While many of us in the U.S. are seeing COVID-19 risks diminish, unfortunately, case numbers in Guatemala are still on the rise and their vaccine rollout has faced numerous problems and delays.
We at CoEd are very concerned about this situation and are taking every precaution to ensure our staff, students, teachers, and their communities remain safe, while also ensuring our programs continue to allow our students to get the education they need and deserve.
Schools in Guatemala are currently holding class using either a hybrid model or a fully virtual format, depending on the level of COVID-19 cases in each community. Our program staff, in partnership with local schoolteachers and principals, have continued to adapt and mold each of our four educational programs to best serve our students under the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic. Below are some updates on how our incredible teams and communities have managed to keep each program going throughout 2021.
Rise Youth Development Program
Earlier this year, the Rise Program team delivered over 700 copies of the “Skills for Success” manuals for students to use as part of their youth development curriculum. Since then, our Rise Local Facilitators have been guiding the students on how to use their manuals remotely due to the pandemic. The team created pre-tests of the modules that will be used to monitor the students’ progress.
During the second quarter, the 733 Rise scholars who entered the program in 2021 worked on completing the first two modules of the Skills for Success curriculum: “Who Am I?” and “I am a Responsible Citizen”.
Their schoolwork continues to be done remotely based on the manuals and with the facilitators guiding the process through follow-up calls and sharing tips and guidance videos!
Spark Reading Program
Since 2020, the Spark Reading Program team had been working on the design and production of reading cards or portable reading materials that are printed on individual sheets. The purpose of the reading cards is for teachers to send them home with their students so they can safely work on them with the support of their parents and return them when there is a change of materials at the school. In total, 51,810 reading cards were printed and distributed!
In addition to the reading cards, the Spark team created instructions and support sheets for the teachers and parents, so that they know how to use and apply the cards. These guides include activities to help with motivation and reading comprehension while learning from home.
Due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic and the changing environment between the different departments, supervision, and schools, the introduction for using the online Spark training platform was carried out through individual training sessions for each school. In total, 34 trainings were held, and 268 teachers and 11 principals participated!
“CoEd and its Textbook Program are always there when we need them most. They are like a constant drop of water in the desert.”
At the beginning of 2021, the Textbook team visited schools to provide follow-up support to those that were trained virtually last year. They covered topics like how to use the digital platform and learned strategies for how to use textbooks in a hybrid education model. In total, the team held 79 trainings at the participating schools, all while maintaining safety measures. In total, 369 teachers were helped via these sessions!
In fact, all of these teachers were given a USB drive with all of the training materials, instructions for accessing and using the training platform, sections of the book and related activities, as well as tutorials generated by the program!
Four new schools entered the Textbook Program this year, and their books were personally delivered to the schools through mini opening ceremonies that followed strict social distancing guidelines.
During the pandemic, textbooks became such an indispensable tool for the teaching-learning process to continue that the vast majority of program schools that were scheduled to renew their textbooks in 2021 requested to make the investment using their revolving fund. In total, 50 schools renewed their books, benefiting a total of 9,570 students with 11,170 textbooks!
Computer Centers Program
For the Computer Program schools using the hybrid model, teachers and staff are taking measures to ensure student safety inside the computer labs, including disinfecting surfaces, using physical barriers between computers, and having only one student per machine or even leaving spaces between machines.
For schools who are functioning remotely, the program staff and teachers created assessment videos and exercises that can now be used to facilitate the distance learning process. Since many students don’t have access to computers at home, most of the learning is done through video on their phones.
Throughout the year, Computer Program teachers have been using an online platform that houses all of the contents of the technology courses taught, including IC3 (Internet and Computer Core Certification), Object Based Programming (Scratch), and Fundamentals of Web Design (HTML).
Each module of the platform includes study guides, video tutorials, complementary material, learning activities, questionnaires, and glossaries.
We are so thankful that we can always count on our amazing supporters, team, schools, and communities to help these programs not only exist during the pandemic, but grow in ways that will help even more Guatemalan students get the education they deserve in the future!