Separated by more than 600 kilometers of land and sea, Alabat Island National High School in Quezon Province and Tisa II Elementary School in Cebu have very little things in common except for their visionary principals who believed the schools can do more.
Principal Gregorio Racelis of Alabat Island National High School 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 Tisa II Elementary School 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.
Alabat Island National High School and Tisa II Elementary School are two of the seven schools across the Philippines that were recognized by Bayan Academy during the 6th Excellence in Education Transformation Awards (EETA) on 19 November at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. The awards this year were selected based on exceptional innovation in the field of strategic human resource management.
Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development (BASE-HRD or Bayan Academy) is a social development organization offering entrepreneurship, management and education training programs and services, as well as livelihood and skills training courses for development institutions, cooperatives, banks, educational institutions and micro and small enterprises.
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 Munoz, 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 Learnin0g Effectiveness) and 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 Alabat Island National High School. “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 Alabat Island National High School definitely 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 KKKDM program that would be the bedrock values in the school. KKKDM emphasizes the values of kabutihan, katatagan, kasipagan, disiplina at malasakit (roughly translated as goodness, strength, hardwork, discipline and empathy), which abbreviates to the name of the program.
His work would result in a substantial improvement in the National Achievement Test Mean Percentage Score from 58.73 in SY 2012 to 2013 to 80.77 in SY 2018 to 2019. Student drop out and occurrence of teenage pregnancy decreased as well, he said.
Alabat Mayor Fernando Mesa says, “We were inspired by Greg 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 II Elementary School 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, Principal Gumba gathered master teachers — the core leaders of the school — and together 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.
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 Morato Jr.