Bermuda Post

Thursday, Mar 04, 2021

Minister of Education- School Reform Update 3 February 2021

Good Morning Bermuda,

Today I will provide an update on the following topics:

- The Ministry’s public and parish meetings on the Parish Primary Schools Proposal,
- Learning First, and
- National School Counsellors Week

For the past few weeks, the Ministry of Education has conducted public and stakeholder presentations regarding the Parish Primary Schools Proposal. The attendance for these virtual meetings has been steady and engaging. The lead facilitators are Commissioner of Education, Kalmar Richards and the Director of Academics, Dr. Llewellyn Simmons. To date 124 people have either sent in proposals or joined the zoom calls. 1600 people have viewed the meetings via Facebook and 200 people have viewed them via YouTube.

Each presentation presents the proposal to the attendees and provides opportunities for Question and Answer sessions. As we engage in this open and transparent consultation process, it is critical for the public to be given ample opportunities to ask questions and offer suggestions.

In addition to the meetings for the general public, a minimum of 2 meetings per parish that has more than one primary school will be conducted. The purpose of these Parish meetings are to allow the specific parish communities to discuss the vision for the parish schools proposal and how it effects their parish.

Last night was the first meeting held with the parishes, and that was with the people of St. George’s parish. We will be holding another session with St. George’s parish tomorrow.

As a reminder, the Ministry is proposing to have ten high-quality and equitable primary schools. The proposal involves the change from 18 primary schools to ten with one primary school per parish, with two in the parish of Pembroke. The proposal states that parish primary schools will serve as hubs for each community with parents, surrounding neighbourhoods and organisations rallying around schools, supporting educational programs and creating healthy, authentic partnerships.

The concept of community schools is growing around the world. Community schools represent a vehicle for aligning the assets of students, families, teachers, and the community around a common goal which is to improve the success of our young people.

Community schools purposefully integrate academic, health, and social services; youth and community development; and community engagement—drawing in school partners with resources to improve student and adult learning, strengthen families, and promote healthy communities.

I encourage all residents parents, students, teachers, business owners, seniors, clergy…in fact all of Bermuda…to join us and have your say. We want to hear from you and give you the opportunity to ask questions and offer suggestions about the proposal. The meetings will provide valuable information about the work being undertaken in Bermuda to realise the vision that all students are prepared to lead personally and professionally, compete locally, and contribute globally.

The meeting dates and times are listed on www.moed.bm website. It is important for you to register officially as that is the only way you will get the Zoom logon information, as that information is unique to the participant. Meetings held on Mondays and Thursdays will also be broadcast via YouTube and Facebook by CITV Bermuda.

UPDATE ON LEARNING FIRST

The Learning First Design teams are currently working in small project groups on six aspects of the Public School System that require a national plan and approach. In Learning First, these the Core and National Priorities, are:

- Curriculum - what students learn (in and beyond school)
- Pedagogy - what teaching and learning looks like
- Graduate Outcomes - what students need to achieve and how they evidence learning
- Learning Environments - where and when learning takes place
- Education Workforce - what support teachers and principals need to bring about these changes
- Design Principles - the core values and vision that hold everything together.

The Learning First design teams are using design techniques to develop their new ideas and plans for the Public School System. One of these is prototyping. Prototyping involves testing concepts and ideas at an early stage to learn about how ideas may work in real life and how they need to change and improve to meet a diverse range of needs. Prototyping can take different forms depending on the idea to be tested. It might look like a role-play of an experience, a model of physical space, or even a game of scenarios.

Learning First is looking for people across the island that may be interested in participating in prototyping activities over the coming months: teachers, school leaders, parents, young people, community members or business people of all ages and life experiences are welcome.

To connect with Learning First visit their website at www.learningfirstbda.com. I encourage all of Bermuda to sign up for their monthly newsletters and follow them on social media to get regular updates on their work.

National School Counselling Week

This week the school counsellors are engaged in activities to mark National School Counselling Week

The theme this year of ‘All in for All students’. I wish to take this opportunity to thank our school counsellors. This past year, counsellors have gone above and beyond for our students; delivering groceries and technology to homes, checking on families through phone calls and Zoom and being advocates for your students.

Counsellors understand and know more than most how fragile the human spirit can be. In their role as school counsellors, many students and parents have had to rely on them to help make sense of COVID-19 challenges and gain the strength to overcome their challenges.

I want to thank you, School Counsellors, for being that pillar of strength. Thank you for being that listening ear not only for what is said, but what is not. Thank you for extending yourselves beyond the school setting and into the homes and hearts of our students. Thank you for your long hours, weekend and summer work. Thank you for making the mental health and physical needs of our children a priority. Thank you for your care.

I hope that my words of acknowledgement and appreciation are uplifting to your spirit and strengthen you to keep moving forward and upward.

Thank you Bermuda.
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