Thursday, July 7, 2005

Tatalon Elementary School Needs You

Business Times p.B5
Thursday, July 07, 2005

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Tatalon Elementary School needs you

Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends. (Benjamin Disraeli—statesman, novelist and author of Great Britain’s Education Act of 1876)

Ask me my three priorities for Government, and I tell you: education, education and education.(British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a speech at the Labour Party Conference) And as Rotary International enters into its second century of service above self, it is putting emphasis into three areas: literacy, water access and public image.

Consider the circumstances at Tatalon Elementary School. And these conditions are the same or even dismal at other public elementary schools in Quezon City or the whole country.

Classrooms (4meter x 5meter) – 52
Classes – 95 (2 shifts, 6:00-11:30 a.m. and 11:30am-5p.m.)
Students – 5,069 (Kinder to Grade 6)
Severely malnourished students –133
Different stages of undernourishment – practically all students and some teachers
Teachers – 105
Students/class – 45 to 68
Support Staff – 20
Buildings – 6
Restroom – 7 stalls for girls and 5 for boys
Total School area – 9,800 sq. meters

According to Principal Avelina Salvador what they need are: continuous teacher education, improvement of facilities (classrooms, restrooms, desks, etc.), feeding program, provision of necessary teaching/learning equipment and supplies, e.g. television set and CD player (so they could hook up with knowledge channel and also watch educational CDs they have acquired), reference books and materials, textbooks, music box, electric fan, paper, pens and pencils, crayons, and many others.

In her two years as principal, Mrs. Salvador has done wonders for the school. She has started construction of restroom and lavatory in some of the classrooms to prevent pupils from roaming around during class hours, the provision of a few television set for Science classrooms and the cleaning and greening of the school ground, among others. She is a superwoman and she truly loves her teachers and students.

Now District 3780 and the Rotary Club of Quezon City North (RCQCNorth) is embarking on a Literacy Program called Building a Creative & Caring Learning Environment for elementary schools in Quezon City with Tatalon Elementary School as lead school. It will have three components:

1. Accelerated Learning Workshop for Teachers. Who dares to teach must never cease to learn. (John Cotton Dana)

2. Adopt-A-Classroom/Classroom Guardians. Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. (William Butler Yeats)

3. Rewards & Recognition System to enhance the first two. Following the dictum of Balanced Scorecard: What gets measured gets done, what gets measured and fed back gets done well, what gets rewarded gets repeated.

RCQCNorth believes that when you take care of the teacher, the teacher will take care of the students. It will undertake the continuous training of all 105 teachers plus one librarian of Tatalon ES. The first training will be on learning methodologies based on brain theories called Accelerated Learning. The aims of the workshop are: accommodate different learning styles, speeds, and needs; provide orchestrated, life-like, multi-sensory experiences for learners and provide self-directed processes from which the students extract meanings.

The workshop proper will run for four whole-day Saturdays facilitated by topnotched trainors and Accelerated Learning-trained Shirley Hombrebueno, Robin Rubina and Nikko Bantayan of First Gas Power Corporation; Rene Jueco Mayol and Maribel Relatado of First Philippine Holdings Corporation and a dear friend-consultant Ailene Mayol. These trainors are voluntarily investing their talent, time, energy and money. They will continue to hold the hands of the teachers and assist them in applying to their own classes what they learned for one whole schoolyear thereafter.

The officers and members of RCQCNorth, in partnership with Mrs. Salvador will manage the whole program and assist in every way they could. RCQCNorth is particularly committed to raise funds for this program of Building a Creative & Caring Learning Environment from their own pockets and from you.

RCQCNorth is appealing to you, dear readers, to participate in this teachers’ continuous training project.. We will be needing funds for food (4 lunches and 8 snacks plus some pass around food like nuts and candies to keep their energy level high), reproduction of a 350-page reference handouts, teaching/learning materials and administrative expenses. We have estimated that the cost of training per teacher will only be Php2,500.00 because we are able to bring down because the venue of training will be at the school itself and the food will be prepared by their support staff.

If your company is looking for a corporate social responsibility project, please consider this. If you want to help individually, you may want to financially sponsor one or more teachers. You may also volunteer as trainors. Please text, call or email me for details and how to send your contribution. Other Rotary Districts and Clubs who want to use this literacy program are welcome.

We will discuss the Adopt-A-Classroom/Classroom Guardians Program next week. Eventually, District 3780 and RCQCN will extend the same service to all public elementary and secondary schools in Quezon City.

(Moje is president of RCQCNorth and her contacts are: 0917-899MOJE and RCQCNorth meets every Thursday, 7 p.m., at BigShot Billiards & Bar, Delta Building, Quezon Avenue, QC)

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