25 May 2010


After visiting the Springs Alive school in remote Kakiri, Uganda, we have
designed a plan of action. Because of the inconsistencies in student attendance, the variability and shortage of trained teachers and the poverty level, we want to help set-up a student-centered learning center for them. We desperately need teachers to volunteer their class of students (either this year or next year) to design learning sheets, in a variety of subjects. These will then be taken to the school in Uganda hopefully in December. Can you help? If so, please reply to this newsletter and I'll gladly send you an information sheet with what we need.
The following teachers have already volunteered to help:
**Ann Otwell at Chestnut Log Middle School in Douglasville, GA has volunteered her students to make middle grade life science and earth science learning sheets.
**Jayne Perkins, a 6th grade teacher in Berwick, Maine has volunteered to help assemble materials.
**Denise De Felice, in Brazil, an ELL teacher has volunteered to help train adults in the use of materials via Skype teacher volunteers to help design lesson sheets.
I have some new pictures posted from our Uganda trip on the website. The
disparity between the US and Uganda is hard to describe in words. But, I
did write a bit on it. If you'd like a copy of my article, "The Baby in Red" and
a photo of some of the beautiful Ugandan children I met at the school, reply
to this, or send me an email with "The Baby in Red" in the subject line.
We are also glad to mention the intentions of two volunteers, Summer Montacute and the father(of ages 26 and 63), interested in volunteering for Springs Alive this summer around August 2010. Both have several years of teaching experience, especially teaching English as a Second Language and are UK/US citizens. They will be volunteering with us, for a period of several weeks (probably not more than 3 weeks)
This addition was posted by Martin

10 May 2010

Our Plan of Action for Springs Alive School

To: Martin Sebuliba, Director, Springs Alive School
Dear Martin,
I want to thank you again for the opportunity to visit your school and meet your teachers and the students and the families in your village. The music, dancing singing and pageantry was outstanding and we were honored to be a part of your graduation ceremony.
As promised, I have returned to the United States with a better understanding of your situation and the needs of the children in your village.
From my perspective, I would summarize the situation as follows:
You have several obstacles to a thriving and effective school including a lack of electricity, a lack of textbooks and other teaching materials, underpaid and underprepared faculty, Inconsistency in student attendance, inconsistency in teacher attendance, variation in teacher's use of English, and an inability to consistently and predictably get materials and money to the site.
Therefore, I believe the most effective way to improve student learning and increase effectiveness is to move your school system to what we in the United States call, “student - centered”.
This has become an increasingly popular methodology here in the US to overcome many of the same issues you are dealing with there (lack of attendance, dropout rates, inconsistent teacher supply). The educational research done here in the last 2 decades has shown that student-centered schools have in fact improved student learning, student engagement, and student outcomes.
The basic principle here is to put the emphasis on the student for driving his or her own learning. The teachers (or trained adult) in the room act more as a facilitator or coach and works one-on-one with students as needed. Because the emphasis is on student directed learning rather than teacher - centered delivery, the instruction is not affected by inconsistent attendance or lack of trained teachers.
I would propose that we begin by setting up a list of basic competencies for each of your grade levels (or preferably, a multi-age grouping). Then we would begin to assemble a variety of student hands-on activities to teach each of the competencies.
These activities would come with a small test and answer key for the teacher. The teacher then would mark off when a child passed on the competencies and they would move on to another. Once a satisfactory number of competencies has been passed, the student would graduate to the next grade level.
If this is something that is of interest to you and your teachers, I will spearhead the development of the program here in the US. We may have to concentrate on one grade level at a time. Once the activities are put together, we would need to return to your school and provide a day or two of training with your teachers so that they would be familiar with how to help the students engage. We could start right away in this next term using many of the materials and activities that we left there at the school last week.
I believe this would be the most effective way to advance your school and would eliminate the pressure for monetary funds and / or the pressure to find and pay for registered teachers. The only obstacle might be securing the learning materials on a day-to-day basis.
You might be interested in knowing too, that as a result of our visit last week, we have 2 side organizations running - one to bring dresses to the girls in your village on our next visit and one to purchase and bring student tables your upper grade classrooms on our next visit.
I look forward to hearing from you and look forward to continued cooperation between us.


Dr Kathie F Nunley,

04 May 2010


Hello - I've returned from my great adventure in Uganda and am so excited to share what we did, what we saw and what plans we have to continue to help the Springs Alive school. We ended up with over 200 pounds of school supplies which we took packed in our luggage. I've updated the website page with some photos from our day: http://help4teachers.com/uganda.htm

And also a plea to teachers out there to help us keep this school moving. Due to irregular attendance (If you saw the village area, you would understand why many children are unable to come some days) and the instability of a trained teacher supply, we need to help them set-up a student-centered learning environment. I need help from all of you - curriculum planners and teachers to help us get a list of basic skills and activities that can be used by the students to learn those skills. Email me (or reply to this newsletter) if you and your students can get involved with this

In other news, I'll be heading back to Canada a couple of times this month to continue Layered Curriculum® training with the Toronto District. June will be New York City month, with 3 trips down there starting with a keynote at the city-wide parents conference and continued work with ELL teachers. I also have a trip to Chicago in June.

I still have some openings in my August workshop calendar as well as one in September and one opening in December. If you are looking to schedule a workshop for the next school year, please send me an email or visit: http://help4teachers.com/workshops.htm

As always, my best to yours,