Taking a Test Drive: STS Researching its Whole Child Model in Guinea

Since School-to-School International was founded in 2002, one big question has driven our work: What does a child need in order to thrive in the classroom? There are many answers. No single “magic bullet” will lead to success.

This belief inspired our integrated Whole Child Model. This holistic program includes an array of activities in three areas — education, health, and engagement. Just like a car, a school is composed of a complex set of parts. All of them must function properly to ensure students are on the road to a quality education.

Like an auto enthusiast taking time to customize a car before taking it on the road, STS honed the Whole Child Model for years before fully implementing the whole host of activities for the first time during the 2013-2014 year. This initial test drive was promising.

STS is thrilled to be taking the Whole Child Model on a more comprehensive test drive this year. Some obstacles initially impeded the journey, including the Ebola outbreak that delayed the start of school in Guinea for five months. But once school opened in January, we got to work. In March, we conducted a baseline study of the Whole Child Model, testing 480 students in 20 schools in reading and math and interviewing more than 780 people. As the school year progresses, we are implementing a wide range of education, health, and engagement activities.

In the coming months on our blog, STS invites you to take a look under the hood of the Whole Child Model. We will share details about stuff like teacher trainings, girls’ education initiatives, school health activities, and school management capacity building. We are excited to show you all of our handiwork.

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