EBENEZER–The Preparatory Secondary Vocational Education (PSVE) section of St. Maarten Academy is striving to inspire its students to strive for excellence during this academic year.
The school re-opened its doors with 147 new students and has a total student population of approximately 430.
New Principal Lavern Amanda Nelson told students at the first assembly for the 2016/2017 academic year on Monday that she expected them to strive for excellence in all areas. She urged students to follow the CARE approach by creating a positive image for themselves and the school; Achieving the best performance possible academically; Respecting themselves, others, authority and their environment and Excelling in all that they do.
Nelson told students that excellence starts with each one of them. She urged students to also manage what they share on social media sites, such as YouTube, noting that negative videos, such as ones with students fighting, paint the school in a negative light. “Create an image that shows that you are positive contributors to St. Maarten,” she urged.
She alluded to the positive results of the graduating class at the end of the last academic year, and she urged students to keep the level high. Nelson said she expected “every student and every parent to give it their best.”
Nelson succeeds Solange Duncan as Principal of the institution. Duncan went on retirement at the end of the last school year. Nelson had told this newspaper earlier that she sees her appointment as an opportunity to propel a vision that is already in motion.
Her plans to improve PSVE as the new Principal include improving the infrastructure and brand of the school; improving instruction and assessment and improving learning within a simulated business environment. She noted also that it takes a village to improve any school. These plans are in keeping with the vision of the school board.
She said the priorities are included in a four-pronged approach “Inspiring Excellence: We Care” model. This approach includes to first create a framework to transition to Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) qualifications for vocational schools. “First, to a competence-based qualification at basic secondary education called the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC), offered in the Caribbean region since 2007. The existing arrangement with St Maarten requires that all official requests related to CXC’s suite of products are routed through the local registrar.”
Another aspect is to achieve improved instruction and assessment, improved learning outcomes and improved infrastructure and brand. In this regard, the school wants to strengthen its flexible admission criteria, reduce the retention rates at basic secondary education and develop and implement a plan of action to reduce student and teacher absenteeism, as well as review the current PSVE model to achieve Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) status as an alternative to the PSVE qualifications.
Respect is another aspect. “Funnel accountability for our team, our students, staff and stakeholders through respect for self, respect for others, respect for authority and respect for the environment. This will be achieved through three frameworks: a student rulebook including rewards and consequences for students and parents, a teachers’ handbook outlining the rights and responsibilities of our team and the Framework of Quality Inspection for Education (in) St. Maarten issued by the Inspectorate of Education.”
The final approach is to excel. “Keep class sizes manageable given the square footage of the school and strengthen our admissions criteria. This should reduce teacher fatigue and stress, minimise the loss of instruction time through sick days and improve the quality of instruction given access to limited resources.”
Nelson said PSVE has some of the best teachers and student care team in St. Maarten. Moving forward, she believes it is important that the institution strengthens its flexible admission criteria, reduce the retention rates at basic secondary education and develop and implement a plan of action to reduce student and teacher absenteeism. “We also must review the current PSVE model, since a majority of our unique population of students is unable to transition to other PSVE tracks, offered by counterpart school after Form 2. These students who should transition are forced to follow the “Economy track,” although it is not their future academic path or interest.
Within this framework, the exit qualification also must be reviewed, since a number of our students are unable to continue further along the PSVE track after graduation to benefit from the full qualification structure of PSVE. As such, since PSVE is preparatory, after graduation, these students are forced to redirect into the General Education Diploma (GED) programme for instance, or take a placement test at our sister school, then return to Form 3 to start the CXC CSEC programme,” she said.
“We must do better with this cumbersome approach for the PSVE student after graduation, so that they can reach their best potential with the least number of jerks, moving up the educational strata.”
Source: Daily Herald
PSVE aims to ‘inspire excellence,’ amongst students this school year