It's Personal: Chile's San Luis Beltrán School (Transcript)
Cecilia Quidel, teacher: When this school opened, this was an abandoned area. And there was a great need for a school, because there were few schools in the district. It is a vulnerable neighborhood with low-income families. Since the beginning, personalized education has been part of the school's methodology. Our motto is "Quality education in an impoverished area."
Leslie López, assistant: This school is unique. There is more personal attention than in other schools. Each student learns at his or her own rate. It is important that they are all learning. They do personal work during the first two hours of class. It is called personal work because they take their worksheets, sit down, and look them over. If they have any question, they ask for our help. Everyone studies different things, so the pace of learning is particular to each student.
Cecilia Quidel: When they finish personal work, we all join together to share what we've learned: What did we learn? How did it go? What do we need to work on? How am I doing with my work? Did I push myself enough? Do I need to concentrate more? They become responsible for their own learning.
Student: I was working on subtraction with borrowing.
Cecilia Quidel: Borrowing, was it difficult? No, easy!
Carlos Olivares, coordinator: Personalized education basically gives the students a work plan they decide on. They must complete the work, but they choose their course. We teach them to be responsible and independent by giving them this freedom. They learn organization. They learn study habits. They learn to study without being told to do so. And they feel capable of doing many things and doing them well.
Cecilia Quidel: This school always receives the highest test scores in the district. For the past five years, we've received recognition for academic excellence. More than a methodology inside the classroom, we have a unique perspective on education. The school incorporates the family. Our doors are open to the family. The families feel they are part of the school.
Carlos Olivares: When we began working with the students, we realized it was essential to have family support in order to succeed. Generally, the parents had incomplete basic education. We realized we needed to offer them education. So we implemented the night school program, and we began providing night classes for the parents.
Janet Piña, night school student: I had to work at a young age and leave school. So I grew up and needed to make money. I preferred to work rather than continue school, and time passed me by—until now, because my son has to finish school at night. I signed up for night school this year and go to classes with him. We studied together for tests. We took the college entrance exam together.
Night school teacher: As students, you all have walked a difficult road. It has not been easy.
Janet Piña: It is important for me to finish high school to encourage my children to continue their education. It’s a very important achievement. It was a huge challenge. But, I did it. I did it. And graduation is very special, because I am graduating with my son.
Cecilia Quidel: To be able to implement high-quality education with children and families from this neighborhood always encourages me. Schools like this one make me hopeful about education. I dream about a different kind of education in my country. I dream and believe it is possible that we can do things differently when it comes to education.