Thu | Aug 6, 2020

Mentorship programme helps students cope during pandemic

Published:Saturday | July 4, 2020 | 12:09 AM
 Dr Grace-Camille Munroe.
Dr Grace-Camille Munroe.

A Toronto-based student-mentoring programme has been pulling on the expertise of local educator Grace-Camille Munroe to help students and their parents cope with studies during nationwide lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Leadership By Design (LBD) programme, a branch of the Lifelong Leadership Institute (LLI), was founded by Jamaican-Canadians and provides leadership initiatives to Afro-Canadian youth ages 14 to 18 in and around Toronto. Normally, the sessions for youth would be held on Saturdays, but with the disruptions since March, those have now been shifted online.

But far from being daunted by this development, LBD rallied to engage the services of Munroe, who has been working with students and their parents in accessing help.

Munroe has had extensive experience as an education consultant in Jamaica on the Centres of Excellence project, which identified six underperforming schools across the island and implemented the critical elements that would put their students on the pathway to success.

Most of the six schools that were on the programme have since reported significant changes in the attitudes of both teachers and students and have now been upgraded in their ranking on the island.

Munroe aims to transfer her expertise in education to Canada and the LLI by providing the overall direction, implementation, and evaluation of the LBD programme and hopes for similar success.

LBD uses an evidence-based approach to structure its curriculum, and in March of this year, a survey was conducted by the LBD team to gauge how students and parents were coping with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and to find out what support was needed.

SPECIALIST BROUGHT IN

As a result of the survey, a resident psychologist, Andrea Myrie-Nurse, has been brought on board for mental health and social well-being guidance, and tutoring support to help students complete their 2019-20 school year has been implemented.

Several themed webinars have been offered, including ‘Ask a Vice-Principal: A chance to discuss strategies for doing well at high school in an emergency remote teaching environment’, ‘How to Navigate the Applications/Admissions Process During COVID-19 for Grade-12 Students Attending University or College in September’, ‘The Issue of the Day Continues to be Anti-Black Racism and the Role of Leaders, Online Safety for Students and Parents’, and an end-of-year celebration themed ‘Go Make a Difference.’

Munroe holds a PhD in community development and transformative learning and is the author of the research titled ‘Parental Involvement in Education in Jamaica’.

According to Munroe’s research, parents do want to be involved in the education of their children, and this can dramatically aid in the student’s growth and overall success.

She was born in Canada, but her foundation in education is rooted in Jamaica, where she attended primary school and St Hilda’s Diocesan High School, St Ann.