APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Cimientos has found that individual and institutional conditions have to be strengthened in order to improve education. Cimientos has extensive experience in developing school-based programs that help Argentine high school students succeed in school. The program model includes:
-Personalized mentoring: Empowers participants' attitudes and abilities to obtain their objectives.
-Economic support: Participants are trained in efficient budget management and expense reporting of program funds.
-Exchange of experiences and training: Participants have opportunities to share experiences; exchange lessons learned; achievements, and challenges; and receive training.
Cimientos has developed a unique personalized educational mentoring model. During meetings, the mentor discusses the value of education and coaches students and guardians on skills such as study techniques and time management. They establish continuity and build rapport while establishing personalized educational objectives and strategies to achieve them. The same model is applied to programs with schools, where Cimientos coaches teachers and directors to create and implement educational projects.
Cimientos periodically works with the participants according to their specific needs, jointly assess each process and provides tools including: learning techniques, parent workshops, evaluation practices, how to document teaching experiences, and good practices systematization. This work provides opportunities for participation, promotes belonging, and empowers the education community.
Programs are evaluated for results and impact to deepen Cimientos understanding of the issues, enrich existing programs, shape public policy, and share data.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Over three years, Cimientos will work with teachers, principals, students, and their families from 100 high schools. In Year One, an institutional assessment for each of the schools will guide the development of an improvement plan. During Years Two and Three, the plan will be implemented, evaluated, and adapted to school needs. Best practices will contribute to the creation of a new model.
Deliverables: An evaluation report for each school based on performance indicators; 'tool box' with management tools; best practices report; and scale-up model description.
Children in Argentina's secondary school system are currently in greater danger of failing and dropping out than ever before.
Whereas primary education today shows rates of nearly universal enrollment and completion at 98%, secondary education enrollment - compulsory only since 2006 - has increased steadily in the past 30 years. According to National Census data, in 1980 85.4% of 12 to 14 year-olds were in school, and by 2001, 95.1% were in school. The amount of 15 to 17 year-olds in school over this time also increased significantly, rising from 51.8% to 79.4%.
This upward trend in secondary school enrollment has been coupled by alarming academic achievement, permanence, and graduation rates for high-school students. According to one study, low-income youth have a 33.2% grade repetition rate and a 30.3% drop-out rate, while students with the highest income have a grade repetition rate of 6.7% and a 12.4% drop-out rate. Additionally, the high-school graduation rate highlights the educational divide between socioeconomic sectors, as only 20.2% of students from the poorest families graduate versus 73% of students from middle and upper-class families. Furthermore, approximately 600,000 youth in Argentina between the ages of 13 and 17 are not in school, 400,000 of which are 15 to 17 year-olds.
The quality of the education that Argentine students are receiving is also deteriorating. When tracking academic performance outcomes, 2006 PISA tests found that out of 36 countries, Argentina's student achievement results in reading and comprehension declined the most significantly by -11%.
Some factors that contribute to the grave predicament of high-school education are:
Teacher training has not been adapted to the needs of current students.
The internal high-school structure remains practically unchanged.
The poorest members of the population have the direst educational conditions.
The educational system has widespread inequality.
Public policies officially encourage low-income youth to enter high-school but have not implemented changes to facilitate their ability to stay in school.
Over its 13 years working with schools that receive low-income students, Cimientos has found important differences in performance results. These differences vary depending on: the principal's ability to foster a positive working environment, teachers being involved and dedicating themselves to bettering their work, teaching staff stability, trust in student capabilities, ability to adapt to student and community needs and characteristics, clear norms that are widely known, availability of didactic resources, necessary infrastructure, and active community participation in school projects.
Despite the negative conditions and barriers they face, Cimientos finds that youth and their families still acknowledge the school as a place where they want to be and as a means to break the vicious cycle of poverty, lack of education, and exclusion. Thus, Cimientos has implemented effective measures to empower program participants to access opportunities, escape poverty, and achieve social mobility, upholding this same conviction that the school is a vehicle towards remedying educational inequality.
SEEKING: Financial Resources, Implementing Partners, Best Practice Information, Media/Marketing Opportunities
Cimientos seeks financial resources to implement this commitment. All media or marketing opportunities to disseminate and raise further resources will be greatly appreciated. Cimientos welcomes implementation partners and opportunities to share best practices in order to enrich this commitment.
OFFERING: Implementing Partners, Best Practice Information
Cimientos has national reach and currently a staff of 170 trained professionals throughout the locations where the organization works. Cimientos' expertise and know how is regarding work with schools, teachers, principals, students, and their families to promote equal educational opportunities in public schools. Cimientos has numerous lessons learned in drop-out prevention and in mobilizing families around education, as well as motivating and enriching teacher practices and strategies that support student performance.