Facilitate Student Literacy Sessions and Build Staff Capacity


Open to Jamaica RPCVs only

Activity/project background

The Park Hall Primary & Infant School is located in the rural farming community of Park Hall in North West Clarendon. The school is multi-graded and has an enrolment of 99 students. There is a principal and five teachers at the school with a teacher/pupil ratio of 1/20.

Park Hall Primary and Infant School’s vision is to have all students performing at or above grade level in reading and overall academic performance. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected this vision, as students have been experiencing challenges engaging in online learning. Diagnostic assessments that were administered during the pandemic made it clear that the learning gaps were very wide. The teachers are doing their best under the current circumstances; however they are also learning to adjust to working in an online and blended teaching/learning environment.

Prior to the pandemic, the school benefitted from Peace Corps’ assistance where Volunteers in the education sector acted as Literacy Advisors. They assisted in the areas of student literacy development, teacher capacity building and improving parent involvement. This partnership was successful. While the role of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) is different from that of a two-year Volunteer, it is based on the previous success of that partnership with Peace Corps that Park Hall Primary & Infant School is now seeking to engage a VSPP to help bridge current learning gaps.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will support literacy activities, programs for students, and staff training and by sharing best practices through the following tasks:

• Co-assess students to determine appropriate small group activities with students ages 7-12 years
• Develop appropriate strategies to improve the literacy skills of students engaged in the program (3 hours per week)
• Facilitate two (2) small group sessions with students weekly (40 minutes per session)
• Engage in capacity building exercise with the Host Country Counterpart through weekly planning, executing and evaluation of co-teaching sessions (3 hours per week)
• In collaboration with the counterpart, record practices and lessons learned for future action

School hours are from 8:30am to 3:00pm (Jamaica time GMT-5). The VSPP is expected to commit 5-15 hours per week and this engagement is approximately 27 weeks. There will be regular check-ins and weekly meetings with their counterpart. The Google meet platform is the preferred platform for conducting small group sessions. The planning meetings will be scheduled based on the availability of the VSPP and counterparts.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to computers, a Gmail account and internet in order for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field

Technical Skills: A minimum of one (1) year experience in literacy instruction

Language: Basic knowledge of the Jamaican Patwa (Creole)

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually

Desired qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in education and/or instructional design or certification in literacy or other related field

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

• At least one year experience in literacy instruction in Jamaica
• Experience in counselling/coaching

Partner background

Name: Park Hall Primary & Infant School

Type of entity: Government

Mission and goals:

Park Hall Primary aims to provide the widest range of educational opportunities to primary school students in an innovative and efficient manner to equip them with the skills to become productive citizens who will enhance nation building.

• To provide holistic development to primary aged students
• To implement strategies to cater to the needs of the students deemed at risk
• To improve teacher competencies in addressing students’ literacy deficiencies

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement-specific safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.

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