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Four schools to use USAID tools

FOUR schools in the Bicol region will explore different learning modalities for the early grades through the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Advancing Basic Education or ABC+ project as part of the implementation of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Basic Education–Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP).

Tom LeBlanc, director of Office of Education, USAID Philippines, in his message on Sept. 11 during the virtual launch of the project, said the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis is a transformative challenge that needs the support of everyone to work together and ensure learning continuity.

“With a gap of about 29 weeks between now and the previous school year, we expect to see substantial learning losses, especially among kindergarten to Grade 3 students. It will be a challenging work ahead of us but we remain hopeful and willing to do our very best for the children of the Philippines,” he said.

LeBlanc said based on studies, distance learning works for students with more time for parental engagement, and better access to books and materials.

“We aimed to have all these elements and our support to DepEd and make remote learning work for our early grade learners in Regions 5 and 6. To support learning, readers practice, supplemental learning materials will be made available,” he said.

LeBlanc said that through the ABC+project in the Philippines, the USAID would be able to contribute efforts to tackle specific challenges of home-based learning by developing learning delivery modality options for Kindergarten to Grade 3 pupils.

Ina Aquino, chief of party for the ABC+ project, said they support the DepEd “to mitigate learning loss in the area of literacy and help school heads in making decisions on appropriate learning delivery modalities”.

The pilot schools for the ABC+project in Bicol region include Albay Central School and Lamba Central School in Legaspi City and the Villa Aurora Elementary School and Parang Elementary School in Camarines Norte.

As part of the intervention, the schools will administer a rapid assessment to determine the literacy level of incoming Kindergarten to Grade 3 pupils and help teachers determine the level of support each child needs. To address the results of the assessment, each student will receive level appropriate reading materials.

Teachers and home learning partners can use the booklets to develop word recognition, comprehension, and fluency skills while also fostering a love of reading among children.

Crestito M. Morcilla, Schools Division superintendent of Legazpi City, thanked the ABC+ project for its assistance “to our teachers and our Kindergarten to Grade 3 learners and the support of our barangay officials and Sangguniang Kabataan volunteers”.

“The literacy assessment tools offered by ABC+ is a helpful tool for teachers to identify specific needs and reading levels of learners so that the teachers will give appropriate interventions. It is also crucial that the teachers and home learning partners are capacitated on beginning reading,” said Lourdes Non, principal of Parang Elementary School in Camarines Norte.

In his message, Gilbert Sadsad, DepEd-Bicol regional director, extended his appreciation to the efforts of the teachers, parents, LGUs and other stakeholders in embracing the new ways of learning amid the pandemic. “We will succeed because you are with us,” he said.USAID’s ABC+ project, in partnership with the DepEd, is improving the basic life skills of early grade students in Regions 5 and 6k and in the province of Maguindanao in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (PNA)

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