This October, we opened distanced learning competitions to all students in Batey Libertad and made some changes to our management team as our Director of Operations, Julio Louis, is soon to begin his Master's degree in the UK. Read on for exciting updates, including how you and your friends can stay warm this winter and support Yspaniola in the process!
Classes Are Going Strong
Our students are excited to be back in the classroom:
Mayra teaches a class in the local public school
Our small-group literacy classes have started with resounding success - including attendance rates of almost 90%. This far surpasses our usual average of 80% of students in class on an average day. 

This has been achieved through the distribution of our enhanced meal program on Mondays, which often see the lowest attendance, and teachers' direct communication with parents. The Dominican Republic has one of the highest rates of school absenteeism recorded by the OECD, and this trend is even more prevalent among students from disadvantaged and immigrant backgrounds, so this consistent 89% attendance is really impressive.

Students ages six to 16 are enjoying critical, COVID-informed classes and strengthening their literacy skills. Spirits are high, and students are putting tremendous effort into their learning. We are excited to keep you posted on our progress.
New Initiatives For More Inclusive Learning
Although we are only equipped to hold small-group classes for 65 of our students, we have not forgotten about our wider student community! We have found innovative ways to continue instruction for the remainder of the 160-strong student population in Batey Libertad.

Three weeks ago, we launched our "Learn at Home" program, where we distribute packets of literacy-focused activities tailored to age and study levels. We have been delighted to see the enthusiasm around learning, with students queueing up to receive their packs, complete with tasks, crayons and pencils!

Participants have four days to complete the activities and submit their work, and the best are rewarded with prizes. We have already celebrated our first two cycles of winners, and we are delighted to recognize our students' fantastic academic efforts during this time.
Congratulations to our first "Learn at Home" competition winners (ages 7-10)!
Changes in Leadership
This month has marked exciting transitions. Our Director of Operations, Julio, begins his Masters in Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cardiff in the UK in November. Although we will miss Julio's exemplary community leadership, we are excited to announce that our very own Administrative Manager, Mirian, will be taking over the reins of a key Yspaniola program! In her new role as "Gerente Administrativo y de Programa de Becas" (Administration and University Scholarship Program Manager), she will direct the USP in addition to her regular duties. Congratulations on your new appointment, Mirian!
Julio and Mirian attend a handover meeting with the University Scholars
Holiday Gifts That Help Yspaniola
As you begin thinking of stocking stuffers this holiday season, we encourage you to consider Strands & Stitches for Hope. This stitching company was founded by Sophie, a member of the Yale Alumni Service Corps team who visited us on a service trip in March 2019. Sophie donates 20% of the sale price of all of her beautiful hand-made blankets and snuggly pet beds directly to us. Consider checking out her Facebook page, placing an order for yourself or a loved one, and supporting Yspaniola in the process!
Donate Today
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Yspaniola · 33 Seaverns Ave · Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 · USA

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