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The Ministry of Education has commended educational institutions in Manchester and St. Elizabeth, for their best practices that have led to success for both students and teachers.
The event, held at Munro College, in St. Elizabeth, saw the schools being recognised for excellence in a number of areas, including pedagogy, technology, curricula content and material, excellence in leadership and governance, human resources and accountability, safety and security, health, nutrition, guidance counselling and emotional support for persons in the education system.
The St. Elizabeth based Maggotty High, which saw its caretaker,
Mr. Michael White, elevated to Computer Lab Technician, came in for special commendation.
“It showed excellent human resource development and a quest, by the institution, to develop the human capacity,” states Director at the Ministry of Education, Mr. Vincent Guthrie.
But, what did Mr. White whose last employment was a security guard, prior to Maggoty High, do to make the transition?
“There are some classes that are large, and so they would call on me to take extra chairs along for them. I took the chairs in, and I sat in the class and listened to what the teachers were teaching. I had my notebooks, and I took notes,” he discloses to JIS News.
The unusual move resulted in him gaining a CXC in Social Studies, three years after he started as caretaker at the school in 1996 and three other subjects by 2003.
“Don’t look at what is around you, and limit yourself to it. You have to look outside, and if you can find a role model, set some goals and take them on one by one,” said Mr. White who is now a certified systems administrator, through the e-Learning project.
“Mr. White had the ambition and the motive to achieve. Many people would see the position as a groundsman as a demeaning job, but he worked himself to become a teacher, that says to us that anything is possible, once you put your mind to it,” states 16-year-old student at Maggotty High, Mr. Kevon Morgan.
Information Technology teacher at the school, Ms.Claudia Forbes, says
Mr. White who, in one year, had 100 per cent success in his IT exams, was a marvellous achiever.
“He watched what was done, and he is always learning. He is a living testament that you cannot be too low that you can’t rise beyond your circumstances,” she emphasised.
Both Mr. White and Principal of Maggotty High, Mr. Raul Bent, heaped praises on sole IT teacher in the late 1990s, Mr. George Miller, for guiding the new lab technician, who teaches computer science to students and persons from the community, and others involved in the Maggotty’s evening programme.
For establishing a Parenting Club, the Manchester-based Porus Primary School, got its accolades from the Education Ministry, for seeking to equip parents with lasting parenting skills through innovative engagements.
“We thought that to engage the parents with issues of discipline could help the children. So we devised a plan for a Parenting Club, to empower parents as leaders. It is impacting a great deal on the school and the community,” states
Mrs. Beverley Tulloch-Danvers, Vice Principal at Porus Primary and Co-ordinator of the Clubs.
The exposure of members of the Porus Primary Parenting Club has seen a number of them capturing parish, regional and national titles relating to parenting.
“It is a big plus for the Ministry of Education,” Club Secretary National Parents and Teachers’ Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) Vice President,
Mrs. Nicola Minnott-Plummer says.
“The idea behind this is to tell the stories, how they did it, so that other schools can emulate these strategies,” adds Director at the Education Ministry,
Mr. Vincent Guthrie.
With a network consisting of teachers and parents being knitted, the Club also helped the work of the Guidance and Counselling Unit, at Porus Primary.
“As a young cousellor coming in, and not knowing the culture of the community, I was able to connect with and relate to the community and parents, through the Parenting Club,” Guidance Counsellor Ms. Gloria Grant says.
“It is an unusual club; it tries to emulate good parenting. We have workshops dealing with different techniques to have parents being good role models for their children, and to be supportive of the school. When we have parents supporting the school, and their children see them doing what is expected of them they will model that type of behaviour,” Principal at Porus Primary,
Mrs. Cecelia Grant-Francis, notes.
Hampton School received recognition for excellence in academics and Mandeville Primary and Junior High, and Bethabra Infant, for civic awareness and community service. For excellence in vocation, academics, athletics, Munroe College, and Top Hill All Age, shared the prize.
McIntosh Memorial School showcased their excellence in aesthetics, ethics and culture. For excellence in pedagogy, technology, curricula and material, Siloah Primary, glowed, excellence in sports went to Bellefield High. Excellence in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), was shared between Rose Hall All-Age and St. Albans Primary, while excellence for leadership went to Santa Cruz Primary and Junior High.