Mount Alvernia - tried, tested and proven
Barrington Flemming-Gleaner Writer
The academic flame the Montego Bay-based Mount Alvernia Preparatory lit many years ago, again shun brightly in the 2014 Grade Six achievement Test (GSAT) when the school achieved an imposing 91.8 per cent average.
Having emerged among the top three performing schools in the parish, the school’s principal, Angella McPherson, said success was based on the tried, tested and proven strategies employed over the years.
"In addition to regular classes, we allow the children to analyse their performance and formulate corrective measures or strategies to deal with the particular challenge,” said McPherson. “Motivational talks are constant and we have strong parental support.”
The school enrichment centre, where technology is used to enhance learning, also plays a major role in preparing the students.
"We have an enrichment centre, which is equipped with computers, books and other material, which are utilised daily " the principal said.
At Mount Alvernia, classes for grade six students are extended by one hour daily. A Saturday programme; aimed at students with special needs, has also been established.
Grade Six teachers Alex Hepburn and Ethel Samuels, who are driving the GSAT programme, have full confidence in their tried and proven strategies.
"The children are given many quizzes daily… as soon as a concept is taught they are quizzed on it …we have seen where it has paid off,” said Hepburn. “The constant review and having them continuously exposed to the material helps with long term memory. "
The month of July is a very important one at Mount Alvernia because, while other children relish the summer break , it is at that time that the school lays the groundwork for GSAT.
"It is important that we start early so as teachers, we do a lot of hard work in the month of July,” noted Hepburn. “The extended time is vital, it is where a lot of practice and drills are done so we come to school in September already with some measure of preparedness.”
McPherson said that, while there is a strong emphasis on academic work, the school functions normally and all students engage in extra curricular activities.
“We maintain a very balanced programme here at Mount Alvernia. Our students participate in extra curricular activities,” the principal said. “Music and Spanish are regular parts of their days, so too is physical education, which is done at the scheduled time. “
The members of the school board are very close to the school, visiting on a regular basis to offer encouragement and observe what is being done in educating the students.