June saw the close of a very successful and productive year for New Horizon. Teacher Development went well and was well received. A continuous process that further improves our school in the Munoz community. We are very thankful for the volunteer efforts from our supporters in Canada, lending their professional experience in training our staff. Volunteers are also active in development of our infrastructure initiatives at the school. These improvements have ensured a positive and safe learning environment for our students. I have been home for two months and I am getting word that the Parents in Munoz are getting anxious to register their children for the new school year, so it’s time to get back to business.
New Horizon is also gaining a positive reputation in communities outside of Munoz. Please click on the link below to see the fun the kids had to end their school year.
Well, we can’t just measure the success of the team by the first results, but the enthusiasm was beyond measure. The mere thought of playing a game of soccer with the neighbouring school brought a shout of excitement from our students.
As of yet we don’t have an official name for our team, but that did not matter. What mattered was that a game was on. Hidden somewhere in one of the suitcases were a number of uniforms, donated sometime ago, waiting for a moment like this. Well, it did not come too soon for the team.
It was an enjoyable event, tense at times, but that’s to be expected as we were the visitors playing away from home. In reality, the game was a lot closer than the 5-3 recorded in the books. No trophy here, but we left our heads held high and with a box of juice for each player. In the grand scheme of things, this was a well-earned prize.
Visit the 2nd Chance, International website to view our newsletter.
Students received their report cards on the third Friday in February and the parent teacher meeting was held on the first of March. We have seen an improvement in the academic achievement of our students during this past year. This is a result of our teachers being better prepared to meet the academic challenges in the classroom.
Thanks to Arlene Belle and Patricia Briscoe, our teachers have been receiving pedagogical development in seminars as well as ongoing support electronically.
Patricia and her husband John took a week out of their busy schedule to visit us from March 5-12. While Patricia was conducting teacher evaluations, John was busy trying to work through a long list of repair and maintenance chores, which included installing a basketball net on a branch of a mango tree.
On Wednesday morning, the students were encouraged to continue their quest for educational excellence as both John and Patricia gave pep talks. The Briscoe’s also brought down a number of school supplies and teaching aids.
This is our first official teacher evaluation and Patricia says it was encouraging that the teachers were so receptive to receiving advice on how to improve their teaching. We are fortunate to have such an enthusiastic group of teachers who are more than willing to learn and who graciously accept the challenge of constructive criticism.
Each teacher was evaluated based on three domains: commitment to pupils and pupil learning; professional knowledge; and teaching practice. Within each of these domains, there were groupings of competencies. A few competencies were selected for each teacher to focus on and pedagogical strategies were given to help. Now each teacher has an evaluation portfolio, a focus for various competencies and strategies to help them; all are meant to improve their teaching and ultimately increase student achievement and success.
The New Horizon School is well underway in the new year. Mid year Exams are done and the students have settled in for the second half of the school year. Look here in the next couple of weeks for a 2014 recap. We finished off the calendar year with a little festive spirit…
The New Horizon School’s Christmas party, held on December 21, was an exciting time for our students. As before, even though we tried to limit the number of attendees, we had a full house. It was great to see the students dressed up in their finest for the event. Immediately following the Christmas program put on by the students, a sumptuous dinner was served.
As far as our budget would allow, the entrance and assembly area were transformed into a Christmas wonderland.
The day before and the morning of the Christmas party, the staff was busy putting together Christmas bundles for the students. Thanks to our supporters, we had an array of gifts to bundle. There were backpacks, clothes, footwear, dolls, candies and personal hygiene products. These were arranged in various combinations, leaving no one out. As you can imagine, it was very difficult to keep our workshop a secret. This surprise only helped to heighten the excitement at the party, making this event the biggest hit of the evening.
On the whole, it was an exciting evening enjoyed by one and all.
Thanks to our supporters for making this event possible.
The weather is unbearable hot. From time to time we may get a splatter of rain during the day to cool things down a bit, but not sufficiently to make a big difference. The plan is to install two fans in each classroom.
