Friday, February 23, 2018

Calvin Harris, school principal at Marlie Mount Primary and Infant is crediting the implementation of specialized programmes as the main reason for its improved performances in the national literacy and numeracy results.

The 2017 results have been made public by the education ministry and show the Old Harbour-based institution registering a 90.8 per cent level of mastery in literacy which places them among the top-10 performers in the parish of St Catherine.

But the literacy performance fell below expectations Harris noted as original projection was placed at 95 per cent. Prior to these latest results the school averaged 86 per cent in literacy.

In numeracy, however, the performance averaged above expectations, registering 78.9 per cent – a marked improvement from their 2016 result of 69 per cent.

“I think what attributes to the performance is the fact that we have put in a few programmes in place,” Harris told Old Harbour News in a recent interview.

“For example those students who are not performing at their optimum we have what we call a Marlie CARE Programme, where we pull them out and they get special treatment as it relates to literacy and numeracy,” he added.

“We also did some diagnostics through MICO CARE, so we are able to identify some of the children and the challenges they’re having.

“Parental involvement was good, quite a number of the parents are in the WhatsApp group with the teachers which is a very good thing.

“The teachers also put a lot of effort into it this year. I must mention Mrs. Small-Brown, who is the coordinator for grade four.”

Getting children to love and appreciate mathematics is a perennial problem for educators. However, recent data is showing slight improvement with fundamental changes applied to improve performances. At Marlie Mount, making those fundamental adjustments are starting to bear fruit, its principal said.

“I think one of the problems with math, which is right across the country, the foundation has to be laid. If children are turned off not liking math from grade one, from grade two, they’re going to have a challenge catching up when they reach grade five, four and six. Certain fundamental things that we take for granted that we thing at their age they should not be exposed to,” said Harris, who rose through the ranks from classroom teacher to become headmaster.

“We have started the process and I think our grade fours are benefactors of that. We have started to make sure that from grade one certain fundamentals are taught to the children, reinforced at grade two and it goes on through to grade four.

“Our treatment plan is to start at grade one and I believe our current grade four would have been in grade two when we recognized where the problem exists,” he said.

Harris said the team is anticipating significant improvements when they will be no longer operating as a double shift school. The school is among several other institutions the State plans to take off the two-shift system geared towards guaranteed improved learning.

He said, the team he leads continues to find creative ways to improve learning. For example all grade six students preparing for GSAT function on a straight day schedule from seven o’clock in the morning to 1:30 pm.

Immediately after sitting GSAT grade six operations return to its normal two-shift system, while grade four is move to a straight day operation in preparing for the national assessment in literacy and numeracy.

As for the upcoming GSAT exams, Harris is anticipating improvement all round.

“We expect the students to do extremely well. We are going to try again what we did last year; we have our little small group that we are going to be pulling out with the intention to maximize their potential, and then we still have the ones at the bottom that we are going to be working with,” he said.

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The date January 30, 2018 will forever be etched in the annals of Marlie Mount Primary School after winning its first ever major national sporting title.

Having claimed their first parish netball title in December, the primary institution, more known for its excellence in academia and the arts, took a giant step forward on Tuesday by beating Clarendon’s Portland Cottage 17-12 in the grand finale of the INSPORTS National Primary School Netball competition.

“I feel great. The season was a great one. It was hard work, sometime it gives me a lot of headache but the headaches paid off in the end. They have improved which they showed in this game and I am happy that we won,” an exuberant Tudi-An Green, head coach of the champions, told Old Harbour News at the end of the game played at the Leila Robinson Courts, at the National Stadium Complex.

The travelling party which included principal Calvin Harris, vice principals, teachers and scores of students were ecstatic at the sounding of the final whistle.

Donet Wallace (left) of Marlie Mount intercepts a pass to Portland Cottage’s Nickesha Powell (right), while teammate Gabrielle Harris looks on

Words were not enough to describe the mass elation as history has just been written.

“We are extremely elated about winning this championship. The girls have been working tirelessly over the season and this win means a lot to them and the school also, because the school is not known for sport, we are mostly known for academics… This win says a lot that we have diversity as it relates to what we offer at the school,” Harris said.

With each passing round Marlie Mount looked like the team to beat dispatching their enviable rivals with conviction.

Portsmouth in the quarterfinals would present their sternest test a difficult challenge they manage to overcome by two points.

Naggo Head were no match for them in the semi-final at GC Foster College. But a different proposition was required to overcome Portland Cottage - a team that possessed one of the best emerging talents in the form of lanky goal-attack Nickesha Powell.

