5 YEARS of
A LETTER FROM
DEBRA AND TONY THANK YOU!
This year, ConTextos turns five years old, and it couldn’t have happened without your support. In this report, we share with you the results of five-years of impact and our innovative initiatives that are growing in El Salvador and now expanding in and beyond Central America.
This year, El Salvador was dubbed “the homicide capital of the world.” Despite this sad reality, ConTextos remains strong and sustainable, even as this rampant violence affects our staff, our schools, our teachers and, tragically, our students and their families. To succeed in this environment, we have developed the necessary skills, tools, techniques and an institutional culture that embraces compassion, tenacity, diplomacy and commitment.
Debra Gittler The reason we are seeing such outstanding results in our teachers and students is because of the care and attention taken during our first years. We believed from the beginning in building staff capacity, organizational culture, and excellent programmatic interventions—to seek depth before breadth, quality before replication. In ConTextos, we have always taken the time to reflect and iterate; to adjust, adopt, adapt; to dream big, but act practically. The impact and reach that we see amongst students and teachers, donors and staff… this is the result of a powerful, strong foundation.
ConTextos’ work is generational, not transactional, that’s why we invest our time and resources in working with, serving and mentoring young people. We’ve seen outstanding and immediate results in student learning outcomes, but the real fruits of our work will come in 20 years, when these young people enter the workforce as thoughtful, prepared leaders. The students we serve are the key to a brighter, more peaceful Central America. This year, we bid farewell to one of our founding Board members, Teresa Mlawer, with profound thanks for her invaluable advice and service to ConTextos. We welcome our newest Board members, Javier Alfaro, Omar Egan and Oscar M. Orozco, Sr., whose expertise and enthusiasm for our work inspires us all. Finally, to you, our stakeholders—thank you for your interest in our work and your commitment to our mission. Sincerely yours,
Anthony Barash Chairman of the Board
Debra Gittler Founder and Executive Director
PROGRAMS AT A GLANCE
HIGHLIGHTS Libraries – Starting with a donation of 500 books in Spanish, we work with our partner schools to establish inviting and comfortable lending libraries that engage students, parents, teachers and the community. In consecutive years schools receive additional books and materials including Kindle e-readers through our newest program iLEER. We also establish municipal and community libraries.
Teacher Training – Our intensive, three-year teacher-training program provides workshops and coaching to bring libraries and digital content to life. As a result, teachers integrate books, reading and discussion into classroom practice, improving student learning outcomes by lifting the level of thinking and engagement.
Soy Autor – Students learn to “read as writers” as they author and publish their memoirs using tablet technologies. Specifically developed to target the needs of young people affected by trauma and violence, Soy Autor serves young people in public schools, juvenile detention and prisons. In 2016, this program expands to serve inmates at Chicago’s Cook County Jail.
Leadership in the region
– We use our expertise to offer a variety of customized fee-for-service consulting services, trainings and coaching to help other organizations increase their capacity and impact. This includes our leadership of CALee, a network of best-practice educational organizations improving the quality of education in Central America.
MISSION: ConTextos transforms the educational experience so students go beyond rote memorization to develop authentic literacy skills such as deep-thinking, interpretation, analysis and creativity.
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2015 REVENUE Library Consulting Services 3%
SUPPORT AND REVENUE
Grants & Foundations
Library Consulting Services
Professional & Consulting Fees
Accounting and Legal Fees
Books and Supplies
Program Events Professional Development Other TOTAL
Noncash Donations 26%
Grants & Foundations 34%
SUPPORT & REVENUE 2011â€“2015 $685,652 $506,671 $362,770 $90,797
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Before ConTextos, kids learned via rote memorization, copy and dictation. With ConTextos, books become a key tool for change so kids become active, engaged, critical thinkers!
Municipal and school libraries in El Salvador!
91,399 BOOKS 250 DIGITAL TITLES + 30,000 STUDENTS
5 YEARS of
Libraries to grow the model
Our libraries continue to be the heart of educational change and the model has expanded to meet diverse needs: school libraries, mobile libraries, public municipal libraries and little free libraries with the highest-quality Spanish-language books from around the world.
we have seen children and young people become passionate readers and thinkers with a deep desire to express themselves in conversation, debate and writing. Reading sparks curiosity and questioning, building a next-generation of thoughtful leadership.
OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS
“I never learned to read or write. Now I see my children loving books and always asking questions. Through them, I see that there is the chance for things to change...” —DOÑA SONIA, MOTHER OF A STUDENT IN JOSÉ MARÍA CÁCERES PUBLIC SCHOOL IN ZARAGOZA
Pilot school libraries
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“Just as there’s space for sports, now we have this library space to enjoy reading and learning. I get comfortable and I read a good book. Sometimes I don’t want to leave when the recess bell rings...” —IGNACIO, 9TH GRADE STUDENT LEADER FROM CANTÓN LOS PLANES SCHOOL IN CHALATENANGO
LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES
In an innovative effort to use libraries as a vehicle for revitalizing public spaces, ConTextos worked with the local municipality to open the Nuevo Cuscatlán Public Library. This beautiful glass building—open daily—oversees the mountains, houses over 2,000 books for all ages, and provides on-going activities in partnership with local organizations and schools. This is ConTextos’ second municipal library; our third will open in 2016. These are the first libraries to target kids and provide lending in El Salvador.
In 2015 we brought “Little Free Libraries” to El Salvador via the #BibilotequitaConTextos model. These small mobile libraries encourage book exchange in communities and businesses that otherwise have no access to books. This cost effective model promotes a love of reading, community engagement, and corporate social responsibility.
Jackie, our Library Technician, during a reading activity at the Nuevo Cuscatlán Library.
A Little Free Library at Cadejo Microbrewery so patrons can read as they sip.
In 2016, as we expand our school library program, we look also forward to working with FONDESOY, a network of businesses in Soyapangoâ€”one of the most violent municipalities in the worldâ€” to open a library that promotes peace and togetherness.
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Excellent teachers are the single most important factor to providing excellent education! That’s why ConTextos focuses on teacher training to change the classroom today and influence children’s thinking for a lifetime.
After 5-years seeing momentous changes in k-3rd grades, we launched iLEER, which innovates literacy education in two key ways: 1) pioneering the use of digital texts and Kindle e-readers in Central America, and 2) directly targeting 4-9th-graders and their teachers, the most vulnerable time for gang-recruitment. With e-readers, groups of students engage around the same text, facilitating debate and dialogue that builds better readers and citizens.
Grow in impact and expand in breadth as we establish the teacher network
They become thoughtful, critical thinkers. In three years of training and classroom coaching, teachers incorporate innovative instructional strategies that encourage engaged dialogue, healthy debate and powerful written expression.
Launch the Turnkey Program with demonstrated outcomes
WE GO BEYOND JUST TEACHING KIDS TO READ:
Test the model to see what works
5 YEARS of
Expand impact to grow in depth as we launch iLEER and strengthen the teacher network
Pilot a model of teacher schools training 2015 Annual Report 11
LEARNING OUTCOMES Our teachers learn to confront the daily challenges of the classroom and to prepare their students for the challenges of a country deemed “the homicide capital of the world.” CLASSROOM PRACTICES Positive Classroom Management
STUDENT READING COMPREHENSION
Words per Minute
STUDENT READING FLUENCY
% of ConTextos Teachers
62 SCHOOLS 473 TEACHERS 28,088 STUDENTS
Higher Level Thinking Questions
National Network of Teaching Professionals At ConTextos’ second annual conference, 404 teachers directly confronted the responsibilities and challenges of working in the most violent country in the Americas. Sessions focused on the urgency to create safe spaces for students to express themselves and disagree peacefully, and advocating to bring quality education to 100% of students in El Salvador.
As we expand to more sites we are also going deeper with our current teachers and schools. We’re revamping our evaluation efforts to respond to local realities and show that literacy interventions don’t just improve kids’ reading skills, but also develop empathy, resilience and tolerance.
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Soy Autor targets some of the most vulnerable young people in the world. In writing workshops that use tablet-technology, participants develop authentic expression and therapeutic dialogue to promote peace and a positive life projection.
and oral communication. Even more impressively, they have increased empathy and improved their ability to reflect on the past and envision a positive future. The touching, raw, honest memoirs and poems produced from these sessions now serve as texts that promote important dialogue in public schools, detention centers and prisons.
