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Brighter days ahead for Constant Spring school

Jamaica Observer 2019-02-10 10:38:01

THE Constant Spring Primary and Junior High School in St Andrew is about to see a new dawn.

Newly appointed principal, Shay Dillon who has expertise in mathematics says his aim is to create a technology-rich environment.

“We want to get the school to a point where it is known for technology. It is known for its output in terms of mathematics because I am also a mathematician. I really want to drive the process of [information technology communication] ICT integration to drive the curriculum at the school and also for our student to do exceptionally well,” Dillon told the Jamaica Observer recently.

Dillon, who was quick to point out that the transformation will have to be a collective effort among all stakeholders, said he's currently observing the teachers and understanding the school's culture.

Explaining that the data from his observation will be tangible for the planning of workshops and staff development, he said he had already identified an area that has to be changed.

“I realised though that some of the teachers in terms of their pedagogical delivery, the content is presented at the abstract level and so mathematics must be taught from the concrete level, moving it to the pictorial and to the abstract level, and that is one of the things we want to push at the school because to make mathematics more meaningful for the students, for them to be able to see the real life application it must be taught from the concrete to the pictorial to the abstract,” he explained.

With less than 30 days in the principal's chair, the mathematician, who has taught at Oberlin High School, St Andrew for in excess of 15 years, said the vision requires resources.

“One of the things I would really want to get in to the school is a lot of math resources. We need a lot of manipulative so that the students can construct their own knowledge, they can see and they can now relate that to their experience,” he further explained.

With less than 70 per cent numeracy average, Dillon is of the view that retrofitting the math room with the necessary tools will drive an increase in the subject.

The school has a population of 800 students.

Expressing his desire of having smart boards in all classrooms, he said the students should be exposed to the global platform.

“We ought to be deliberate in terms of getting our students to be exposed to much more than we were exposed. They are the ones who will be taking over. We need to prepare them for the jobs that are not yet created, so it is very important that we use technology to drive the curriculum,” he said.

Admitting that a smart board is expensive, he suggested that the installation could be done in phases.

“We could look at a smart zone where we decide that we are going to let a particular area that the students can go there for classes and we rotate,” he said, insisting that despite the financial challenges, they will have smart boards eventually.

In addition to that, the principal said he's also seeking to digitalise the school's administration system as well.