Portland Cottage’s Shaneika Longmore (left) intercepts a pass to Calissa Cobourne of Marlie Mount

The Clarendon side’s route to the final was largely due to Powell’s individual brilliance. But after seeing them outclass St Elizabeth’s Burnt Savannah Primary in the semi-final, Marlie Mount’s plan was obvious.

“In training the girls said Miss ‘all we have to do is the mark the goal-attack’,” Green informed. “And that is exactly what they did. We marked her out of the game and got her confused and we won the game.”

For the first three quarters, Green’s girls executed their plan to perfection, as they led by as much as eight points at one stage.

Portland Cottage would rally in the last quarter – a nervous period for Marlie Mount players and supporters – but the damage was already done. This feat achieved, though, goes beyond just winning, the Marlie Mount principal said.

“We wanted to show our support as the management of the school… and I think it is only fitting for us to be here to represent Marlie Mount Primary and Infant,” Harris said, while adding “I want to commend the coach and the PE (Physical Education) Department because they’ve already put in plans in place for next year. We want to expand the offerings of the school as it relates to sports.”

Collin Rose (left), sports officer at the Institute of Sports presents Portland Cottage with the runner-up trophy

Harris’ counterpart Dale Edwards, the headmaster at Portland Cottage, says the competition has done a whole lot for his school based in a community more known for its flood-prone issues.

“We are very proud of what the girls have achieved. They did well. Yes, we are a bit disappointed. I must say congratulations to Marlie Mount who played extremely well.

“But I think we didn’t bring our A-game today. The girls seem a little bit nervous by the occasion, but we are still proud of what we have done. Asked how the competition has helped his school, Edwards added: “It has done a lot. I think people don’t remember Portland Cottage because of where we are from, but this has given us a lot of exposure, persons have been calling us, congratulating us… so it has really put Portland Cottage out there.”

As for Marlie Mount, a different kind of pressure awaits them next season, but Green says they will be ready.

“The plan is to start training from now because we are coming back to defend our parish title and out national title,” said Green after copping her biggest achievement as a coach.

Published in Sports

St Catherine champions Marlie Mount, Clarendon’s Portland Cottage and Burnt Savannah of St Elizabeth are all through to the semi-finals of the INSPORTS National Primary School Netball competition.

All three teams booked their spot in the last four after eking out tense victories in today’s quarter-finals played at the Mineral Heights community centre in Clarendon.

Portland Cottage defeated Spanish Town-based Ensom City 12-11 in a game that saw the former leading by two points at half-time but were trailing 9-10 at the end of the third quarter. The Clarendonians will face Burnt Savannah in Friday’s semi-finals at GC Foster College.

(Left picture) Gabrielle Harris (foreground) of Marlie Mount and Portsmouth’s Tiffony Spence. (Right picture) Adenikay Brown (left) of Portsmouth fails to intercept a pass to Marlie Mount’s Akillie Richards

Burnt Savannah booked their ticket in a nail-biting battle with Kingston’s Iris Gelly, as a strong last quarter performance earned them a come-from-behind 10-9 win.

Marlie Mount overcame a difficult challenge from Portmouth of Portmore, to triumph 14-12. Portsmouth led 7-5 midway the game, however, Marlie Mount’s usual strong second-half display saw them leveling the scores at eight-all at the end of the third quarter before getting their nose in front at the final whistle.

Marlie Mount’s opponent will be known today when Black River take on Naggo Head in a rescheduled quarter-final encounter.

Published in Sports

Marlie Mount ended the INSPORTS St Catherine Primary School Football season in fourth place as defending champions McAuley retain their title for a third time.

The competition climaxed yesterday at the Homestead community centre with Marlie Mount coming out on the losing end of a five-goal thriller with Ensom City in the play-off for third.

Ensom City had to come from behind twice thanks to Marcus Anderson’s goals in the 30th and 52nd minutes after Marlie Mount’s skipper Shyjah Orridge scored in the 19th and 50th minute of play.

Akiel Morris then hit the winner for Ensom City on the stroke of full time in the 60-minute contest.

McAuley are champions for the third time after a 1-0 win over Friendship in the final.

McAuley’s victory was set up by Rajae Taylor’s seventh minute goal, before going close on several occasions.

Friendship, through talismanic captain Jadee Mitchell, had a couple chances too, but in the end McAuley ran out deserved champions.