PARTICIPANTS IN SOY AUTOR SHOW IMMEDIATE IMPROVEMENTS in reading, writing
5 YEARS of
See the published memoirs at issuu.com/contextos-sv
106 24 454
Juvenile offenders 15-22years-old, all of whom will be reintegrated into society
Inmates in gang-prisons, including women who are raising their children behind bars
Youth at-risk of recruitment and violence in gangaffected territories
5th-9th graders at ConTextos schools, inspired by reading, begin to write, emphasizing the realities of poverty, trauma and violence
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“From my more than 30 years of work with violent offenders, I have learned that most of them carry with them untreated trauma. Writing about their lives and entering into a dialogue about what they write is one of the most important ways available to help them process that trauma, and thus begin the process of healing that can lead eventually to pro-social behavior. The Soy Autor program is a critically important movement to make peace with violent youth and start them on a positive developmental path.” —DR. JIM GARBARINO, PHD, PROFESSOR AND AUTHOR SPECIALIZING IN ISSUES OF TRAUMA, VIOLENCE AND CHILDREN
584 YOUNG AUTHORS 106 JUVENILE OFFENDERS 24 ADULT INMATES 454 AT-RISK YOUTH IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
In 2016, Soy Autor will expand throughout El Salvador and into Chicago, USA, as a recognized educational intervention to rehabilitate—not just punish—violent offenders. We will grow systemically into juvenile detention facilities in El Salvador, working with hundreds of detainees, all of whom will reenter society. ConTextos has also been the first and only literacy organization invited to work with violent offenders at Chicago’s Cook County Jail, where 60 detainees will benefit from the program pilot.
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OUR LEADERSHIP IN THE REGION
CONSULTING IN THE REGION ConTextos use our leadership and expertise to help organizations throughout the region grow their impact and by using our model. Here are examples of the professional development training we offer though a fee-for-service model: •D IGITAL COACHING: In weekly videoconference sessions ConTextos’ staff provides customized coaching for teacher trainers at Starfish organization in Guatemala.
In 2015, ConTextos began to explore unique business models for scale. We partner with existing organizations to expand our reach, leverage resources and maximize impact.
•S ITE VISITS AND LEADERSHIP TRAINING IN EL SALVADOR: ConTextos hosts teachers and trainers from organizations in El Salvador and Guatemala to learn how to use our innovative teacher-training model and materials in their own contexts. •C USTOMIZED TRAININGS TO MEET ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS: ConTextos’ team traveled to Honduras to provide trainings to Un Mundo educational organization, expanding our reach through revenue-generating collaboration.
CALee Central America Reads, a collaborative network of best-practice literacy organizations in Central America, continues to grow in membership as we explore the question: how can we collaborate to maximize resources and impact? One key problem we’re trying to tackle is improving book distribution. ConTextos has been able to foster impressive private- sector partnerships to lower costs and efficiently bring the best-quality Spanish-language books to our schools in El Salvador; now, we want to bring that same book-distribution mechanism to organizations throughout the region!
We look forward to collaborating with our incredible partners and donors as we continue to grow in breadth and depth. Our future projects include: •B ringing Soy Autor into Chicago’s Cook County Jail to serve 60 violent offenders awaiting their court dates. We are adjusting and translating the curriculum as we set up programming in the USA. •P artnering with leading global experts to improve our programming and assessments as we continue to serve populations exposed to violence and trauma. •G rowing the CALee network to begin influencing policy, and improving education to prevent and confront growing violence in the region. •E xpanding our professional development and consulting services as a revenue-generating strategy to bring our unique teachertraining model to organizations throughout Central America.
