Mrs Charlotte Bouwer now trains the Grade 3 Choirs
HEARTFELT APPRECIATION AGAIN TO ALL OUR DONORS!! Isiphethu Sothukela DBCS Legacy Project EXCO met on Wed 10 am 8/5/2019 at Drakensberg Boys Choir School. Bridget Johnsen visited 3 of the supported schools with choir teacher Judith Hawthorn on Fri 10 May 2019. Greg Brooks, Dave Cato, Bernard Kruger, Bill Carter and Bridget Johnsen clarified direction, responsibilities and commitment to DBCS Legacy Project. The team agreed and resolved:
The Isiphethu Sothukela Project is essential in today’s political climate while located in a national area of such poverty
Months and years of work and money has already been spent to get this project well-off the ground, and most operations are running well.
The DBCS 5-year Board strategy in 2013 was to rebrand as an aspirational private school with a strong outreach program. Anton Redelinghuys conceived the Legacy Project to fulfil the latter requirement, and Andrew Stead implemented it with aplomb. This strategy has also enabled DBCS to become self-sustaining if 105+ boys are enrolled.
The partnership between Champagne Valley Trust and DBCS in the Legacy project enables DBCS funding applications to tick ALL the boxes for Foundation and Corporate CSR requirements to fulfil Sustainability Development Goals, though the broader mandate of CVT in the community… e.g. working with orphans, girls, water and sanitation, food security, proposed Afrika Tikkun Cradle-to-Career rural model, etc
The Legacy project also opens up significant possibilities for more-likely-to find-funding applications of DBCS projects. Perfect example is funding needed for refurbishment of school buildings for science lab. Greg and Dave supported concept of expanded use and extension of science lab to impoverished schools.
Commitment required by the DBCS has to date cost very little other than one day (with some prep) quarterly for teachers and music staff.
In one impoverished school choir(Celimfundo), the choir has been so successful that principal Mr Chris Ndlovu has entered (using the school's own funds) the ABRSM Choirs (entry Level) category in 2019. Another (Inkosi Mjwayeli) has been invited to sing at Festival in the Hills (Kloof) with an overnight stay and trip to the beach following, in September 2019.
Literacy has statistically been improved up to 15% by learner participation in choirs, but proper research must still remove any potential inherent bias (low literacy base, selected type as chorister, etc.) Anecdotal evidence puts improvement as high as 40% in one school.
All principals report the presence of a choir has had massive positive spin-off in many aspects of the school, notably discipline and element of joy.
CVT cashflow for continued Legacy Project operations are extremely tight. Although initially funded by DBCS, Champagne Valley Trust has been supporting choir teacher salaries and principal workshops for the partner schools since last year.
Although certain aspects of the project have been modified, some aspects of the project need addressing:
A. Principal Workshopswere not as successful in 2018 as previously.
Greg Brooks was new to the project and had not done this type of work before.
Greg consulted with Andrew Stead, and Andrew has now run the first of 3 proposed workshops for principals in 2019. Principals’ feedback was that they wanted more interaction with DBCS, and especially with Greg/Dave between workshops. Also that ideally Greg should participate in the workshops for context. Contact can be relatively informal, but should be regular.
Andrew had been introduced by Bill to convener of Partners for Possibility Programme (JHB). Andrew has agreed to work with PFP for the Legacy Project, also in a collaborative programme of workshops/interventions facilitated by Karen McKenzie/Paul Fleischack in the Michaelhouse Community Partnership(MCP).
Andrew is writing an extra-curricular support document for the Principal Leadership programme for the MCP. This document will provide ABC guidelines to support the principals of impoverished schools between workshops This will be shared with Greg, especially since……
Loskop /Winterton are earmarked for next PFP project rollout by CVT/MCP.
B. Teacher workshops have become irrelevant
Teachers are proficient already and comfortable with curriculum content
Huge demand is made on teachers’ time for departmental paperwork requirements
CPD points issue remains unresolved at Dept. Level (Bill to consult Mrs Mokoena …. Mrs Dube has not fulfilled undertakings)
Real problem is that classes are too large (75+)
We resolved that Interns to support teachers will be of much greater value than workshop. DBCS would also like Interns as cheap additional staff for a variety of needs. Interns can be accommodated in CVT buildings and dispatched to support English/Maths/Science/Choir teachers of impoverished schools as required, as part of their DBCS duties and employment contract.
CVT Trust Deed and Trustees now sorted …conveyancing attorney Godfrey Norman in process of completing registration of assets/CVT buildings
Plan is to convert some of these buildings into accommodation for 6-7 interns, 4 lower classrooms will be converted into bunk accommodation for 2X16=32 girls, with ablution, and 2X16 =32 boys, for visiting schools, choirs, camps, workshops, etc. as ongoing income for CVT . “Core” building to remain as kitchen/dining/general conference room. Ablutions to be upgraded. Several trees to be removed and entire property to be cleaned up.
Impoverished School groups can come up to DBCS with their teachers to do extended workshops (3-4 days) with DBCS boys/teachers and use science lab, while using this accommodation
C. Choir training is to be adapted.
Bernard Kruger, Director of Music at DBCS, has not been willing to give workshops to different teachers arriving for each workshop, so no workshops have been held this year.
Problem is that Music is only one small part of Life Orientation in prep schools. This subject is usually allocated to curricular teachers awaiting full appointment during their probation period, but then they move into classrooms as soon as approved for the advertised post. This results in a high turnover of disinterested teachers giving the children music/singing lessons.
After Judith Hawthorn’s 2-year presence in each school, with all the benefits brought by the choirs (discipline and literacy especially), Bridget suggested the principal must see sufficient value to allocate one or 2 specific persons to the choir.
Judith has identified 2 teachers of sufficient calibre in each of the 4 partner schools and advised the way forward in a letter to each teacher and principal. Judith is being supported by 2 non-chorally trained Winterton-based music teachers (Lynn Sclanders and Charlotte Bower) who are assisting partner school choir teachers for nominal pay.
Judith would now like to supervise only by next year, and see the project to start taking on additional schools…. Emadolobeni has been dropped this year due to her time constraints, but she also has relocated to PMB increasing her travel costs and time commitment…. all the more reason to find a sustainable solution.
Bernard embraced the idea of a quarterly workshop to train both the new supporting teachers and the partner school teachers … even with their choirs, if DBCS away or the CVT accommodation can be utilized.
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