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Issue 3 – Fall 2006 La Manzanilla, Jalisco, México 

La Catalina welcomed our new English teacher, Ruth Santiago, who is imparting English classes in the elementary and middle school and taking on other foundation projects until our Volunteer English Teacher Intern is able to arrive in January 2007 to complete the school year. After this, Ruth will continue assisting La Catalina School and Foundation with various language and education projects. You can learn more about Ruth and her diverse and interesting background at our volunteer staff page. We are excited to have her on board at La Catalina Foundation!


This year’s English classes are being imparted to grades 3 through 9. Each class receives an hour lesson a week. As we approaching our 4th year of teaching English classes in the schools, we are pleased to be noticing the positive results of an increased English fluency level in the children. Children have developed a higher level of comprehension of spoken and written English, have acquired basic vocabulary and phrases, and have improved their pronunciation skills. This progress has been noticed by the middle school teachers, who are commenting how the students entering the middle school now, have a higher English proficiency level than in prior years.


Additionally, most kids REALLY look forward to their English class and show a high level of motivation to learn English. A new foundation project that has been implemented since October 2006 is a math training program with the middle school teachers. Teachers are attending 5 hours of training a week over several months, delivered by board member Victor Amezcua who was a math major from UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónomo de Mexico) and later received his Master’s in Mathematics from UC Berkeley. The program is focused on training the teachers to implement a methodology designed to make learning arithmetic and algebra more accessible to students.


Finally…a recent success story that may touch your heart as it did ours. A little boy, who our volunteer teachers have been tutoring for the past year, FINALLY passed grade 2 after three years of having repeated the same grade. You can imagine how pleased he felt and how proud his parents were after this long and arduous struggle. The important ingredient that we believe contributed to this success was being able to provide one on one support to work with this young boy’s specific learning needs and style, coupled with the consistency of working diligently over an extended period of time and the infectious enthusiasm of our dedicated volunteer teacher interns. More to come in the winter edition… (For those of you planning to visit La Manzanilla in the winter, please check our wish list to see if there are any items you can bring. As many of you know, resources are scarce in our local schools, so whatever you can bring can and will make a difference!)

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