What’s New Over at the Barron Schools?

KINDERGARTEN NEWS
Recently, an electrical fire damaged one of the classrooms at the Barron kindergarten. The incident required the room to be completely rewired and repainted. The Parent-Teacher Committee, together with FOB, raised sufficient money to quickly put the classroom back in order. While the work was underway, a leaking roof and a faulty water pump were also repaired.

We have a request from the Parent-Teacher Committee to assist with the installation of five air conditioners for the four classrooms and the principal’s office. the Committee and FOB have obtained a bid for $34,000 pesos to complete the project. We will not take further action until we see significant financial participation from the community.

PRIMARY SCHOOL
We have been told that a new principal has been appointed and started work last week. FOB plans to meet with the new principal next week and establish a working relationship. One of the issues we want to pursue is the status of the library that FOB helped build two years ago. Lately, the library has been closed to the public. Our aim is to see the library operate under its original concept, which was to serve the community in general as well as the primary school. We hope that the new principal will enable this process and welcome readers of every stripe.

SECONDARY SCHOOL
FOB met with the Secondary school principal and teachers last week and toured the facility. It was exciting to see the computer class, consisting of about 40 students, in full session. The temporary classroom was wired with the help of FOB and has been equipped with 17 new computers provided by the school district. The computer server is connected to the Internet via a proprietary Mazatlan school district satellite system. When the new, more spacious computer classroom is complete and more computers added by the District, each student will have his/her own computer.

Construction of the new computer classroom, which is located behind the present facility and not visible from the main road, began in 2010. The community (with FOB help) raised sufficient funds to attract a Mexican government match that resulted in the completion of the foundation, floor and walls. In 2011, fundraising continued, and with FOB help, the community was able to complete the roof. Doors, windows, electrical and final finish are goals for the 2012 – 2013 school year. We have not yet seen a budget to complete this project, but we are hopeful that the community, with FOB help, and the Mexican government match will get this project completed once and for all. Typically, these community-initiated projects take three to four years to complete and this one is no exception.

UPCOMING FOB ACTIVITIES
We plan to produce a 2011 Annual Report, complete with project and scholarship program status, donations and current financial condition. This project will be completed by December 20. The report will be posted here and will also be available in hard copy for those without computer access.

Update on School Construction Projects

Friends of Barron just donated $9500 MX to match kindergarten parents’ work and donations to complete the new classroom at the Barron kindergarten. Funds were used to buy bookshelves, coat racks, teacher’s desk, a whiteboard and a wall-mounted television. The parents painted the classroom, leveled and graveled the ground outside the classroom and donated miscellaneous furniture to finish the job.

The project to build a new computer classroom for the secondary school started in 2010 with FOB helping the school to raise $25,000 MX to obtain a government match of $25,000 MX to begin the project. By August of 2010, foundation and walls were up. The 2011 fund raising effort to complete the computer classroom with roof, doors and windows raised another $25,000 MX ($15,000 MX raised by student families in Barron and $10,000 MX contributed by FOB). The money was deposited with the Mexican government with the expectation of winning another $25,000 MX match. With these $50,000 new construction pesos, the families of Barron hope to see the computer classroom finished before the next school year begins in August 2011. Once the building is complete, the Mexican Government is offering to outfit the classroom with 30 new computers.

Project Update

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM : The 2010-2011 school year scholarship program to provide 50% of the cost to send 15 Barron kids to preparatory school (high school) in Mazatlan began in August, 2010. Each scholarship is worth $10,000 MX payable in five successive installments throughout the school year. Each successive payment requires students and parents to present grades and attendance records to the parent-teacher committee. We are now half-way through the school year and of the 15 students that started the program in August, 13 remain and are producing good grades and attendance. Two students were dropped from the program in October 2010 because they failed to present grades and attendance records. The parent-teacher committee will evaluate final grades and attendance records at school year end to decide which students are eligible to continue on the program for the next school year. The success of our fund raising efforts will determine whether we will be able to fund the students already in the program and accept new applications from this years’ secondary school graduating class.
CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS; Secondary School: Last year, FOB helped the Barron secondary school raise $25,000 MX to build a new computer classroom. The Mexican Government matched the $25,000 pesos for a total of $50,000 MX. Work began in July, 2010. Foundations and walls were completed before the funds ran out. FOB is again helping the secondary school raise another $25,000 MX by March 15, 2011 with the hope of getting another government match. With the next $50,000 MX, we hope to see the roof and floor completed so that the space, although not ready to be a computer classroom, will at least be usable as an instruction classroom in 2012. If fundraising goes as planned, the computer labs will be fully equipped and operational in 2013.
Kindergarten School: The Barron Kindergarten is overcrowded to the point that the principal had to give up her tiny office as a classroom. The principal now conducts her business under a tree in the schoolyard. The parents of the kindergartners raised $22,000 MX in cash and materials to begin construction of a new classroom. This was enough to lay the foundations and put up the walls, but not enough to finish the project to the point where a classroom is usable. The parent-teacher committee appealed to FOB for assistance to finish the project and we agreed to commit $20,000 pesos to the effort. This amount will get them a roof and a floor and make the classroom usable (if it doesn’t rain). Meanwhile, they are looking at ways to raise more money for doors, windows and electrical wiring.
FUNDRAISING: During the period January 2010 – January 2011, FOB raised $322,000 MX from the following sources:
Individual donations : 56%
Charity Golf Tournament: 22%
Dinner & Silent Auction: 17%
50/50 Super Bowl Draw: 5%
Fundraising this year is off to a much slower start with individual donations standing at about $15,000 MX. No commitment yet from the Charity Golf Tournament (we are hopeful that this will surpass last years’ generous donation), $8000 MX from the 50/50 Draw and hopes for a successful Fiesta Dinner and Silent Auction on March 5th, 2011. As always, your generous support of Barron’s kids is greatly appreciated.

