Since the Fall of 1997 Beacon Schools of the
Virgin Islands, Inc., a 501©3 corporation, has
been a leader in responding to the educational, economic, and social needs of the Virgin Islands middle, low and very low income children, youth and families. A $10 registration fee allows participants to select from a multitude of activities: after-school tutorial assistance, standardized test preparation, mentoring, computer classes, adult literacy, ESL (French and Spanish), youth based skill programs, sports, cultural activities, parenting workshops, counseling services, service projects, performing arts, recreational activities and services for individuals with disabilities. Over 75 activities are available throughout the Virgin Islands annually.
History of the
Beacon community learning centers are modeled after New York City Beacon Centers. The first three centers opened on each island in 1997. To date, there are now three sites on St. Croix, three on St. Thomas, and one on St. John.
Community involvement is a key element in the
Beacon site selection process. Host school sites
are selected by a territory wide review panel from the Beacon Board, officials of the VI Department of Education, parents and community leaders. Selection criteria include the adequacy of existing conceptual, physical plant and safety factors, and a needs statement outlining neighborhood after school needs, proposed activities to address the needs and human and fical resources to implement the proposed activities.
Beaconís greatest strength is its direct link to
public host schools, non-profits, government
agencies, foundations, businessmen, faith-based groups, private citizens and institutions of higher learning. Together they collaboratively sponsor activities at Beacon sites. Partners devote over 100,000 in volunteer man hours in personnel services while Beacon, Inc., reciprocates through administrative, monetary and in-kind support, space training, custodial and security services, operating expenses, supplies, equipment, and volunteer recruitment assistance.
90% of day school teachers report that students who attend Beacon academic programs turn their homework in on time, improve classroom participation and behavior and raise their grade averages.
85% of student Beacon participants have raised their scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) an average of 12%.
95% of students in the JUMP mentoring
program have increased their grade averages
and brought classroom behavior under control.
Registrations for the current year were almost
2,000 participants. 80% of participants were
students, with 20% being parents and other adults.