In the preceding presentation ceremony, Marlie Mount was named most disciplined team, while Mitchell copped the leading goalscorer award for his 11 goals.

Taylor, who is head boy at McAuley, was most valuable player (MVP) of the final, with teammates Jahvay Marshall and Tiny Seaton taking the top goalkeeper and best female player prize respectively.

McAuley Primary are champions for the third after beating Friendship in the final

Published in Sports

Marlie Mount defeated Ensom City 11-7 to lift the INSPORTS St Catherine Primary School Netball crown at the Homestead Community Centre last Friday.

The St Catherine south west side led their Spanish Town opponents 3-1 at the end of the first quarter and managed to hold a one-point lead at the half-time break.

Ensom rallied briefly to draw level at 7-7 at the end of the third quarter. However, a fired up Marlie Mount netted four unanswered goals in the deciding quarter to claim their first major netball title.

Marlie Mount’s victory was inspired by captain and wing-defence Donette Wallace, who was named MVP of the final.

Tudian Green, coach of Marlie Mount, was ecstatic at the end amid wild celebrations and attributed hard work and dedication as the key reasons behind the historic victory.

Meantime, dethroned champions Spring Garden, who lost to Marlie Mount in the semi-finals, drubbed Linstead’s York Street 9-1, to secure third spot.

In football, Marlie Mount were on a high after their netball team won the parish title earlier at the same venue.

But their spirits were shattered by the brilliant Jaedeo Mitchell who scored in the 37th and 52nd minutes to give Friendship Primary a deserved 2-0 semi-final victory.

Friendship will play defending champions McAuley Primary in final is set for December 12, 2017 at Homestead starting 12:30 pm, while Marlie Mount and Ensom City will contest the third-place kick-off at 11:00 am.

Published in Sports

It was an almost perfect score for Marlie Mount Primary’s Arecia Burgess, who averaged 98.2 per cent following the release of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results.

Burgess’s score topped a list of high achievers from schools based in the Old Harbour area, while classmate Terrence Grant recorded the highest average amongst all boys.

From our list of best performers, four will begin the next chapter of their education at Glenmuir High, while two students head to Kingston College and also St Jago High.

Of the 11 schools targeted, only five supplied Old Harbour News with information. For the first time Good Hope Primary was among the highlights, with Lenworth Harrison, their top performing student, set to begin his secondary education and indoctrination we must add, into the famous Fortis culture at North Street, Kingston.

GSAT is an annual examination exercise which arguably determines the placement of students into the secondary education system.

Old Harbour News did not receive any information from Bois Content, Bellas Gate, Browns Hall, Monsignor Colin Bryan Prep, Bartons Primary and Davis Primary, prior to publishing.

See highlights below.

Published in News
Sunday, 04 June 2017 14:28

Well done Marlie Mount Primary

It was a day of cheer for those present at Marlie Mount Primary last Thursday, as the institution was officially presented with the runners-up trophy for the 2016 INSPORTS St Catherine Primary School Football.

The entire football team led by tournament MVP DaJanique Ferguson and coach Dwayne Thomas received huge applause from the school community during morning devotion after finishing second best in the parish behind champions McAuley Primary of Spanish Town.

Elaine Walker-Brown is the sport officer in charge of the parish for the state-run Institute of Sports – organizers of the competition. While commending the school for their performance she was impressed by Ferguson, who was outstanding during the competition.

(L-R): School principal Calvin Harris, tournament MVP DaJanique Ferguson, Elaine Walker-Brown, sport officer, Institute of Sports and Dwayne Thomas, coach of Marlie Mount Primary football team

“We will be monitoring her development. Not just her football development but her overall development,” said Walker-Brown, who is also head of women’s football at the Jamaica Football Federation, the island’s governing football body.

“She was exceptional for her team and also as a player. She’s right up there in terms of talent with the best boys in the parish, which says a lot about the future of women’s football in our country,” added Walker-Brown.

School principal Calvin Harris was delighted by the performance of his students, telling Old Harbour News that the entire school is very proud of the team.

As per FIFA regulations girls are allowed to participate with boys in football competition at this age-group.

But the organizers went a step further by making it mandatory for every participating team to have at least one girl on the field of play at all times.

This is necessary, says Walker-Brown, as it represents the foundation of women’s football.

“This is how you get the girls involved at a very young age,” she said. “By the time they get 15, 16 years old their skill sets would be at the desired level, which makes it easier for the national coaches.”

