Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Hi friends, it’s Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! Today I’m excited to cruise around with Ana Ligia Scachetti, CEO of Associacao Nova Escola. Are you ready to be inspired?
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Ana Ligia! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your organization?
Ana Ligia: Thanks for inviting me, Spiffy! Nova Escola is a non-profit organization, and we work to support public school teachers in Brazil. About 35 million students are in public schools in our country, and we are in one of the bottom positions of the Pisa Exam. We offer free content online to help teachers with their challenges. Our website has news reports to inspire the educators, lesson plans, and online courses. We also produce textbooks and professional development programs for teachers in partnership with the secretariats of education.
Spiffy: Wow, what impactful work you and your organization do! What motivates you to do it?
Ana Ligia: I studied journalism and pedagogy, and Nova Escola gives me the chance to unify these two careers that I love. I have also studied in public schools, and my mother used to be a public school teacher. So, every day, I feel like I am hugging teachers all over Brazil and whispering to them that they are not alone; we are here to understand, value, and help them.
Spiffy: I like how you draw on your personal and professional experiences. Can you further elaborate on the impact of your work?
Ana Ligia: Currently, more than half of Brazilian teachers do not have access to continuing professional development. We want to change that and to be the place where teachers can think about their challenges and find ideas and solutions. An average of three million users visit our website per month and have rated our content a nine out of ten. We have trained 230,000 teachers across Brazil, and 250,000 teachers use our textbooks serving over three million children.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent milestone or initiative by you or the organization. What impact does that make on your community?
Ana Ligia: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brazil was one of the countries that had its schools closed for the longest time. We selected teachers to adapt the 6,000 lesson plans on our platform for remote use, and we also offered free online courses about the challenges they were facing. We talked about several issues, from how to communicate with childrens’ families to how to use blended learning. After schools reopened, we started to work on learning recovery, which is still a major concern in Brazil.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Ana Ligia: I want to highlight that when you work to support a specific group of people, it is really important to consider the real needs of the public. It might seem easier to decide by yourself, but it is not effective. At Nova Escola, we involve teachers in our production process. We test our new products in public schools and are always looking for feedback from teachers.
Spiffy: That’s great advice. Thanks for speaking with me today, Ana Ligia—it’s been an honor!
Ana Ligia Scachetti is a journalist and educator, mother of Francisco, and has worked at Associacao Nova Escola since 2011. She loves talking to teachers and discovering good practices in public education that can be shared to inspire everyone. (Nominated by Cristina Londoño at VélezReyes+. First published on the Ladderworks website on March 22, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Lindsey Brannon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.