Eye on Leadership: Lawrence Rowe- Principal Belair High School
The role of the principal requires leaders who are dedicated, committed and are able to go above and beyond in an effort to raise the profile of the schools under their charge and position them as institutions of choice.
To help in this venture, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, through the National College for Educational Leadership [NCEL], continues to prepare such leaders.
Among the distinguished principals who are in the forefront of change in the education system is Lawrence Rowe, current head of the Belair High School in Manchester.
Rowe previously served as principal of the Mile Gully High School between September 2012 and April 2017 before his appointment to Belair in May 2017.
During his tenure at the Mile Gully High School, Rowe oversaw an increase in the number of students passing five or more CSEC subjects, including mathematics and English language by 5 per cent on average per annum. He has also helped to increase the student population by 8 per cent per annum through restored confidence in the school and its programmes.
He also introduced the CSEC curriculum to third-form students in all subject areas as well as a comprehensive system of accountability to monitor teaching and learning to ensure delivery of high-quality education.
In 2012, Rowe was enrolled in the National College for Educational Leadership's in-service professional development programme "The Effective Principals' Training Programme" - which is geared at assisting principals to effectively manage the inputs they receive and improve processes to gain greater outputs. The subsequent assessment was that Rowe exceeded expectations in round one of the training. He attributes much of his success as a principal to his enrolment in the programme.
According to Rowe, the college helped him to recognise that the improvement of student achievement requires strong leadership and the direct input of the principal in order to succeed. In addition, keen attention has to be paid to improving the management of the school.
"Before enrolling in the programme, financial management and accountability were areas of concern. After completing the programme and implementing policies learnt, there was a marked improvement in adherence to the FAA Act and school-policy guidelines," he said.
Given his outstanding performance, Rowe was inducted into the NCEL's Executive Principals' League (EPL) in October 2015. The EPL serves to recognise and reward outstanding models of school leadership and to highlight principals who have demonstrated exemplary leadership qualities and who have sustained an acceptable level of academic performance within their respective schools.
As a member of the league, Rowe is charged with the responsibility of providing support to his colleagues through mentorship and coaching, the sharing of best practices and ideas, as well as to engaging in philanthropic activities geared at advancing the lives of marginalised individuals. According to Rowe, the college has provided him with the opportunity to develop close collaboration with his colleagues and schools.
"I am now a respected principal among my colleagues, and for this, I am truly grateful. With the myriad responsibilities assigned to a principal, being a part of the NCEL programme has afforded me the opportunity to build my capacity to effectively lead across the full range of duties," he says.
The day-to-day operations of a school are often perceived as cumbersome and require excellent time-management skills. Coupled with this, the right attitude and disposition are key ingredients needed to lead and motivate others to ensure that the school is effectively managed. Since Mr Rowe's appointment at the Belair High School, he continues to direct the development of the institution as a school of choice in Manchester and has seen an increase in the student population by 17 per cent in September 2017 over the previous year.
Another key area of focus for this educator is helping to develop well-rounded students. This has led to the introduction of clubs and societies as a timetabled activity for all students.
Rowe is lauded by his staff, colleagues, parents, and family members as a high-achieving, disciplined, meticulous, and goal-oriented individual. He currently serves as Executive Member of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), Executive Member of the Jamaica Association of Principals' of Secondary Schools (JAPSS), and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Manchester Parish Library.
In April 2015, Rowe was selected as one of two educators to represent Jamaica at the 2015 seminar for primary and secondary school principals from developing countries in Shanghai, China.
- Article courtesy of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information