Thursday, January 7, 2010

End of Year Report from the Head Teacher Catherine

Happy New Year!

The 2009 school year was a great success, beginning on January 5th and ending on November 30th. In the course of the year, two long-term teachers left for other positions and careers, Madam Ummi and Mr. Musa. We were sad to see them go, but we replaced them with two wonderful new teachers Madam Malemba and Mr. Omar. With the OLPC grant, we hired a new teacher, Mr. Onesmus, to replace Madam Anita who was promoted to computer teacher. We have our most competent and committed teaching staff yet! We finished the year with a total of 231 pupils taking the final exam.

Here are just some of the exciting things that happened at VJS in 2009.

Student selection of a new board of prefects

Introduction of award pins to be worn by the top scoring student each term

Strengthening of parent-teacher relationships through termly parent-teacher conferences

Strengthening the level of teaching by working with teachers on ways to overcome weaknesses


Our academic targets were achieved. VJS performance is well above average – most classes scored at the top of the Shariani Zone.

Computer classes were introduced to Class 4 and 5 this year through the OLPC grant. The students are very excited!

Electricity was hooked up to the school, also through the OLPC grant. This will mean many exciting things in the future!

The teaching staff received more development from the Ministry of Education this year. Many teachers attended workshops and seminars on new curriculums, and two teachers even traveled to Rwanda for the OLPC computer training!

The students participated in many extracurricular activities – interquiz competitions with neighboring schools, a district girls football tournament, camping for the Brownie’s troop, a school field trip to the law courts in Mombasa, and many Stay Alive drama presentations.

We introduced extra reading time and a handwriting class for students who were struggling with the basics. This has boosted the performance of the remedial students greatly!

Many teachers began their bachelor’s or master’s degree work this year.


Lack of sufficient school buildings. There are no administrative buildings and too few toilet facilities

With more resources, the teachers could offer more exams and quizzes to the students.

More teacher rewards would help motivate the teaching staff.


Parents need to become even more involved in their children’s education. The right to education for a child should be explained so parents understand the importance of children coming to school every day, on time.

The school can introduce monthly exams to further prepare students.

Build an administrative building, and a temporary class to house religious classes, where students are broken into two groups.

Hire a floating teacher to assist with workload of teachers as we add more classes every year.

Thank you to all from distant places who support VJS. In every way, the school continues to be central to lives of so many.

Catherine Munga

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Individual class reports from end of year 2009

KG1 - Margaret M. Kimolo

This is the first time many of these 30 pupils had attended school. I helped them through practicing a lot of coloring to improve their small motor skills to prepare them for writing work. During the second term, some of the weaker children were identified and helped with remedial work. The main challenge during this term was working with the children who were having problems expressing themselves in English.

Third term began with most students able to identify numbers and read and write capital and small letters. All the children were able to respond to questions in English. The challenge for this term was the addition of religion on the mid-term exam. Many of the children were unprepared for this, but most performed above average.

By the end of the year, I noticed that three children were still having difficulty recognizing numbers and letters. These children will repeat KG1 next year. There were not too many absences this year, but I worked with those that did have trouble with attendance and discussed the issues with their parents. The entire required syllabus was covered this year, and the children were well-prepared to enter KG2.

KG2 - Malemba Mwenba Mwadime

During the first term of the year, the main challenge was reading and recognition of words and letters. Extra reading work was given using the library at the school.

During term 2, four children were moved up to KG3 because of very high performance. One new student was received from KG1, and three transfers from other schools. The mid-term was difficult due to the addition of Kiswahili and religion, but through hard work, our final score was raised to 439 out of 500. The main challenge of term 2 was handwriting, but many students were able to read sentences on their own.

During term 2, most children were able to read and write sentences, and many could recognize numbers up to 100. The challenge was with those students who were having trouble with reading and writing numbers, and whose handwriting was behind the other students. Some of these students will need to repeat KG2 next year. The year finished well with a final mean score of 436.

KG3 - Faith Munyiva Nzuki

This was a good year for KG3. During the year, we had some changes with 4 students being promoted from KG2 during the second term, and 2 children transferring schools. All the syllabus topics were covered during the allocated time. Challenges were met by working with the other nursery school teachers, and by meeting with parents of struggling students. By the end of the year, all students were able to read words, sentences, and story books and can write well. They will all be promoted to Class 1 for 2010.

STD1 - Onesmus Chai

Some of the students began the year with problems in reading and writing. These were overcome with extra help during reading and study time. The class was strong this year as no students transferred or dropped out, and no new pupils joined. This meant that all pupils progressed together, finishing the year with all being able to read and write well. They will all advance to class 2.

STD2 - Saade Mohamed Abdallah

Class 2 began well with the students reading and writing well, and able to speak English fluently. During the year, their reading, writing, and math skills greatly improved and they were ready to be promoted to class 3 by the end of the year. Some students needed extra help in reading, which also improves their English, and they were coming to school early, or reading during lunch break. This greatly improved their performance.

The parent meetings during term 2 also helped to create a better relationship about education between teacher, parent, and student. With the parents being more involved in their children’s education, attendance and homework completion rates have improved.

STD3 - Mundigi Nyaga Joseph

When school began, some of the students were not performing well and were scoring below 60%. With hard work, by the second term, many had raised their scores. During the second term, 7 new learners joined the class from other schools due to open spaces. Their performance was far below the performance of the other students, and many of them had trouble with English.

Mr. Omar, the English teacher for class 3, worked especially hard with these students. Some students were also given an extra half hour of reading each day. This extra time has improved their performance. By the end of term 3, 23 out of 29 students were scoring more than 80% on their final exam.

Other achievements for the year include improved discipline over the course of the year, cooperation between class teachers and parents, and a high annual scoring average of 370 marks.

STD4 - Mary Okelo Atieno

This was a good year for class 4, despite low performance compared to other VJS classes. The syllabus was fully covered for the year, so the class is up-to-date. Revision of exams was taken very seriously, which pupils assigned different topics to cover with the class. Quizzes were added during the term to better prepare students for the final exam and to make sure they understood the material. The class 4 students were very active in sports, interschool quizzes, debate club, and the XO classes and club.

The biggest challenge this year was students get bored sitting in class for so long due to strict requirements in Kenya. This was overcome by encouraging students to fully participate in games during lunch break, and in all after-school activities. Parent-teacher discussions were also held during the term to reduce absences and late arrivals.

STD5 - Omar K. Kazungu

This was a wonderful year for class 5. The class really excelled academically, and enjoyed the XOs, sports, clubs, and the field trip. In the beginning of the year, it was seen that the challenges for the students are reading, handwriting, absenteeism and late arrival, and failure to complete homework. This was handled through parent-teacher meetings, extra reading time in the early morning, and the addition of a volunteer handwriting teacher (a parent) to teach weekly classes to the students.

During parent-teacher meetings, every party (parent, teacher, student) promised to do their best to ensure the best education and future for their child. This was shown to work by greater attendance, better class participation by students, and more students attending closing day.

The students particularly excelled during their XO classes and the computers have helped them to have even more enthusiasm about school. They are all ready to be promoted to class 6 next year.