Fall Progress Report

Scholarship Program
With the recent generous donation of $9600 pesos by Sonny Wong, we have now raised almost $97,000 pesos towards our goal of $150,000 pesos to fund the 2010-2011 scholarship program to send 15 Barron students to preparatory school in Mazatlan. Thanks so much for your generosity.

Each of 15 student parents received scholarship payments of $2,000 pesos in August and October of 2010. Parents are required to present grades and proof of attendance for their students before payments are made. The next payments will be distributed 15 Jan 2011.

Computer Classroom
Friends of Barron donated nearly $24,000 pesos toward construction of a new computer classroom at the secondary school. The total budget for this project is estimated to be around $250,000 pesos. The Barron community (including the FOB contribution) and the Mexican Government match amounted to about $100,000 pesos in funding for this project for 2010. The money was used to complete foundations and walls for the new classroom. Fundraising will continue for this project in 2011.

Library
The library, located in the Barron primary school, opened to the public in March, 2010. FOB funded a 6 month position for a librarian to maintain a regular schedule to keep the library open outside of school hours. In December, we will review the usage and public interest in the library.

Kindergarten Project Update

The Friends of Barron 2010 project to improve the kindergarten water and electrical systems has been completed. Last week, the “Fathers of the Families” completed the project by clearing away the construction debris, leveling the site and spreading the pea gravel hauled in using Friends of Barron funds. Thank you to the Fathers who contributed their time and effort and thank you to our donors.

Wish List for 2010

Kindergarten
1. Finish Rewiring 2 classrooms (also new electrical box with 220 v) DONE!
2. Finish installing cistern for water DONE!!
3. Replace pump for the cistern DONE!!
4. Build a security house for pump DONE!!
5. Buy 2 shelves for books DONE!!
6. Install 4 overhead fans DONE!!
7. Classroom supplies
8. Computer and printer
9. Books for classrooms
10. Gravel for Playground
11. Outside Storage facility
Total: 60,000 pesos

Elementary – Library
Renovate an empty classroom to make a Community Library (see the before and after photos below). We have already:

1. Repaired leaky roof DONE!
2. Sanded and painted walls DONE!!
3. Refinished floor DONE!!
4. Added 4 windows DONE!!
5. Placed security bars over 4 windows DONE!!
6. Installed 6 large 6’ bookshelves DONE!!
7. Electrical work for air conditioner DONE!!
8. Bought 14 trapezoid tables DONE!!
9. Bought 42 chairs DONE!!
10. We need a computer and printer
11. We need more books for library
12. Proposed Part time Positions for Library and Computer Lab (2 people for 3 days a week @ 1,500 pesos/ mo or 18,000/year.) We are also looking for volunteers for these positions.
Total: 137,000 pesos

Secondary

1. Air Condition three classrooms and principal’s office DONE!!
Total: 42,000 pesos
2. Support school in its application for a computer classroom. There are only 3 classrooms in the school – one for each grade and no room for computers. There are 35, 40 and 42 students in each of the classes. The community needs to raise 30% and government funding will provide 70%. So far the parents have raised 4000 pesos and will sponsor a dance and a raffle later this Spring.
Total : 87,000 pesos. (We will match what is raised by the community against this amount)
3. Scholarship and Adopt a Student Programs – These programs are aimed at encouraging greater attendance at Preparatory Schools (grades 10, 11 & 12) in Mazatlan (Barron has no Prep School). Under the Adopt a Student program, EDM owners and others will have the opportunity to support a student of their choice for Prep School. The Scholarship program will target and reward high performing students.
4. Bussing Program – One of the largest expenses for parents to send their kids to Prep School in Mazatlan is transportation. With the objective of encouraging maximun Prep School attendance for the kids of Barron, we are evaluating a bussing subsidy to assist with this expense.

Town of Barron
The Cosgrove family has assumed the sponsorship for the Barron Little League Team for the 2010 baseball season. Ken invites you to attend the league games in Mazatlan every Sunday.

What did we buy in 2009?

2009
The Annual Estrella del Mar Golf Tournament donated $6,000 US to Friends of Barron. The following items were purchased for the schools:

KindergartenBlackboard
1 computer
Bookshelves in each of the 3 classrooms
2 TV’s donated by Simon and Lauri StriblingComputer Classroom
3 Flip Charts
Retiled one roof because of leaks
Elementary
1 computer
6 tables and 36 chairs (hired local carpenter)
Secondary
Rewiring to bring in 220v electricity to school
1 computerGreen Computers
Cistern and pump for the bathrooms
Town of Barron
In March, 2009, Estrella del Mar sponsored a winning Little League Baseball Team by providing team uniforms.