Who We Are
WHO WE ARE
Direct Instruction With A Purpose
We are educators with the collective experience of over 6 decades. Donald has spent his career writing Direct Instruction curriculum and Deborah has spent hers first as a Direct Instruction teacher, then a school reform consultant and finally as the Director of the Rwanda English Project.
Over the course of our careers we have had the privilege of working with the greatest educators and personally witnessed what excellent curriculum and implementation can do for students and teachers. The Rwanda English Project gives us the opportunity to offer our knowledge and experience to the teachers and students of Rwanda. It represents the culmination of our life’s work.
How We Ended
Up In Rwanda
Like so many of us in international non-profit work, we accidentally ended up doing the work we love. We began in Kenya where we managed the instruction of Cindi’s Hope Rescue Centers. We trained teachers and managed the instruction for multiple schools serving orphaned and abused girls aged 3-16. We also worked with Sudanese widows and inmates at Embu Women’s Prison. Through our relationship with Cindi’s Hope, we traveled to Rwanda. There we met a remarkable country rising from the most devastating genocide in recent history.
We got to know some of its citizens.
They said that they needed to educate their citizens and to teach them to speak English. They asked us if we would help.
We were intrigued and inspired.
We returned in February 2016 intending to train a small group of “English” teachers in a public school to teach English to their students. We learned that public school teachers are required to teach in English but that only about 7 to 30 percent of them could meet that mandate. That was our experience as well. The “English” teachers could not speak English well enough to be trained in English.
That became our starting point.
Over the course of the next year, 50 public school teachers began instruction in spoken English. Out of those 50, 5 stood out. They were trained to continue spoken English instruction for their peers for the duration of the school year. They became our first cohort of instructors, and over time became coaches and finally project managers. Currently, they are responsible for almost all aspects of the project including training new instructors and ensuring that they teach the program correctly. Our job is providing financial and technical support as well as a vision for scaling up to other schools.
Since then, the project has grown from 2 schools to 15 schools, a rehabilitation center, English instruction for the leaders of the Bugesera District, and 2 teacher training colleges. We have expanded to Burera a second district. As of July 2022, over 350 teachers have been taught spoken English impacting over 30,000 students.
In 2018, the Rwanda English Project was certified by the Rwanda Education Board allowing us to scale up to more teachers.
A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
A special thank you to NextStep Recycling and Eugene Southtowne Rotary for their generous donations over the years.