Volume 6, Issue 2
As we rapidly approach "back-to-school" season in the U.S., Mexico and Central America, it seems fitting to highlight in this quarterly eNewsletter (our 16th!) two major new programs that Worldfund currently is in the midst of launching. Indeed, it is worth noting that Worldfund will celebrate its 7th anniversary this December, thanks to the support of many of you readers.
In the northeast of Brazil (Recife, Pernambuco) Worldfund's intensive science/technology/engineering/math, project-based learning program -- called STEM Brasil -- is just now getting underway at three public high schools serving 2,400 students, thanks to the tireless efforts of Luiz Sergio Cardoso, Worldfund Brasil Director, Agustin Navarra, from our program partner, CORD, and the team of Marcos Magalhaes, from our Recife-based partner, Instituto de Co-Responsabilidade pela Educação. STEM Brasil's goal is to meaningfully improve how science, math and technology is taught in Brazilian public high schools in order to encourage more underprivileged students to pursue science, technology and engineering-oriented careers. As any business in Brazil will attest, Brazil suffers from a severe shortage of workers with these skill sets. If objective evaluation data show that this program meaningfully increases the number of students who pursue tertiary education or job training in the STEM fields, then our aim is to aggressively expand this program throughout Brazil, if we can get the funding.
In the states of Guerrero and Veracruz, Mexico, Worldfund Mexico launched, two weeks ago, its first hands-on, intensive principal training program, named the Instituto de Formación para la Calidad Educativa (IFCE), for 100 Mexican public school principals. With our local partners, EXCELDUC, TAMSA, Becalos, education ministry state leadership and content support from the NYC-based NGO, New Leaders for New Schools (NLNs), IFCE's goal is to significantly improve how public schools function. The key to a high performing school is its leadership. Working with public school teachers for four years with our IAPE teacher training program, it became apparent that even if we profoundly changed how a teacher teaches, if that teacher's principal was not supportive of positive change, then our teacher training efforts would not have the impact they should. We could find no other high-level principal training program in Mexico, so we figured we would have to start our own. Eighteen months of relentless work by -- Worldfund Mexico Director, Elena Espinosa, Worldfund Program Director, Michelle Viegas, EXCELDUC director, Marcela Campos, and TAMSA team members led by Cecilia Bilesio -- is now starting to bear fruit and, assuming evaluation data support early anecdotal evidence, we plan to aggressively expand this program throughout Mexico, if we can get the funding.
We thank you for your continued interest and sincerely hope that you will continue to be generous in your support of our efforts. One student, one teacher, one principal at a time, we will transform Latin America for the better.
Luanne Zurlo and the entire Worldfund team
Read about our Student of the Month, Yesica...
Factlet of the Month
Over 40% of Brazilian 15-year-olds tested performed at or below a Level 1 (out of 6 Levels) on the 2006 PISA science exam.