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What's Working in Education? Aprendiz in San Paulo, Brazil

As can be seen all over the world, many neighborhoods in inner cities in Brazil face decay, and loss of belief in their schools. This is not the case in San Paulo, Brazil however where citizens are finding their educational system is now integrated with family life. This is the work of The Associacao Cidade Escola Aprendiz (City School Apprentice Association). Unifying over 30 partners, who at various times come in to the community and gather with school children and their families, the organization works to revitalize neighborhoods by bringing cultural events to families near their homes, often in school buildings. Known as the neighborhood school project, in development since 2007 they have to their credit: the prevention of closing of neighborhood schools, doubling enrollment in schools that were slated to close, and recuperating old building structures to make auditoriums for neighborhood theater (Teatro da Villa ). The theater alone has given more than 150 performances and served almost 4,000 students.

Neighborhood schools, or full-service community schools as they are known in the United States, are especially useful in neighborhoods challenged by difficulties due to poor economic conditions, older buildings in need of reworking, and often loss of community connectedness. Often built through partnership between public schools and a local nonprofit, full-service community schools offer programs including the arts, sports, language classes, and health clinics. The model has many positive economic attributes including: sustained use of capital resources, enhanced programming, bringing extra funds into the school district through the nonprofit, as it encourages community involvement and volunteerism. Professor Kantor from the Harvard business school counselors the neighborhood school a model for local development and community building, and pursued the subject in a recent meeting with President Barack Obama in the United States.

The example set by Aprendiz is a good one. Since 1977 they have published 16 books, produced three films and one CD, using methodologies developed by the organization that supports community educational experiences throughout Brazil. Their model has been so well received by the Brazilian government that they were recently credited by the Ministry of Education with being a fundamental source in a countrywide program to replicate a school school model in 5,000 schools. 2010 was slated for an additional expansion to another 5,000 schools, bringing the number of neighborhoods affected by community building-school enhancing events to 10,000. Recognized by UNESCO and UNICEF in 2004 as an educational model to be replicated worldwide, Aprendiz shows hope, artistic creativity, and revitalization to neighborhoods through education.


Source by E. Alana James

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