Archive for the ‘News Feed’ Category
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
On December 15, 2012, WPE staff and teachers, head teachers, proprietors, family and friends from our three Pilot II partner schools gathered at the Mamens Spot to celebrate the Pilot II Graduation! Highlights from the event include a skit presented by graduating teachers demonstrating the new skills they learned this past term, uplifting speeches by WPE Country Director Ben Schwartz and Mr. Benjamin Zu, the head teacher and proprietor at Bensar Star Academy, and of course the presenting of certificates. For me, the most meaningful part of the graduation program was meeting the friends and family of the eight graduating teachers. The pride with which my teachers introduced their brothers, mothers, or best friends really drove home for me the importance of our programming and the empowerment that comes with education. Congratulations to everyone on the completion of the pilot program and the start of a new year with exciting new prospects!
- Anna Zelinsky, WPE Programme Director
Monday, November 12th, 2012
The second pilot is well underway, and I am working with eight lovely teachers, from classes KG1-3. WPE is working with three schools this term, and as our application process grows we are working out how to properly offer continued support and follow-up after the program is over.
This term, the teachers have been exploring new strategies in the classroom with great success! On the literacy front, we practiced phonics sounds and blends using music, movement, and manipulatives. Different teachers preferred different strategies, but many enjoyed using letter cards and word cards in their classes, and were amazed at the difference it made in their students’ learning and behavior.
When asked what she has learned in the training so far that has helped her teach, one teacher replied: “I have learned a lot… now I am able to teach [phonics]… the moment I give them work about phonics they do it and they get all correct.” The students are engaged with more group and partner activities, and teachers are focusing on scaffolding, explicit teaching, and thinking about how to encourage students to learn.
The WPE Literacy Training is already showing good results with our partner schools, but we have much still to work on. I am so proud of all the work the teachers have done and the effort they have shown to grow in their profession. It will be very exciting to see how the program will continue to develop, particularly over the longer term. Here in Ghana, I (and the teachers!) are very grateful for the support of our friends and donors in the USA and around the world. Without you, this program would not be possible! Thank you.
-Anna Zelinsky, WPE Programme Director
Thursday, July 19th, 2012
Please join World Partners in Education for an evening of African art, cocktails and music. The event will be held at Storyville on Wednesday, July 25, from 7-10 pm. The event will feature specialty cocktails by Boston’s English Bill and music by Elle Gomes! We will also have a silent auction with 10 paintings from Ghana.
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
We are very pleased to announce that our first term of piloting our new literacy intervention was a great success! Our WPE Program Director, Anna Zelinsky, worked with 6 teachers from our partner school, NAP Academy. She trained them in literacy teaching techniques including phonics and reading comprehension strategies as well as classroom management.
Anna proudly reported after her last day, “We ended on a high note, very positive, very sad to end, teachers nodding agreement at all speeches about how much they learned, how much their students have learned, and how they plan to continue learning, practicing the new skills, and passing them on.”
We have some preliminary data on the teacher responses to the training and will share our student achievement results as they come in.
Monitoring and Evaluations Update, by Dana Charles McCoy (World Partners in Education Monitoring and Evaluations Director)
Tuesday, September 6th, 2011
September 2010 marked the beginning of WPE’s Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) efforts. WPE’s M&E work serves several purposes, including quantifying many of the observations made by staff and volunteers, providing a needs assessment to schools to help determine areas for improvement, and serving as benchmarks to track educational outcomes as a result of our programming. Below, I have highlighted the M&E accomplishments of the 2010-2011 school year with the help of consultants and volunteers.
Needs Assessment. Earlier this year our consultants lead incredibly in-depth evaluation and needs assessment efforts at both Manye and NAP. These efforts focused on the collection of survey and direct assessment information from students, opinion data from teachers, as well as observational assessments of classroom quality. These data have been wonderfully helpful to the consultants in helping them to develop appropriate, targeted programming. We have also been able to use our findings to provide formal, written reports to headmasters at both schools that include summary data as well as suggestions for future areas of improvement. Hopefully this information will allow headmasters, teachers, parents, and staff to make progress toward achieving our mutual goals of improving the quality and availability of education in these contexts.
