Many of us remember feeling quite insecure and overwhelmed when we entered 7th grade. Nicolás Fund for Education scholars are no different! Our NFE scholars also have an added challenge of coming from primary schools with far fewer resources than more urban schools.
We even found out a few years ago that the villages of La Bendición and La Esperanza did not even have textbooks! (Thanks to a generous NFE supporter, we were able to supply those two village primary schools with their first set of primary school textbooks.)
Innovation at Work
In our first few years of operation, we noticed that our NFE scholars really struggled to keep up academically in the first few months of 7th grade. With extensive after school tutoring provided through NFE and lots of hard work on the part of the students, the students eventually caught up.
Our Country Director, Ivan España, searched for a better plan that would be less stressful for students and would be more cost-effective for NFE. Thanks to the work of Ivan España, Nicolás Fund for Education subsequently developed a program three years ago called Winter School to help prepare our 7th-gradestudents for academic success.
While Winter School camps are more common in urban Guatemala, this concept is new in the Ixil region. Winter School is four weeks long and takes place in November after the academic year ends at the end of October.
Making the Grade
This year, Winter School took place on our Nicolás Christian School campus and involved students from five villages! Eighteen 6th grade students attended winter school. Computer, English, and language skills are the focus of Winter School. We have definitely seen the beneficial effect of Winter School in the grades that our 7th graders have been able to achieve in the first few months of school, and subsequently, our tutoring needs for our junior high students have diminished!