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THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS & PARTNERS Lila Arco & David Sterno Javier & Minina Alfaro Amazon Smile Lynn Anderson Lya Archer de Vaquerano Rafael Archila Melida de Arrieta Arriva Dolce Asociacion de Ex Alumnos de la Escuela Americana (EXAM) Asociacion Escuela Americana Asociación para el Desarrollo Educativo (ADEES) AVIANCA Alfonso Ayon Anthony Barash Rebecca Barriere & Benjamin Pineda Ale Barriere & Diego Argueta Aida Betancourt Siman Better World Books Susan & Benjamin Bishop Maria Pilar Blanco BLP Abogados Jackeline Bonilla Books for a Better World Sandra Borgonovo Linda Bruemmer Eleanor Btva Cadejo Brewing Company Gerardo Calderon Carlos Campos Care to Help Foundation Central American Leadership Initiative
Ricardo & Lizzy de Cevallos AJ & Adam Chalom Chi Ron Foundation Chicago Literacy Alliance Cinemark Alessandra Clara Matthew Collins Carlos Daniel Coreas Cover Girls Book Club Comunidad Israelita El Salvador Cuatro M Single Origin Coffees Florence de Sola Carlos Diaz Mayra Dominguez Gloria & Pete Dussenbery Elizabeth Eastman Gretchen Ebrahim Echoing Green Omar & Veronica Egan El Faro El Mercadito Embajada de Estados Unidos en El Salvador David & Mary Ennis Deborah Epstein Marcela Escamilla Andres Escobar Christine Essel David & Shannon Falkenstein Julie Fegan FEPADE Karen Fernández José Fernández First Book Rudiger Fogelbach
Foundation Beyond Belief Lynn Frackman & Thomas Meites Paul Francis Judith Frank Freund Ricardo Freund Judy Frumm Ronit Fuhrmann Fundación Calleja Fundación CEA Fundación Poma Fundación Strachan Jim Gaberino John Gaberino Mario Giron Marvin & Carol Gittler Mandy Gittler Michelle Gittler & Lee Francis Karlene Goller Samuel Gordon Maria Goya Sherry Grant Charles Greenblatt Jill & Charlie Gross Josefa Guzman Jennifer Hamilton Anne Hand Terri Hanson Helene Haughland Patricia Heestand David Helfand Paul Hengslter Elizabeth Hernandez Hector Hernandez Elizabeth Hernández
René Alejandro Hernández & Ale Mejía Carolina Herrera Hispanics in Philanthropy Marsha Hobbs Zaid Hydari Izote Foundation Barbara Johnson Hope Johnson & family Keely Jones Nancy Jones Jane Kagon Jean Claude Kahn Cynthia Kanner Mary Lee Kennedy Ruth & Heinz Köbernik Marsha Kwalwasser Nelson Lara James Lay LECTORUM Carolyn Leman Marilyn Levin Florencia Leyson Lorena Lima Angel Ling Emilio Lopez Marleny Luna José Magaña Duran Pavan Makhija Jodginder Makhija Jeffrey Margolis David & Carolyn May Daniel Mcintosh & Amanda Parsons Tom McNulty Joyce Meggett Jetty & Kurt Meier
Manuel & Alexandra Meza Mrs. E Mills René Miranda Teresa & Bill Mlawer Andrea Molina Maru Molina & Luna de Mateo Rebecca Monkman Jaime Montoya Ricardo Morales Juana Morales Jonathan Morales Anakin Morris Barbara Muffoletto Guadalupe Murcia Elizabeth Murphy Mercy Navarro Sharon Newman North Carolina Library Association Santa Isabel Nosthas Michelle Oberman Diana Oppenheim Carlos Armando Oviedo Henry Pacheco José Roberto Paredes Patricia Price Peterson Foundation Thomas & Jan Pavlovic Lisa Peckler Silvia Pelini Andrea Perez Ruth Ann Phillips Picacho B-W-A Mario Piche Marisol Pineda Gabriela Poma Traynor Blanca Quijada Mario Quintanilla Gloria Raskosky Doug Rauch Corinne Renny Golden Mario Reyes Victoria Riskin Francisco Rivera Daniel Rivera Scott Robinson Daniel Robinson Sue Rodgers
Zoe Rodocanachi Marcelo Rodriguez Ginger Romero Pardlo Shelley Rosenthal Anne Ruelle Margaret Russell Helene Salomon Debra Satz Donna Schatt Scholastic Sheila Ashby Schultz Steve Scudder & Donna Palley Selena Sermeño Adriana Serpas Danielle Shapiro Joan & James Shapiro Sherwin Williams Roger & Diane Sherwood Rufina Shteynberg Paul Siewert Deborah Sitrin David Solomon Glen Spear & Myra Wagner Starfish Verna Stovall Alexandra Street Linda Swift Sara Tartof Cameron Taylor Brown TELUS International Tinker Foundation Enrique Torruella Un Mundo Brenda Vanegas Ana Walter Tim Warner Mary Wasmer Web Informática William Wells Thomas & Mary Clare White Worldreader Eric Wright Yoga en el Parque Rodrigo Zapata
BOARD OF DIRECTORS & STAFF Board of Directors
Anthony Barash, Chairman
Debra Gittler, Executive Director
Javier Alfaro Ricardo Cevallos Omar Egan Anne Hand Oscar M. Orozco, Sr. Gabriela Poma Traynor Gloria Raskosky
Jackeline Ascencio Rebecca Barriere Gerardo Calderon Jennifer Coreas Nancy Franco Alejandra Mejia Andrea Molina Maritza Morales Enrique Quintanilla Juan José Pérez Carlos Recinos Zoila Recinos William Rivas Lindsay Rodgers Nestor Roque Anne Ruelle
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150 N. Wacker Dr. Suite 3100 Chicago, IL 60606 USA +1-312-841-1324 2a Avenida Norte #3-2 Santa Tecla La Libertad EL SALVADOR +503-2556-4276
contextos.org ConTextosSV @ConTextos_SV
Annual Report 2014-2015