JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The leadership of New Day Primary and Junior High School, in Kingston, says intervention strategies to improve literacy and numeracy at the institution are bearing fruit, and expresses confidence that the Education Ministry’s literacy target will be met.
  • The national target for literacy is 100 per cent and 85 per cent for numeracy at the primary level by 2015.
  • He said that the institution’s literacy programme is not to be regarded as a special programme, but the teachers ensure that there is always an emphasis on reading.

The leadership of New Day Primary and Junior High School, in Kingston, says intervention strategies to improve literacy and numeracy at the institution are bearing fruit, and expresses confidence that the Education Ministry’s literacy target will be met.

The national target for literacy is 100 per cent and 85 per cent for numeracy at the primary level by 2015.

“We believe that we are going to get that. Numeracy is lagging behind, but we have put some interventions in place to see if we can boost the numeracy scores. Overall, the attitude of both teacher and students towards academics has been tremendous,” Principal, Garfield McDonald, tells JIS News.

He said that the institution’s literacy programme is not to be regarded as a special programme, but the teachers ensure that there is always an emphasis on reading.

“We are doing well in academics (generally). In fact, our literacy rate is 81 per cent,” the Principal noted, adding that for numeracy, the school operates an after-school programme, which is supported by mathematics specialists from Hillel Academy and the Ministry.

“We as a school have put the target up, emphasizing the important goal… and we believe that we can get it with the work that the teachers are doing,” Mr. McDonald said.

The principal is also reporting success with its “mixed ability class” strategy, whereby students of different academic achievement levels are placed in the same classroom setting and allowed to interact.

“What we usually would have done is to group the students, but now we have a mixed ability (setting), because we feel that the students should play a part in helping each other in the classroom, and we see where this is working, whereby the teacher is teaching and the stronger ones are helping the weaker ones,” he explained.

There are also plans to train teachers in numeracy and educate parents to enable them to better support their children.

New Day is also now benefiting from a project geared at equipping teachers with a better understanding of children personalities and attitudes. The project, the Students Temperament Programme, is being implemented under the guidance of the University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Education.

“They are teaching teachers and parents about children’s temperament, as it relates to behaviour; how do you deal with the grumpy child, the friendly child, as against the one that always wants to help the teacher.  So, by understanding their temperament, we are able to deal with them in the classroom setting,” the principal said.

Meanwhile, students at the school benefit from an ongoing breakfast programme, including  a sandwich, fruit and hot beverage, which  are served daily.  This programme will get a boost this year, through the implementation of an egg project, to be financed through grant funding from the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP).

The intention, Mr. McDonald explained, is to help students understand entrepreneurship and at the same time benefit the school. He added that the students will also be able to impart the knowledge to their parents, to enable them to start their own projects.

The 52 year-old institution, which has a student population of 510 and a staff complement of 32, is also benefiting from support by members of the Grants Pen community, where the school is located.

New Day is integrally involved in social and economic projects underway in the community. In July, the school hosted an Entrepreneurial Fair, with the support of the Member of Parliament, CSJP, Social Development Commission (SDC), the Community Policing Committee, as well as a number of other clubs.

“We all came together and looked at the different businesses in the community and we gave them an opportunity to be on show.  A training (session) is being planned for persons who participated in the fair, by the SDC, and out of that progamme, persons will be given a grant in order to strengthen their businesses,” the principal said.