Collaboration the buzzword for new school year
The spirit of collaboration was in the air yesterday as Pembroke Hall, Ardenne, and Haile Selassie high schools merged for a musical and drama piece while Vaz Preparatory and Holy Family Primary performed an incorporated dance routine at the launch of the new school year.
Students from the Salvation Army School for the Blind and St Joseph’s Infant Youth Club also took part in the service in song and speech as the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information held the officially kicked off the 2019-2020 school year at Ardenne High School under the theme ‘Effective Schools: Collaborating for Success!’
Ardenne and Haile Selassie are two of the more than 30 secondary schools chosen for the ministry’s pilot project of twinning schools, which Karl Samuda, the minister overseeing the education portfolio, said is based on the philosophy of equity.
Lorenzo Ellis, principal of Haile Selassie High, said that the number of students from his school who would move to Ardenne under the programme has not yet been finalised, but he is excited about the project.
“We are just about to draft our protocols of agreement. We, at Haile Selassie, have already met our parents and staff. We have done an action plan, which enunciates what we want out of the partnership and the areas in which we could collaborate, for example, in the use of technology to improve teaching and learning,” Ellis explained.
The approach will also enable the schools to have joint meetings focused on staff development and boosting performance, in specific subject areas.
NEED FOR PEP UP
Yesterday, Samuda also revealed that an analysis of last year’s Primary Exit Profile results – primarily the ability test – has shown a need for more investment in the sector.
“We have to find the answer ... and the only way we are going to do that is to focus our attention on the preparation of the children from early childhood ... . We will be spending more money going forward to address the problems of early childhood education,” Samuda said.
The results for last year’s grade five students, who have now advanced to grade six, will be released to schools today.
Jamaica Teachers’ Association President Owen Speid said that the synergy between his administration and the ministry is off to a good start.
“We are indeed happy that our recommendations coming out of our 55th annual conference back in August have not fallen on deaf ears and we are indeed delighted that the honourable minister has taken on more than just a couple of those recommendations and is actively pursuing same,” Speid said, adding that he has visited 30 schools since the start of the school year.
Also in attendance at the ceremony were education officers, principals, teachers, students, and other stakeholders in education.
The school year was declared officially under way by Samuda with a drill parade by the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force and a balloon release.