Research and Reporting. One of the most important aspects of needs assessment is disseminating results to the right people. In addition to providing reports to the schools themselves, WPE also had the opportunity to present our findings in the form of a research poster at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRDC) in Montreal, Canada in April of this year. The poster highlighted results of the student surveys done at Manye, and revealed interesting relationships between students’ internal and external motivation, their school attendance, and their performance on end-of-term exams. The SRDC meeting provided an excellent opportunity to interact with academics, policy makers, and practitioners, and share WPE’s important work. This July, I had the privilege to spend a month in Ghana to follow up on this research and interview parents and students about their motivations and opinions toward education, as well as the financial and practical barriers that might prevent them from accessing educational resources they need to succeed. This work is being supported by a grant from New York University, and will hopefully be used to inform not only WPE’s work in Ghana, but also other NGOs’ efforts in similarly under-served African context.
Thanks again to all of you for your continued commitment to WPE and the education of children in our partner communities. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like more information about our M&E efforts.
World Partners in Education Undergraduate Chapter in the Works, by Connie Shang (2010 Summer Volunteer)
Tuesday, September 6th, 2011
To students in the U.S., the scene is a familiar one: each day, the senior class humming with anticipation, breathless for news, for the thick official-looking envelope. It’s hard to imagine, but at Manye the class I knew as Junior High 2 will also be getting their high school placements in a matter of weeks.
The Ghanaian government took a huge step in the late 1980s to subsidize primary and middle school education for all children, but high school is a figment for most students at Manye. I remember talking to them about high school as if it were a forgone conclusion, but even then, many of my students shook their heads and smiled sagely at me. They grew up a lot faster than I ever had to. Their parents, mostly farmers, migrant workers, and peddlers, need their elder children to take care of younger siblings at home. The girls learn to cook and hawk wares. The boys learn their father’s trade. There is no time for secondary education, and even if there was—who would pay for it?
I was talking to Ben earlier this summer, and he reminded me of something I wrote when I came back from Manye almost a year ago in 2010: “If any student could pass the high school entrance exams, it was Rose; and I vowed to myself that no amount of tuition was going to stop her from attending high school.”
Rosalinda Mensah. The most blazingly intelligent girl in her class, but unlike most intelligent, self-aware individuals, she has an enormous heart instead of an ego. Last summer she told me of her dreams of studying social science and becoming a Pan-Africanist. I suppose I thought at the time she would never get the chance, which is why, when I realized her high school entrance exam results were finally arriving one year later, I decided to make high school happen for Rose.
As I understand it, Rose currently lives in Community 25 with the pastor of the local Presbyterian church. Her parents do not have the means to support her through secondary school, which means that unless she finds outside donors, she will never go beyond her middle school education.
This term, I sold pizza in the library twice and raised just shy of $200 for Rose’s first term, which will cost between 300-500 GHS (1 USD = 1.5 GHS). (Thank God: high school tuition in Ghana costs about as much as the student activities fee at Dartmouth.) It was a lot simpler than I thought it’d be.
Still, I don’t exactly know where I’m going with this. As a full-time student myself, maybe I could support Rose through high school just by selling C&A’s pizza, but more important I realized that, for former volunteers, our relationships with the children don’t stop when we go home. Quite honestly, knowing Rose has helped me savor what I have in life, so I only hope that my friendship and mentorship with her will continue to enrich hers.
In the fall, I will try to get World Partners in Education’s first undergraduate chapter recognized at Dartmouth, but also in the hopes that others will see how such simple actions on our part can transform the life trajectory of a gifted and deserving young woman like Rose. Dartmouth students are full of creativity and compassion, and I can’t wait to see what a coalition of fellow volunteers and likeminded individuals can come up with to make a continued impact on those special students—the Roses, the Wisdoms, the Jerrys—even after we’ve left Manye or NAP. And of course, I’m banking that there’s nothing quite like an idealistic freshman class to get the energy going for 2012.
