SINT MAARTEN (SOUTH REWARD) - Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, the Honourable Wycliffe Smith met with the teachers and staff of the Sint Maarten Vocational Training School to share the collective vision for the island's public secondary school on Wednesday.
This meeting was planned according to the strategic plan developed for the school in collaboration with the SMVTS Leadership Team for School Improvement Planning. Also attending the meeting were heads of the Divisions of Students Support Services, Examinations, Inspection, and Public Education, acting Secretary General and members of the Minister’s Cabinet.
Words of gratitude were extended to the entire staff for participating in the process. Special mention was made of the leadership team members, Patricia Lourens – Chairperson, Dorothy Radjouki – Assistant Director, Daniel Berry – Student Care Coordinator/IT Teacher, Ashayna Nisbeth – Career Guidance Counselor, Jessica Richardson – School Counselor, and Miranda Lake – Remedial Teacher. Also, Minister Smith recognised the contribution of Anita Facey who presented the concerns of the staff in the first staff meeting with the Minister earlier in 2019.
Minister Smith made his presentation to the teachers and staff based on the plans put together from the input of all stakeholders last academic year. The three-year implementation guidelines with reworked curricula and new subject areas will be introduced as of this month in phases.
As teachers and staff are critical to the execution of the Ministry ‘s goals, Minister Smith impressed upon all present the importance of everyone’s commitment to the continuity of the programme for the restructuring of the school and the success of their students.
According to Minister Smith, “All that is planned can only be achieved by working together.” Head of the Division of Examinations, Yvette Halley, elaborated on the plans for programme completion and curricula that will see students qualifying for recognised certificates upon successfully ending their years of study at this school.
Students will be offered properly structured courses of study for Labour Market Orientation Education (LMOE) or a Preparatory Secondary Vocational Education (PSVE), which will lead to a PBL certification. In the new programme, there will be an introductory transitional year for Special Education Needs (SEN) learners and English as Second Language (ESL) learners in the LMOE programme.
School director, Rita Gumbs expounded on the plans for the new subjects and courses that will be offered to the students. Commending her team of teachers on their positive attitude towards the changes taking place at the institution, Ms. Gumbs detailed that in the improved programme, future students in Year 3 or Year 4 will be offered concentrations in Automotive, NetPC Repair, Electrical Installation, Carpentry, and General Construction.
New curricula will be introduced for Care, Cosmetology, Business Administration, Hospitality and Textile. Additionally, the students will be afforded the opportunity to learn Dutch with Spanish or French as well as Music and Art.
Recognising the critical role of leadership at all levels, the Minister encouraged each teacher, member of staff, management of the school and divisions of the Education sector to be mindful of their role in leading in their sphere.
Quoting John Maxwell, Smith said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership. This programme is in the hands of the school's management and staff and the Ministry, not the Minister. For the programme to be successful, regardless of who sits as Minister of Education, it is for you to continue the implementation and see the change become reality. Change is not easy, but we must each be the change we want to see.”
The next step for implementation will be the inclusion of parents and students in the plans for the school. When all key stakeholders have been informed of the process, further details will be shared with the public.