Thu | Sep 20, 2018

New Day aims to tackle numeracy

Published:Wednesday | October 29, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Garfield McDonald, principal of New Day Primary and Junior High School, St Andrew, is confident the school will achieve its literacy target. Contributed

THE LEADERSHIP of New Day Primary and Junior High School, St Andrew, has said intervention strategies to improve literacy and numeracy at the institution are bearing fruit, and expressed confidence that the Education Ministry's literacy target will be met.

The national target for literacy is 100 per cent and 85 per cent for numeracy, at the primary level by 2015.

"We believe that we are going to get that. Numeracy is lagging behind, but we have put some interventions in place to see if we can boost the numeracy scores. Overall, the attitude of both teacher and students towards academics has been tremendous," Garfield McDonald, principal of the institution, said.

He said the institution's literacy programme is not to be regarded as a special programme, but the teachers ensure that there is always an emphasis on reading.


"We are doing well in academics (generally). In fact, our literacy rate is 81 per cent," the principal noted, adding that for numeracy, the school operates an after-school programme, which is supported by mathematics specialists from Hillel Academy and the ministry.

"We, as a school, have put the target up, emphasising the important goal... and we believe that we can get it with the work that the teachers are doing," McDonald said.

The principal is also reporting success with its "mixed ability class" strategy, whereby students of different academic achievement levels are placed in the same classroom setting and allowed to interact. "What we usually would have done is to group the students, but now we have a mixed ability (setting) because we feel that the students should play a part in helping each other in the classroom, and we see where this is working, whereby the teacher is teaching and the stronger ones are helping the weaker ones," he explained.

There are also plans to train teachers in numeracy and to educate parents to enable them to better support their children.

New Day is also now benefiting from a project geared at equipping teachers with a better understanding of children's personalities and attitudes. The project, the Students' Temperament Programme, is being implemented under the guidance of the University of the West Indies School of Education.

"They are teaching teachers and parents about children's temperament as it relates to behaviour: how do you deal with the grumpy child, the friendly child, as against the one that always wants to help the teacher? So, by understanding their temperament, we are able to deal with them in the classroom setting," the principal said.