An interview with the Schulers of the Solid Rock School

Mark and Susan Schuler are known for their desire to educate. Once teaching from their home on Roatán, the Schulers now operate the Solid Rock School in Flowers Bay.

How many students attend the Solid Rock School?

For the new school year beginning in August 2017, we will have 64 students in grades K-10.
This past school year, we had kindergarten plus 3 combined classes: 1st – 3rd; 4th-6th; and junior high.

Is tuition required to attend the school?

Our main focus is working class families. All families must pay something, even if it is only $15 a month. Tuition is $75 a month for the first 2 children. Families with more children pay what they can.

What is your class structure?

Our classes are small. We limit them to 16 students, but try to keep them lower when we can. When there are more than 12 students, the children struggle with focus, and it is hard to give the necessary individual attention. We have been able to bring in some new students to build the classes. We are working to meet these students at their individual academic level in order to best help them grow. We follow the normal Honduran school day hours of 7 am to 12:40 pm.

What does your curriculum look like?

Our curriculum is designed by our teachers. We have a basic government list of topics we must cover, including basic kindergarten topics with all students to build a knowledge base. The students also come with a limited vocabulary in native language (whether Spanish or English). It is vital for students to learn to speak English well if they are to get a job on the island. Every week our teachers evaluate the progress of the week to see what is being absorbed and what needs to be reinforced or re-taught in a different manner to hit the target.

What are your biggest challenges?

In the beginning, many children struggled with the structured and disciplined environment, and there has been a learning curve for us. We’ve learned we must have parental involvement for the children to have regular attendance and for them to be motivated to learn.

We need both American teachers and Honduran teachers, and tuition only covers the Honduran teachers’ salaries. Our families are stretched tightly, and we feel they are at the top of what they can pay. The American teachers must raise their own support through churches or sponsors.

What is the biggest impact of the school?

Love. Love of self, love of others, love of God. We have strong discipline; the children understand we set limits and have high expectations because we love them and know what they’re capable of. We are training them for success. They are learning critical thinking skills, and about the vastness of the world and their role in it. We teach them to encourage each other. They are learning to become a tight knit family of brothers and sisters, celebrating each other’s victories and supporting each other in trials.

The first class of the day is everyone’s favorite. The day begins with a Bible lesson. Students discuss the story of the day to see how the characters dealt with their circumstances. What were the successes and failures, and how can we apply the principles to our daily life to be successful in our relationships with those around us? What character traits were exhibited, and how can we use that information to strengthen our own character? Yes, the academics are important, but just as importantly, in all classes we try to focus on building character and learning skills to guide the students to walk on the path of success their entire life.

What are your greatest needs for the school?

All the classrooms need desks and chairs, as well as counters and shelving for books and supplies. We also need textbooks. Our book fee is kept very low to cover math and Spanish books, as well as copying supplies. We need science and English reading books

The other need is sponsorship for low-income families. We have several paying reduced tuition. These kids have great attitudes and are studying hard and excelling. We feel they deserve a helping hand.

To directly support The Solid Rock School, click here. The Abundant Life Foundation’s Education Program includes building schools, providing college scholarships to outstanding students and supporting schools through maintenance, resources and supplies. To donate to our Education Program, click here.

 

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