Having been newly promoted in 2009 as school principal of Sampaloc National High School, Lerma Labrador-Flandez, was deeply grateful to have been admitted to the ICeXCELS Program, Batch 1, Class 13 under flexible learning tutor Dr. Ophelia P. Veniegas.
After finishing the course and still fired up by her experience in the ICeXCELS, Lerma set out to address two academic concerns—how to maximize the learning potential of fast learners on one hand, and how to help slow learners cope with school work, on the other hand.
Summoning her instructional leadership skills honed during the ICeXCELS course, she tapped the expertise, knowledge, and skills of the school’s department heads, teachers and the ICT coordinator. She formed them into a team that rallied behind her vision of establishing an instructional enrichment program that would benefit both fast and slow learners. The program consisted of two projects: Project EC (Enrichment Curriculum) and Project REEF-ComBRI (Reading Enhancement in English and Filipino through a Computer-Based Reading Intervention). Principal Lerma was deeply grateful for the cooperation of her team, especially the teachers who agreed to teach the enhancement subjects and tutorials sans additional pay. Principal Lerma likewise oriented the students and their parents about the program so that they will give their utmost support to the program, which they did.
Project EC provided fast learners with additional academic preparations. It also enriched their knowledge, and honed their skills. It also prepared them to confidently participate in division and regional academic competitions. It offered four elective subjects taught once a week for an hour each, with Friday as research day. Students were graded and were required to write down in learning logs or journals their thoughts, reflections, difficulties and successes relative to their additional subjects.
Project REEF-ComBRI, on the other hand, provided remedial lessons in English, Mathematics, Science, Araling Panlipunan and Filipino to second year students who were struggling in these subjects. Subject teachers tutored them every Thursday and Friday, for an hour after regular classes.
The impact of the program on the students concerned has been very encouraging. Teachers and parents observed that students in the enrichment classes had become more confident in sharing their ideas, in using the English language, and in leading their fellow schoolmates on classroom activities. Parents likewise observed that their children had become more responsible in their studies, and had shown greater confidence in expressing their views. Indeed, the program built the students’ self-esteem which, in turn, refined their character, and made them more alert, alive and happy.
Lerma’s experience proved that teachers are number one in the list of learning resources. Hence, according to her, they should be treated and managed well. Likewise, Principal Lerma is profoundly grateful to ICeXCEL for helping her gain a full grasp of her roles as school head, along the line of four domains: school management; school communications; school community relations; and instructional supervision, which as she admitted, “served as my guide in leading the school.”
Lerma is now connected with Rizal National Science High School as Principal III