27 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 published the final two parts of ‘An Interview With … Jonathan Clark, Principal, John Gray High School’.
Highlights from the second half of the interview:
- The number of ‘exclusions’ (i.e. suspensions/expulsions) for disciplinary issues has gone down dramatically since Clark became principal in 2016.
- “Something I’ve drilled into staff that was a little bit missing at the start, if I’m honest, was to instill what others would call an unconditional positive regard for their kids.”
- Clark welcomes the work of school inspectors from the Office of Education Standards and trusts their assessments.
- John Gray was well-prepared for the modified CXC exams this summer, because the school had been piloting online exams for several years.
- The school’s GAP programme enables high-achieving students to sit external exams early and move on to advanced classes and college courses.
- On the other end of the scale, John Gray’s ‘nurture group’ helps struggling students adapt to the rigours of secondary school, including specialist help and therapy.
- “Hopefully if we invest the time now in getting them to be able to function more effectively, then everything else will click into place.”
- The school’s new gymnasium was completed first for several reasons, including infrastructure requirements, hurricane shelter capacity, and creating a world-class space for examinations and other events.
- The new John Gray campus will take the best of Clifton Hunter High school and tailor that to the needs, goals and curriculum of John Gray.
- “It’s been a long time coming. Within the next 2 years we’ll be there. We’ll be occupying some of it toward the end of this year, so it’s really exciting times for the school.”
- Instead of dividing John Gray into 4 academies in order to manage discipline, the new campus will be organised around subject areas to facilitate the concept that the ‘core business’ of John Gray is learning.
- A core element of the new campus will be a centralised library facility: “There’ll be some tech in there and we’ll have it around the outside, but it’s a school and it’s going to make a real statement. It looks quite flashy but it’s a really important statement that a library is a learning hub.”
Territories throughout the Caribbean are expressing concerns, loudly, about the results of this summer’s CXC exams. (Read more here.)
For now, however, Clifton Hunter High School has no complaints. Unofficial results indicate that Clifton Hunter students posted record-high scores in English and Maths. (Read our story here.)
Continuing on our reporting from the week before, St. Ignatius Catholic School parents have created an HSA sub-committee and petition in response to concerns over recent changes to the school board and resignation of the Head of School. (Find out more here.) The Cayman Compass picked up on the story, chipping in that the church (and school) had been remiss in filing annual updates with the Non-Profit Registrar. Church officials said they’re taking care of the paperwork forthwith. (Read the Compass story here. Sorry about the paywall.)
And last, a couple of items on paying for education. First, the Ministry of Education has increased the level of financial assistance for early childhood education — from $450 to $500 for supplementary funding and from $275 to $305 for basic funding. (Read the press release here.) Second, the time is now to apply for the Peter N. Thomson – UCCI Scholarship 2021. The scholarship awards up to $2,500 per year to study full-time at UCCI. The application deadline is 16 Oct. (See the details on how to apply 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.)
- The Virgin Islands Daily News: Education clarifies statement, says grades not suspended
- The Guardian (UK): Glasgow University to refund students ordered to self-isolate
- Staebroek News (Guyana): Ministry contacts CXC over apparent poor grading of students at CSEC, CAPE
- Trinidad Express: Questions over CSEC
- Jamaica Observer: Some not happy with CSEC grades
- The BVI Beacon: EDITORIAL: Without equal opportunities, students will be left behind
- Miami Herald: ‘It’s wild here’: Universities grapple with large parties, defiant students on campus
- Miami Herald: Facing anxious teachers, Broward public schools pushes back opening of classrooms
- Loop Cayman: UCCI is now an ACCA online testing centre
- Loop Cayman: CCMI on track to deliver over 70 scholarships for Caymanian students
- Miami Herald: Special needs students struggle to adapt to on-screen, hands-off learning amid pandemic
- Jamaica Gleaner: NO FACE TO FACE – Principals reject Oct 5 in-person classes
The Week Ahead
- Interview with Stacy R. McAfee, President and CEO, University College of the Cayman Islands