Facilitate Student Literacy Sessions and Support Teachers & Parents

Activity/project background

Partner: Bethabara Primary & Junior High School (Government)

Bethabara Primary and Junior High School is located 22 kilometers from Mandeville in the community of Newport, Manchester, Jamaica. The Informal Diagnostic Reading Inventory (IDRI) is the instrument used to determine the reading levels of students. The results have indicated that there is a dire need to prioritize intervention programs for literacy, especially in the younger grades. Therefore, the school is seeking a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to support students, grades 1-4, with their literacy, while also empowering them to succeed in all subject areas. This engagement will serve to strengthen their skillsets and prepare them for future academic success. The goals of this project are (1) to improve the literacy level of each child by at least one grade level (2) to add value to students’ academic lives by enabling them to become independent readers.

Bethabara Primary & Junior High School has previously worked with two (2) Virtual Service Pilot Participants. 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-assess 10 students (grades 1-4) with below reading grade levels to determine appropriate small group sessions activities
• Co-develop appropriate strategies to improve alphabet knowledge, phonics, phonological awareness, fluency, comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary
• Facilitate 2-4 weekly small group sessions with 10 students (grade 1-4) for 40-minutes each
• Prepare with counterpart and deliver weekly/bi-weekly 1-hour training sessions with teachers to identify and build skills around effective literacy practices
• Record practices and lessons learned with counterpart
• Conduct three 1-hour parent empowerment sessions during the engagement to strengthen parental involvement in literacy

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, 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to WhatsApp, email, Google Classroom, and Zoom meetings 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 any field

Experience: 1 year of experience teaching literacy to children ages 12 years and under

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, literacy, language arts, or related field

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Ability to apply differentiated instruction with learners

Language: Basic Patwa (Jamaican Language)

• Experience working with children who are underperforming
• Experience training teachers in low-resource environments
• 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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