The Silver Oaks-RDF history goes back over 13 years of selfless, voluntary service. Headed by the dynamic Mr. Dhanunjaya, Founder Director with Mrs. Seetha Murty as Principal, this duo of visionary educators have always understood and appreciated RDF’s vision and mission of education being the most significant way to make a real difference in the dreams, aspirations and lives of rural, underprivileged children in rural Telangana.
2005: Silver Oaks school donated furniture to RDF schools.
2006: Thus began a yearly ritual of awareness generation and fundraising within the Silver Oaks campus in order to raise funds. Mr. Dhanunjaya, Mrs. Murty and her team of teachers have actively championed the cause with students and parents, by sensitizing them to the plight of their rural counterparts.
2007: Rather than merely ‘donating’ money, over the years, students came up with creative ideas for fundraising, such as doing chores in school and at home and being paid for this; selling paintings and other art work in school fairs and saving money from their pocket money. Every student of the 2000 strong population, from Nursery to Class 12 and over 150 teachers have been involved in some way towards contributing funds.
2012: Mrs. Murty, not content with merely fundraising for RDF, wanted to continue the effort to create more significant and life changing initiatives. With this, they created a customized primary curriculum for RDF schools. The customized and contextualized curriculum was specially created keeping RDF in mind, underpinned by IB student-centric practices. The curriculum combined English, Science and Social Science in a way which seamlessly combined these subjects and making it easy to teach via various activities and worksheets.
Adequate training was also given to all Primary school teachers at Silver Oaks campus and the Curriculum was rolled out in RDF Kalleda School.
2013: The Curriculum was further modified based on the feedback from RDF teachers and staff after the pilot plan implementation in 2012. Additionally, the curriculum which had been hitherto shared as softcopy till 2012, was converted into textbooks and workbooks, all funded fully by Silver Oaks! The curriculum with its rich resource of activities has truly expanded the thinking skills of students and teachers, simultaneously making them more comfortable with teaching and interacting in English. At the same time, the curriculum was also rolled out in Matendla and Rollakal schools.
Each successive year, RDF teachers from Primary and High School underwent training with Silver Oaks mentors to advance their skills in various teaching practices and curricular themes. This proved invaluable to RDF teachers as it enabled them to understand better ways of teaching and classroom skills.
The training and hand holding is further enhanced through monthly visits to all schools. The visits are designed to not just assess the implementation of the curriculum, but painstakingly help teachers with English-Telugu translations, discussions and demos, if needed.
2014: Always brimming with ideas, Mrs. Murty then went a step further and initiated a student exchange program, in order to sensitize her students more deeply with the lives of rural children, including personally observing how their fundraising efforts and the provision of the specialized curriculum was creating tremendous impact. Accordingly, Senior school students spent time residing in Kalleda and Matendla, interacting with RDF students and staff. Together they have attended classes, participated in sports and other co-curricular activities and were even taken to local homes to interact with villagers.
All this was made possible only with the unflinching commitment, support, time and funds which were given to RDF by the teachers, students and parents of the Silver Oaks school community.
2015: There was exchange of visits of the staff of the two schools. During the visits our staff observed the teaching of their staff and took their suggestions for effective teaching. They also interacted with their students about their plans for academic improvement. The Silver Oaks staff visited our school and they observed the classes of our teachers and suggested ways and means of improvement. They analyzed the 10th class question papers and gave tips to the students regarding their preparation for and performance in the board exams.
September 2018 Highlights
Silver Oaks has championed RDF’s cause for over 10 years and has been working closely with the 4 RDF schools. This time, it was the RDF VAPV Junior College students who got an opportunity to travel to Hyderabad to learn about their approach to education and have an open, sharing session.
17 students and 6 lecturers visited the campus and spent the day meeting teachers and students. They observed classroom interactions and methods of teaching, single and group projects, the use of technology, communication skills, sports and the layout and neatness of the campus.
Mrs. Seetha Murty, the school Principal engaged with the students on ‘Time Management Skills’. She explained how studies and extra curricular activities can be balanced and asked everyone for their inputs. In the ‘Technology’ class, they learnt about the usage of Khan Academy and Olabs – websites that are highly interactive and very useful for students. AIn the session on English and Communication skills, the students were given tips on how to communicate clearly and the importance of developing their English language skills.
Latest news from the RDF – Silver Oaks partnership – 2016
Visit to Matendla School by Silver Oaks teachers and students
On 29th September 2016, as part of the regular training and monitoring visit, 4 staff members and selected children visited RDF Matendla School and spent quality time there. Teachers and students interacted with Matendla School students and staff to review the implementation of the curriculum, review the teaching and learning practices that RDF teachers have been trained on by the Silver Oaks team and clear their doubts. They also provided teaching demos, shared knowledge and their best practices.
Follow this link to see Silver Oaks’ Coins for the Country project.