The American School of South Sudan prepares students to strive academically and grow up to be Global leaders in South Sudan.Even amidst political unrest ASOSS still carried on with their mission to educate the young children of South Sudan. Educating them not only using the American framework but also using the South Sudan framework. Sienna Dutkowski one of the administrators at the American School of South Sudan tells me more about ASOSS.Tell me more about ASOSS?The American School of South Sudan is a project of South Sudanese Friends International an NGO registered in the US. TASOSS aims to develop a preK-12, college preparatory program. We want our students to graduate from our program prepared to attend any university in the world and return to South Sudan as leaders in the community. We believe that education is the only way to bring lasting peace and prosperity to South Sudan.We currently operate our early childhood education program Juba Kidz Zone. In August 2015 we will begin offering 1st grade.We teach all our classes in English. Our curriculum is based on the US common core but we have modified it to fit the needs of our students. We focus on 21st century education with special attention to technology and linguistics. Our first grade class will have the opportunity to learn computer basics and we plan to begin training our students in an additional language beginning in 2nd grade. We are currently looking for land so we can build our full school.
Q: Since its formation, have you been able to achieve what you set out to do?A: We have very lofty goals for our school and I am proud to say that we are meeting them slowly but surely. We want to develop our program slowly so we can ensure we are providing our students with the best. Parents have reported to us that after leaving our program they were more prepared than their peers. For us that is success we aim to build on 🙂Q:What are the challenges you have faced?A: The greatest challenge we face is the ongoing civil conflict in South Sudan. We currently work with young children age 1.5 to 6 years old. Understandably, during unrest, they are the first ones out and the last ones to return. When we closed for the holiday on December 13, 2013, we had nearly 30 students. When we reopened on February 3, 2014 we had 3 students. For us it was important to open and stay open until young children began to return to Juba. Although our growth was slow, today we have 25 students and more students registering everyday. In addition to slowed student registration, we are having a hard time finding funding for the program. We are confident that as people continue to return to South Sudan and there is more lasting peace, funding opportunities will become available.Q: Are there any plans for expansion?A: As mentioned, we will be expanding on a small scale in August 2015 when we begin offering 1st grade classes. We are currently looking for a new plot of land so we can build our full school. As we design our new school, our goal is to create a facility with the capacity to educate 650 students (preK-12). In this school we want to have a library, technology lab, science labs, art studio, playground and many other educational amenities so our students can be exposed to a variety of activities, so they are well rounded and can strive to be anything they set out to be.Q: How did the community receive you?A: We have been well received by the community. The people of South Sudan long for educational opportunities not only for children but also for adults. The only question we get from time to time is “Are you only going to teach about America in your school?” and the answer is absolutely not. We want to make sure that our students are proud of South Sudan and want to make a difference at home and be leaders in the South Sudanese community. As part of our curriculum development we are designing a social studies program that will teach our students South Sudanese history and culture.Find out more at:Twitter: @EmpowerSSudanInstagram: @america_school_s.sudanFacebook: America School Of South Sudan