Back to School: 5 Years of Making the GradeJanuary 19, 2015 4:26 pm
Today is Joseph and Mary School’s first day of classes for the 2015 school year.
Students began flowing in at 8 o’clock sharp for morning assembly. They gathered in their royal blue shirts in courtyard of the primary and secondary schools to sing the national anthem in unison. Afterwards they met their teachers, got their desks ready, and then headed to breakfast in the dining hall (one of the two meals provided by JBFC to all students to prepare them for a productive day of learning).
Today is also special because it is the 5th anniversary of the opening of the Joseph and Mary schools. (To read more about why JBFC’s school is called Joseph & Mary, click here)
When we opened our doors in January of 2010, I never dreamed our school would come so far this quickly. This time five years ago, we opened our doors with just 60 kids. But we were soon overwhelmed by the demand for quality education in our area and we were soon filling 100 seats and ended the year with twice that.
I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by the response to Joseph & Mary. Our neat U-shaped block of classrooms, stacked with desks and chairs, filled with books and learning toys, each headed by a certified teacher, was a far cry from the local government school just a few hundred yards away. That school was the reason we were determined to open Joseph & Mary in the first place. At the time, it had 900 students and three teachers. Hundreds of kids crammed shoulder to shoulder in classes with no learning materials and, often, no adult supervision in sight.
- Begin a character education program.
- Strengthen partnerships with local schools.
- Create more extra-curricular clubs (an idea that makes us unique in Tanzania – click here for more on the clubs offered last year.)
- Give all secondary students weekly access to eReaders.
- Integrate Khan Academy and other internet-based educational resources utilizing tablets for 5th through Form 4 (11th Grade).
- Improve literacy by implementing 45 minutes of silent reading at the end of each school day.
- Leverage international school partnerships to help improve Joseph & Mary Teacher development.
This post was written by Mainsprings