On June 2, 2020, Rossana Llenado, President of the AHEAD Education Group, was interviewed by Lloyd Luna on The New Channel (TNC). In the interview, she elaborated on placing the spotlight back to teachers and adjusting to the new normal in light of the pandemic. She stated that her company’s digital transformation continues to be successful, showing the world of education that “We are here, and we are AHEAD.”
The Start of a Legend
Llenado saw that education can change not just the Philippines but also the world. She saw the need to contribute to the country’s educational sector by teaching her students how to become better citizens and future leaders.
Despite her advocacy, she didn’t want to be a teacher, mainly because she saw the heavy responsibility of every teacher in shaping each student’s future. She felt she was not worthy of that responsibility. Her high regard for teachers was what pushed her to hire only the best to teach in AHEAD.
She envisioned a company that aided in a student’s development, furthering her advocacy of helping the Philippines by producing quality students. She started her company in Pasig as a small tutorial center that was really meant to be a sideline only.
Good results helped AHEAD grow. Llenado attended multiple seminars that helped build her credentials. Since then, she has been training teachers and principals and building a successful enterprise which inspires, teaches and assists educators.
The Digital Age
Luna mentioned that even though the digital age is here and technological know-how is imperative, people tend to lean into traditional methods. Luna also said that the pandemic has forced people to adapt, to which Llenado agreed.
AHEAD has had an online presence since 2008. However, this platform was only utilized properly in other countries such as Canada and countries in the Middle East due to several factors, primarily connectivity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put countries into lockdown, but that didn’t stop AHEAD from grinding its gears and overhauling their entire system to be flexible online. There was the initial hesitation from parents, but the students were more receptive and welcomed the transformation.
Llenado said that she was proud of her staff because she saw that they became more flexible amidst the lockdown. They adopted an adaptable disposition and an altruistic and agile mindset. They consistently worked towards improving the quality of education, even if they were working at home.
Leading AHEAD for 25 years has taught Llenado a lot of things. She is proud of her staff because, through the lockdown experience, she slowly saw them grow with minimal guidance from her.
As previously mentioned, not a lot of parents were excited about online and distance learning. About half of them were skeptical about online learning. In fact, some parents were still pushing for traditional materials. However, Llenado urged them to wait for the Enhanced Community Quarantine to be over before they request for their materials.
After showing the parents the curriculum and conducting free trials which had positive effects on the students, parents slowly became more receptive.
Since today’s students are digital natives, they seem to have no problem learning online.
The students gave excellent feedback because of a few reasons. First, it was easier to attend an online class than it was to travel to a review center amidst the traffic.
Second, the one-hour lessons were more packed, and they found themselves learning more now than they were in physical classes.
Furthermore, the students were quickly adjusting to the online classes, according to Llenado. She checked it by comparing the results of an initial diagnostic test (conducted online during the start of the classes) and a more recent diagnostic exam (conducted after a few online classes). She saw that the students were getting higher scores in the last exam. She claimed that she is very excited to see the students’ results during the entrance exam season.
Hopes For the Future
Recently, AHEAD opened Ahead Alpha, a K-12 BlendFlex School utilizing the Tripteach Approach. BlendFlex was devised for American universities but Alpha is not only the first to bring it here, but the first to adapt it to basic education!
With the TripTeach Approach, Alpha takes the best of progressive learning and combines multi-disciplinary factors to aid a student’s learning. It offers the benefits of homeschooling, progressive learning, and traditional education.
AHEAD Alpha prioritizes a growth mindset and exhorts students to love learning which encourages a student to find their purpose in studying and changing their mindset for the better. This can help them become more excited about learning.
At AHEAD Alpha, deadlines are flexible, and lessons can be conducted either live or pre-recorded. The curriculum adjusts to the student’s needs and situation.
AHEAD furthers only the best and quality education for the purpose of serving students and parents despite the global lockdown. Llenado aims for improvement in education and ensuring safety above all. In the future, she sees the need to keep furthering her methods while promoting motivation to learn. In this Knowledge-Economy, she wants people to value education and push forward for the ideal that everyone deserves the best education.