EBENEZER–The Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of St. Maarten Academy’s Preparatory Secondary Vocational Education Section (PSVE) is outraged by the 49 per cent average passing rate of exam students this school year. The results were made known this week and the PTA blames the management style of the school for the low scores.
PTA member Lindon Richardson wrote in a letter to The Daily Herald, “The initial passing rate for PSVE is at 49 per cent, which is the lowest it has ever been in the history of the school existence. During the former principal’s tenure, the average passing rates were between 80-89 per cent.
Some 33 students will retake exams this week and hopefully that will increase the initial passing rate. Previously, 77 students completed the exams and 38 passed the exam outright, which means 39 students have re-sit the exam or failed out right, according to Richardson.
The removal of school Principal Lavern Amanda Nelson was brought up by teachers near the end of this school year. Teachers believe that Nelson created a hostile and tense working environment at the school since becoming principal. In a letter to the Foundation for Academic and Vocational Education (FAVE) Board on May 26 outlining their grievances, teachers requested intervention by the board, which manages both Academy schools.
Board Chairman Roland Duncan told this newspaper on Tuesday that the board is disappointed with the results. “Horrible passing percentage. Teachers must give account. Management and board are not in classrooms!” stated Duncan.
He also said the board will be assessing the situation with the principal and the passing percentage this year. “I will not discuss strategy in the media. Once we are ready to announce changes, all parties will be informed,” he added.
However, the PTA member was very critical of Nelson and said her leadership style is to torment certain teachers on staff if they openly disagree with her.
“Under her leadership, three persons will be losing their jobs after direct conflict with her. She has been treating some teachers as a child while manipulating others to get what she wants. She is known to be a compulsive liar and some teachers demand that other teachers accompany them when meeting her in her office.
“Unfortunately, Mrs. Nelson spent more time trying to control and torment teachers who have already been producing great passing results for many years. As a concerned parent, my child has been denied his basic rights to eat and to use the bathroom in the past. The security guard at the school goes around yelling and pushing the students around while he is never disciplined for his action, according to my knowledge,” said Richardson.
“A couple of months ago, the principal allowed her vice principal to lock a student against her will with men teachers, while they aggressively interrogated the student, who was telling the truth about a situation, in efforts to force the child to change her story. Unfortunately, according to the girl student, there was no legal representation for the student during that process.
“The students themselves are under duress and stressed by the principal as well. Students aren’t allowed to eat and go to the bathroom whenever they request to. Teachers would send the students whenever they asked, but the principal and security send them back to the class. There was a point in time when the principal actually locked the bathrooms.”
He said that, surprisingly, the teachers do not want her gone from the school, but they do not want to work under her type of leadership. They do care about her wellbeing and wish she had had shown the same compassion for others under her leadership.
This same principal apologised last year for the manner in which she treated some teachers and asked for another chance to do better, but this year she actually got worse, according to some staff members.
“Some teachers lost the zeal and commitment for teaching at the organisation because of this principal and the board. They are tired and hurt and are not willing to go the extra miles as before.
“To date, the school board has not met with the teachers since the first letter. As a result, you now have a de-motivated teaching staff and students on campus. The numbers do not lie!” Richardson concluded.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/77821-academy-pta-disappointed-with-students-low-passing-rate