Thanks to all of your generosity, we have been able to begin work on our newest Amun Shea venture! Several of our most ambitious teachers, as well as our school principle, Victoria, have been working tirelessly for the past weeks and months to create a new classroom model that we hope to implement throughout the school and eventually amongst the other schools in our region. The goal is to provide a quality, hands-on education that not only increases the students knowledge in traditional subject areas, but also develops critical thinking, teamwork, and the ability to self-direct their learning. So far the response from the students has been tremendous; students who struggled in the traditional classroom setting are beginning to blossom and students who had already shown great promise are thriving.
We have collected a group of sixteen students with a wide range of strengths that spans almost the entire spectrum of ages we have represented at Amun Shea: from second grade all the way up through tenth. These students have been organized into groups of four, in which the diversity of ages is preserved. The primary idea behind the pilot project is to take a long-term project (several months) and to teach all or almost all of their education in the context of this topic.
Our first project is building bat houses; bats are a crucial aspect of Central America's ecosystem and, more importantly for us, eat around 1,000 mosquitos per hour. As much as we would all like to miss out on the summer tradition of decking up from head to toe in mosquito bites, this is not the entire reason behind our goal of limiting mosquito populations. As many of you are probably aware, mosquito-borne illnesses are a serious problem in Central America and reducing mosquito populations has a corresponding impact on the threat of diseases such as Zika, Yelow Fever, and Chikungunya, among others.
In addition, through this project we have been able to teach the students about ecology (focused around the idea of bats' role in the environment), evolution (including the incredible development of the bat wing, something completely unlike anything else in the animal kingdom), how the students would go about creating a business plan to create a business out of building bat houses, and the physics of echolocation and sound waves--and this is just been the first few weeks!
We can't wait to see how this project continues to grow and evolve and, even more importantly, how this new teaching model continues to bring positive changes to the students involved. We can't do this without your help, though. A new classroom means new educational materials, access to a wide range of information, and the equiptment necesary to turn the project ideas into a reality. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your continued support. Stay tuned!
Thank you again,
The PEOF and Amun Shea Team
Applications Amún Shéa, Pilot for Relevant Rural Education, is the title of the official agreement signed recently between the Salvadoran Ministry of Education (MINED) and Perkin Educational Opportunities Foundation (PEOF). This agreement recognizes the potential for positive change in the focus on real world skills of the Amún Shéa. The agreement, in summary calls for 1) the systematization of the methodology developed at the Amún Shéa School, 2) the selection of best practices that could strengthen the relevance of public education in Morazán, and 3) replicate those good practices in 8 nearby public schools.
In this sense, your support to our Quality Learning project, will now multiply and benefit over one thousand students within the area. Please consider inviting your family and friends to join in as partners, and thank you for your continued support!
Just over one month now, we are back at school in this New Year 2016. Expanded now from kindergarden to the first year of high school, the range of academic activities and real-world application of what we have learned has broadened to agricultural production and participation in science fairs in the capital, San Salvador. It is precisely the application with our hands of learned knowledge which sets Amún Shéa apart.
This application, or good practices as it is known here, has caught the attention of the Salvadoran Ministry of Education and we have been asked to take on the task of replicating them in local public schools. So, the very big challenge for Amún Shéa School in 2016 will be in the form of an agreement with the Ministry of Education to replicate selected good practices into the public school system.This brings on alot of responsibility to the school and increases the importance of maintaining a smooth operating educational program.
Your financial support is essential in allowing us to focus on the program and the process of developing materials and methodology for the replication of good practices. Help us build a solid base of support for the Amún Shéa scholarship program and be assured that your financial support has suddenly become even further reaching than before. Support Amún Shéa and help improve public education in El Salvador.
On to High School! Center for Integrated Development, Amún Shéa has been accredited to begin high school by the Salvadoran Education Ministry. The approval allows our ninth grade students to continue their education with us. The approval involves several steps: first year high school students may now enroll; second year and continuing education depends on our meeting further program and infrastructural requirements. We are counting on your support as we move forward to meet this challenge and opportunity.
The school year in El Salvador runs from late January through mid October, so we are currently on "summer break." We just held graduation for ninth graders and kindergarten as the year comes to a close. During this break, we will be preparing for next year and especially for the expansion to high school. The expansion requires an investment both in infrastructure, equipment and in program support. Please consider continuing your support and inviting family and friends to join with us.
For education to be pertinent, it must be developed within the context of daily challenges and opportunities that face local community life and development. Quality learning takes place as our hands apply what our heads have learned.
Amun Shea, Center for Integrated Development strives to provide the opportunity for young people to develop themselves into agents of change in their communities, with the attitude, ability and confidence required to promote and effect the desired change. Our hands-on methodology sparks a positive can-do attitude which creates confidence. We have had a good level of success in breaking "classroom routine" with a periodic focus on special achievement fairs and presentations.
The recent focus on security and peace education amidst the increase in violence and criminal activity within El Salvador and the Central America region has lead us to redouble our effort in building a culture of peace. While our last report described activities we are employing to this end, we are now building curriculum around peace. The incorporation of music, karate and a Korean colleague who brings a mixture of taekwondo and life planning are concrete steps in personal development and are creating very positive results.
We are confident it may serve as a model for communities in similar conditions throughout Latin-America, but we need to strengthen and consolidate it first. We need your help for that! Please help us get the word out and consider us for continued support. Thank you!
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