St. Mary MP to Expand Successful Academic Programme


Member of Parliament for South East St. Mary, Tarn Peralto, has announced plans to expand an academic intervention programme, which was introduced in the constituency last year to assist youngsters, who were deemed to be underperforming in school.
“This programme will be expanded over the next budget year to include more of our primary schools,” Mr. Peralto said in his contribution to the 2009/10 Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Tuesday (July 7).
He informed that the initiative was introduced after assessments of a number of children in primary and secondary schools, revealed that some of them were underperforming, particularly in the area of reading.
He said that consequent on the recognition of the need to effect intervention measures a “three-pronged approach” was embarked on to tackle the challenges.
“Initially, we recognised the need to improve our basic school facilities and. their educational programmes. Secondly, we introduced an academic intervention programme at all our primary and secondary schools, and thirdly, we assist our students, who have been accepted, to pursue their educational studies at the tertiary level,” he outlined.
Mr. Peralto disclosed that at three of the schools where the programme was introduced, Annotto Bay, and Scott’s Hall All-age, and St. Mary Technical High School, some 200 students, whom he said were underperforming, were given a diagnostic academic assessment test in October 2008.
“At one of the schools. 46 Grade 4 students were assessed, 41 were reading below kindergarten level, while the remaining five were reading at kindergarten level. This formed the baseline performance for each student, and a learning plan was developed for each one of them,” Mr. Peralto outlined.
The students, he informed, were exposed to 32 hours of computerised web-based intervention and subsequently re-assessed, with the results showing nine moving up one grade level up to kindergarten, while another 17 had jumped two levels up to Grade 1. He pointed out that the remaining students have shown improvements, despite not moving from the grade level they were at when assessed.
“The academic intervention programme, from these results, is proving to be a tremendous success. and I know that in the near future, our passes in St. Mary will steadily improve,” Mr. Peralto stated.
Regarding basic schools, the MP told the House that allocations from his Constituency Development Fund (CDF) have been used to equip some 28 basic schools in South East St. Mary with fire extinguishers, tables, and kitchen and bathroom fixtures.
“I am pleased to announce that with the combined efforts of our basic schools and the contribution from the CDF, 20 of the schools have fulfilled the basic school registration requirement of the Ministry of Education. Education is key to St. Mary’s development, and will remain one of the most important programmes of my CDF,” Mr. Peralto said.

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