Spanish Town Primary School tackles illiteracy

Spanish Town Primary School tackles illiteracy

October 23rd 2009

Kingston, Jamaica – 23 October 2009: Friday, October 23 sees Spanish Town Primary School officially opening two Enrichment Rooms, refurbished and equipped by the Digicel Foundation, under the Enrichment Centre Initiative with the Ministry of Education. “With the new Enrichment Rooms, we plan to bring our literacy and numeracy levels to 100%, and so we have already timetabled our students who need to re-sit the literacy test to use these labs,” explained an enthusiastic Principal Andrea Dixon.

“The Digicel Foundation is proud to be able to provide Spanish Town Primary with these two Enrichment Rooms. Equipped with computers, interactive whiteboards, literacy and numeracy software and other teaching aids, we are confident that they will fulfil their goal of 100% in literacy and numeracy in the shortest time possible,” commented Major General Robert Neish, Executive Director of Digicel Foundation. “This school accommodates, and therefore impacts, a lot of our children and we are sure that the Enrichment Rooms here at Spanish Town Primary School will prove a potent move for literacy and numeracy, not only within the parish, but our country on a whole, in the months to come,” he also expressed.

Operating on a shift system, Spanish Town Primary School is the largest primary school in the Caribbean, facilitating 2,650 pupils. With an average attendance of 95%, these students hail from, predominantly, the inner-city communities within Spanish Town. Nonetheless, they have an enthusiasm for learning and coupled with supportive parents and teachers, the students perform exceptionally well in Sports, JCDC Festival Competitions, Spelling Bee as well as GSAT, to name a few.

Trained to be in the Enrichment Rooms are Pauline Smith for Literacy and Ogle Aljoe for Numeracy. They both participated in an extensive three-month training program, involving representatives of the three main streams of the Ministry of Education, i.e. Literacy, Numeracy and Special Education as well as the Special Educator of Jessie Ripoll Primary School, Sandra Maxwell-Williams. This training has equipped them with strategies on how to identify and treat each child’s area of weakness and also how to use the various literacy and numeracy software and hardware.

“The Enrichment Centre Initiative is tailored to meet both the needs of under-achievers, reading below their grade levels, and over-achievers, who require more educational challenges that are not presented in the normal classroom context,” commented Enrichment Initiative Coordinator, Dr. Michele Meredith-Dobbs from the Education Transformation Project in the Ministry of Education.

The Enrichment Rooms at Spanish Town Primary School are two of 13 such facilities that has been refurbished and equipped by the Digicel Foundation, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. The other schools that are benefitting from the programme are Waterford Primary, Lyssons Primary, Franklin Town Primary, Balaclava Primary, Victoria Town Primary, Cave Hill Primary, Drapers All Age, Melrose Primary and Junior High, New Hope Primary and Junior High, St. Ann’s Bay Primary and Moneague Primary and Junior High.

The rooms are equipped with Information Communication Technologies such as laptops, computers, literacy and numeracy software such as Hooked on Phonics, Early Success, and Master Reader, Hooked on Math, Math Manipulative Audio-Visual

“In the very near future, we hope to begin a literacy/computer programme, targeting those parents who are unable to assist their children with their homework, reading, mathematics, etc,” explained Principal Dixon.