Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Principal of the Mona High School in St. Andrew, Kevin Jones, is working to establish the institution as a model high school in Jamaica.
  • Already, the school is making strides in student performance, and there are development plans in place, which Mr. Jones tells JIS News, will enable the provision of “exemplary education to students in a global, 21st Century environment”.
  • Mr. Jones says that for Mona High, the aim is to ensure that every single classroom has a “quality teacher,” who positivity impacts student performance.

Principal of the Mona High School in St. Andrew, Kevin Jones, is working to establish the institution as a model high school in Jamaica.

Already, the school is making strides in student performance, and there are development plans in place, which Mr. Jones tells JIS News, will enable the provision of “exemplary education to students in a global, 21st Century environment”.

“The word exemplary was deliberately put there as the word means ‘worthy to be imitated’ and so when I leave, I want all the other schools in Jamaica looking at Mona high school as a role model,” Mr. Jones says.

A key part of the development plan involves improving the quality and skills of teachers through continuous training.

Mr. Jones says that for Mona High, the aim is to ensure that every single classroom has a “quality teacher,” who positivity impacts student performance.

He says the process also entails developing the school plant, through expansion of classrooms, putting in facilities such as a swimming pool, and refurbishing the basketball and netball courts.

Mr. Jones acknowledges that implementing these measures will require significant funds, which he hopes to raise through improving efficiencies while cutting costs.

“I want Mona High School to be financially sustainable to create programmes …so we don’t have to wait on the Ministry. We know that the government is strapped for cash so we want to ensure our tuck shop is making money,” Mr. Jones points out.

“We also plan to go solar, so we can cut the electricity bill so that we can be financially stable. When we get the money we hope to use (it) to build more classrooms so that we can change the student teacher ratio and also we can provide proper facilities,” he adds.

The Principal tells JIS News that Mona High, which is classified as a non-traditional high school, has been doing “tremendously well” over the five years, with continued improvements in passes at the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) level.

Mr. Jones says passes in Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business and English Language were upwards of 80 per cent last year, while passes for Mathematics jumped from 36 per cent to 61 per cent.

“For many other areas like Clothing and Textile and Industrial Arts we received a 100 per cent pass rate,” Mr. Jones boasts.

Due to the quality passes, the school was able to start a sixth form programme in 2014, with 51 students.

Mr. Jones informs that the Ministry of Education has continued to support the institution through, among other things, the provision of a mathematics coach.  Teachers from the University of the West Indies also assist the school’s mathematics department.

Despite the improvements, the Principal says he is not satisfied as the goal is to have the school consistently performing at the same high standard as other traditional high schools.

“The mission is not yet accomplished and we need to be up there….that is my aim. What we need to have is students coming from the primary level selecting Mona High School as their first, second, and third choice. So I have to ensure that I implement all these initiatives to accomplish that objective,” he vows.

Mr. Jones notes that it is his belief that every child can learn if he/she is given the requisite tools, space, quality teaching, and the right environment in which to accomplish their academic objectives.

“That is why when I talk to the teachers and the students I always say to them ‘just remove that concept from your mind about being an upgraded high school or non-traditional high school. The only difference is that they were established before us,” Mr. Jones contends.

Mona High School has a population of 1, 200 students, who participate in 27 clubs and societies.