Monday, September 5th, 2011
Greetings from Ghana! It has been too long since I shared a formal update on the great work your fellow WPE volunteers have done and the progress WPE is making here in Ghana. I apologize for the delay – we’ve been very busy!
WPE’s official volunteer program began in summer 2009. It all started with three Dartmouth volunteers serving at Manye Foundation School, joined by Justice Amoh ‘13, who would begin at Dartmouth that fall, and two Dartmouth volunteers at Konditi School in Pap-Onditi, Kenya. During winter 2010 we had three volunteers serve at Konditi and five serve at Manye. Come summer 2010 we closed our Konditi partnership and focused our efforts in Ghana. This focus has allowed us to target our energies and achieve some improved efficiencies in our programs to improve the quality of education. In addition to the five volunteers who served at Manye, four volunteers served at a new partner school, Asi-Daahey, in Big Ada, Ghana. This steady stream of committed volunteers has been crucial in the development of WPE as an organization and we want you to know how much we appreciate your insight, dedication, compassion, contributions, and patience.
In September 2010 our first-ever Consultants arrived at Manye Foundation School. Jamie Hwang ‘10 and Catherine Armstrong ‘10 were tasked with building relationships in the community to identify needs and pathways to improve the education at the school. They were quite successful and helped the school establish the Manye Advancement Committee (MAC) composed of teachers, parents, students, and one community member. Through their hard work, the MAC has implemented a Grasscutter Husbandry project to raise money for student scholarships. In addition, Catherine and Jamie led comprehensive management training to improve Manye’s operations. Many of their trainings have already yielded fruit, from improved accounting to clearer organizational responsibilities. They also served as supervisors to our three winter volunteers and our one summer volunteer in 2011.
In January 2011, Katy Briggs joined WPE as a Consultant at a new partner school, NAP Academy, in Ashaiman, Ghana, close enough to Manye that our Consultants could operate as a team. As a result of Katy’s relationship building with NAP Academy stakeholders and work with the NAP Academy Development Committee (NAPADeC), she has helped lead innovative teacher trainings, schedule improvements and other interventions as the school. The community at NAP has consistently expressed their gratitude for the great work she’s doing and their excitement for upcoming interventions and projects. Katy also supervised four winter volunteers, one spring volunteer (WPE’s first) and two summer volunteers. She was assisted in these roles by incoming Dartmouth student Richard Addo ‘15, who served as an assistant consultant at NAP.
This past year has been quite a journey and World Partners in Education has learned a lot as an organization from the hard work of so many people. Change comes through personal relationships and the volunteers and consultants have been on the forefront of WPE’s efforts to help our partner schools improve. Our work has not been without challenges, however. Logistically, we found that given our small size and limited resources we needed concentrate our efforts geographically in order to have the most effective impact. This challenge resulted in the board’s difficult decision to focus our resource in the Tema-Ashaiman area, which meant we were unable to provide additional volunteers, consultants, or services to Asi-Daahey. It was a disappointment, but we had to honestly confront the risks of spreading ourselves too thin and make sure our operations are structured to maximize impact so we can effectively use our resources to achieve our mission.
As I mentioned earlier, we have learned so much this year through the hard work of our staff and volunteers. We have learned ways to continue improving our programs and have taken into account your suggestions, such as more clarity in staff responsibilities. We are now challenging our organization to address key areas of education, instead of trying to improve everything at once. We are developing an improved way of pursuing our mission that takes into account the conversations we’ve had with each of you and all we’ve learned in the past several years.
As we look forward to 2012, WPE will begin to phase out our current partnerships and develop new programming focused primarily around literacy. We plan to roll out this updated programming with the help of future staff and volunteers. This progress means we may no longer work at the school where you served, but this does not mean the end of the personal relationships developed at those partner institutions. Rather, we hope that WPE, our allies, and our former partners will continue to grow and learn from the relationships we value.
