JIS News

Hazard Primary School, in Clarendon, has outperformed other special education units to place first in the Special Education Unit’s Excellence in Literacy competition.
The school edged out Catherine Hall Primary School in St. James and Mico Special Education Unit, in Kingston, which placed second and third respectively, with outstanding performances in numeracy and literacy.
During the awards ceremony, held at the Salvation Army School for the Blind, in Kingston, on June 25, Education Officer in the Ministry’s Special Education Unit, Hixwell Douglas, informed that this literacy initiative began some 12 years ago.
“It came into being because it was felt that there needed to be special attention given to the field of literacy, so that our boys and girls could learn better and so that our teachers would get a chance to bring out their creativity,” Mr. Douglas explained.
He said that initially, the programme’s focus was on literacy, but since last year, special emphasis has been placed on numeracy. Mr. Douglas noted that the curriculum for Grades 1 to 3 was also incorporated into the programme, and has been used over the last four years.
The Education Officer further informed that pre and post tests are normally conducted within the Ministry’s special education units, to determine the literacy levels of the students.
“Every single year, at about September or October, our officers and our teachers work together to find out the literacy levels of our children. So we do a little pre-test at the beginning.and then at the end of each year, we do a post test to find out where our students are,” he informed.
In addition, as part of the programme, teachers embark on projects which help to place greater focus on literacy and numeracy. Mr. Douglas noted that this year, projects dealt with topics relating to clothing, transportation, the environment, and the family, all of which he said, were important topics coming out of the curriculum.
Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, Audrey Sewell, in her remarks, noted that literacy, numeracy, project development and parent participation, were the bases for the literacy competition.
“A contest, such as this, honours talents which no doubt appeases the anxiety of school administrators, teachers and parents of the students involved, and offers hope for those that are concerned about the future of their specially challenged children,” she said.
The ceremony marked the culmination of a one-year literacy intervention, involving the use of the revised primary curriculum, designed to positively impact the literacy development of students with special needs.
During the ceremony, teachers and students of seven special education units were recognised for their outstanding performances.
Special awards went to Hazard Primary for overall outstanding class performance in numeracy, while Ocho Rios Primary was awarded as the unit with the overall outstanding class performance in literacy.
Lyssons Primary, Hope Valley Experimental, and Catherine Hall Primary, were recognised for their community involvement. Outstanding teachers from Hazard Primary, Mico Special Education Unit, and Hope Valley were also presented with awards.
The Special Education Unit supervises special education schools, units and programmes islandwide. It offers support, curriculum supervision, monitoring services and facilitates training, net-working, assessment and programme planning.

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