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Jul 16, 2013

Restore Belize restores student confidence in English and Math

Summer is here and kids are out of school, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t learn. In fact, there are organizations which utilize summer months primarily to catch youths up on vital facets of education which they may not have grasped in the school setting. Two of those problem areas are reading and math, and Restore Belize has figured out a way to bring the classroom to the kids, with the help of community summer programs and powerful academic intervention software. Mike Rudon was at Water-Walkers in Belize City on Monday and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The software programs are called Academy of Reading and Academy of Math, and thanks to Restore Belize, community organizations and generous donors, these children in different areas of the city are learning how to read and do math outside of the classroom. The project, called It’s Time to Read, was launched today, but was in the making for some time.

 

Marie Munoz, Program Officer, Restore Belize

Marie Munoz

“One of the main reasons why this program game about is because when Restore Belize was launched during its first month. We did a lotta meetings with different stakeholders. And one of the groups that we met with were the primary school principals and they expressed to us the need to have some kind of installation because teachers are already loaded in terms of the responsibilities and so they wanted some assistance. And so we were searching and looking. It was placed in our strategic plan to try to find the ideal program that wouldn’t saddle these agencies because we didn’t want the agencies to be saddled with additional work. And so what we found was a program that was well-written; that enables the supervisors here on the group in these community based organizations to give an overview. And with assistance in this program the way how we are working it out, we are asking our scholarship kids, the kids that Restore Belize gave out scholarships to, to give back by being here. So they are actually at these sites to give back of time so that they can assist the children who are learning to read and do math.”

 

The programs are actually geared to all ages, and automatically assess the user’s competence before selecting the level of teaching. It’s all being done on computers like you see here, with minimum supervision required. The children are required to put in one hour a day, five hours a week at one of eight sites located across the city.

 

Marie Munoz

“These sites are located all over Belize City. We have NARCIE  that is located on Freetown Road, we have Water-Walkers that is located here on Albert Street, we have the UBAD Educational Foundation which is located inside the Kremandala Compound up at the library. We have Port Loyola Library that’s a part of this program and they are located on Central American Boulevard. We have Eglars Training Center; that’s located on Collet and Raccoon Streets. And these are actually community based organizations which are already on the ground, who are already offering services to the community. And what Restore Belize did was resource mobilize because this was a need that we found when we started Restore Belize and then we actually implemented this program in these organizations to strength them.”

 

Nia Arthurs is one of the youths helping out with the program. She loves reading and when she was approached by Restore Belize she jumped at the chance.

 

Nia Arthurs

Nia Arthurs, Assisting With Project

“This summer, I will actively be here hands on assisting Miss Marie. Sometimes, it is actually tutoring. Like this morning, I gathered the children in a circle and we played game and I got them to remixed the alphabet songs and fun activities like that to get them into this energy; into learning.”

 

The programs have gotten rave reviews, and it is expected that at the end of forty hours each student will have advanced one grade level…which means that by the time these youths go back to school their improvement should be evident, even if they don’t realize the importance of what they’re doing.

 

Nia Arthurs

“From the children, I think it is not something that they see in a long term way; they see it as just another program. Btu from the teachers and the organizers and the adults who see where this is going to take the children, I see a hope springing up. I see a genuine energy and excitement to where this program can take these children.”

 

Marie Munoz       

“We are hoping that a lot of kids will pass through this program and then they will be able to come on a better footing so when the school year comes about again; that the children will go back to school very strong in reading and very strong in maths so that we can have more kids in the long term stay in school.”

 

The project will be in place during the summer and after, so parents are invited to sign up their kids. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

The software and computers for the project were provided by the Government of Taiwan, while the actual program is being funded by the Atlantic group of Companies. 

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