We are still working on our new model. As you know, World Partners in Education is a work in progress, as development work is never formulaic or static. We accept wholeheartedly the need to adapt to whatever challenges come our way and we want our new program to have this flexibility as well. We hope the cumulative knowledge we’ve all gained over the past couple of years will be sufficient for us to develop a new way of operating that achieves our mission in a more efficient, scalable, sustainable, and effective manner, while retaining the essence of what has made World Partners in Education so successful thus far–the personal relationships that effect change everyday.
Monday, September 5th, 2011
I spent seven weeks this summer at the Manye Foundation School in Tema, Ghana. For those of you who have been there, you know it is a very special place. I was excited to work in the school and contribute to the education of these great kids, if only in a small way.
First of all, I have to say I was really lucky to have Catherine Armstrong and Jamie Hwang at the school as WPE consultants. They had arrived in August 2010 and helped me adjust very easily into life at Manye, as well as Ghana more generally. They are both terrific people who helped to do a lot of good for the school and at the same time helped make my experience a lot smoother.
I had a really great time working at Manye, with most of my time being dedicated to tutoring. It took a couple weeks, but I eventually got into a regular routine with about a dozen kids. I decided to focus on boosting reading skills of low-performing students in the younger grades, in Class One and Class Two specifically. Some of the kids would clamor to work with me at every opportunity; others required a little more encouragement to learn during breaks and after school. But they were a really great group of kids and it was a real pleasure to work closely with them during my time at the school.
I also tried to teach a little bit, but that didn’t last very long. There were some times when I filled in for the Class Two teacher, Mr. Ashitey, but when I was in front of the class, it became an exercise in organized chaos once the kids knew I wouldn’t cane them. We did some spelling games and art activities, but it became clear that it was more effective for me to work with kids one-on-one as I tried to help with literacy skills.
For those who were at Manye in the past, I thought it would be nice to update you on the school’s staff – which teachers are still there as well as the new faces at the school. The administration is still headed by Mr. Kabutey with James Nartey and Stella providing great support. Here are the teachers by grade level:
- Nursery – Sarah Ashitey
- KG – Janet
- P1 – Mabel
- P2 – Richard Ashitey
- P3 – Michael Hammond
- Upper Primary(UP)/JHS Science – Delali Goka
- UP/JHS English – Sam Agyei
- UP/JHS Math – Eric Hammond
- UP/JHS Ghanaian Language (and Librarian) – Godfred
- UP/JHS Citizenship – Courage Monyo
- French – Rich Donné
The school is doing well, although many familiar problems persist. School fees remain a large issue for Manye, and it is a difficult problem to solve. The consultants helped create a program of rearing grasscutters at the school as a way to increase revenue. Apparently these fat rodents are delicacies that fetch a high market price when sold to hotels and restaurants. This initiative will hopefully contribute toward making the school’s finances more sustainable. The summer rains also posed some flooding problems when the rains were particularly heavy. To solve these problems, there were attempts to seal the concrete floor and to divert the rainwater into new drains leading away from, instead of straight into, the school.
All in all the school is doing well, even in the face of these difficulties. I’ll give a few other tidbits about my Ghanaian experience that might be interesting to former volunteers. Community 25, the area right next to Manye, is developing very quickly with many new, large houses being built. I ate very well during my time with WPE thanks to Madame Emma’s excellent cooking. I enjoyed a lot of Hip Life music and hope to mix some of it into Dartmouth’s music scene. Also, I was able to take several great trips – to Maranatha Beach in Ada with some of the Manye staff; and to Accra, Boti Falls, Cape Coast Castle and Kakum National Forest with the other volunteers Jon and Kiki. During my last couple days I traveled to Kumasi by myself although I met up with the consultants while I was there. If you’d like to see pictures from my time in Ghana, there are a few on my blog as well as on my Facebook page.
I already miss all my friends in Ghana and have been reminiscing about my time there since I’ve returned home. I hope these thoughts will help you to recall your own special time working with WPE, whether it was at Manye or another school. My experience was unforgettable and I hope I will be able to go back and visit at some point in the future.
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
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