PRINCIPAL NOTES

Message from the Principal and Vice Principal

September 2021

Nelson Mandela once said ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done’ and at the beginning of the last academic year, it may have seemed daunting and even impossible to some that school would be fully online. Understandably, all stakeholders had concerns, fears and worries about how this would be accomplished. It was a time of uncertainty, when we were called to have courage, to be creative, wise & resourceful and to use the research and information available to determine the best way forward in our school’s context. We had to develop the necessary, new skills in the use of technology ‘on the go’, adapt to the changing landscape in education and respond with purpose and compassion to the issues and challenges that came up along the way. This experience called for us to be focused, flexible and committed. Through the grace of God and working together as a learning community we were indeed able to do what might have seemed impossible. We registered our new Form 1s; delivered the curriculum effectively to all 7 year groups; conducted online, continuous assessment; gave end of term reports to each year group; completed syllabi and SBAs for the exam classes; conducted mock exams; ensured the smooth running of the external CXC examinations and with the help of our stakeholders, distributed devices and hampers to our families in need.

We begin this term still in the throes of the pandemic and while vaccination is ongoing, the situation with regard to the physical re-opening of schools remains fluid. School begins online for all year group (except our new Form Ones and Lower Sixes) on September 6th and we await further instruction from the Ministry of Education, guided by the Ministry of Health as to when, how and which students are to return to physical school. We acknowledge that the thought of school beginning online for another term would bring a mix of feelings and thoughts for students, teachers, parents and yes, even for us as administrators - some may feel happy and excited because of the advantages they have experienced in this new normal while others may feel anxious or experience a sense of dread with the realization that online school continues.

Mrs. Anna Pounder - Principal


We appreciate the range of challenges many would have faced, including, using the technology, managing competing family commitments, securing an appropriate space for online classes, dealing with unstable internet connectivity, loss of family and friends due to COVID-19, coping with the isolation from loved ones and the inability to engage in certain activities that would normally have brought us joy and relaxation. As educators, we are being faced with no small task as we continue to educate, care for and be role models for our students in this pandemic. The only way we are going to get through this successfully is by continuing to support each other, continuing to use our God-given talents, continuing to develop and share our skills, ideas and competencies and finally but maybe most importantly, deepening our faith and trust in God. He holds the future and we cooperate with His will.

Timetabling:

Mindful of the issue of age appropriate screen time, form 6 will continue to have 1 out of the total of 5 periods per day as an asynchronous period and forms 1 to 5 will have 2 asynchronous periods per day. In order to achieve these daily asynchronous sessions, those subjects with 3, 4 or 5 periods per week have one as an asynchronous period. There will be 5 minutes break between periods. For this term, school will end at 2:30and not 2:50 pm on Monday. In order to facilitate this periods for forms 1-5 were shortened to 35 minutes each and form 6 periods shortened to 50 minutes.

Mrs. Maritza Ramphal - Vice Principal


Online Teaching and Learning;

We will continue with either Google Suite or the combination of Zoom and Edmodo as this is most familiar to staff and students. We will continue with regular formative assessments and the practice of continuous assessments. Guidelines for parents and students’ protocols for Online learning will be shared at our year group meetings and through Form Teachers and Deans.

The month of September:

This term is 14 weeks and the first 2 weeks will be dedicated to building relationship with classes, de-briefing the students, revision of key topics from the last academic year, assessing what was covered in the previous academic year, determining where the schemes of work need to begin this academic year, analyzing last year's results and using the information to inform this year's schemes of work. Upper sixes would have completed the unit 1 CAPE exams and should be able to begin work after their de-briefing exercises which would involve sessions with the Form teacher, with the Dean and personnel from SSSD (Student Support Services Division). We have organized sessions for our students with Form Teachers, Deans and our Guidance Officer to ensure that all students are oriented and fully equipped to return to Virtual School.

The MOE is proposing to administer National Standardized Diagnostic Testing for Assessment of Learning Loss in Math and English Language Arts for forms 2-4. They will develop these tests and they are to be administered in weeks 2/3. Teachers are expected to mark these tests using mark schemes provided by MOE. The Ministry will use this data to guide national interventions and prioritize school monitoring and support.

Infrastructure upgrades:

The Past Pupils Association, continues to champion the 185th Anniversary celebrations of the establishment of our school and has raised enough funds to restore the windows of the Chapel facing the netball and volleyball courts.

The computer lab and the big tree in the cafeteria area were sprayed for termites and the curved reception area by the entrance to the Multi Media Area had to be broken down because it was heavily infested with termites. Minor roof works to fix leaks were also conducted during the August vacation.

School Development Fund:

The school relies on the contribution from parents to pay for security, gardening and ancillary staff who continue to work on the compound to ensure that students can return to a safe and well maintained compound. It also allows us to hire privately paid teachers where there are shortages in staffing in order to ensure continuous delivery of the curriculum. This fund can be paid online and details are on the website. We are grateful for the support of all our stakeholders in helping us to achieve our vision and mission.

Charles Darwin in his study of nature realized that "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." Now more than ever we rely on our SJC core values of Solidarity, Creativity, Courage, Service, Integrity, Love, Excellence, Compassion, Justice and Respect to guide us as we navigate this new academic year. May God bless our efforts as we do our best to educate and care for our students and each other. We pray for His protection on our community and for an end to this pandemic.

We welcome back all our students and their families, we welcome also all new members to our school community and trust that this will be a productive and fruitful year for all. We remain grateful for the service, generosity of spirit and professionalism of the Staff at SJC POS. Let us continue to help one another by sharing our new learnings and pacing each other on the road to excellence.


Anna Pounder Maritza Ramphal

Principal (Secondary) Vice Principal