New Day Teachers Give Free Time to Students

THE 40 teachers at the New Day Primary and Junior High School in Kingston have since September 2011, been volunteering 45 minutes to the students, Mondays to Thursdays, to improve literacy and numeracy at the institution.

Principal of the school, Garfield McDonald, explained that in August they had a two-day conference where all staff was involved, and they decided to set an internal academic target of 65.5 per cent for the current school year. The initiative he said, engages specialist Mathematics, English and other teachers who give of their time for the benefit of the students.

“It is an extra 45 minutes of schooling for children who are in the examination classes, and those classes that feed into the examination classes,” McDonald said. The classes targeted are grades 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9.

“We are giving this free time, and everybody is working toward that 65.5 per cent. It is an effort that will bear fruit, along with the other areas, to push the grades,” the principal said.

He noted that it was quite easy for the teachers to buy into his vision of giving the 45 minutes more for four days per week, as at the two-day conference, “we allowed everybody this time around to see the numbers.”

“Before that, the senior staff and I would have looked at the numbers during the summer holidays, and so teachers were able to see their performance spread out before them. We had fulsome discussions. We came up with these ideas and, as a result, we have the extra time being added to our school time,” McDonald said.

Head Boy of the School, Andrae Johnson, said he is very grateful and “appreciates the time, because it is voluntary”.

And Vice President of the Parents and Teachers’ Association (PTA), Marva Cunningham, said the parents are elated about it.

“Some of us can’t find the fees to pay for it, so we are very happy that this has come on line, and everybody appreciates it,” she said.

Source: Jamaica Observer

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