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Education

Avanza

Avanza

Avanza

AVANZA means to advance or to get ahead. This two year program is taught at the PEACE Center, and is focused on children who, for a variety of reasons, are not enrolled in the public school system. The goal is to integrate or re-integrate these children into the public school system and to support their journey towards becoming responsible, stable, contributing and successful members of society. PEACE does this by providing a supportive learning environment that not only addresses the academic curriculum that raises academic skills to appropriate levels, but also on developing study habits and skills, social behavior and meaningful life skills.

For the 2015/2016 school year, Avanza enrollment consists of 19 students from the Punta de Mita area, ranging from age ten to seventeen. In previous 2014/2015  school year, ​2 Avanza students were reintegrated into the local public high schools and 4 into middle school. Two of them were awarded a scholarship in a private school in Bucerías, Collegio Bucerias. One elementary student was integrated into the local elementary school system.

Computer Classes

Computer Classes

Computer Classes
In today’s job market, computer skills are critical, and in many ways essential to the advancement of knowledge and education. Due to the lack of computer training classes in the area, Peace stepped up by procuring desk top computers and offering computer classes at the Peace Community Center. The classes are available to Avanza and local high school students. Adult classes are offered twice a week.

The objective of the program is to introduce students to computers and to teach them the computer skills necessary to further their education and careers as well as for their personal benefit and enjoyment.

The computer lab has 14 computers and instructs 83 students/week. Additionally, the computers are available in the afternoons to everyone in the community who wishes to use them. A computer teacher is always at hand and willing to assist whenever needed.

English Program

English Program

English Program
Though the local economy is almost entirely based on tourism, the local public schools did little to prepare their students to function in an environment where knowledge of the English language is paramount. As a result, their students were effectively barred from producing in the local economy and from participating in the thriving local job market. Jobs were filled with bus loads of labor imported from outside the local communities. This prompted Peace to start an English language program in the local public schools.
The English language program was first introduced in 2014 at three of the local public ​elementary​ schools (Emiliano Zapata, Corral del Risco and Higuera Blanca) with receptive princip​als who agreed to allow a limited amount of school time for English study. The program rapidly developed, and within a year, was adopted at all of the local schools, including 3 kindergarten, 3 elementary, 2 middle and ​2 high schools. Two hours of English language instruction was a good start and meant progress, but Peace was acutely aware that 2 hours/week were insufficient to achieve proficiency. Therefore, PEACE Executive Director of Peace, Cecilia Paredes, and PEACE Education Supervisor, Ali Elias, with the support of the full PEACE Board, petitioned the Mexican Ministry of Education “SEP” to allow PEACE to teach English 5 hours/week. PEACE’s efforts were hugely successful, and was able to negotiate a signed agreement with SEP. From now on, PEACE will be teaching 5 hours of English at every school in the three communities comprising approximately 1200 students. This was quite a feat and a laudable achievement, as there was resistance at the local school administration level.

Expansion of the English language curriculum required the recruitment of a significant number of teachers, a challenge that was met in short order. PEACE now employs 7 qualified English teachers, all of the teachers attended training workshops to enhance their effectiveness and to make their teaching skills and methods uniform.

Campeones

Campeones

Campeones
Campeones stands for “Champions”, an after school program created for the most talented, qualified and committed public middle school students selected by both their middle school and PEACE teachers. The aim is to prepare these talented students to enter better high schools in the area, to encourage the achievement of higher levels of education and to ultimately enable them to give back to their communities.
Also taught at the PEACE Center, daily, Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 4:30 PM, the Campeones Program is designed to increase these students’ competency in English language fluency, in computer skills, especially their ability to use Google Chrome Books, and to improve their communications, collaboration and critical thinking skills through community oriented project-based learning.

In the current 2015/2016 school year, Campeones’ first full school year, seventeen students from the three local communities were carefully evaluated and selected based on their ability, capacity and motivation to learn, their grade point average (A or 9.0+), their interest in pursuing higher levels of education, their capacity to grow intellectually and their all around behavior and demeanor. In the previous school year, Campeones started up in February 2015, and two of its first term graduates successfully were admitted with scholarship to Colegio Bucerias, one of the top private schools in the north shore area, while the 2016 year level granted three well deserving scholarships to the college.



Let’s take a look at the English program