Report on teachers’ summit being drafted

POSTED: 06/27/12 12:25 PM

Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Silveria Jacobs speaks at Monday’s summit for primary school teachers and care unit personnel.

St. Maarten – The highly anticipated teachers’ summit for primary school teachers and care unit personnel took place on Monday at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa. Approximately 350 teachers took part in the summit designed to give the teachers the opportunity to voice their concerns and propose solutions.
The summit entitled ‘Turning Challenges into Stepping Stones’ is the first in a series of conferences that will be hosted by the Cabinet of the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports. The teacher’s summit is part of Phase I.
The day started out with an invocation by one of the participating teachers, Marva Sam from the Hillside Christian School. The St. Maarten song was sung by Geniquah Thewett – a sixth grade pupil of the Genevieve de Weever School. Thewett also sang an A cappella motivational song to the large gathering of teachers.

Jacobs then delivered a “riveting and motivational” speech to the teachers prior to commencement of the brainstorming sessions on solutions. Her words were reportedly met with enthusiasm and elation. Jacobs concluded her speech with a motivational video encouraging teachers to ‘Never give up’ and to believe that they ‘Can make a difference’. An impromptu A cappella rendition of Mary Mary’s song ‘I just can’t give up now’ sung by several talented teachers from various schools commenced the beginning of the brainstorming session.
The teachers, who sat in 35 assorted groups of 10 persons, participated in a lively hour long brainstorming session. Each group was presented with one of the challenges they had drafted during the pre-registration earlier in the week. Guidelines for the brainstorm session included techniques such as the ‘7 W’s ‘(who, what, where etc.) and the S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time based). Immediately following the brainstorming session the teachers presented their solutions to their peers.
Hot topics such as ‘Teacher absenteeism’, ‘Special needs school’, ‘Professionalism’, and ‘Parental involvement’ were some of the many presented during the two hour long presentations. The presentations were documented by several members of the various education departments. The documented presentations will be bundled and mailed to all teachers, the coordinator, school managers and school boards during Phase II of the ‘Turning Challenges into Stepping Stones’ summit series.

In her closing remarks Jacobs thanked the teachers for their honesty, dedication and hard work during the year and in particular during the conference. In addition some of the challenges presented were immediately addressed by the minister with updates about their status and progress.
The minister also thanked the organizing staff of the various ministry departments for their hard work and team spirit.
“When we work as a team we can achieve anything. This is the prevailing thought at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports – Team Work!’
The closing remarks were followed by a lunch where the teachers had the opportunity to meet and greet the minister.

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