Solution for public schools’ education dilemma
Dear Sir, parents, teachers, students and stakeholders of the public school system,
“The education of African people is an urgent necessity. It is a matter of life and death. We cannot abide another generation of children who have no identity and who are ignorant about Africa.”
— Asa Hilliard III, EdD
Last week, my protégé, Donna Mallory and I, attended a Warriors-Healers-Builders retreat in Washington. This retreat was conducted by Wekesa and Afiya Madzimoyo, the co-directors of Aya International Institute.
I was introduced to Afiya and Wekesa by Asa Hilliard in 1998. Six years later, I hosted them in Bermuda. The retreat, at that time was called “Healing Oppression’s Wounds”. A tremendous amount of effort has gone into improving this offering in the updated version now called, Warriors, Healers and Builders. The three areas are:
• Personal development
• Communication tools
• Conflict resolution strategies
It was an intensive personal development course that provides African people with the tools to navigate our relationships with one another.
We learnt how to combine our emotions and our thinking for more powerful and successful outcomes.
We learnt that our feelings are messengers and we learnt how to read them.
Oppression has taught us to suppress and substitute one emotion for another.
Sometimes our past survival adaptations no longer serve us.
We also learnt how to retell the stories about our lives in ways that propel us.
At the end of the retreat, I felt like I was drenched in the African spirit, and I was better equipped to be a Warrior, Healer and a Builder to help to improve the lot of our children and our people. I was more determined to fight for African-centred education for Bermuda’s children. In an African-centred school, parents, teacher and students are required to take the Warriors-Healers-Builders course
This course aligns with our overall objective of “Nation building: Theory and Practice in African-centred education”.
What is a solution for children in the public school system?
• Aya Educational Institute. Wekesa and Afiya have been the co-directors of this African-centred school for the past 20 years
• Aya is a high-tech, web conference-based school. It was launched in November 1998 and since then has provided educational options for youths and adults
• Aya is an African-centred school that uses culture as a foundation for educational rigour and excellence
• Aya serves middle school and high school students throughout the United States
• Aya is able to provide middle school and high school educational services to students anywhere in the world who have an internet connection and a time zone that will accommodate Aya’s operating schedule
On April 16, 2018, Aya offered its educational options to the Bermuda community. Aya announced that Muriel Wade-Smith was appointed its International Education Ambassador. Dr Wade-Smith will be Aya’s official representative in Bermuda.
Dr Wade-Smith is an extraordinary educator, author and community advocate, and is quite capable in her own right. Her partnership with Aya will prove a blessing for the institute and all of Bermuda.
Aya graduates have gone on to attend college — most often awarded full scholarships and funding to travel widely — and to excel in business and entrepreneurship. Since 2002, Aya has taught its full-day curriculum via a live web-conference platform. In contrast to web-based distance learning, its approach features real-time, audiovisual, teacher-to-student and student-to-student instruction and interaction. Students’ age/grade appropriate learning is augmented with headsets, webcams, electronic whiteboards, physical notebooks, and physical and web-based project creation that they share with families and communities.
Aya combines high nurturance with high expectations to yield excellent, and often phenomenal, results in student leadership, development and academic success. Often, students have lost their confidence and are no longer engaged in learning. Aya has been very successful at both challenging accomplished situations and re-engaging the disengaged.
Education is a whole family process and the family are the youth’s first teacher and always the learning director. When a student joins Aya, the whole family do, and we become educational partners.
We are anxious to tell and show you more so you can decide if Aya is right for yours and your child’s educational needs.
Questions? Interested? Contact Dr Wade-Smith at 236-3593.
I look forward to hearing from you so that we can work together to provide a fair, just and equitable system of education for your children who are in the public school system.
I am Warrior, Healer and a Builder. Born to teach.
MURIEL M. WADE-SMITH, PhD
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