7 Feb. 2021
Weekly Current (archived version)
Sneak peek at our Cayman Islands Schools Explorer project. Little Trotters preschool has new owner. Second half of interview with Principal of Cayman Academy. Rite Start gets follow-through inspection report. LIFE celebrates milestone. And more!
Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education in the Cayman Islands.
Week In Review
Hard hats, safety vests and sturdy boots required. This week we’re letting readers take a site visit to our very-much under-construction Cayman Islands Schools Explorer project.
The idea, as we’ve written before, is to create a comprehensive guide to the 50-plus schools in Cayman, incorporating as much publicly accessible data as possible, ranging from basic contact information, to student demographics, to inspection results, to relevant news stories from the Cayman Current.
We have completed drafts for the first 2 entries in the Schools Explorer:
- Island Montessori, a private school offering classes for children from 12 month’s old up to primary education
- John Gray High School, the country’s largest public school providing secondary education for students from age 10-17
We’ll stress again that these entries are works-in-progress, and we are making adjustments to the design, formatting, information being included, etc.
We’d like to thank Jenn Cowdroy and Clare Thorpe at Island Montessori for agreeing to be our first test subject, and for providing helpful suggestions as we try to make the Schools Explorer as accurate, clear and useful as possible.
Similarly, we would greatly appreciate any feedback that readers may have on the Schools Explorer, in terms of what it looks like, what data it contains, and how users can interact. Just like all of the content on the Current, we are creating the Schools Explorer for the benefit of the community, with the goal of improving education in the Cayman Islands. (Our email inbox is always open to suggestions and comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
As a reminder, the Schools Explorer project builds off our reporting on the first complete cycle of school inspections. You can find the 7 stories we published on that data here.
***Editor’s Note: The content we publish will always be free to the public. However, it’s not free for us to create. We are seeking donations from companies and individuals to support our nonprofit organisation and our mission. We are also seeking sponsorships for our individual products, including this Weekly Current newsletter, our Scholarships Directory, our Document Library, and our Schools Explorer project. Visit our donations page to make a pledge. Or send us an email to discuss opportunities. Thanks for your time and consideration. To our existing supporters, such as Founding Sponsor Broadhurst Law Firm: Thank you, thank you, thank you!***
Little Trotters Farm & Nursery School has a new owner — Joanna Boxall, the owner and founder of Acorn Media, whose titles include Cayman Resident, Cayman Parent, Good Taste and Explore Cayman.
Boxall purchased Little Trotters (the only school in Cayman rated ‘Excellent’ by government inspectors) from Josie Duran, who established the school in 2004. Boxall told us she’ll be stepping into Duran’s role, including conducting parent tours, holding teacher feedback meetings and generally being the face of the school.
We published the second half of our interview with Cayman Academy Principal O’Neil Duncan. The principal of the private Seventh-day Adventist school talks about the school’s initiatives, its distinguishing characteristics, and potential misconceptions about the school.
Here are some highlights from the second half of the interview:
- “While we have been using Teams for awhile, we have recently introduced the iPad initiative, where all of our students now have iPads. When we teach, we use a smart board to interact with a SMART suite of software. The children find the lessons more engaging and interactive.”
- The schools is working to introduce its A Level programme as a result of feedback from OES inspectors to transition to a 5-year model of secondary education, from its current 6-year model.
- “For the past year or so we have been working on that, so our current Year 9 students are going to graduate with our current Year 10 students. By 2023, we want the entire high school to be on the 5-year school system.”
- “We stand out because of our academic excellence. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find any school that turns out students who do so well.”
- “Also we highlight the whole aspect of salvation through Jesus Christ and Kingdom Values, our school as a church community, the scripture as our guide. A lot of times those things are not necessarily played up in other institutions, but it is a main focus of ours.”
- One misconception about the school may be that, because its fees are so low, parents may wonder about the quality of education provided.
- “Sometimes little changes make a big difference. We focussed on improving the look and feel of the school, so that people liked what they saw.”
Rite Start Day Care & PreSchool has made overall ‘Satisfactory’ progress in addressing recommendations from the Office of Education Standards. The school on Shamrock Road had been rated ‘Weak’ back in September 2019. Since then, it has improved enough that it won’t be subject to further Follow-Through Inspections.
More from the Current:
- LIFE and Intertrust Group complete first phase of their programme to provide classroom libraries to all public primary schools in Cayman.
- New UCCI One-Stop Centre gives students access to services.
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.)
- Cayman Compass ($): Cayman teen becomes National Geographic Young Explorer
- The Guardian (UK): Gavin Williamson plans phased return to English universities in March
- Jamaica Gleaner: Latest figures trigger concern in education sector
- Jamaica Observer: Cancel School Year
- The Guardian (UK): Union rejects plans to extend school day to make up for Covid closures
- Trinidad Express: ‘Essential’ teachers in line to get Covid vaccine
- Jamaica Gleaner: 115 wards of the State excel in CSEC, CAPE
- Virgin Islands Daily News (US): Operation Inspire expands free virtual after school program for V.I. students
The Week Ahead
- Schools Explorer, launching our comprehensive guide to Cayman’s schools