Dear Friends of Ota,
Yes, we are still here! I know you have not heard news from us for quite some time, but rest assured that all is well with Ota. Last spring, I had some life issues that prevented me from helping to prepare for Ota’s eighth program, but luckily Head Teacher Pontian is an old pro at this point and was able to prepare for most of the program without me.
As we have experienced in the past few programs, a handful of our participants were unable to return for the summer program because they had preparations for national tests that stretched into the school break. We were nonetheless able to recruit a few new participants and ended up with a full class of 25 students, plus one more return student who joined late. Because of the inflow and outflow of students we have had over the past few sessions due to the national testing schedule, we decided to use our summer session to dive further into topics recently explored in previous Ota programs instead of branching off into brand new topics. For our science curriculum, our students further explored subjects surrounding health and sickness – what are germs, how do germs and illness spread, and what habits help prevent illness. Lessons that had previously been a part of separate curricula were combined for a holistic exploration of the relationships between nutrition, clean habits, and a healthy body.
As in all our past programs, our students showed an outstanding increase in pre- and post- program test scores. The class average increased by 34 percent from an average of 49 percent on the pre-test to 83 percent on the post-test. Individual students showed even sharper increases in understanding. One student who joined our program from the first time over the summer increased from 20 percent on the pre-test to 73 percent on the post-test – an increase of 53 percent! The graph to the right also shows that along with increasing their overall scores, students demonstrated greater understanding across all five major subject areas covered in the program.
After a successful summer program, we are now gearing up for our ninth program this December. Stay tuned for updates on this program’s curriculum as well as an invitation to our Christmas in Karagwe fundraiser we will be holding at the beginning of December in Washington, DC. If you are excited to see that Ota is in fact still running just as strongly as ever, consider making a donation to our upcoming program here. Just $60 will pay for us to provide programming for one student in Karagwe during the school break this December.
As always, thank you for your support, and a Happy Veterans Day to you all.
Best wishes and many thanks,
The Ota Initiative