In 2011, the Helmsley Foundation funded a planning workshop in Galapagos aboard the NG-LEX Explorer. This week-long event brought together leaders from the national and local public sector, the local and international NGO community, and the scientific and conservation sectors. Over the course of this week, the Scalesia Foundation met with representatives of the US-based Galapagos Conservancy and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education and began to discuss ways to work with one another to speed up education reform in Galapagos. Those conversations led to the 2012 visit of former Minister of Education, Gloria Vidal, to Stanford University to exchange ideas with GC, Scalesia Foundation, and collaborators at Stanford. During those meetings, the idea of a public-private partnership for education reform in Galapagos was first discussed and the Tomás de Berlanga School was discussed as an important resource for expanding proven educational practices throughout the Islands.
In July 2014, the Scalesia Foundation facilitated a week-long planning process convened by the Ministry of Education and funded by Galapagos Conservancy, to identify the most effective strategies for launching an archipelago-wide education improvement program. The activity involved a team of nine education specialists from Ecuador, the United States and Mexico which met with all of the school directors on the islands of San Cristobal and Santa Cruz, and conducted classroom observations and focus groups with teachers, parents and students from each school on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal.
The team is presently finalizing a report that will include observations, recommendations and a draft multi-year work plan that will be presented to the Ministry of Education. The initial findings point towards a multi-year, archipelago-wide professional development program involving the strengthened Tomás de Berlanga as a model of proven practices and a team of Galapagos-based mentors working directly with school directors and teachers in three priority areas for the Ministry of Education: educational leadership, natural sciences and English language instruction.
More information about the Foundation’s outreach plans will be posted as it becomes available.