The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
The 2020 Guatemalan school year is coming to a close with the last day of classes on Oct. 23. The students and staff at the Colegio Luterano Agustino de Guatemala (CLAG) spent most of the year in distance learning. Since the emergency order issued by the Ministry of Education in March, no in-person classes have been held. Many schools in Guatemala were shut down because parents didn't continue paying for their children's educations. That has not been the case for CLAG, thanks to support from a variety of partners...much to the gratitude of ILAG!
CLAG teachers have been working hard to plan lessons and activities and maintain contact with families. Teachers have had to send monthly lesson plans to a supervisor in order to comply with the requirements of the Ministry of Education. In addition, they met with parents to give them study guides and talk about the academic performance of their children. There have been a few children who haven’t wanted to keep studying, but staff have tried to keep in touch with them and their parents so that they would be able to finish this year’s educational cycle.
CLAG students attended school through a variety of digital platforms, including Zoom, Google Classroom, and WhatsApp. Children who did not have access to the internet, a computer, or cell phone received physical study guides provided by the school. Fifth and sixth grade students connected daily through virtual means to receive classes and hand-in homework. Students in pre-K through fourth grade sent photos and videos of their assignments to their teachers every day. This daily contact allowed teachers to grade assignments and assured them that the children were completing their studies.
ILAG and CLAG are already planning for the next school year, which begins in January. At this point, it is not known when children will be able to return to school buildings. Remodeling work continues on the new school building, so it will be ready to receive students when in-person classes continue. Next year, it is possible that distance learning will be in effect until June. To prepare, staff are thinking of creating an educational platform, in which the children can easily access and find their homework, classes, educational tools, etc.
We give thanks for the work of the CLAG and how they have continued to educate their students in light of the challenges this year has brought. The school year has been a success: classes were able to continue, staff and students found creative ways to engage in teaching and learning, the new school is being readied, and, so far, no illness has been reported. Please continue to pray for ILAG, the teachers at CLAG, and the students and families.
—Deanine Mann, Guatemala Committee Member
Our Savior's, Circle Pines