Sun | Dec 16, 2018

Private international school to open in MoBay

Published:Tuesday | May 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera/Gleaner Writer
Janet Silvera/Photo Lisa Lake

Jamaica's tourism capital is to have its first international private academy come September 3.

The co-educational middle and high school, offering an international curriculum, has been relocated from its originally intended site in Rose Hall,

St James, to Fairview in the heart of the new business district.

Tagged the Rose Hall Academy, the school's permanent home is to be constructed on 13 acres of land donated by developers, Barnett Limited, owned and operated by Mark and Paula Kerr-Jarrett. The lands are located next door to Vista Print on the Fairfield main road.

The change in location arose because the original site - lands donated by Michele Rollins of Rose Hall Developments - required the construction of an expensive retaining wall. Lisa Lake, who heads the group spearheading the establishment of the academy, told the media during a town-hall meeting of parents of prospective students last Saturday that they faced structural challenges with the land donated by Rollins.

"We realised that the land sloped in a big way, and this would have required significant investment building a retaining wall. In the end, we all agreed, including Mrs Rollins, that it was not in the best interest of the school to invest the money in a retaining wall," said Lake.

The private academy, which has attracted a number of international Jamaican teachers, is expected to transform the educational landscape in western Jamaica. Rose Hall Academy will have as its head Shirley Davis, who boasts more than 30 years of international school experience. Davis has been in Jamaica for the last five years as head of the American International School of Kingston.

The school, which will have classes of no more than 20 students, has also tapped into the expertise of curriculum coordinator Tiffany Hawk, who listed a "holistic approach to education" as one of the top-10 reasons to enrol in the institution.

"We have designed our curriculum with the interest of the students as our priority," Hawk told the packed room of parents.

She argued that this holistic approach would look beyond purely test scores, and instead

support project-centred assess-ment through student-based experiences.

The school, which will have the capacity to accommodate more than 120 students in the interim, will accept students from grades six to nine. In September 2019, when it hopes to complete its permanent home, Grade 10 will be added.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com