K through 12 Curriculum

The project: Design or adapt an existing K through 12th grade bilingual (Spanish and English) curriculum that could be followed by volunteer teachers arriving from the US or Europe here in the Galapagos. Our thinking is perhaps this could be done as a thesis project for a student.

Part of the project also will involve the resourcing of volunteer teachers, campus location and materials for a school that would follow this curriculum. It is assumed the first year the school will begin with only Kindergarten. The second year Kindergarten and first grade etc. until we have a fully functioning K thru 12 school.

Background on this project:

The schools here in the Galapagos are so inadequate that anyone with the where withal sends their kids to the continent (Quito or Guayaquil) for primary through High school education. The majority of the kids here have literally no idea what is the big deal about the Galapagos. They are raised on dirt and cinder blocked streets, many of them have no concern about littering the streets, no problem with the fact their family is surviving by poaching endangered species, very rarely do they have the chance to experience anything like what the tourist visitors do.

The reasons for creating a new school/curriculum with volunteer professors are that here on San Cristobal most of the school officials at the K thru 12 levels are tenured. When they finish “administrating” they can sell their tenure ship. You can imagine the results. The majority of the teachers in these schools are not very well educated themselves and somewhat barbaric in their teaching methods.

The idea to bring in volunteer professors is to give the students the chance to be instructed by professional, well educated international teachers. The curriculum is to insure the students follow a sequential course of study over the years. It would be a wonderful experience for visiting professors to have the opportunity to spend six months or a year here while doing a real world service, providing at least some of the local children of the Galapagos an education commensurate with the responsibility of protecting their birth right, the Islands of the Galapagos.

It is difficult to watch these kids growing up in perhaps the most famous of all the “World Heritage Sites” being denied the education to understand the birth right they are inheriting, the care of these islands. Governments change, here more quickly then most. Right now we have the most stable government we’ve had in twelve years. To me the best measure to insure the future of the Galapagos is to educate the true guardians of these islands, the people that live here.

Of course a good high school education is the main goal, but the ability to earn a scholarship and study abroad at least for some of the kids would also be a goal.

The school/curriculum will need to be dual language (Spanish and English), internet integrated and there are the obvious questions, what focus does the curriculum entail, teaching methods, subjects and from which perspective, etc. etc. My hope is that these challenges might act as motivators. Such a curriculum could have applications in many other locations throughout the world. The notoriety of the Galapagos and the environmental challenges we face here I hope will provide some added motivation.

The kids here are thirsty for a good education. My wife helped run a project in 2004 somewhat similar to the EMON project detailed above, except completely on a local level. The kids learned about electricity, how it works, where it comes from, the real world costs and then went out and monitored the electric use of appliances in houses throughout the community. People started turning off the radio and lights when they left the house, many replaced ancient refrigerators and equally remarkable that year was the only year in the history of the school that every student in the senor class graduated.