We believe that every child loves to learn—and deserves a basic education. The problem in most Third World countries is that poor communities do not have (1) school rooms, (2) the necessary school supplies or (3) teachers that are trained to teach basic skills. Because of socio-economic conditions beyond their control, so many children do not have an educational opportunity—even though they have a strong desire to learn.

The Adopt-a-School Initiative’s core mission is to provide the opportunity for every child to receive an education. We believe this mission can best be accomplished through a community development partnership. One of the most effective ways to provide for a child’s education is to address physical, emotional, economic and social issues at the community level. Therefore, SKM will partner with internationally recognized non-profit organizations (NPO) who work closely with local community groups, churches, families, and children in poverty stricken areas and who implement programs that address the root causes of poverty that directly impacts a child’s opportunity to receive an education. We believe that partnering with NPO coupled with community involvement will set the stage for children to receive an education in a supporting, caring, safe environment.

The Adopt-a-School Initiative will focus its initial efforts on financially supporting the building an all-purpose community center (i.e. school, church, performing arts center, village meetings, etc.) in a Designated Community District (see Goal #1 below). Construction will be performed by locals and volunteers under the guidance and assistance of a partner NPO’s staff members. The all-purpose community center will become the educational “hub” of the DCD and offer educational classes in the following areas:
1.    Basic education classes for children (The Smart Kidz Reading & Math Program)
2.    Construction skills and building affordable housing using the Lazerian method (LWH)
3.    Introduction to the Arts (music, dance, art and performance)
4.    Agricultural classes
5.    Wells and clean water instruction
6.    Business skills and micro-finance
7.    Community development and events

We believe that through the Adopt-a-School Initiative we can solve global education problems by (1) financially supporting the building a multi-use school facility in a Designated Community District (DCD), (2) supplying the school with effective learning tools and supplies, (3) providing the school with teachers to administrate the curriculum, and (4) involving the community in support of the educational programs and maintenance of the school building.

GOAL #1: Building a School in a Designated Community District
What is a Designated Community District (DCD)?
A DCD is an approved geographical area where our NPO partner partners with local community leaders that are committed to the goals of improving the well-being of children through education and other programs that benefit local children. These geographic areas will vary in population, size and circumstances—but, more importantly, they will be staffed with local leaders that are willing to invest time in planning and management of the school.

How are Designated Community Districts selected?
DCDs are selected using several criteria. Factors such as the need, the population
density, access to the DCD, available infrastructure, local leadership and the
community’s willingness to participate are all considered before committing
a school building and resources to the DCD.

At what stage is the school actually built?
Before we build a school facility, we first work with community leaders to assess
their needs. Together, we create a collaborative plan based on the community’s
vision for its children. Then we review the available resources, existing infrastructure,
what’s already being done, what more can be done, and what we can do together.

Next we select key areas of focus for our collaborative work, which include critical topics such education, health, and economic development. Each project is selected with children in mind and, in many cases, children participate in the planning process and even lead the community through important changes. Our involvement is to facilitate the planning process and leave it to community leaders to make final decisions and implement the plan. Once the plan is in place, a school can be constructed.

Once the school facility is built, we work with the community leaders to manage, monitor, and evaluate progress toward the community’s goals. Our goal is to eventually transition out with the expectation that the community leaders are equipped and empowered to sustain the work of educating children.

Who builds the schools?
Adopt-a-School is partnering with Lazerian World Homes (LWH) to build the school facility.  LWH is a non-profit organization that has built hundreds of low-cost homes, community centers, schools and churches around the world. Their mission is to provide strong, safe structures for the world’s poor that have inadequate buildings and homes.

LWH has developed a building system that is simple and easy for non-skilled workers to implement. The system features building blocks that stack together like giant “Legos” and a “post and beam” concrete structure. The blocks serve as a concrete form and insulation while the concrete and rebar provide the structural strength to withstand strong winds and earthquakes. The LWH system is so simple to use, that workers do not need construction experience to erect a structure. With this system and some basic hands-on training and tools, locals can construct affordable homes and buildings in a short period of time—and experience the satisfaction of completing a building.

GOAL #2: Supplying the School with Effective Teaching Materials.
The Smart Kidz Reading & Math Program is the cornerstone of the Adopt-a-School Initiative. It is a technological breakthrough in the way educational concepts are taught to children. And, as such, we believe that the Smart Kidz Reading & Math Program is the answer to global education problems because it gives every child an opportunity to learn, no matter what their economic circumstances. The program has the power to provide every child an education because it is self-administered, it is self-contained, it can be used on an individual basis, and it can be used anywhere (i.e. battery operated).

The Smart Kidz Reading & Math Program is designed to introduce the basic building blocks of reading, math, and writing skills—and to learn more about the world they live in. The Program provides a child with bite-sized pieces of new information in every lesson so they are able to master each new concept and achieve success on their own. A teacher is not required to be present as the Smart Kidz Reading & Math Program asks the questions and gives the correct answer from alternative answers. When the child gives the right answer, they are immediately rewarded with a moment of celebration. Since the SRP is battery operated, the Program can be used anywhere. Further, because the program is self-administered, a child can move through the program at his or her own pace. The Smart Kidz Reading & Math Program will satisfy every child’s natural thirst for knowledge with learning tools that are fun, easy-to-use and effective.

GOAL #3: Providing the school with teachers to monitor the Smart Kidz Reading & Math Program

An effective reading and math program has many components that need to be carefully and systematically taught.  All educational programs used in school systems today require trained teachers at some level to instruct and administrate the curriculum. However, the Smart Kidz Reading & Math Program doesn’t require highly trained teachers because of the technology that is used.  The program features a “talking pen” that takes on the role of a private tutor that teaches and coaches the child to educational success. The Smart Tutor Reading Pen gives children the support they need to reinforce the reading and math skills that are being taught in the curriculum—but in a way that makes reading and solving math problems exciting, fun, and rewarding.

The Smart Tutor Reading Pen is a vital part of the Smart Kidz Reading & Math Program.  This “pen” technology takes the form of a marker-sized stylus that contains an electronic chip that is programmed with hundreds of words and sound effects. The pen integrates a proprietary auditory-optical scanning (text-to-speech) technology. In its simplest form, the Smart Tutor Reader Pen is a handheld stylus that scans printed words on a Smart Cardz and instantly pronounces the words. When the child touches the stylus on a word, image or question on the Smart Cardz, children will hear the question being read, select an answer and hear whether the answer is correct or incorrect. As a result, with every touch of the pen, the questions and answers will come to life. The stylus is perfectly sized for small hands and is easy to carry around. It is no bigger than a marker pen and can fit in a child’s pocket or a back pack.

Since the Smart Kidz Reading & Math Program is self-administered and self-contained, there is no need for a highly trained teacher to instruct or teach the concepts. All that is needed is for a teacher to monitor usage of the program and be a caretaker of the learning kits.

GOAL #4: Involving the community in support of the educational programs and maintenance of the school building.

We believe that the best way to insure that every child has the opportunity to receive an education is to invest in the communities in which they live. The Adopt-a-School Initiative works best by supporting those who already have a vested interest in the future of their children. By partnering with local community leaders and families in a DCD, we can build an educational infrastructure that will lead to lasting change.

Our involvement is to facilitate the planning process and leave it to community leaders to make final decisions and implement the plan. Once the plan is in place, a school can be constructed and community leaders can maintain the school and manage the educational programs.