Our vision for the Lontananza School in Villanueva, is to have it be an ‘innovation hub’ and a school others in Colombia hopefully learn from and copy, with the mission of improving the quality of education for all kids. To help build the future leaders of the country/ world. Influencing not only how schools are run and how kids are taught, but also influencing public policy in Colombia and showing that if tax pesos ($) where funneled into specific areas in education that it does make a difference. We would lead by example by using donations to represent the potential that gov investing can do and then go from there, gathering enough data and influencing enough other schools to put pressure on the government and to let other parents and educators know what could be possible if we all make education a top priority.
How do we plan to do this? Not only by looking at other schools and countries that are excelling and taking a page from their books but also by looking at all of the research that is being and has been done towards education, child psychology, health (mental, physical, social and emotional). I’m also in no way an expert or will ever try to pass for one, so everything we do will be backed by research or enough behind it to make sense to move forward with. Also want to make every idea that we have be able to be voted on by parents, staff, and you (our supporters). Each activity that requires economic support will also have it’s own donation page so donors can choose which cause they want to specifically donate to if they really want to see something implemented. We will also welcome any ideas or new research to be presented to us (we will actually really love and appreciate it!) so in a way I want Lontananza School to be ran like a startup, very agile and always willing to test new things out if there’s enough of a reason behind it as well as through investors that believe in our ideas!
One main thing I do believe in is being a lifelong learner and equipping our teachers and principal with all new things out there related to the field, because of this I do hope to influence one day the government to invest in continuing education for all educators in the country. In Lontananza I want to do this by being able to buy them any books they’d like on the subject and sending at least one representative from the school to educational conferences and having them come back and share with the others what they’ve learned. There are also a lot of great articles/ books that are only available in English so starting out I will try to go through those and translate the main points back but eventually I’m hoping we can provide quality English classes for our teachers that they get to a level where they can do the translating and reading themselves, and all of this would of course be shared through our website for any other Spanish speaking educators to have access to and hopefully benefit from just as we will.
Lastly, I would like for Lontananza School to be representative of what public schools could aspire to be so in order to do that (ideas welcome! more research to come…) I was thinking to copy the KIPP schools with the lottery system for admissions. Once we start getting recognized as a quality school I’m sure we’ll start getting more applicants than we can handle, but instead of making life easier for us and cherry picking the ones that do best in tests or the ones with the nicest parents, I want to make sure we keep the student body representative of the actual population. This also means that when the foundation is generating enough funds or getting enough donations, the tuition, supplies, food and uniforms for those that can’t afford it and ‘win the lottery’ gets covered and no kid is turned away because of their family’s economic standing. Like a blind admissions lottery system. And as we grow I hope we can accommodate more and more kids by also expanding the facilities.
I do feel like I may be lacking the exact educational vocabulary and possibilities at this stage in my journey, so I’m sure this will change, but only to get better and/ or bigger! This is just the base vision and something I believe will help many other kids around LATAM/ Spanish speaking classrooms ❤️
Now… will this be hard and take a long time and hard work to reach? Yes, very likely! But is it possible? Yes, definitely! Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Where is Colombia now and what big challenges do we face ahead?
I know that a lot of schools aren’t even close to be able to implement certain programs because of lack of teachers, technology, and other things, but thankfully it sounds like our president is headed in the right direction to help with this.
Also before even any of that happens, we need to get the government and to help other amazing non-profits like Piez Descalzos to provide schools to those that don’t have access at the moment. What I’m hoping to do though is that through focusing in Lontananza School and helping the public schools in Villanueva that the town will see significant improvement and it can be a small sample of what could happen in the rest of the country/ world if more resources were focused on education. This also means that past raising funds for just Lontanza School but also for the 3 public schools in town. One of my biggest goals is to, like in other countries, have teaching be one of the most respected professions in Colombia. They are the ones spending more time with our future decision makers and innovators than anyone else. Our future is literally on their hands.