Things are moving along as expected in the various classes, but we have had some absenteeism due to illness, mainly the flu. A number of the students have contracted the Chikungunya virus. This is a virus carried by mosquitos; it has flu like symptoms but carries a heavier punch, headaches and achy joints.
The Grade 6 students at Riverwood Academy, Wing’s Point, Newfoundland, under the leadership of Patricia Briscoe linked into The New Horizon School by Skype. The Riverwood Academy students who are studying Core French presented our students with a play about the Three Little Pigs. Students from both schools thoroughly enjoyed the electronic linkup and the opportunity to introduce themselves and to a little bit about each other.
We have started our ‘chicken farm’; we are now the proud owners of 4 baby chicks. We are looking for sponsors to help us to increase the chicken population. $15 will purchase a layer and with feed for them for three months.
The week started like the first two weeks but ended with new events and new firsts for our school:
The electricity went off at approximately 4:15 am on Monday, September 22. This was nothing unusual as it usually goes off at least once per day. It was still off at 2:15pm; the unusual thing was that the power was on at the neighbour’s house. Our search for a possible cause in the building came up empty. About 4:45 pm, the landlord pointed to the problem—a section of the electrical cable running along the street from the electrical pole to the school building was missing. A thief came by early Monday morning, cut and stole the electrical cable—70 feet worth!!!!
We had it replaced the next day. This time we ran the wire much higher on the electrical pole.
On Thursday, September 25, The New Horizon School had a special treat as we were linked by Skype to the 6th grade class of Riverwood Academy, Wing’s Point, in Newfoundland. This class is studying Intensive Core French, and three students took the opportunity to give a small presentation on themselves.
The students in both schools were excited about the international event.
The hammers are silent as the last nail has been driven in our revitalization projects. Thanks to our volunteers the new desks are in place with new posters on the walls and a fresh coat of paint on the school. The groceries have been purchased and the teachers are all ready for the new school year.
Sunday, September 7, was our final day of preparation; all hands were on deck as we go over our checklist to ensure that nothing major was overlooked. Everything seems to be in order except for the uniforms! The uniforms would be a week late. Needless to say, the teachers, parents and students were disappointed that they would not be ready in time.
With the new school year format, changing from half-day school to full-day, we were not sure what to expect even though 52 students had registered. Thirteen-year-old Manoucheca Roger was the first student to enter the school on Monday, September 8, at 7:30am, followed by another 29 students.
Two Weeks Later…
We have survived the first two weeks, which came with the expected growing pains. We have approximately 51 students now, and while it’s not business as usual, everyone is settling into their daily routine.
It is amazing that while planning ahead, dates can seem long and far away. That’s how I felt when I returned to Toronto, on July 1st. I had a whole five weeks to rest and get a few things done before heading back on August 5th. As it turned out, those five weeks were very short and went by very quickly.
Well August 5th is here and I am heading back to Puerto Plata.
There are a number of projects to be completed before the first day of school on September 8th. Registration has begun and so far we have just under 30 students registered. We are expecting more students during the next week. Scheduled during this time are: two professional development seminars; repairs of desks and benches; painting the interior and exterior of the school; rearranging the pantry/library, and getting the uniforms sown. If it seems a lot, it really is, would not mind a few more helping hands!!
This year will be different as school will be full time for the first time, as opposed to two half-days, being run in the mornings and afternoons.
On July 10th the team met to continue the planning session for the upcoming 2nd Chance International Annual Fundraising Event. It promises to be an exciting event as we share with you our experiences and achievements throughout the year, and our future plans. We know that you have been tracking our path-to-success on our blog and we will continue to keep you informed as we enter the 2014-2015 school year.
Our team – Lydia Keen, Sandra Thomas, Darlene Thompson, Fran Musial, Arlene Belle, Jim Horner, Dave Williams, and Julie Finlay, are excited about our upcoming event. Plan to spend the afternoon with us as we continue to track the progress of The New Horizon School in Munoz.
Here are the details for this year’s fundraising event:
When: Sunday, November 16, 2014
Where: The Carib Club
600 Wentworth Street E, Oshawa, ON