• Feature
    Hopewell High School in Hanover.
    Photo: Contributed

    Story Highlights

    • The Hopewell High School in Hanover has implemented an incentive-based learning framework to encourage improved student performance at the institution.
    • The initiative, which started in 2016, has been reaping success in helping to produce well-rounded students, who are excelling academically and socially.
    • In prior years, many students were deemed underachievers, having been enrolled with Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) scores of 29 per cent and below.

    The Hopewell High School in Hanover has implemented an incentive-based learning framework to encourage improved student performance at the institution.

    The initiative, which started in 2016, has been reaping success in helping to produce well-rounded students, who are excelling academically and socially.

    In prior years, many students were deemed underachievers, having been enrolled with Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) scores of 29 per cent and below.

    However, all that is changing due to the school’s new teaching framework that seeks to reward excellence, both individually and collectively. This has led to a more productive and motivated student population that will not only add value to the future workforce of Hanover, but Jamaica, by extension.

    “The programme has been bearing fruit even with our Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) students. The data show that in 2016, we have students getting six grade-one [passes], 64 grade-two and 74 grade-three,” Principal of Hopewell High School, Byron Grant told JIS News.

    Principal of the Hopewell High Principal, Byron Grant.

     

    “In 2017, this increased to 10 grade ones, 71 grade twos and 77 grade threes and then for the sitting in 2018, it increased to 27 grade ones, 100 grade twos and 173 grade threes,” he added.

    Mr. Grant noted that “we set the parameters where from 70 to 79 per cent averages, students will be on the honour roll. Then 80 to 100 per cent, you (students) will be on the principal’s honour roll”.

    Honour roll students are given further incentives such as a ceremony to acknowledge their accomplishments, monetary awards, trophies, plaques, medals, limousine parades, school-wide photo portraits, dinner outings amongst others.

    The Alternative Pathways to Secondary Education (APSE), is also incentivised at Hopewell High.

    “This is our third year of the APSE programme. We have two coaches and nine teachers who assist students [in this programme] to bring up their reading levels. [The students] participate in the incentive programme that we have so they can reach honour roll in their area,” Mr. Grant outlined.

    In addition to the honour rolls, extracurricular activities, as well as uniformed groups such as the Cadet Force, 4-H Club and Spanish Club, have been great motivators.

    The 2019 Miss Hopewell Pageant that was held recently has also been integrated in the incentive-based framework.

    Acting Public Relations Officer and Teacher at Hopewell High, Marissa Harvey, told JIS News that the recent pageant was geared towards students who have disciplinary problems.

    Acting Public Relations Officer and Teacher at the Hopewell High School, Marissa Harvey.

     

    “To be Miss Hopewell High you have to conform. So they change, they want to be in the spotlight, they want to be the person that wears that crown. So in order to get there, they cut down the fighting, the cursing, all the bad behaviour, and we find that it works,” she stated.

    In addition, she informed that grade-10 and 11 students in particular have to participate in community service as well as work experience.

    Hopewell High School has a student population of over 960, in addition to 62 teachers, 12 administrative staff and seven ancillary workers.

    The school currently has 11 skill areas certified by the HEART Trust/NTA, City and Guilds and other educational bodies.

    Vocational training is offered in areas such as cosmetology, auto mechanics, electrical installation, woodcraft, food and beverage, call centre training, food and nutrition, clothing and textile, home and family management.

    “We teach skills here from grade nine. Every student at Hopewell high school has to do a skill. In some areas we certify them up to Level 2,” Mr. Grant said.

    The community also plays a role to reform student behaviour and educational development.

    “Principals from other schools are asking what is happening here to cause the behaviour of the students to be changing drastically. We have a rule where children are not allowed to be on the street at certain times and they are introduced to all board members. Community people get involved with everything we do here,” Mr. Grant outlined.

    He noted that the school continues to review its programme, with the purpose of improving it.

    “We work as part of a team here so they (the school staff) feel a part of this institution,” he stated.