Construyendo Escuelas Exitosas highlights the role of the local community in shaping the learning environment and educational experience of each child. The program originated with an emphasis on developing a model for rural schools in poor areas. It now works in regions throughout Peru, specifically targeting primary schools in the poorest communities where government resources may not reach and children are in need of greater attention. The program partners with local businesses that choose which schools to fund. To date, local businesses in Peru have donated more than $25 million USD.
The educational model operates according to the notion that education is not solely the responsibility of teachers, but also depends on the involvement of parents, local organizations, and community leaders. Construyendo Escuelas Exitosas trains an expert to serve as coordinator and live in the participating region for five years. Throughout the duration of the program, coordinators have a significant impact on the community and make home and classroom visits, developing strong relationships with the teachers and families. In each region, the model consists of a three-tiered system of collaboration:
- At the community level: The program creates a network of 10 schools and 25 teachers to share challenges and experiences and involve the community in important decisions. School directors, community leaders, local organizations, parents, teachers, and the coordinator participate at this level.
- At the school level: The school director, teachers and parents determine the school's curriculum and goals. Monitoring and evaluation occur at this level.
- Within each school: Parents and teachers collaborate to work out specific problems. They also discuss ways to integrate the curriculum and create a healthy, respectful learning environment at home.
Construyendo Escuelas Exitosas provides annual on-site and virtual training workshops for school directors, teachers, and parents. Each year of primary school has a different focus but builds on the previous year's skills:
- Year 1: Reading and writing
- Year 2: Critical thinking and logic
- Year 3: Communication
- Year 4: Socialization
- Year 5: Learning skills and personal development
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CEI approaches in action
Since its inception in 2007, Construyendo Escuelas Exitosas has established networks in 15 of the 24 regions in Peru, reaching more than 55,000 students in 600 schools.
Immediate plans include expanding into the poorest, most marginalized areas in Peru. Long-term plans for growth may involve replicating the model in Bolivia and other parts of Latin America.
Monitoring & Evaluation
The program frequently gathers information to determine if schools are achieving their objectives and suggests what measures can be taken to improve the process. Coordinators assigned to each network of schools conduct interviews and surveys, make home and classroom visits, and administer entry and exit exams for each student to measure progress. In addition to the program's own evaluating mechanisms, the Department of Education conducts national exams in mathematics and reading.