Mon | Dec 11, 2017

School Report | Dramatic improvement at Christiana Moravian Primary and Infant

Published:Friday | September 29, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Stacy Ann McConnell (left back row) and George Peart (right back row), teachers at the Christiana Moravian Primary and Infant School in Christiana, Manchester, celebrate with students who excelled in literacy and numeracy in the Ministry of Education Region Five’s Turnaround School competition.
Students at the Christiana Moravian Primary and Infant School engaged in reading.
Artwork from the Christiana Moravian Primary and Infant School in Manchester.
Artwork from the Christiana Moravian Primary and Infant School in Manchester.
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Forty-two percentage points improvement in numeracy is dramatic, even if it is achieved during a five-year period - 2012-2106. This is what the efforts of the teachers at the Christiana Moravian Primary and Infant School have produced in the Grade Four Numeracy Test. In addition, the school has achieved 24 percentage points improvement in the Grade Four Literacy Test for the same period.

These are the results of efforts by the administration of the Manchester-based institution to improve its overall effectiveness rating from 'unsatisfactory', which was assigned by the National Education Inspectorate (NEI) in November 2011.

In her report, the chief inspector pointed out that progress in English and mathematics was unsatisfactory, and that students' progress over time was inconsistent. She noted further that although students' performance in English and mathematics was satisfactory, "average performance in most cases is declining at an alarming rate".

To reverse this negative trend, the school administration implemented several measures. To begin with, the education ministry deployed a full-time math specialist to the school with the aim of changing the mindset of teachers towards the subject and equipping them with effective instructional techniques.

The principal, along with teachers, implemented various strategies to focus on the teaching of mathematics in response to the NEI's criticism that the school's use of its human and material resources was unsatisfactory by redeploying staff and utilising teachers who were stronger in the teaching of mathematics to do team teaching across grades, as well as the implementation of a control resource register. Teachers also offer extra lessons early in the mornings, on weekdays, and on Saturdays.

 

PARENT MATH CLUB

 

"We launched our Parent Math Club in February, which saw a group of 13 parents receiving membership cards. We were the first and only school to launch a parent math club in Manchester," acting principal Kamile Madden-Lee said.

The aim of the club, the principal explained, is to sharpen the mathematics skill sets of the parents so that they, in turn, would be able to assist their children at home. She credits the initiative to Yanique Hall Harriott, mathematics specialist at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information's regional office.

In addition, the school participated in the University of the West Indies Math Olympiad, where three students from grades five and six made it to the semi-final round, and one student progressed to the final round of the competition.

Additionally, two students have been selected in the Top 100 students in the region to attend a Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) awards ceremony hosted by the education ministry.

The school's efforts to improve student performance in numeracy seem to be paying off as indicated in the results below of the Grade Four Numeracy Test.

 

Grade Four Numeracy Test trends data

 

2012 - 25%

2013 - 29%

2014 - 39%

2015 - 52%

2016 - 67%

In addressing the negative trend in the mastery of literacy, the teachers employed the following strategies: grouping, peer teaching, parent conferencing, student conferencing, analysis of data to inform further remediation, Saturday classes, literacy and numeracy camps, and the use of manipulatives. The school also received assistance from the Regional Literacy Coordinator Collete Morris, who conducted workshops with staff and provided support materials for the teaching of literacy.

 

Grade Four Literacy Test trends data

 

2012 - 61%

2013 - 54%

2014 - 69%

2015 - 80%

2016 - 85%

 

Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT)

 

A total of 117 students at the Christiana Moravian Primary and Infant School sat the GSAT and have been placed in 13 high schools across Manchester, Clarendon, St Catherine, and Trelawny. Overall, performance has improved over last year.

Overall performance in individual subjects is as follows:

Subjects 2016 2015

Language Arts 66% 62%

Mathematics 60% 56%

Science 69% 66%

Social Studies 66% 66%

Comm Task 67% 66%

... Revising the school-improvement plan

To enhance the curriculum at the Christiana Moravian Primary and Infant School in Manchester, which the National Education Inspectorate (NEI) rated as 'unsatisfactory', acting principal Kamile Madden-Lee said that the revitalisation of co-curricular programmes and their infusion into the time table is part of the revised school-improvement plan.

There are 12 clubs and societies geared at training and developing the leadership, social, and interpersonal skills of students to ensure that they are rounded citizens who appreciate the value of volunteerism.

The Art Club, she reported, entered the Junior Art Competition put on by the Institute of Jamaica and was awarded two certificates and a trophy for Best Theme Interpretation in the category of Fairy Tale Jamaican-Style. They depicted the Cinderella story, where Cinderella went to a dance instead of a ball and met a Jamaican Prince Charming, and the rest is history.

Christiana Moravian Primary and Infant has also done well in sports, even though it does not have a playing field, said Sports Coordinator Jermaine Stewart.

 

PARISH COMPETITIONS

 

Despite that, the school had the most students qualifying for the District Association Parish Finals. The school is proud of Devontae Reid, who represented the parish at the nationals and who is now attending the Belair High School. The footballers excelled this year by placing second in the parish competition.

"Students demonstrate high discipline, which is transmitted to their learning. They stand out in class. This has positive implications for teaching and learning performance," noted senior teacher Marlene Parker.

... Clubs to the rescue

There are now fewer fights and conflicts at the Manchester-based Christiana Moravian Primary and Infant School because the students are involved in clubs. Their behaviour and classwork have improved, states Guidance Counsellor Arthens Henriques.

Last March, the school launched the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Intervention Support programme, which promotes the use of rewards and incentives to influence positive behaviour among students.

Acting Principal Kamile Madden-Lee said that the board holds her and other members of the senior management team accountable as she is required to provide regular reports.

She added that the personnel committee of the board also supports the staff by visiting the school and encouraging staff to work within the guidelines set by the school and the Ministry of Education.

 

OPERATION TURNAROUND

 

The Christiana Moravian Primary and Infant School was selected to be part of the Operation Turnaround School competition organised by the education ministry through its regional offices. The competition was aimed at improving the literacy and numeracy skills of grade five students who had not achieved mastery in the national tests at grade four. The school placed second in numeracy and third in literacy in the region out of a total of 15 competing schools.

The school commends the following six students from the Operation Turnaround programme who performed very well in the Grade Six Achievement Test and have moved on to high schools:

- Tyrese Douglas - Spaldings High

- Chanelle Tomlinson - Holmwood Technical

- Dylan White - Knox College

- Rohan Hyman - Holmwood Technical

- Tatyana Dixon - Christiana High

- Kerida Dixon - Spaldings High

The school administration is also proud of Guidance Counsellor Alecia Bernard-Mullings, who has been selected to represent the school as a master trainer for the education ministry-led National Standard Curriculum because of her performance in the Operation Turnaround competition.

In the meantime, the school awaits the second-cycle inspection by the National Education Inspectorate to see if the institution has improved its overall rating from unsatisfactory.

editorial@gleanerjm.com