Organisation: The Literary Genius Foundation
Over the course of her thirteen-year career in the United States, Rondeen McLean never forgot her roots in Jamaica and often thought of returning. As her skill set, global awareness, and professional experience increased, she began to seek ways to use her abilities to combat shortcomings in the Jamaican educational system. In 2009, when events finally offered her a chance to move back to Jamaica, Ms. McLean cemented her goals for the Literary Genius Foundation.
The road was a long one; initial partners were unreliable, and many complained that her goals were too ambitious. However, Rondeen finally found the commitment and dedication she was seeking, and together with a corporate sponsor, the Literary Genius Foundation successfully furnished its first classroom in an August Town preschool with 200 new titles. Enthusiasm for the program was effusive amongst teachers and students; with the community’s help, the library that had taken two and a half years to plan was acquired within weeks.
The full program of the Literary Genius Foundation includes child-friend diagnostic reading tests; matching programs which pair volunteers with students to create the best possible environment in which to develop a child’s enthusiasm for reading; and weekly class reading sessions with the students throughout the school year.
With the success of this first endeavor behind her, Rondeen hoped to continue to expand the Literary Genius Foundation, and to reach as many growing readers as possible in Jamaica. In 2015, she was introduced to Sugata Mitra and the School in the Cloud concept, becoming a partner with SOLE Central in 2016.
The SOLE Jamaica pilot group of young students has displayed heightened social intelligence, novel and adaptive thinking capabilities, and cross-cultural competencies.