This week, we celebrated the graduation of our Grade 4 learners! Their time at The Kusasa Project has come to an end and we could not be more proud of everything they have accomplished. They are bright, well-rounded and eager to take on future challenges.
Our prizegivings focus on the 5 core skills that learners need to excel academically and in a future career: learning, reading, writing, oral communication and numeracy. These form the foundation of our educational model and our teaching staff put a huge amount of effort, creativity and consistency into engendering above-average academic achievement by our learners.
How do we know we are successful in this? Well, the data speaks for itself: our grade 3s participate in annual government Education Department assessments and we are able to measure them comprehensively against their peers throughout our province (the Western Cape). In 2019, for example:
- Mathematics: our learners achieved a 95% pass rate compared to 55% (+40%) measured at schools with similar demographics and socio-economic circumstances. Not only is the pass rate significant, but our average performance score is 76% meaning that our children are not only passing but doing so with flying colours.
- Languages: it’s a similar story with pass rates at The Kusasa Project 22% higher, and average scores 12% higher, than similar schools throughout the province. This is despite the uniqueness of all of our learners being taught in a language (English) other than their mother tongue/home language (Afrikaans and isiXhosa).
We can happily hold our heads up high! We are enormously proud of our children and community for achieving these results. Our continued challenge is to maintain this high standard and to ensure that our recipe for excellence is improved year on year.
How do we do this? Throughout daily lessons within prescribed subjects such as languages, mathematics, technology, social and natural sciences, our learners are challenged and taught to think and reason creatively for themselves. This is not quick and easy, especially given the contexts from which we draw our learners and the many stumbling blocks they need to overcome academically. It requires considerable skill from our teaching staff and ongoing, continual professional development. Here are some of our fundamental teaching principles – the basics that we strive to get right day-after-day:
- Teaching is well-organised with well-established, consistent routines.
- Integrated learning methodologies – subjects are not taught in isolated silos. And even within each subject, learning methods are always mixed as appropriate to particular tasks (for example direct instruction, small group discussion and collaboration and self-study).
- Theme learning: every fortnight a new overall theme is introduced across the whole school, which allows for much creative collaboration and expansion of learner exposure to new sources of knowledge and development.
- Problem-based learning: learner participation and engaging in real-world problems are used as a vehicle to promote the learning of concepts in lessons. Learning is linked to the local area and the outside world.
- Access to good books and educational resources including top-notch online language and mathematics programmes
- Teaching is personalized and properly differentiated – teachers are aware of and supplement their individual pupil’s capabilities.
- Teacher absentee rates are exceptionally low and therefore there is little use of unfamiliar teachers.
- Teachers have bi-weekly ‘moderation and review’ sessions and spend a lot of time discussing teaching, learning, training opportunities and knowledge, to the mutual advantage of the whole staff.
- Frequent review and communication of learner progress with learners, teachers and parents.
Our drive and commitment to creating a safe, enjoyable and stable environment for our kids goes hand in hand with ensuring that their academic progress is meaningful and substantial and enabling them to compete on a level playing field once they enter adulthood.
If you would like to know more or make a donation to support our community, please get in touch today!
“It’s all about the kids!”