In Liberia poverty and education operate in two directions. Poor people are unable to obtain access to an adequate education, and without an adequate education people are often constrained to a life of poverty. Not only does limited access to education impact a child’s future, an inadequate classroom environment and lack of educational resources can have an even a greater impact. Quality of education goes hand in hand with the resources and tools needed to educate and break the cycle of poverty that plagues Liberia and other underdeveloped countries.
Project Blackboard is a 501c3 non-profit organization, that assists schools in Liberia that are not able to provide a quality academic environment and educational resources to students and teachers. At Project Blackboard we select schools that have an immediate need, yet are able to sustain the resources and support provided through their partnership with Project Blackboard. We conduct an on-site needs assessment at each school and then develop school improvement plans. In developing these plans, we believe that it is important to apply information gathered from students, teachers and administrators for a comprehensive picture of the school’s needs. In developing the school we focus on the following three areas:
Students: We provide students with school supplies, uniforms, educational tools and resources that encourage academic excellence and achievement. (Click here to learn more about our work with students)
Classrooms: We rebuild classrooms, on-site facilities and create an engaging learning environment that will foster academic success for students and teachers. (Click here to learn more about our work in classrooms)
Teachers: We provide teachers and school administrators with educational tools and resources, training and intense mentoring/teaching partnerships in support of the most efficient and effective school governance. (Click here to learn more about our work with teachers)
How We Measure Success:
While the debates on what constitutes an adequate learning environment and how to improve it continue; it is clear that building classrooms, hiring teachers and purchasing textbooks is only part of the solution; as this covers only some of the elements of a quality education system. This is why our standards extend beyond the physical classroom to the community – to ensure the sustainability and success of the school. At Project Blackboard we measure success in the following ways:
• Supply each student and teacher with educational tools and resources.
• Increased teacher preparedness in classrooms through teacher training, mentoring and support.
• Sustainability of classroom, education tools and resources post project completion.
• Improving standards of teaching and learning.
• Increased student and teacher engagement in the classroom.
• Increased and/or steady enrollment.
• Increased student academic performance and test scores.
• Increased parental and community involvement.
At Project Blackboard we believe that through the rehabilitation of classrooms and by providing tools and resources to students and teachers we can help break the cycle of poverty. Our goals are simple: rehabilitate classrooms, provide books, desks, supplies, resources and hope. Our ask is even smaller: A pencil. A notebook. A blackboard. In the end, we want to provide a child, regardless of their socio-economic barrier, the opportunity to have the resources and tools to receive a quality education.