Separated by more than 600 kilometers of land and sea, Alabat Island National High School (AINHS) in Quezon province and Tisa II Elementary School (TIIES) in Cebu have very little things in common except for their visionary principals who believed the schools could do more.
Principal Gregorio Racelis of AINHS implemented a comprehensive values-based program that ultimately increased the National Achievement Test Mean Percentage Score by more than 20 percentage points over a span of six years.
Principal Maricon Gumba of TIIES rallied her master teachers to influence institutional change, fixing the physical deterioration of the school, revitalizing programs, such as Brigada Eskwela, and developing her own initiatives that led to academic transformation.
AINHS and TIIES are two of the seven schools across the Philippines that were recognized by Bayan Academy during the recent Sixth Excellence in Education Transformation Awards (EETA) at a hotel in Mandaluyong City.
The awards this year were selected based on exceptional innovation in the field of strategic human resource management.
The awardees are:
- Alabat Island National High School, Alabat, Quezon (Most Transformative School for Learning Effectiveness and School Efficiency Award)
- Tisa II Elementary School, Cebu City (Innovations in Learning Environment-Learning Spaces and Places and Innovations in Access to Education)
- Palusapis Integrated School, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija (Innovations in Quality Education-Curriculum Design and Development and Learning Methodologies and Delivery Systems for Learning Effectiveness)
- Babag National High School, Lapu-Lapu City (Innovations in Learning Environment-Child Safety, Security and Sensitivity)
- Schools Division of Quezon, Quezon province (Innovations in Leadership, Governance and Management-Institutional Leadership and Direction Setting)
- Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Basic Education, Intramuros, Manila (Innovations in Quality Education-Learning Methodologies and Delivery Systems for Learning Effectiveness)
- University of Santo Tomas Senior High School, Sampaloc, Manila (Innovations in Quality Education-Education for the 21st Century)
It starts with values
Racelis faced a daunting task upon his assignment at AINHS. “We were confronted with high drop-out rate, low mean percentage scores in all areas, low stakeholder participation, and even the occurrence of teenage pregnancy,” he shared.
His predecessor already laid the foundations of transformation through physical developments, such as new buildings, enhanced security and a greener environment.
The transformation of the high school stresses the role of enlightened leadership backed up by a strong coalition of committed stakeholders and held together a common vision and a lofty set of values.
Racelis devoted his energy on values formation, which he sees as essential in changing people’s mindsets. He also engaged with the local government and the community to usher in change and laid out 12 strategies for the school.
Through guidance from a Christian group, Racelis developed the Kabutihan, Katatagan, Kasipagan, Disiplina, at Malasakit program that would be the bedrock values in the school.
His work would result in a substantial improvement in the National Achievement Test Mean Percentage Score from 58.73 in SY 2012-2013 to 80.77 in SY 2018-2019. Student drop out and occurrence of teenage pregnancy decreased as well, he said.
Alabat Mayor Fernando Mesa says, “We were inspired by Greg [Racelis] because we saw the veritable partnership between the government and school. The way forward is to cascade this program to kindergarten so that these values start from childhood, and they become part of the transformation.”
Principal Gumba of Tisa also faced an alarming situation in Cebu.
“The school was in a bad shape. More than the physical deformities of the school, the difficulty there was how to convince people who already surrendered to the idea that they were already as they were.
“Driving people to act and driving people to believe that they have a role to play— and they will have an impact—is the challenge.”
The school, together with its principal, administration and teachers resolved to address the deplorable environment conditions of the school.
They nurtured a positive learning environment through cleaning up the clutter and the debris, putting order amid chaos and creating a beautiful and conducive learning environment with their stakeholders.
To address the situation, Gumba gathered the master teachers and developed a vision for the institution. By enhancing existing programs, designing new ones, and building teams to work on strategy and execution, she united internal and external stakeholders in the spirit of Bayanihan for the common cause of the school.
Dr. Eduardo Morato Jr., president of Bayan Academy, congratulated the award recipients for leading the charge of people transformation.
“We’ve always believed that you can never implement a cookie-cutter approach in school transformation. Each institution is unique, and our seven recipients have showed many original and innovative programs. However, we also know there are many inspiring lessons we can pick up from their experiences that other organizations and institutions can tailor-fit in effecting change in their communities.”
The 6th EETA case studies have been compiled into a book Excellence in Educational Transformation: Strategic Human Resource Management for School Transformation, Volume 6 by Dr. Eduardo A. Morato Jr.