School & District Management

School in a Box

By Mark Toner — February 18, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

When wide-scale disaster hits a region, reopening schools is among the first priorities of relief officials. That’s often no easy task—following the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia this past December, as many as 1,350 schools were damaged or destroyed.

Enter the United Nations Children’s Fund with School-in-a-Box, which allows teachers to create makeshift classrooms almost anywhere—in tents, in metal shipping containers,even under shade trees. Each of the large metal trunks contains classroom materials for two classes of 40 students, and the box’s lid can be painted to double as a chalkboard.

An early version of UNICEF’s kit was first used in 1994 to teach children in Rwandan refugee camps following that country’s internecine conflict. Since then, they’ve been put to use as part of a massive back-to-school push in post-war Afghanistan; in drought-stricken regions in Africa; and in the Iranian city of Bam, which was leveled by earthquakes in December 2003. More than 23,000 of the kits were distributed worldwide that year alone.

“In the aftermath of a disaster, ... it is imperative to help children rebuild a sense of routine in their daily lives,” said Kari Egge, UNICEF’s Iran representative, following the Bam earthquake. Education “does help children to focus their energies on something other than the terrible conditions they are living in and the horrors that they have already experienced.”

Weighing about 115 pounds, the aluminum box contains classroom materials, including the ones pictured here, for up to 80 children. It’s lid can be painted with the enclosed brush and black paint, allowing it to double as a chalkboard.

Weighing about 115 pounds, the aluminum box contains classroom materials, including the ones pictured here, for up to 80 children. It's lid can be painted with the enclosed brush and black paint, allowing it to double as a chalkboard.

Events

School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management From Our Research Center Principal Salaries: The Gap Between Expectation and Reality
Exclusive survey data indicate a gap between the expectations and the realities of principal pay.
4 min read
A Black woman is standing on a ladder and looking into the distance with binoculars, in the background is an ascending arrow.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Schools Successfully Fighting Chronic Absenteeism Have This in Common
A White House summit homed in on chronic absenteeism and strategies to reduce it.
6 min read
An empty elementary school classroom is seen on Aug. 17, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York. Nationwide, students have been absent at record rates since schools reopened after COVID-forced closures. More than a quarter of students missed at least 10% of the 2021-22 school year.
An empty elementary school classroom is seen on Aug. 17, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York. A White House summit on May 15, 2024, brought attention to elevated chronic absenteeism and strategies districts have used to fight it.
Brittainy Newman/AP
School & District Management From Our Research Center Here's What Superintendents Think They Should Be Paid
A new survey asks school district leaders whether they're paid fairly.
3 min read
Illustration of a ladder on a blue background reaching the shape of a puzzle piece peeled back and revealing a Benjamin Franklin bank note behind it.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Q&A How K-12 Leaders Can Better Manage Divisive Curriculum and Culture War Debates
The leader of an effort to equip K-12 leaders with conflict resolution skills urges relationship-building—and knowing when to disengage.
7 min read
Katy Anthes, Commissioner of Education in Colorado from 2016- 2023, participates in a breakout session during the Education Week Leadership Symposium on May 3, 2024.
Katy Anthes, who served as commissioner of education in Colorado from 2016-2023, participates in a breakout session during the Education Week Leadership Symposium on May 3, 2024. Anthes specializes in helping school district leaders successfully manage politically charged conflicts.
Chris Ferenzi for Education Week