provide not only lighting for the library, but to power additional technology equipment and to provide seurity lighting outside. Because of the library's central location within the school compound, larger solar panels on the library's roof could also provide lighting to the teachers' quarters as well as the other classroom building with no solar power.
We thank you all for your past support of this project which made the library a reality and really changed the school and helped it attract students and teachers alike. We encourage you to share this report with friends, family and co-workers who would like to help the students and teachers have increased study capabilities through more solar power.
Our newly constructed library continues to play a key role in helping both students in excel in their studies as well as teachers excel in helping students learn. It is a key reason our school ranked number 2 out of 74 primary schools in our district on last year's national exams for sixth grade students.
The second term of the Uganda school year began this week and both students and teachers rely on access to the library to complete their lessons, and ultimately to help them perform well on their year-end exams. Classroom textbooks are kept in the library so that students can access them after class or in their free time to do homework and do additional studying. This is the only access they have to textbooks as well as additional readers and other non-fiction resources to help them in their studies.
One small room in the library is also devoted solely to teacher resources and helps the teachers prepare their lessons. The photo attached shows two teachers preparing wall charts for their classrooms. The library also provides additional meeting space for teacher meetings as well as school meetings with parents.
The last remaining funds needed for this library project is to provide additional textbooks for students. For younger students, there are either no copies of some textbooks or only a very few copies. We thank you for your support in making this library project a reality and hope you will share with your friends and family about the last remaining funds needed for textbooks!
After a two year time period of no in-person schooling for many students, we're happy to report that the school year began this past Monday for all students from Nursery through university! This means the Agwata school and its library are very busy! This photo shows Lucy, the school librarian along with the Head Teacher, checking in pupils at the library.
This year's 5th and 6th grade classes are both very large classes with over 60 students in each. This means that besides textbooks for the younger students, the library needs additional copies of textbooks for 5th and 6th graders.
We hope that the remaining funds for this library project can be raised this year so we can buy the remaining needed textbooks as quickly as possible. The need is great because the lockdowns and restrictions in Uganda during Covid caused most parents'/guardians' incomes to decrease drastically.
Parents and students alike are relying more heavily on the school to provide the necessary textbooks and scholastic materials while the parents concentrate on providing food for their families. Parents are struggling to recover their livelihoods in a very poor country which was unable to provide any help to its citizens or their businesses during the pandemic.
We hope our library can be a source of stability and a beacon of hope to students, parents and the community. Outreach Uganda staff and teachers alike are doing everything possible to encourage all students to return to school. The library is a very critical piece of this effort.
We thank you for your past support of the library and encourage you to share this progress report with friends, family and friends who share a love of books, school and belief in the incredible importance of education in children's lives, or who might have faced and overcome hardships of their own.
We shared with you last time in June that our 6th grade students had done well on their "mock" national exams that they had taken earlier in the year, and that they were awaiting the results of their real exams. Teachers, students and our staff were all excited about the students' performance this past year, They could see a direct connection between the availability of the library and its access to both textbooks and other books, and the students' improved learning and test performance.
Well, we are very excited to share with you now that the results came out in July and our 6th graders achieved second place overall in the district out of 74 primary schools that took the 6th grade exams. It's a tremendous accomplishment. Five of our students (3 were girls) were the top 5 performing students in our sub-county.
So, we thank everyone who has supported this project for contributing to this success story. It means that many of our students will be able to continue on to secondary school and that the top students will have choices of very good schools to attend for 7th to 12th grade. We have included photos of two of our 5 top students who received awards from the sub-county this past Monday to celebrate their exam achievement. The 5 were quite excited about the mattresses they received since these are a required item for when they board at school in 7th grade.
With school scheduled to be back in session at the beginning of January, we would very much like to raise the remaining needed funds for this library project. As mentioned in earlier reports, they are mainly needed to purchase additional class textbooks for younger classes which often only have a small amount of textbooks that must be shared among many students.
We do see there is a very direct link between each student having ready access to textbooks in the library and in class, and to their improved performance in school as well as their increased enthusiasm about school.
Please share this project report with teachers, librarians, friends, family and others you may know who are passionate about education for all!
Again, thank you so much for your support of this project!
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