13 Sept. 2020
Weekly Current (archived version)
Thanks for reading, and thanks for caring about education! Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education news in the Cayman Islands.
Week In Review
This week we introduced “An Interview With …” which will become a recurring feature on the Cayman Current. In this series, we sit down with education leaders and publish the conversation in the form of an edited Q+A.
Highlights from the interview:
- COVID interrupted OES’s plans to inspect all 53 schools in Cayman between September 2018 and June 2020. OES intends to inspect the remaining 10 schools during this fall semester.
- Inspectors are also conducting follow-up reviews at schools judged as ‘weak’ during the first cycle of inspections.
- OES is doubling its number of full-time inspectors by bringing in two more staff members (one with experience in Jamaica, and one in Dubai) in September (COVID allowing).
- OES is continuing to develop its associate inspector programme to increase on-island expertise and reduce dependence on foreign inspectors.
- During the COVID lockdown, OES published 2 reports on at-home learning in public schools and private schools .
- “A common finding was the challenge teachers and students and parents found in accessing, in a reliable way, face-to-face learning. There were a number of technical problems, such as wireless connections, access to laptops, etc.,” Carpenter said.
- “In the government sector, generally the quality of teaching was not quite as good as we found in some of the private schools, but there was a consistency in the way in which the schools were able to offer a programme,” he said.
- OES also took the opportunity to conduct a consultation to update the 2018 inspections framework in preparation for the second cycle of school inspections, now set to start in January 2021.
- An immediate task for schools this fall is to attempt to quantify the ‘learning gap’ that occurred while schools were physically closed from March-June. Once that’s assessed, schools must come up with solutions, whether that’s lengthening the school day, increasing the number of teaching days, offering summer school, etc.
St. Ignatius Catholic School has released the results of external examinations from the spring. More than 95% of students achieved 5 or more ‘higher’ passes on their I/GCSE exams. The school also highlights individual achievements on Year 11, 12 and 13 exams. (Check out the results here.)
Current founder and editor Patrick Brendel joined a virtual panel of journalists hosted by the Cayman Compass, concerning the future of media in the Cayman Islands. Brendel (yep, that’s me) talks about the Current’s model of nonprofit public service journalism, focussed on education, and how that could become an integral part of the local media landscape. (Watch the panel on the Cayman Compass’s website here.)
Around The Web
The Current is a central resource for education journalism by others, including regional and international news relevant to Cayman education. (Find our running collection of links here.)
- Times of London: Lindsay Paterson: Parents need help to teach their children well
- Miami Herald: Miami-Dade’s going to Phase 2 could have school doors opening this month
- Cayman Compass: ‘Higher education can be new economic sector‘
- Cayman Compass: Cayman’s jobseekers look to training options for reopening
- Bermuda Royal Gazette: School bus congestion fears
- Jamaica Gleaner: Families cut meals as COVID eats away earnings
- Jamaica Observer: JTA head worried about Internet access as schools prepare to reopen
- Cayman Compass: Emotional literacy programme helping kids return to school
- Bermuda Royal Gazette: Private schools get tough on Covid
The Week Ahead
- Interview with Jonathan Clark — principal of John Gray High School. Clark talks about virtual learning during the COVID closure, strengths and challenges at Cayman’s largest public school, and what’s going on with ongoing construction at the new John Gray campus.