The Action for Education Public School
The Action for Education Public School was developed in direct response to the staggeringly low rates of availability, participation, and enrollment in educational programs in San Pedro Sula, a city with a bleak socioeconomic history.
This school was the first project of Action for Education, and the reason for its initial incorporation as a non-profit. The K-9th grade C.E.B. Action for Education Public School is now in its fourth year of classes and currently provides 375 students with a tuition-free education. It places a special emphasis on technology and socialization curriculums to serve as a working model for other Honduran school systems. By developing these crucial technical and social skills, AcE hopes to enable students to foster economic growth, social consciousness, and regional stability on a long-term scale.
Since public education is only free until the 5th grade in Honduras, where the average wage is around $1.50 per day, many poor families have little incentive to send their kids to school. These families know they won't be able to afford their child's education past the 5th grade, and thus these children end up working instead of receiving an education. In result, only 30% of students in Honduras go onto the 6th grade, contributing to the cycle of extreme poverty prevalent throughout the country. In the wake of this poverty and lack of opportunity, powerful gangs try to fill this void and recruit children into their ranks, making empty promises of wealth and brotherhood while creating the illusion that it's the cool thing to do.
The Action for Education Public School was founded in direct response to these troubling factors and aims to combat the stereotypes pushed by these groups, with the hope of graduating socially conscious students equipped with the necessary tools to create change in their communities. Our hundreds of students previously had no public school in the region to attend, making this school's construction critical to the long-term wellness of the community. Our tuition-free setup past the 5th grade also incentivizes families to send their kids to school, knowing they will be able to at least complete their primary education with the opportunity for more. Thus far, the Action for Education Public School has experienced great success with over a 98% graduation rate, an almost unheard of statistic for Honduran public schools. Because of this success, we have increasingly garnered more support from the government, who now pays for half of our teacher's salaries while local politicians have continued to tout our progress. The final project and renovation scope includes plans for a $60,000 school building, complete with a courtyard and athletic fields for sports and recreation.
Another important component of the Action for Education Public School is our Students for Change Scholarship Fund, which provides especially needy students with a stipend for their families, along with additional resources such as English classes to help advance the student's future.
Action for Education Public School students give their thanks!
We recently completed our $7,000 project to construct a concrete fence around the entire school grounds, a huge project to ensure the safety of our students and help promote a comfortable learning environment. Unfortunately, many schools in San Pedro Sula are often targets of gangs to recruit new members, as they try to exploit the financial situations of students' families and use this as a tool to expand their group. This runs completely contrary to our school's goal of breaking the mold of poverty and violence in San Pedro Sula, and thus this fence was critical to show outsiders that this community will not tolerate such activity. No person is allowed entry unless given permission by our school's guard. We also finished building our Director's Office for our school's principal and will soon be completing additional bathrooms for our students.
Our next goal is to construct a multi-purpose athletic court within the school grounds to promote active and collaborative learning through physical activity. This court will include basketball hoops and a volleyball net, to go along with the soccer field already constructed. Future goals of the school include constructing additional classrooms in order to increase student enrollment. This would be coupled with additional hires of teachers as well, allowing more students in the region to receive a quality, tuition-free education. Neighboring public schools are filled to capacity, with about 1,300 students in each school so it is necessary that we increase our size to accommodate new students. The Action for Education Public School only plans to expand to a couple hundred more students to provide education to local youth who do not currently have a school, thereby allowing us to maintain our quality of instruction with smaller class sizes while accommodating these new students.