This year has certainly
made its mark on history and as we get ready to close the curtains on 2020, we
would like to take this time to introduce the men and women who work tirelessly
behind the scenes at team ALTA. We’ve made some big strides this year, introduced
some new programmes, and had a very successful student registration campaign,
so we saw it fitting to introduce you to the team!
Kim Herbert – Communications Officer
As Communications Officer, I have the pleasure of developing
digital and traditional marketing communications strategies at ALTA which are
focused on anti-stigma and public awareness. I get to design, produce and
most importantly share written and audio-visual content for this 28-year-old
brand. Wow! How cool is that?
Although I have been with ALTA for less than a year, I feel
so much at home. It may sound a bit cliché, but ALTA is like a family. I
have been welcomed by an amazing team of men and women who have made my job of
communicating during a pandemic feel like a walk in the park. I get to
experience first-hand the level of dedication and commitment that goes into
ensuring that our students are able to continue working towards their literacy
Reading has always been a part of my life. As a child, I
was always fascinated with books and the library was like a second home for me
‒ mainly because my mother was not able to purchase the books, so I
borrowed. As a parent, I get to share this fascination with my daughters
and as a member of team ALTA, I get to share some amazing literacy stories.
M’aisha Thomas – Resource Development Manager
My interest in literacy stems from early memories of my
personal struggle to master the skill. I can recall the frustration I felt when
I couldn’t grasp the fundamentals at first. Somehow I knew at age 6 just how
important reading would be.
I was fortunate – books were celebrated in our household. I
was read to by my parents and older sister and saw them immersed in books all
the time, so it was never seen as a chore. We were told that we could discover
anything we wanted to know if we just looked it up. I grew up before home
internet was commonplace, so “Have you checked the encyclopedia?” was the
Once I unlocked the secret world of words, things took off
for me but I never forgot how daunting it was at first. I took every
opportunity to incorporate literacy research into my own education; I even
delved into the topic as an O’Level Social Studies student. That sparked
interest in pursuing Literature and Linguistics as an Undergrad.
With my own background, and as ALTA’s Resource Development
Manager with six years of experience in the classroom as a volunteer tutor and
two as a Class Coordinator, I have a unique vantage point. I can empathize with
our students, and I have a grasp of what it takes to help them attain their
My role also allows me to act as a liaison between ALTA and
our sponsors. This gives me the opportunity to explore what makes ALTA impactful.
Quite simply, it is our people and their commitment to lifelong learning and
I am ALTA because I want to contribute to passing on the joy
of reading. I get to work toward that goal every day.
Join us next week for more features!
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a tutor,
joining a class, or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email
Keep up to date with Alta on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:
After more than 5 years of focused development work, which has proven both challenging and rewarding, ALTA Online is in the hands of users.
The NGC sponsored ALTA Online Pilot is rolling out in 2 phases (May – July and October into 2021). Phase 1 saw 40 students completing Level 1 Book 1. This will give ALTA the essential feedback from students on what works and what doesn’t to guide the development team.
That ALTA was able to implement Phase 1 in the ever-changing world of the pandemic is a true achievement and testimony to the dedication of our staff, tutors and students. Phase 1 had to be completely restructured from an in-person format (planned to be in schools and community centres with ALTA tutor mentors on-site to guide students) to a remote method – putting ALTA Online to a radical first test!
Trained ALTA mentors connected with their pilot students via Zoom and WhatsApp to address queries and gather feedback. With the closure of all places of learning until the end of the year, Phase 2 will likewise start as home based with mentor support.
After an initial ALTA Online Readiness Survey in April, which determined whether current ALTA students had the computer and internet access needed to participate in the pilot, ALTA tutor mentors were trained in guiding pilot participants through the login and use of the programme.
Apart from 34 existing ALTA students, the pilot included 18 residents in partner children’s homes which had the required computers with internet and the supervision needed when children are on the net. Among the children homes that partnered with ALTA are Credo, Rainbow Rescue, We Say Y.E.S and Sophia House. Student Support Services linked four of their students to ALTA Online and the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) in San Fernando engaged enthusiastically in the project with 12 members participating. In addition, we have been able to include students from our Caribbean neighbour Nevis! A total of 70 students participated in Phase1, ranging in age from 9 to 65.
Level 2 Youth lit student, Gernessa Eccles, who had been participating in the pilot was vocal in expressing her gratitude. “The VCCV rule was fun to learn and reading and sounding out letters was very helpful. Thank you ALTA for the opportunity!” Phase 1 officially closed off on 31 July, culminating with mentors administering a Survey Monkey survey to gather specific and comprehensive feedback from each pilot participant. The Phase 1 findings were used to inform the set up and management of Phase 2.
Look out for the public launch of ALTA Online in 2021!
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a tutor, joining a class, or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep up to date with Alta on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: Alta TT