- As part of activities commemorating its 10th anniversary, John Rollins Success Primary School in St. James, staged its inaugural Boys Exposition.
- Aptly dubbed – ‘The Boys’ – the exposition, held on May 27, showcased a multi-dimensional presentation of work that the male students have been producing since September 2013.
- Of the more than one thousand students enrolled at the school, more than 50 percent are boys.
As part of activities commemorating its 10th anniversary, John Rollins Success Primary School in St. James, staged its inaugural Boys Exposition, which focused on the institution’s male students.
Aptly dubbed – ‘The Boys’ – the exposition, held on May 27, showcased a multi-dimensional presentation of work that the male students have been producing since the start of the school year, in September 2013.
The engagements ranged from science, culture, art, and craft to social studies, information technology, and music.
The youngsters seized the opportunity during the exposition to showcase their knowledge, skills, and mastery of the various subject areas, and as tour guides/presenters to approving parents, well wishers, and other stakeholders attending the event.
A proud moment it was for all, particularly Principal, Yvonne Miller-Wisdom, who was elated by the response to the initiative.
“We had stakeholders and members of the public passing through to view the work the boys, with the help of their teachers and parents, produced,” she informed.
Undoubtedly, one of Jamaica’s primary education successes, John Rollins Success Primary School has, since its inception in September 2004, exemplified an innovative approach to how children are taught, and the environment conducive to holistic learning is created.
The school’s definitive hallmark is its ‘boy-centred’ pedagogy. The predominance of boys was attributed to but not solely responsible for this implementation. Of the more than one thousand students enrolled at the school, more than 50 percent are boys.
From the outset, the bar was raised high with a multiple intelligence approach adopted, whereby the honing of knowledge, critical thinking, and comprehension proficiencies, coupled inter-personal and self-confidence building skills were established as benchmarks.
However, when it was discovered that the boys were being outpaced and outperformed by the girls, it became apparent that a different approach was necessary to facilitate the boys, Mrs. Miller-Wisdom explained.
“We decided to establish all boys’ classes from grades 4 to 6, with all male teachers. This was to address two issues: the difference in the way boys learn, and we wanted to enable them in an atmosphere that would enthuse, motivate and engage them. Secondly, we found that classes tend to take on the personalities of the teachers, and so we assigned male teachers to the all-boys classes. So the male teachers became role models and father figures for the boys,” she outlined.
Additionally she advised that: “we also painted the class-rooms with the colours that boys are attracted to, and use boy-centred posters and charts illustrated with cars, bikes, and super heroes…(and) it is working.”
Consequent on this, the boy-centred programme, now in its fifth year, is producing good results as the youngsters, who were not deemed to be coping well under the co-educational arrangement with the girls, are now faring much better, have become bolder, and have lost their inability to perform well, even under pressure, and against the girls.
“We are seeing value added improvements in grades, moving from D’s to C’s and B’s to A’s. We are grateful for the support we have been receiving from the Ministry of Education Region 4 office. They have assigned a Special Education Officer to us, and he has been playing an integral role,” Mrs Miller-Wisdom informed.
The University of the West Indies Special Education Unit has also partnered with the school by providing the assessment tools used in the programme, particularly for those boys who displaying behavioural disorder.
A tripartite alliance has also been established involving parents and guardians, the boys, and the school. This has facilitated parent training interventions which are a series of workshops and counselling sessions aimed at strengthening parenting competencies and fostering parents’ involvement in the boys’ school experiences. They also promote the youngsters’ academic, social, and emotional skills, while reducing behavioural challenges. Culinary skills training and conflict management also form part of the programme.
“We have brilliant boys here, and we are assured of this by their sterling performance in our internal as well as external academic championships, cultural competitions, sports championships, and 4-H achievement competitions. We are five years hence, but we have only started what is getting even bigger and better,” Mrs Miller Wisdom declared.
John Rollins Success Primary School’s 10th anniversary celebrations will climax on Thursday, June 5, with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by Michelle Rollins, widow of the United States businessman in whose honour the institution was named.