AS IT celebrates its 35th anniversary, Saint Dominic Savio International School continues to maintain its goal of providing quality education for every Cebuano child.
Dr. Jovita Berdin Augusto, directress, and principal, established the Saint Dominic Savio Learning Center (SDLC) in June 1988 to fulfill her dream of providing excellent education for children.
Initially located at a one-room apartment at 253 R. dela Cerna St., Lapu-Lapu City, it started as a preparatory school for children aged two to six, with two teachers, an artist, a school nurse, and a teacher's aide taking care of 52 students. Its student population grew after it produced preschool graduates who, after a year or two stay in school, became fluent English readers and speakers.
In response to a demand for the opening of the elementary level, the school expanded a few years later with junior and senior high school levels in 2016. At its peak, the school's student population reached around 800 and relocated to Sangi New Road, Pajo, Lapu-Lapu City after acquiring a property in the area.
Dr. Augusto recalled that the school enrollment went down to 500 students during the financial crisis in 1998.
"We were fortunately able to rebound from the crisis in 1998 and in 2010, we started to grow a little. In 2007, we opened another campus in Cordova with an initial enrollment of 90 children. Before the pandemic, we had 375 students. Now, we're only 304," she shared.
Through all the difficulties the school had faced, she stressed that the school continued to build its reputation of providing quality education.
"We are able to survive through the discipline that our employees had in terms of simplicity and being realistic with what we have. We continue our mission to teach the value of resilience to our students," Dr. Augusto pointed out.
The school stays up-to-date with the latest trends in education because of the networking provided to them as a member of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines. "The networking kept us afloat. It kept us relevant," she shared.
The school also has campuses in Tingo, Olango Island, and Cordova and has started operations of its newest campus that offers senior high education in the southern town of Dalaguete, Cebu.
According to Dr. Augusto, even before the Dalaguete campus opened this month, it already had an assured enrollment of 150 students. She added that the school also plans to open a larger campus in Cordova in the next three years.
She explained that Saint Dominic is currently facing a lot of competition in Lapu-Lapu City. When the school started, there were only five private schools but now there are 120.
Dr. Augusto stressed that Saint Dominic is unique as the kind of school that cares for every child that becomes a part of their family. While the school follows the "No Child Left Behind" policy of the Department of Education, she explained that the school ensures that the education given to children goes beyond what is required.
The teachers are required to identify who among their students needs intervention. After they are identified, the teachers have to conduct remedial classes for them every day from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. At the same time, the parents are informed of their child's progress and are encouraged to do their part, helping their children improve holistically.
Dr. Augusto maintained that their desired target is to have no students left behind and have them be capable of moving to the next grade level without any hitches.
For the Saint Dominic school directress, teachers should be child-friendly, have mastery of the subjects they teach, and have the flexibility to adjust to each child.
"Success in providing education will be achieved through collaboration between the school and the student's family," Dr. Augusto expressed. (SPONSORED CONTENT)