School leaders improve own learning

| 19/11/2015 | 11 Comments
Cayman News Service

Minister Tara Rivers and Chief Officer Christen Suckoo with some of the ILS Programme participants

(CNS): Fourteen leaders from government schools and the education department have passed through Part 1 of the International School Leadership programme, offered through the Ontario Principals Council (OPC), as part of efforts to improve the professional development of teachers and managers in the Cayman education system. Recent reports commissioned by the ministry pointed to extensive problems in the leadership in schools, and officials said it was essential that leaders improved their skills.

Christen Suckoo, the chief officer in the education ministry, said, “Education research highlights the importance of high quality instructional leadership in schools and where this is lacking, schools almost inevitably fail to improve.  The International School Leadership certificate programme has functioned for many years to prepare school leaders in one of the most successful English speaking regions, Ontario, Canada. This programme has been taken overseas to many countries, for example in Denmark and Ecuador, where it has achieved comparable results.”

Eleven leaders across the various primary and secondary schools on Grand Cayman have successfully completed Part 1 of the ISL programme. They are Chabienauth Samaroo, Delton Pedley, Elvie Clarke, Jane Kelly, Joseph Wallace, Kimberly Litrico-Watler, Lyneth Monteith, Gloria Bell, Richard Wildman, Vickie Frederick and Yvonne Lawe-Gonzales. Three school leaders on Cayman Brac have also passed Part 1. They are April Tibbetts, Devon Brown and Margaret Juman-Khan.

The Ministry of Education is requiring all current government school leaders to complete this programme by the end of 2017.  Beginning next month, a second cohort of school leaders will begin the programme and those who have completed Part 1 will begin Part 2 in January.

Rivers said the leaders’ commitment to the education system was appreciated.

“The recent baseline schools inspections and the education governance review identified strengthening leadership and management as a key component in achieving local school success,” she said. “The government is committed to supporting our educators and providing them with targeted opportunities to develop the additional skills they need to perform as highly successful instructional leaders.”

In an address to the Legislative Assembly Thursday, Education Minister Tara Rivers said that when had taken up office it was identified that there was a need to provide targeted professional development specifically aimed at strengthening school leadership but no such professional development opportunities were being provided locally.

“I am happy to report that our school leaders are not only receiving the opportunities to improve their leadership and management skills but are excelling in these professional development pursuits. I look forward to bringing continued news of their progress and trust that the children in our system are already beginning to reap the benefits of school leaders and teachers receiving and taking advantage of strong and relevant professional development opportunities provided,” she said.

Ministry Councillor Winston Connolly noted that international qualifications and training were essential to ensure continued development of education in government schools.

The programme spans nine months and consists of face-to-face sessions with instructors from the OPC. According to a release from the ministry, the framework used for the delivery of the training was based on international best practice but the ministry also needed to ensure that the training met local needs.

“As a result a member of the OPC team worked with a group of principals, the Department of Education Services and Ministry staff to ensure that the programme was best suited to meet the needs of the Cayman Islands Government School System,” the release stated.

There were six modules that required written assignments: Principal Leadership for School Improvement; Characteristics of Effective Schools and Systems; Building Relationships and Developing People; Setting Goals and Expectations Using Data Informed Decision Making; Leading Improvement in Classroom Instruction: Meeting the Needs of All Learners; and Instructional Leadership Project Proposal Development: The Application of Theory to Practice.

Minister Rivers’ LA Statement on ILS Certificate Recipients – 19 Nov 2015

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: ,

Category: Education, Local News

Comments (11)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Saddens me to see a few names there so ignorant that this will never help.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What a diverse group, not.

  3. Anonymous says:

    14 passed but how many failed.. If all who took it passed, is it really a test if so many senior citizens got through.If school leadership skills here are so wanting, how many “leaders” did not take the test?.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hold on a second here! Many of these “leaders” went through NELP (national educational leadership program) through the University of London and we spent tens of thousands on that….I also recall that some of the older ones in this lot got Master’s degree’s from the University of Miami on the government dime many years ago. And here we are spending MORE money on leadership development? When do we start developing a large pool of young (under 45) leaders? More importantly, When do we start spending money on accountability measures for leadership performance as measured by relevant KPI’s like attendance rates, growth margins on reading/math scores year to year, graduation rates, college acceptances…and the list goes on!

    I just can’t believe that government is wasting our money like this…AGAIN…and having the nerve to publicize it!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you 100 percent. Many are over retirement age.

    • Anonymous says:

      School Leaders improve their own learning??? Is this a joke? What about our children? If the so called school leaders had to go away to learn, how on earth are our children learning. This is why we have so many children that can’t read or write yet graduated. Our school system and the “school leaders” have failed generations of children and upcoming generations of children. I am so sick of hearing about this s..t over and over again….this present government and past government hasn’t done jack all for the school system, let alone quite a few other issues, crime, unemployment, etc…..never seen cayman in such bad straights.

    • Anonymous says:

      Shouldn’t they be taking HELP! (Highlevel Educational Leadership Programme), rather than NELP?.

      • Anonymous says:

        Another issue is that Chief Officers are part of the problem big time while the elected officials get the blame for the different ministries.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Happy to see the efforts and progress being made, however, I find the photo (holding certificates) a bit over the top.

  6. Just driftwood says:

    This sounds like a good program and I hope it brings the results people are looking for. However, I’m of the opinion that the Cayman education system is going to require a dramatic shift in organizational culture before any program or plan is going to make a difference. Accountability is lacking–one can’t blame everyone else for lackluster schooling when the results will affect everyone. Teachers and administrators must have authority, and those whose job it is to do so must stand behind them even when it’s not popular. The most important responsibility of a leader in an educational system is that s/he is willing to make hard calls and support unpopular decisions when they’re in the best interest of the child/school as a whole. There’s no magical management technique to it–hire only good people (requires the authority to do so), back them (be accountable), and make no decision that doesn’t answer the question “is this good for the future of these children?” in the affirmative.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Here’s my two cents on what truly matters. I do not care who gets elected as ‘Minister’ of Education and who becomes ‘Chief Officer’ of Education. Until EACH of those persons understand that there is an EQUAL partnership between Ministry, Department of Education, Schools and Parents NOTHING will change. Those countries that are succeeding are without a doubt moving forward with ALL THREE stakeholders at hand. Unless the elected member who becomes Minster of Education truly understands the complexity of education and knows what is truly BEST for the country, then it will continue to be nothing but a political football game. The Cayman Islands have the resources (check Alden and others LA ‘s bank accounts) to get the best out of education that can be for the betterment of our students, parents and the like).

    Unfortunately, elections are just around the corner again so others will come with their own ideas. HERE is a suggestion once AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BUILD a VOCATIONAL/TECHNICAL school that caters for ALL students of interest and UPGRADE the others to academic academies.

    This will save ANY government money in the future and safe guard employment for future CAYMANIANS. STOP pretending that we do not need such an institution.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Cayman Islands will benefit in the long-run and parents, students, education personnel will ALL see the benefits in the long run.

    STOP spending unnecessary monies and do what is right.!!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.