Solution Fluency Biology Lab

Santa Cruz Cooperative School

The Santa Cruz Cooperative School in Bolivia is committed to providing its students with a curriculum that prepares them for successful studies at colleges and universities around the world.

Meet Getulio Brasil and learn how he strives to make a difference at his school.

SCCS is the only college preparatory school in Santa Cruz, Bolivia accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Bolivian Ministry of Education. These accreditations, held since 1987, lead to both American and Bolivian high school diplomas and ensure SCCS students study a curriculum that prepares them for entry into a university.

The whole process takes a lot of time—especially planning. You must be creative. You must be updated about technology. You can’t make technological barriers. Everything around you becomes a possibility for something else.

Getulio Brasil

Santa Cruz CS

After creating a first product, the students get excited for a second one and that’s the moment in which you start to see your students making connections and finally understanding —not just memorizing—your content.

Getulio Brasil

Santa Cruz CS

Our students are our main focus of this process. If they benefit, you also benefit because you want to see them learning. There is no frustration if you see improvement in both attitude and achievement scores.

Getulio Brasil

Santa Cruz CS

What does it take to inspire

meaningful change?

The act of changing anything, especially learning and instructional  practices, takes time and planning. It requires understanding where you are and knowing where you want to be, and then figuring out how to get there. Getulio Brasil, Head of Science at the Santa Cruz Cooperative School in Bolivia, knows this well.

When Getulio decided to begin working with the Essential Fluencies, his extensive background in science enabled him to approach using them as an experiment. And a successful experiment it was.

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Today at SCCS, Getulio’s students remain engaged and excited about learning by using the processes of the Fluencies. Getulio himself remains vigilant in his hopes of inspiring other educators to embrace meaningful change in the same way.

How do we plot a

path to success?

“Initially the idea of using the Fluencies was more of an investigation,” Getulio recalls. “As a science teacher or a scientist, we test ideas. So I wanted to develop the Fluencies in my students and see the outcomes.”

The experiences Getulio had while incorporating the Fluencies with lab practices in Grade 10 Biology are profiled in a study he created for Buffalo State College in 2013. It was conducted over a 2-month period with two groups of Biology students that were pre- and post-tested in both attitude and achievement. The results of the study indicated a positive impact on both attitude and achievement scores in students.

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Incorporating the Fluencies also allowed Getulio to get creative with other students. “I was teaching Ecology—the product for the unit was a ‘Living on Mars’ project. Students had to develop a plan to transport mankind to Mars, in order to save our species. The projects were amazing, and the results for exams were even better—and they had a blast!”

How do we measure

growth and progress?

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  • Learning with the Fluencies is more collaborative and becomes primarily project- and inquiry-based.
  • There is a significant improvement in achievement and attitude.
  • Scores on exams are improved because of deeper learning.
  • Students now see higher levels of relevance in their learning.
  • Students are excited and enjoy learning more.
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  • By incorporating the Fluencies into teaching, learning happens quicker and becomes more permanent.
  • Lesson planning with the Fluencies creates high levels of student engagement in the classroom.
  • There is a greater focus on understanding of key concepts/skills.
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  • Scenario learning provides greater student engagement and allows for more engaging assessments.
  • The Fluencies provide an pedagogical approach that puts children at the center of the learning.
  • Students get involved, create solutions, and show better performance.
  • Transformation in the overall learning process has been one of the most significant benefits.

How do we continue to

improve and excel?

The insights into teaching and learning that Getulio gained with the Fluencies is great food for thought for any educator. “It was interesting to see how kids actually understand concepts better when they have to develop a product after an entire unit,” he says.

“In my opinion, if it deals with creativity, kids will have to spend more time to achieve their objectives. After spending time researching, their understanding related to that concept is a lot deeper than before.”

So what’s next for Getulio and his students at Santa Cruz Cooperative School? “My next step is  developing other units connected to the Fluencies,” Getulio claims. “I prefer to teach with the Fluencies. Things move a lot faster and you see much better results. And that’s what any teacher expects.”