Hampstead Primary on the road to transformation
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Building renovations worth more than half a million dollars and the arrival of an enthusiastic new principal could help transform a small primary school in St Mary into one of the parish's most progressive academic institutions.
Around 200 students, teachers, parents and local residents recently kicked off the school term at Hampstead Primary with a special devotion ceremony showcasing the new uniform, and improvements to classrooms and the schoolyard.
New principal Nicolette Dwyer told Rural Xpress: "Today, we are launching a rebranding exercise that seeks to change the whole culture here and help people understand that Hampstead Primary is a community school with committed educators who will be working hard to improve literacy, numeracy and overall academic performance.
"On this project, we spent around $600,000, which we received through a sponsor group based in Texas, USA. We've also had a lot of support from the local community and the American Caribbean Experience, which is a non-profit organisation that sponsors over 100 of our students."
Support struggling and slow learners
Dwyer hopes to support struggling and slow learners through the implementation of a concept known as 'differentiated learning,' and believes the establishment of an enrichment centre and three whiteboards in each classroom will help to improve their grades significantly.
She explained: "We're aiming for Hampstead Primary to be a model that can be used to show other schools in the parish, region and country how differentiated instructions are done in a practical way.
"The whiteboards are important because they give students, especially struggling learners, more time to study, and they provide teachers with more space so they can continue to deliver quality instructions while still catering to everyone in the class."
Chairman of the school's executive board, Clayton Gordon, noted that despite a period of instability when the facility operated without a head teacher, Hampstead Primary was fast becoming a popular choice for local parents and pupils.