Reaching Out, an initiative of The Tico Times to equip high-school students with copies of the newspaper and innovative English instruction through corporate partnerships, has thrived since its inauguration in early June.
Gerardo Arias, one of the program’s coordinators, said this week the program now has a total of nine corporate sponsors providing papers to 2,445 students in nine high schools. New to the program since June are the Professional Technical High School of Santa Ana, west of San José, sponsored by Inmobiliaria Génesis, and the Experimental Bilingual High School in Turrialba, east of the capital, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline.
These companies join Pfizer Costa Rica, Intel, Scotiabank, Procter & Gamble, Hewlett Packard and Wal-Mart Costa Rica.
The companies sponsor discounted Tico Times subscriptions and other English-language support at schools across the country.
Arias, who came up with the idea for the program shortly after joining The Tico Times staff in August 2005, has said he hopes the program will expand tenfold to reach 20,000 students in 2007 (TT, June 9).
Reaching Out also includes training for English teachers designed by the Public Education Ministry in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy and The Tico Times. The first of three workshops scheduled for this year took place in July and featured speaker John Murphy, a specialist from Georgia State University, whose visit was arranged by the U.S. Embassy.
In November, sponsors, teachers, principals, students and others will participate in activities designed to evaluate the success of the program.