Sat | Apr 4, 2020

Simon Primary embraces NCEL’s leadership development programmes

Published:Sunday | December 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Principal of Simon Primary and Infant School, Nova-Dean Samuels-Lee, (left) shares with her team, her vision of painting murals as part of efforts to improve the physical appearance of the school.

Principal of the Simon Primary and Infant, Nova-Dean Samuels-Lee has lauded the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL) for the fundamental role it has played in building and promoting leadership in the island's schools.

In particular, Samuels-Lee advised that she is most appreciative of the Effective Principals' Training Programme (EPTP) that she recently participated in and has noted that she is now better equipped and empowered to implement quality initiatives for greater student outcomes.

She said she is also grateful for the support that the College continues to provide though its Multi-Grade School Leadership Initiative that was conceptualised to promote effective teaching and learning in a multigrade setting, leadership and management of a multigrade school, as well as showing school leaders how to position their school.

In a recent interview with the NCEL media, Samuels-Lee noted that all the activities and interventions were aligned to the College's goal and objectives, as well as the mission statement which states that "Simon Primary and Infant is committed to providing a teaching and learning environment where all stakeholders collaborate and work for the best through respect, dedication and determination."

"We take pride in doing a good job and exceeding expectations as we consistently focus on performance," she said, as she reflected on one of the school's core value-aspiration.

Despite some challenges, she has been working assiduously with the support of the staff, students and community members to improve the school's performance since she was promoted to the principalship in November 2017.

She said that after examining the data, the school's team met, conceptualised and implemented an assessment plan aligned to the new National Standards Curriculum; student leadership initiatives; and that eight policies to steer the school improvement process were done, ratified by the Board of Governors and then implemented. The school is currently piloting the Trauma Informed Programme under the leadership of the Board Chair, Roan Patterson.

She noted also that the school has seen an improvement in the passes for the final sitting of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) as some students matriculated to schools such Jonathan Grant, St. Catherine and Excelsior High.

Another of the successful initiatives to date is the implementation of a breakfast programme through funding support from the political representative, Food for the Poor and Kingston Restoration Company. This, she said, has enabled an increase in attendance and punctuality at the school.

Samuels-Lee said that the school will be as strong as its weakest team member or initiative and thus, has ensured and encouraged the implementation of targeted capacity-building workshops to advance the skills and competencies of the team. She added that although, the school was rated unsatisfactory in its 2013 inspection, she remains undaunted and is committed to doing all that is necessary, with the support of her team and community, to transform the educational institution into the "School of Choice".

"At this juncture, I would like to applaud the Ministry, Board, the students, the parents and community, our most valued stakeholders, and other partners in education for their commitment to participate in/support activities that will ultimately enhance the school," Samuels-Lee said, while emphasising the importance of teamwork in achieving planned objectives and ensuring that our children learn.

Nestled in the hills of Sligoville, Simon Primary and Infant is a multigrade school that was built in 1949 and currently has a population of 80 students and eight teachers. This represents a nine per cent increase in enrolment for the 2018-2019 academic year. Additionally, the school was recently given "The Most Improved School Award" in the north.