Charlie and Susan visited St. Bakhita Nursery and Primary School from October 24 through November 1, accompanied by Dr. Nancy Austin, a seasoned teacher and retired professor of education, who observed the classrooms and interviewed each teacher to determine their needs and to set up a plan for continuous improvement for teachers and administrators. Also part of the group were Ann Noyes of Yarmouth, Maine, USA, and Doug and Georgette Morrell of Brunswick, Maine, USA. Nancy worked with all the teachers, observing them in the classroom and working with them to develop the framework for their continuing education (see article elsewhere in this letter). Georgette, an art teacher, taught a group of 27 students and teachers how to paint with pastels. They embraced the new medium and created wonderful paintings. Doug, a former teacher, assisted in the classrooms and had wonderful interactions with the students as he corrected their papers. Doug also brought soccer balls for the children. The life of a ball in the school yard, being kicked against brick walls and played on a field with stones and rough patches, is quite limited. With the new balls, there was a spirited game between the fifth and sixth grade boys. To the dismay of the sixth graders and their rooters (sixth grade girls), the fifth graders won! The teams wore the new uniforms provided by Helms & Company, Inc. of New Hampshire, USA.
Susan worked with students in the middle nursery, P2, and P5 classrooms, with help from Ann Noyes and teacher Pauline Layat. The 66 children in the nursery classroom used crayons to draw and color anything they liked. Their teacher Rosemary had the children write their names on their masterpieces, and after Ann and Susan wrote “Good” with a red pen on each one, they were given back to the children to proudly take home. For the P2 classroom, the media were watercolor paints and stickers, and the completed pictures were attached to the classroom wall for a group photo with the artists. In P5 the medium was watercolor, with many of the students completing two and even three paintings, also displayed for a group photo. None of the students in any of the three classrooms needed instruction, as they are creative, enthusiastic, and focused. All of the unused art supplies were left in the storage building for ongoing use.
Ann, an author and etiquette expert who is retired from The Protocol School of Washington, presented to students and teachers a typical American meal served and eaten according to Western etiquette.
2014 Operating Budget Approved
The operating budget for St. Bakhita Nursery and Primary school for the school year beginning in January, 2014 was approved by the teachers and SFR. Included in the budget are the costs of adding Primary 7 within the campus. The process, which was instituted for the 2013 school year, had the teachers develop a list of needs, from salaries to text books to supplies. Charlie Roscoe, on behalf of SFR, suggested $34,000 as the amount of money that will be raised from SFR donors to support the budget. In an interactive meeting, Charlie and the teachers discussed all the elements of the list of needs and agreed on where cuts should be made to make the budget equal the SFR commitment. The budget is an increase from $18,000 for 2014 and includes a 50% increase in teacher pay to $1,200 per year. A copy of the budget is available by contacting Charlie.
Twenty-Three Students Graduate from Primary-7 and Enroll in O-1 (First Year of Secondary School)
Twenty-three 2012 graduates of St. Bakhita Nursery and Primary School have completed their year of Primary 7 at Star Education Center, a private primary school in Bweyale and have been accepted for 2014 to attend the Panyadoli Self Help Secondary School located a few steps from St. Bakhita Nursery and Primary School.
Fifteen Students Enrolled in O-2 (Second Year of Secondary School)
Fifteen 2011 graduates of St. Bakhita Nursery and Primary School and 2012 graduates of Star Education Center havecompleted their first year at Panyadoli Self Help Secondary School. They begin O-2 in January 2014. The school islocated in the settlement and is only a few minutes from most students’ huts. In their first year of high school, students completed thirteen courses. Six are taught on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and seven are taught on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. This a very rigorous program which the students embrace with determination.