Education  Kenya Project #16680

Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly

by Acres of Mercy, Kenya
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
Support Teachers to Educate 200 Children Monthly
The School
The School

Dear friends and partners,

This term has been exciting!  The third term ran from May to July and we have just marked the mid first term of a new academic year. So far the teachers have shown a lot of growing and developing and building upon the training that we had last term on how to teach children from poverty.

We have been piloting the development of a professional developing program through a coaching framework for the teachers.

This has taken the form of one-on-one meetings and group sharing on different theoretical concepts and how to implement these in everyday teaching practice.

The sessions have focused mainly on helping teachers reflect on their teaching practice so they can begin to experience a deep level change that  will transform not just who they are as individuals but as well, the way they  teach and approach learning. Also teaching ideas, concepts, readings, etc. are shared with teachers on email and follow up made on plan implementation. These are done via WhatsApp and one-on one sessions. Below is an example of the great work going on within the school:-

Ms. Imani teaches Pre-school children and is passionate about Growth Mindset. Having gone through some material on Socio-Cultural & Cognitive Learning Theory, she had this to say:-

“…both theories have interesting ideas which can be applied at class level for holistic growth and development of the children we serve…thank you for sharing this.”

Ms. Imani has the same approach to ideas and knowledge that might improve the learning outcomes of children being taught.

Teacher Development Session
Teacher Development Session
Teacher and Class in Progress
Teacher and Class in Progress
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Grade 4 Students with their Teacher
Grade 4 Students with their Teacher

Dear friends and partners,

May 2021 is already here! Hasn’t the first quarter of the year gone by so rapidly?

I trust you have been keeping well and healthy even as we battle COVID-19!

My apologies for having not updated you since November 2020.

We’ve had so much going on and would like to now share some of the things we have been doing and that you are a part of, in making a difference in the lives of children.

A quick reminder of our priority goals in the period beginning November 2020.

We had set out to make impact and investments in the following areas:-

Teachers were to trained on how to use Microsoft Teams to reach out to students who are still locked out of school

  1. Begin purchasing laptops to aid teachers prepare online lessons (currently we need 10 laptops and a PC Desktop, and reliable fast internet connection, a total cost of $3000)
  2. Train on accelerated learning strategies to be implemented with current school going classes and upcoming online classes for students who will report to school in January 2021.
  3. Engage parents on how they can access online learning for their children through the locally available options i.e. through partnerships with local cyber cafes, and telcos.

To keep everyone focused on the goals and not lose heart we had to raise the bar with regards to the support the students needed. Our class 8 were in the final term of their primary school years and had to be helped prepare to take the national tests.

This was not without its challenges as the long period of unstructured staying at home began to bite in school. Students’ indiscipline grew. Teacher’s morale also began to dip and this called for solutions to be found and found fast.

We developed an in-house teacher development module that would enable teachers understand more about how poverty and trauma affect children in school and to equip them with strategies they can use to teach these children. The training commenced in January 2021 is ongoing. One of the teacher’s commented and said, ‘’Certainly this training is timely and useful, given the situations we are handling in our classes.’’

A main motivation for this professional development was the fact that a survey done with the help of the teachers revealed that on average 80% of children in our classrooms are suffering the effects of poverty especially with regards to learning.

We realized that part of accelerated teaching would mean first mitigating for the negative effects brought onto the students by their family and home situations.

Teacher’s direct pay for the quarter up to January 2021 was $4130. This was however still short of the $5472 needed to cover all the teacher’s pay.

 

We are still hoping to find partners to assist the school develop ICT infrastructure and also build teachers’ capacity to use various IT resources and tools, both hardware and software to support children’s learning, going into May 2021.

 

I’d like to thank you for staying with us, for standing with the children and for building a better future for them and for us by extension. Let’s keep laboring together, for the work remains yet unfinished. 

Rainbow over the school
Rainbow over the school
Class of 2020
Class of 2020
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Thank you for standing by us during the lockdown
Thank you for standing by us during the lockdown

Dear friend and partner,

It’s almost eight months after the first lockdown was put in place in Kenya and schools in Kenya have been reopened for the last four weeks only. Teacher’s had been pandemic weary with many longing for a return to normal. However, its been a gradual shift to what is now the “new normal”. Of donning masks on the way to school, within school; of maintaining social distance, of sanitizing and over sanitizing.

These and many more new health and safety protocols have accompanied a new term and teachers have had to learn how to cope with a nebulous situation whilst ensuring their own safety and their students’ safety while at the same time using available spaces to make learning happen. It’s been a period with no small adjustments to make especially with regard to the negative impact COVID-19 has had on economies, both at macro and at individual level.

