Design Online Literacy Resources for Primary Schools

Activity/project background

Partner: Ministry of Education and Youth-Region 3 (Government)

The National Literacy Team is a branch of the Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY) in Jamaica that aims to build the capacity of teachers to effectively implement the language arts standards of the National Standards Curriculum and achieve desired student outcomes. Sustained parental involvement is also a priority of the literacy team and, as a result, parents are also engaged in literacy empowerment sessions.

In response to COVID-19, the government of Jamaica closed all primary and secondary schools as part of the measures implemented to control the spread of infection. Schools have since reopened, but there has been significant learning loss. Consequently, the national literacy team is developing a robust plan to engage students, both online and offline.

It is within this context that the organization is seeking a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to assist in designing and creating online literacy resources for primary schools throughout Jamaica. The VSPP will be engaging with the literacy coordinator in region 3 who gives support to over 110 primary and preparatory schools.

The MoEY has previously worked with Virtual Service Pilot Participants, but not in this region. They understand that the role of a VSPP is very different than a two-year Volunteer.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:

• Co-conduct a needs analysis to determine the priority areas for resource development
• Co-design online teaching resources to address reading issues displayed by students
• Co-create online sample lesson plans, instructional videos, games etc. to improve reading outcomes
• Conduct at least two 2-hour training sessions with approximately 100 teachers in the region on the use of the new online teaching resources. The training will include literacy resource teachers from school who will train other teachers
• Co-facilitate two 1-hour parent literacy empowerment session(s) to share literacy resources
• In collaboration with the counterpart, record practices and lessons learned for future action

This engagement is expected to be approximately 27 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week.

Meetings between VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts will take place during normal office hours, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Jamaica time GMT-5) time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, Google Meet, Google Docs, and WhatsApp 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’s degree in education or other related field

• 1 year of experience creating online educational resources
• Experience working with elementary school students

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: Certification in instructional design or related field

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Skilled in instructional best practices for early grade reading

Language: Basic Patwa

• 1 year of experience with literacy instruction in Jamaica
• Experience teaching in a virtual environment
• Experience training teachers
• Experience communicating and collaborating with parents of students

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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