Cedar Grove Academy enjoys good first year
Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
EMOTIONS RAN high last year when several students who sat the Grade Six Achievement Test were placed at the unfinished and unknown Cedar Grove Academy in Portmore, St Catherine.
Parents and pupils expressed dismay over the ministry's decision to place them at the school. However, one year later, principal Otis Brown said things have been progressing smoothly.
He noted that the institution finished the school year with 96 students in first form and 33 in sixth form.
"We made sure we had a solid foundation from day one. It was not very easy, but the hard-working staff and the parents worked to get things settled," Brown told The Gleaner.
He said they have been utilising the full compound since January. When the school was opened last September, only one block was being used as classrooms.
"Since January 15, we have had access to all the rooms. Labs are finished, the computer room has been properly furnished, only the assembly hall is still being worked on," Brown told The Gleaner.
He said the school has been operating with 22 academic members of staff, including himself and the vice-principal, six administrators and five auxiliary staff members. However, this is expected to change with the increase in the school population at the start of the next school year.
Brown said more than 230 students have been placed at Cedar Grove for the upcoming academic year, and already 178 of them have reported for registration.
"Our population is likely to increase to a little over 500. With the students going into grade eight and upper sixth form, along with the new students and the transfer requests that we have been getting, the school is growing," Brown said confidently.
He added that the population of the school is not the only thing that has been rising, but the academic performance of the students has also improved.
Brown said, coming out of a diagnostic test administered last year, "The school's leadership and teachers came up with a quality-assurance mechanism to ensure the students were getting the highest-quality education."
He stressed that accountability and strong leadership have become hallmarks of the institution.
"Because of these strategies, we now have students placing 15th in their class and averaging over 70 per cent and, as a result, parents and students now see this institution as a viable option."
Cedar Grove Academy was constructed at a cost of $600 million to accommodate some 1,200 students in 20 classrooms.