Mon | Nov 18, 2019

Dunrobin Primary gets new partitions

Published:Tuesday | September 17, 2019 | 12:24 AM

With the new school year now off to an exciting and productive start, teachers and students at Dunrobin Primary School are feeling motivated after several of their classrooms are now boasting newly constructed partitions.

What’s so motivating or energising about classroom partitions? Well, imagine being a student in a classroom of some 40 other vibrant classmates, and you’re trying to grasp a new mathematics concept that is being explained by your teacher at the very blackboard that is the only separator between your class and another classroom with just as many students.

This was the reality at Dunrobin Primary School until a few weeks ago, where more than three classes occupied one large space that was separated only by a blackboard –nothing to block the sounds from each classroom.

The much-needed project was completed over the summer holiday through a partnership with the school and Active Home Centre.

“To say that we are grateful is an understatement, as this has been a huge challenge that has affected our overall academic output over the years. We managed to do four partitions on our own, and then Active stepped in and together we completed 15 additional partition, making it a total of 19 classrooms where students can learn undisturbed.

“Students were not focused, as the noise from other classrooms was a big distraction,” said Noel Watt, principal of Dunrobin Primary School, who is known as a disciplinarian and who has been on a mission to help the school return to its former glory academically.

TRANSFORMATION JOURNEY

In addition to the classroom partitions, Active Home Centre also awarded five students from grade six with book vouchers from Kingston Bookshop valued at $20,000 each.

Built in 1970, Watt explained that the 49-year-old institution is a household name as it is among the top-performing primary schools in the Kingston. However, the school that was originally built to accommodate a maximum of 850 students grew at one point to more than 1,800 students – more than twice its original capacity. In addition, losing its perimeter fence meant the school was prone to constant theft and break-ins, ridding the school of essential resources like computers and running water, with pipes stolen, as well as other critical school supplies.

TEACHER-STUDENT RATIO

With a commitment to excellence, Dunrobin started its transformational journey in 2013, with the first action being to reduce the student population in order to improve teacher-student ratio in the classrooms.

“We’ve made great progress since then. Our student population has significantly reduced, making it easier for teachers to provide more one-on-one attention. Professional development for teachers is also very active and in line with the ministry to ensure our they are fully equipped,” Watt noted.

Today, Dunrobin Primary School says the fruits of its labour is paying off in several ways. Recently, Alexi-Ann Lindsay received the J.A.G. Smith Sr scholarship for top girl in all government-owned schools following her outstanding performance in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams. This scholarship is historic, coming from Common Entrance to GSAT and now to PEP.

“We cannot thank Active Home Centre enough for stepping in once again and partnering with us in such a big way to construct these partitions. We have more work to be done, but we have a team of dedicated and committed teachers, parents, school board, business partners and the wider community who share our vision of achieving excellence throughout the school.”