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Success becomes the buzzword

Published:Saturday | April 28, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Monique Ebanks (centre), a grade three student of John Rollins Success Primary School in St James, with Patrice Porteous (left), customer service representative at First Global Bank Montego Bay, and Literacy Coordinator Hervilyn Forbes.- Contributed


Six months after a financial institution launched a learning project at the John Rollins Success Primary School in Montego Bay, teachers are reporting improvement among the more than 60 students participating in the programme.

The project, dubbed 'Music, Perfect Pitch for A Sound Education', was conceptualised by the GraceKennedy Group subsidiaries First Global Bank (FGB) and First Global Financial Services (FGFS) as a joint venture with the Ministry of Education.

Kirk Hinds, one of the grade three teachers at the John Rollins Success Primary School who teaches an all-boys contingent of 36, said the programme is making inroads into the boys' literacy and numeracy skills as well as their development.

He explained that the school had embarked on an initiative where each grade has an all-boys class.

These boys are performing below their grade level and are deemed to be falling short both academically and behaviourally.

"Each of these classes is assigned a male teacher who facilitates as best as he can, because most of these boys do not have father figures in the homes, so we are trying to mould them," Hinds said.

The 'Music, Perfect Pitch for A Sound Education' initiative was officially rolled out in six primary schools: John Rollins Success and Bickersteth primary schools in St James; McIntosh Memorial Primary in Settlement, Manchester; and Central Branch All-Age, Seaward Primary, and Duhaney Park Primary in Kingston.

The thrust of the programme is to raise the bar among grade three students who have been diagnosed as reading below grade level, or who are demonstrating difficulties in grasping numeracy skills.

Programme tested

The programme was tested last Thursday when staff from FGFS and FGB carried out a reading exercise with the students in St James, and the results were favourable.

Hinds is hopeful that the students will pass their Grade Three Diagnostic Literacy Test, which is scheduled to be administered by the Education Ministry in June.

"This is a very good programme because we use music to teach literacy and numeracy. We are of African descent, so we are naturally born with some musical rhythm within us," he said.

"They use the music to memorise what they have learnt, as well as include it in their tests and revision exercise. We literally see and hear them singing songs and bringing out the concepts in their work. So this is a programme that deserves kudos. I can attest that the students are reading, writing, and speaking better, and their confidence has improved."