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Exceptional Education Outreach Literacy Program
October 9, 2012 - Education and Literacy

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Believing in the shared ideal that every child should be given learning opportunities to reach their full potential, EGCF began partnering in 2011 with Exceptional Education Outreach in Harbour Island, Eleuthera, Bahamas. EEO's mission is to provide special education and literacy outreach programs to students and their communities ensuring that children with special needs have access to innovative educational programs to help them reach their full academic and personal potential. EEO endeavors to equip local teachers, parents and volunteers with skills and materials to assess students and remediate learning challenges through direct service in schools, training programs for teachers and parents, and professional medical assistance to underserved students.

In order to begin the process, children recommended to the EEO program receive hearing screenings. During the months of September through December, every EEO teacher received one on one training and was able to conduct hearing tests on students at their Center. EEO teachers performed more 200 hearing assessments this year. Those children exhibiting problems with these screenings are subsequently seen by a hearing specialist contracted by EEO. If further attention is needed, students are referred to professional medical care in Nassau. EEO has provided assistance, in the form of Fast Ferry tickets, to families who could not afford the trip to Nassau to bring their child to the doctor. Approximately 1,250 students from all districts of Eleuthera have been given a hearing screening, and audiologist has preformed follow up testing for over 50 students with hearing loss, three hearing aides have been donated and medical procedures to help hearing problems have been underwritten.

During the 2012-2013 school year, EEO assisted teachers with best practice techniques and resources to use in the classroom. EEO staff met individually with teachers and shared suggestions on effective ways to better help students in the classroom. Teachers were given resource materials, blending and pocket charts, book set and teaching resources. Members of EGCF brought books and read to students at the Harbour Island EEO center. There are close to 180 students receiving assistance this year in EEO 6 resource rooms across Harbour Island and Eleuthera.

As the program continues it seeks to build local capacity through monthly training seminars that combine literacy-building and teaching strategies for working with children with special needs. A core focus will be establishing, equipping and maintaining special education resource rooms across Eleuthera and Harbour Island with books, computers, specialized learning aides and supplies for use in sessions with small groups of students needing individualized instruction.

EGCF is proud to be able to partner with EEO. EGCF and EEO believe these efforts will result in a resourceful, student-supportive, sustainable education system for Eleuthera and Harbour Island. For more on EEO please visit their website at www.EEOBahamas.org.