Thursday, September 5, 2013

Visiting Schools in Guayaquil

I have spent the past few weeks visiting all of the schools that the Starfish Scholars attend.  Out of all the youth we work with, 28 are Starfish Scholars.  These 28 scholars attend 18 different schools.

On each visit, a parent and a Starfish Employee accompanied me so that we could find the correct person to talk to.  In the visit we explained more about Starfish, what we provide for the students, and found out more about their school life.  The teachers told us about each students' behavior, grades, test scores, missing work and any other concerns they may have had.

The visits were eye-opening for me.  From working with the students, I had some ideas about their school life, but seeing it first hand was an entirely different story.  Most schools I visited were huge, with an average of 40-50 students per classroom.  With class sizes so large, it often seemed like the students were in control, rather than the teacher.  It was also rare the teacher who had the time to seek out a personal relationship with a student to help them succeed, again due to these class sizes.  Often times teachers had to pull out folders or notebooks, or call the student over to see who he/she was.  However, I was pleasantly surprised that despite all of these challenging realities, many teachers were able to easily recall the Starfish scholars as they are stepping up to be leaders in their classroom.

Milena is the Presidenta (President) of her class. Danny is part of the student council.  Joel is on a committee that studies human rights.  Arelisa is also Presidenta of her class - and up for election of President of the whole high school!

Tutoring in Flor
We hope that these visits allowed the teachers to see the help that some of their students receive, and open up the door to better future communication with their families and with us.  When we all work together, we can help the students achieve their maximum potential.  With the grades and comments we received this week we are having parent conferences when necessary, as well as an employee meeting to discuss specific areas that need strengthening for each student.

Unfortunately, there aren't any pictures of these visits, so enjoy these other pictures from August!!

One of the groups we took to visit Damien House.

Don Leon working hard on his hamaca (hammock).

Yessenia, helping one of the patients fix his radio.

Starfish scholars learning how to play dominos at Damien House.

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