By: Ana Milena Lucumi, Ed.D.

Innovation Learning Design and Results Manager

In a time of extended quarantine for the country's public and public schools, school communities responded to a surprising reality with the knowledge of teamwork, crisis management, technological tools and the didactic aids they had at hand.They did an extraordinary job! However, the shift from the face-to-face classroom to the home classroom in an emergency remote education model, not distance education, exposed variables outside the potential management of teachers and school administrators.

According to Representative Deborah Soto Arroyo, chair of the Education, Arts and Culture Committee of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, among the factors attributed to the alarming problem of the risk of student failure and academic lag are problems with the internet (infrastructure and connectivity), adjustment to a new method of virtual teaching, high levels of poverty, lack of resources in some homes and the lack of commitment of parents and students. These are some of the external variables that, in recently presented data, reveal a high percentage of academic lag and dropout rates, historical challenges for Puerto Rico's school communities, which in times of quarantine have worsened.

The complexity of the current situation requires a collaborative work plan with the participation of various government offices, families, educators, social workers and school counsellors, psychologists and students. Of the failure data, 14,000 students are at the intermediate level. Students at this level are at a stage of development in which they experience a variety of changes. Parents and guardians should discuss with students the various alternatives they have to continue towards achieving their immediate academic goal, the high school degree. Dropping out is not an alternative, and education is presented with a range of alternatives to help them overcome the lag and complete their stages of change with systemic attention, allowing them to continue dreaming, to regain hope and to achieve it.

In the yearo 2018, Global Education Exchange Opportunities, Inc. (GEEO) approved in its strategic plan the creation and development of a middle and higher education school, in an accelerated and distance alternative modality. Thus, the project Global Learning Innovation Institute (GLII) PROJECT WAS BORN, an alternative education school attached to GEEO. The evolution of information and communication technologies facilitates the flexibility of teaching and learning processes. GLII, as a distance learning alternative school, encourages students to learn at their own pace during the academic term, in the comfort of their own home and with the availability of tutorial help with a response time of 24 to 48 hours. On the other hand, the teacher takes advantage of the technological tools to optimise the creation of the virtual learning environments, both synchronous and asynchronous, in course delivery, monitoring and student assessment. GLII's mission of GLII is "To train the student of the 21st century through a proposal of alternative, quality, innovative and inclusive higher education that integrates the various modalities, face-to-face, blended and distance, applying a series of emerging technologies". Global Learning Innovation Institute is positioned as one of the answers, from the private sector, to combat academic lag from 7th to 12th grade and school dropout at the intermediate level, and in the face of the migration of families with their teenage children to various states of the American nation.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Ana Milena Lucumi at 787.621-6777, ext. 128 or write to [email protected]. Classes begin in August.