San Jeronimo Bilingual School (SJBS) is located in Cofradia Cortés, Honduras. Cofradia is a largely disadvantaged township located some 30 miles from the industrial capital of Honduras, San Pedro Sula.
SJBS is BECA’s first community partner school. BECA purposefully does not own and operate SJBS. Instead, that is the purview of the democratically-elected Association of Honduran parents, a recognized nonprofit entity with its own governing bylaws. BECA is simply their partner. In this collaborative fashion, BECA provides volunteer trained English-speaking teachers to SJBS, allowing tuition to remain low. Additionally, SJBS allows BECA to operate a scholarship program ensuring that people from all backgrounds can attend the school.
SJBS opened its doors in 2004 to 113 students and a few brave volunteer teachers! Since that time we have grown to our max capacity of 260 students (25/classroom max.) with a staff of 15 BECA volunteers and 5 Honduran educators.
After honing our program’s model over the past six years, we have begun to see the fruits of our labor. Out of SJBS’s first 47 graduates, 45 matriculated high school (96%), 35 of whom enrolled in bilingual programs (74). Given the limited resources of the community, this represents an exceptional success rate and indicates to us that not only have our students been academically prepared, but their parents have been equipped to creatively address the increased financial commitment entailed in sending their children to bilingual high schools.