09 September 2010

The Center for Academic Progress

I've stepped into a new role this year... well, sort of... actually, it is an old role (teacher of students with special needs) that had been put aside for awhile while I was busy being wife and mama to this fabulous crew the Lord has given me.

For several reasons, last spring we started praying about my involvement with Sahel Academy. I'd helped teach and coordinate their swimming/water polo phys ed program for 4 years and loved that. I've consulted on particular cases where the administration felt my background in special education would benefit. But the Lord slowly impressed upon my heart - and then confirmed through the support of Tim, our regional coordinators and an amazing congruence of vision with the school administrative team - that now was the time for me to become more directly involved with Sahel.

One of the huge challenges at a mission school like Sahel is meeting the needs of an incredibly diverse student population consisting primarily of TCKs (or third culture kids) with limited resources, people and material - all the while living in a place where just the daily demands of life that had seemed so easy to meet just a few short months ago living in Michigan, are now exhausting...

  • These kids come from many different language and cultural backgrounds - fitting the description of "English language learners:" the school has stopped referring to ESL (students learning English as a second language) because reality is that for many of the students, English is a third... fourth... fifth language.
  • Expat children often move every 2-3 years, changing schools, school systems and curriculum with different scopes and sequences, still trying to meet differing graduation/college entrance requirements from universities all across the globe. This often leaves gaps and holes in their education that need to be addressed... or juniors and seniors scrambling for the credits they need to move into post-secondary life.
  • Kids learn in so many different ways; no one questions that some do not best benefit from the traditional classroom experience the way they would learn, grow and advance given hands on opportunities. Yet with limited personnel, how do you best attend to those needs?
  • And, of course, children have other unique learning needs, strengths and challenges, all of which need to be addressed if we want to fulfill the biblical command to "train up a child in the way that he should go."

Knowing this and contemplating the fact that we have at least two of our own children who seem to learn best outside the norm of what schools traditionally offer and who will potentially attend Sahel Academy at some point in the future, now seemed the perfect time for me to get involved, helping the team of staff at Sahel build a program to best try and address the special (and wonderful) needs of their beautifully varied student population.

Thus, the Center for Academic Progress was born. It is kind of funny... Tim and I have always joked about being on a "two-year-plan," as the Lord has, up to this point, seen fit to grow our family with one more child just shy of every two years. Well, there's no new little Wright foreseen... (a good thing too, as Mary Michelle is in no way ready to relinquish the post) and that little munchkin is rapidly approaching her second birthday. This program - its development, coordination and implementation - is my new "baby," one of my priorities this term.

If the Lord leads you to pray for me, please pray that I will be God-directed in the time I devote to this ministry opportunity. We are convinced that God has directed my involvement. However, God, Tim and our beautiful, wonderful children are still my priorities. As a family, we've decided to not engage someone to help with the house, I'm truly delighting in serving my family through all the everyday things moms traditionally do and everyone else (even Jonathan and Elsie Mae) is pitching in; I do hope and pray to resume teaching monthly ladies' bible studies if our pastor and his wife feel that is a need. I'm also continuing, albeit slowly, to learn the Zarma language - mostly through visiting friends and listening at church. I'm so thankful for the team of teachers and volunteers that God had already called together to work in the Center, even before I knew He was leading me this way. We truly want to see this program grow into something that God can use to encourage and minister to students, their parents and the staff of Sahel Academy.

Thanks, in advance, for each time you lift our family and God's work here among the people of Niger before His throne.

All photos from Sahel Academy website.


  1. aren't you glad grace is sufficient and timely...and God in His wisdom doesn't allow us more hours in our day just b/c we have too much to do (otherwise we'd never bother to rest and rely on Him)...we are doing some tranisitionin here too...and your post resonated with me...excited for you and your family as God gives you opportunities to help others -- and rely more on Him. (Jodi Rice)

  2. Richelle, I cannot begin to tell you how excited I became - more and more with each word I read. It would truly seem that God has for many years been preparing you "for such a time as this." God has blessed you with a wonderful husband, and then terrific children, then added to that the opportunity to serve Him in Niger. But now to have this new... I'll say "challenge" here because it's the most exciting word I can think of to describe it... God has opened the doors to his riches, and given you full access. I just can't describe how excited I am for you!


Stop in for a chat! I love to hear what you have to say ~


Related Posts with Thumbnails