Our teachers have been resilient in the face of all these challenges, continuing to plan for lessons, offering psychosocial support to one another and supporting the organization to get alternative streams of revenue from making and selling of liquid soap and detergents.

The selling of soap has enabled teachers to reach out to some students directly through outreaches, helping us meet some critical goals we set as a team, namely, parental involvement and teacher-student engagement.

We want to thank you for making it happen

As we get into our fifth week after Grade 4 and Class 8 returned to school, we look forward to the following: -

  1. Teachers being trained on how to use Microsoft Teams to reach out to students who are still locked out of school
  2. Begin purchasing laptops to aid teachers prepare online lessons (currently we need 10 laptops and a PC Desktop, and reliable fast internet connection, a total cost of $3000)
  3. Training on accelerated learning strategies to be implemented with current school going classes and upcoming online classes for students who will report to school in January 2021.
  4. Engage parents on how they can access online learning for their children through the locally available options i.e. through partnerships with local cyber cafes, and telcos.

I appeal for much help as we need this now to enable us go through the pandemic with resilience, while staying safe. We also want to ensure that our children are cared for, protected and are continually being nurtured for a solid society tomorrow.

Thank you once again friends for staying by us during these difficult moments and we have hope that laughter will soon return to communal learning.

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Growth through challenges is a journey
Growth through challenges is a journey

Dear friends and partners,

I hope that you have all been safe!

This is our first post COVID-19 Pandemic report. So much of the world has changed since our last report in March and so has the nature of our work. Thank you all for having us in your hearts and for working through this period with us even though things changed so much for everyone.

Your sacrifice is worth all the gratitude I could put in words! Thank you! Hats off for every one of you involved in the fight against COVID-19 in the many different ways you are.

They certainly shifted our work form the plans we had from the years start. As a reminder we wanted to accomplish the following goals, namely; -

  1. Pursue 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.

When lockdown in Kenya was put in place on March 12th 2020, we had just reviewed our plans midway through the first term of the year and were ready to shift gears for improved delivery for the second half of term, but this wasn’t to be. Our plans were unraveled by the lockdown. But it wasn't all bad. 

First, teachers have been able to stay paid, thanks to selfless partners and friends and a caring and understanding Board.

Secondly, we were then able to cover over 1260 hours of Growth Mindset Coaching with our current staff via our organization’s Whatsapp Group. By the end of the three weeks between May 23 and June 30th 90% of staff were participating in the coaching sessions.

During these sessions we covered The Growth Mindset Coach- Annie Brock and Heather Hundley.

Here are some of the reflection responses from some of the staff after the sessions:-

''I will strive to create an environment of equity in my classroom.'' Tr. M

''I will use process praise to help motivate students to push on when they feel like giving up.'' Tr. A

It is also amazing to see our staff and board members offering one another psychosocial support during the crisis

We faced the challenge of zero face to face interactions since we could not use the Zoom application as data costs for Zoom meetings have been very prohibitive at 10 dollars per hour per person for Zoom meetings. This would have been USD 2310 (210 USD per person) for our coaching sessions. We thus opted to use Whatsapp channel which cost very staff only USD 2 for a week.

In the period of the lockdown, two of our parents passed on (COVID unrelated, but both from cancer) and though there was heartache it was heartwarming to see teachers who worked with these children and parents rise up to offer the much-needed psychosocial support to the families.

Despite the seemingly lost time, incomes and other lockdown related losses, I believe our organization has experienced the lost art of practicing care to the community without wanting anything for it. We have seen love, and mercy and care in the small community that is Acres of Mercy and this has in turn touched the larger community that we are a part of. I pray you are touched and encouraged by it too.

As we start the second week of July 2020, we are looking forward to working together, giving and sharing hope with each other in the little and big ways that providence would allow so we can be stronger as humanity after all this has settled.

Certainly, the world will never be the same again, but together we will sail over to the other side of what is has to bring to find ways to navigate that different new world. Thank you for being a partner in this journey together. . We now move into a new 6 months of a new phase in the way our organization will intervene in its work.

Thank you for your continuing support and may you be safe and strong and let’s keep rooting for each other…a win awaits on the other side…

Our Growth Mindset Resource
Our Growth Mindset Resource
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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.

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Organization Information

Acres of Mercy, Kenya

Location: Nairobi - Kenya
Website:
Project Leader:
Catherine Muteti
Project Leader
Nairobi, Nairobi Kenya
$23,027 raised of $38,000 goal
 
177 donations
$14,973 to go
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Pay Bill: 891300
Account: GG16680

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