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Western Schools Ready for New School Year


JIS: Educators in western Jamaica say they are approaching the 2018/2019 academic year with a renewed sense of optimism.


This optimism, they note, stems from the ever increasing willingness of parents to get involved in school activities, and also what they are calling “a more transparent and proactive approach” on the part of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and its regional bodies in engaging teachers, principals and other stakeholders in meaningful dialogue.


“It sure helps and makes life a lot easier if there is the belief that all hands are on deck,” says Principal for the John Rollins Success Primary School in Barrett Town, St. James, Yvonne Williams-Wisdom.


“With the 1,000-plus students that are expected to be roaring through our corridors come next Monday (September 3), of course we have had to do some extensive preparations… and which we could never have accomplished without the help of our school community,” she tells JIS News.


Mrs. Williams-Wisdom further notes that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information must be commended for “its unwavering commitment” to the continuation of the lunch and breakfast programmes for needy students and also for being there to assist with “our preparations”.


“I must also send a big shout-out to our parents who have been there every step of the way. Of course, we will still have our fair share of challenges, but from where I sit, I am confident we are ready for the start of the new school year,” she says.


For her part, Vice-Principal of Godfrey Stewart High School in Westmoreland, Emily Ricketts, says while challenges continue, one of the main pressure points is the increasing number of requests by students and their parents for transfer to her school.


“Godfrey Stewart has emerged as a school of choice for many students in Westmoreland. Unfortunately, especially so close to the start of back-to-school, we are unable to accommodate many of the transfer requests we have been getting,” she says.


Ms. Ricketts tells JIS News that because of early preparations throughout the summer, the school is well prepared to open its doors for students come Monday.


“We are all very positive and excited about the prospects of a very good school year,” she adds.


Over at Maldon Primary in Maroon Town, St. James, optimism for the new school term could not be any higher. “We continue to have our fair share of problems with water and also the need for some infrastructural upgrade at our facility,” Principal Audrey Bernard-Kilbourne explained.


“We, however, have been good and adept at working with what we have, and our dedicated teachers and students are ready for whatever lies ahead. Yes, we are ready for the new school term,” she says.


In the meantime, over in Montego Bay at Cornwall College, Principal, Michael Ellis, says expectations are also high.


“September morning will be a new day for Cornwall College,” he told the gathering at a recent graduation ceremony for the Cornwall College Class of 2018 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.


The Principal notes that the new school term will be seeing the ushering of a new master plan –‘Operation Regain and Retain’ –a plan aimed at returning Cornwall College to its famed glory days.


CAPTION: Students from across the western region at a joint Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade symposium at the William Knibb High School in Falmouth, Trelawny.