Primary Schools in Western Jamaica Prepared for New School Year

Jamaica News: Primary schools in western Jamaica are gearing up for the start of the 2019 / 2020 academic year, which begins on September 2.

Principal of the John Rollins Success Primary School in St. James, Yvonne Miller Wisdom, told JIS News that as part of preparations, painting, tiling and other infrastructural works have taken place at the school.

She noted that registration of new students is ongoing with approximately 250 students already registered.

Mrs. Wisdom also informed that current students of the school have had their reading level assessed leading up to start of the school year “so that we will be able, in a timely manner, to put in place intervention for the students that are really in need of it.”

She added that the school will place more emphasis on preparation for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams.

The principal noted that teachers from the school participated in workshops hosted by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information during the summer break, from which they received resources to aid in preparing students for the exams.

“(At the workshop) the Ministry gave (the teachers) one of the (PEP) Math text books (which the) grades five and six students will be using,” Mrs. Wisdom noted.

“(One of) the workshops, which was held at the Shortwood Teachers’ College in Kingston, was held to teach some of our teachers mathematical strategies, (such as) the bar model. So we will be having workshops ( at the school) so that they can introduce those strategies that they learnt to the other teachers, so the methods can be passed on from grade six down to grade one,” she emphasized.

The principal also told JIS News that the school has taken a more creative approach to teaching mathematics, as the subject continues to be a challenge for students.

“What we have created in (the school’s) courtyard is what we call a Math Walk, so on all the columns in the courtyard, murals are painted with (mathematical) problems, then there is a slot for the students where, on their own free time, they can go and solve them themselves,” she highlighted.

For her part, Principal of the Petersfield Primary School in Westmoreland, Susan Rattray Hammond, noted that the school is preparing for the start of the new academic year and that all the necessary student assessments and training of staff have taken place.

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“Things (preparations) are going well ….We are pretty much on the ball, so come Monday we will be ready to receive our students and give them our full attention,” Mrs. Rattray Hammond told JIS News.

She added that registration of new students was ongoing and based on the number of new registrants so far, there is a need for an additional teacher to meet the school’s “ one (teacher) to 25 (students) ratio.”

Meanwhile, Principal of the Green Island Primary School in Hanover, Vascianna Mosley, said the school is also making final preparations to usher in the new school year.

“We are still doing some finishing touches on the infrastructure (of the school) …. We are almost ready,” Mr. Mosley told JIS News.

He noted that the registration process at the school has been smooth and that close to 100 application forms were handed in.

The principal outlined that this academic year, the school will be placing more emphasis on improving the overall academic performance of its students.

“We feel the need to do some internal changes, where in grades one to three emphasis will be paced on reading as it is a fundamental skill that is needed for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Exams,” Mr. Mosley outlined.

He added that several teachers from the school were trained by the Education Ministry during the summer break and concepts from those sessions would be employed at the school.

“One of the topics taught was integrated learning, where we integrate the lesser subjects into the main four, which are Math, Social Studies, Science and English (Language). So we are going to be using a strategy where instead of teaching some of the (other subjects) on their own, they are going be integrated into the core areas,” Mr. Mosley noted.

Additionally, he stated that Green Island Primary will be focusing more on health at the institution.

“We have formulated some new committees and given some new special responsibilities to teachers which include (overseeing) students’ and teachers’ welfare,” the principal informed.

“Emphasis is going to be on wellness and health, we are a part of the Jamaica Moves (In Schools) initiative and we think this year we are going to see if we can do a better job in trying to provide healthy meals (for students), promote the drinking of water (and have ) numerous activities throughout the days,” he added.

Security and safety of students, Mr. Mosley said, is another area of focus this academic year for the Hanover based school.

“When parents are taking students during school hours we are going to enforce that they sign for the children and only persons who the parents give permission to collect the children can collect them during school hours,” Mr. Mosely noted.

He added that persons entering the premises will also have to sign their names.


Source: JIS News

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