Progress at the Primary School

It has been obvious for a very long time that the Barron Primary School needed paint. The new principal, Norma, decided to do something about it. So she organized her parents into work groups, and using paint provided by Friends of Barron, has transformed the school. Look at the before and after pictures below. This lady is organized and motivated to improve the learning environment at Barron. She has also instituted a plastic bottle recycling program. Things are changing over in Barron! For the better!

Ongoing School Construction Projects

Elementary School – The next time you drive by the Barron Primary School, take a look… the exterior has received a much needed paint job. In keeping with the FOB’s rules of Community Development, after parents of the students volunteered to paint the school exterior, Friends of Barron agreed to buy the paint. Some fathers have also volunteered to re-roof two of the classrooms and we are currently evaluating a request to buy roofing material. We also have a request from the teaching staff to refurnish one of the classrooms. The existing desks are in such disrepair and so many have collapsed, they are forced to borrow furniture from the library in order to hold classes. We are not currently funded to address this request and although it is important, it is not among our highest priorities. FOB has spent $10,000 pesos on this project and we expect to spend another $8,000 pesos on the roofing project.

School for Adults – Barron has a program supported and sanctioned by the Mexican Government to provide elementary, middle and high school curricula to adult members of the community. There are also basic literacy classes for approximately 15 students associated with this adult school. In total, 65 adults are receiving equivalent education through the efforts of three local teachers who volunteer their time and effort to this program. The Mexican Government support consists of classroom materials, planned curricula and formal testing that leads to certification of the students as graduates. The problem facing the school is a lack of adequate classroom space and furnishings that allow classes to held during the evening hours. The town has provided a vacant two room building in need of much repair for these volunteer teachers to use as their classrooms. The teachers have approached FOB with a request to repair, paint and furnish these classrooms. From among the 65 adult students, cement masons, plumbers, electricians and groundskeepers have volunteered their time and skills to provide the labor necessary to bring this school up to a point where it is useable. Given the impressive rate of volunteerism on the part of both the teachers and students to improve the educational experience for the adult school, FOB has decided to assist them with the necessary materials and furnishings to compete the classroom renovation project. FOB will probably spend upwards of $20,000 pesos on this project.

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.

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.

Wish List for 2010

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


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?

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

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
1 computer
6 tables and 36 chairs (hired local carpenter)
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.

What Did We Buy in 2008?

Elementary School

10 tables and 20 chairs for grade one classroom (replaced old metal ones)Library
renovated an unused classroom to make it into the new Media Classroom
bought co-axle cable for Internet access
computer technician from Estrella del Mar worked on a weekend to wire the classroom
20 small laptops were provided by TelMex through a contest the school entered so the school now has 27 computers – a full lab!Primary EntrancewayGreen Computers

Secondary School
Secondary School wanted a front wall and gate to the school as well as fencing around the school and playground to keep the chickens and pigs out. Friends of Barron paid for the front wall and gate and the school board did the fencing.

Classroom supplies were donated from Estrella del Mar owners (pencils, paper, felt pens, erasers, art supplies)

What did we buy in 2007?

3 white boards for the 13 elementary and secondary classrooms that had old blackboards in poor repair
Donation of 10 more white boards thanks to Norm Shaw.
Estrella del Mar workers installed all the white boards
1 filing cabinet (Principal had piles of paper on the floor – no where to file them)
Mexican flag and flag pole for assemblies at secondary school
School supplies from Estrella del Mar owners (pencils, paper, felt pens, erasers)Computer Classroom