OSSFF begins iSipnayan program at Pasong Tamo Elementary School

OSSFF began its iSipnayan afterschool math program at Pasong Tamo Elementary School this March 8, 2010. Pasong Tamo Elementary School, part of QC’s 6th school district, is one of the biggest schools in Quezon City, with over 4,500 students. The initial group consists of 20 bright students, divided into 10:00 am, 11:00 am and 1:00 pm slots. The students were personally handpicked by their math teachers. They’re attended to by iSipnayan teachers Rachel Tanaka and Malue Gal.

The actual “start” began in early December 2009 when OSSFF visited the new principal Nitz Pangilinan. Bing del Rosario was already on very good terms with Nitz since 2004 when the del Rosario’s built the state-of-the-art library for Bagumbayan Elementary School when Nitz was still the principal. They then followed Nitz to Sto, Cristo Elementary School where they put up intervention programs to bring up the literacy of the laggard sections of Grades 2 and 3. And when Nitz was assigned to Mines Elementary School, the Foundation donated a much-needed photocopier. So iSipnayan was an “easy sell”, especially given Principal Pangilinan’s focus on academic performance. But never a dictator, Nitz scheduled two sessions with her top teachers so that the OSSFF officers could talk about the program and the teachers could make up their own minds.

With the PTES teachers on board, the next step was for iSipnayan teachers Ella Cruz-Aguila and Rachel Tanaka to give out flyers and application forms, interview the parent applicants, schedule the diagnostic exams, and select the first 20 students for the summer. The diagnostic exams were given to nearly 100 students of Grades 1 to 3 in late January and early February 2010.

Despite the modest start, the plan is to quickly ramp up in June and July, getting to 100 students before November. There are some 80 students in the wait list but the schedule is to provide diagnostic exams to the top two sections of Grades 1, 2, and 3 in March – easily 180 more – so that the iSipnayan team can have 250 students to choose from for the next 80 students to come on board the program in June-July and October- November. By 2013, assuming everything goes well, the Foundation envisions 700 to 800 pupils in the math program.

The iSipnayan program is currently being held in the school’s LEAP room, with iSipnayan teachers Rachel Tanaka and Malue Gal in charge. When the enrolment jumps to 100, the Foundation expects to pick up volunteer teachers and parents as part-time proctors.