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 17:31

97-year-old educator Mabel Grandison honoured

The recent nationwide power outage failed to cast a shadow throughout a dark night as glowing tributes ignited the halls of the Lions Civic Centre Old Harbour in honour of 97 year-old Mabel Grandison, former principal of Old Harbour and Marlie Mount primary schools.

Several high officials, including former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, were present to show their appreciation for one of Jamaica’s most outstanding educators.

At a function organized by the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and the Church of the Holy Trinity Old Harbour, the adulation for the retired educator was overwhelming.

“Mrs. Mabel Grandison, you are being honoured for your commitment and contributions to the education system in Jamaica. Your dedication, team spirit and work ethic are being recognized and lauded. A strict disciplinarian, but a compassionate and excellent teacher who used several techniques, strategies and novel ways in motivating, especially the boys, to be quick learners,” said Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid.

“It is a well recognized fact that the most important resource of all educational institutions is its employees. Our very special stalwart, Mrs. Grandison, is being acknowledged and commended for her hard work and contribution to the wholesome education proffered to our nations’ children.”

Grandison, a 1941 graduate of the Shortwood Teachers’ College was the first principal of Marlie Mount Primary, built in 1973. But this was after teaching at Old Harbour Bay Primary and then the Ludford Trust School, later renamed Old Harbour Primary, where she rose through the ranks to become principal.

The highly respected educator was seen as the best person to lead the newly constructed Marlie Mount Primary where she left an indelible legacy serving as principal until retiring in 1984.

“You were known for your innovations, your creativity and ingenuity, for creating a Library and reading rooms; and for being instrumental in the construction of the infant department with the assistance of the Parent Teachers Association as it is alleged that the Government stated then that they could not afford to build a very needed infant department,” recalled Icylin Golding who delivered the citation.

“However after your persistence, the school inspector said to you ‘If you want to build it, build it, they can’t knock it down….’ And so you did build it and Marlie Mount Primary and Infant Department has been a beacon in Jamaica up to today.”

Her passion for education was self-evident throughout her life, as many children would visit her Colbeck home for additional lessons.

A Justice of the Peace and one of the longest serving members of the Anglican Church in Jamaica, plans are afoot to celebrate Grandison’s Diamond Jubilee at the Holy Trinity Church on November 2, 2016.

“As an avid reader, you had a keen attention to detail and to the correct protocol for the performance of your duties. You always planned long in advance and would not give in to a last minute flurry of activity. You stood your grounds when some wanted you to circumvent the rules. The huge ledger which carried the records of the church’s financial status was filled out in complete detail. Your penmanship was clear and precise. There was no difficulty in deciphering what you had written. Even in your early 90s you were still the treasurer. To your credit, Holy Trinity was the only church in the cure which was up to date with their commitments to Church House during your tenure,” said Golding regarding some of Grandison’s many worthy contributions to the church.

“Mrs Grandison, you have been a faithful communicant, a devoted and prayerful Christian of the Holy Trinity Church Old Harbour for almost three-quarters of a century, and it is fitting that your service should be celebrated,” she added.

And the Education Minister said the ministry has taken note of the contribution of stalwarts such as Mrs. Grandison. He noted that a decision was taken “years ago” for each region of the ministry to host functions “every two years or as it becomes necessary” and honour retired servants of the sector.

“This special appreciation function should be an essential element for all organizations and educational institutions.

“I don’t think a formal event was hosted for Mrs. Grandison. A formal thank you was never said. For this 97 year-old lady being celebrated, this special function is providing a gilt edge opportunity to say thanks publicly: To a wonderful lady who has worked assiduously to make Jamaica’s education system a success, we acknowledge your work and your worth.

“Mrs. Mabel Grandison, your work has not gone unnoticed. You have served the Education Ministry with honour and distinction and we will always be indebted to you.”

In her response Grandison was most gracious and was deeply touched to know that she had had such a positive impact on so many lives. She said she was overwhelmed by the large diverse support as many persons travelled from abroad to share in the momentous occasion.

She also expressed her displeasure of those persons seeking to promote patois or Jamaican creole as a language to be taught in school. She said the fact that patois is not an official language, nor is it used as a communication tool in international trade, more emphasis is required in mastering the English. Children are having difficulty speaking English, she argued, because it is not ingrained in the homes and therefore the language is unfamiliar to students when at school.

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Published in News

Celebrations are still ongoing for many students who were successful during the annual national Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) after the results were published last week.

And as per usual Old Harbour News took the time highlighting the top boy and girl from some of the primary institutions within the area.

From the group of high achievers, six students have matriculated to Glenmuir High, with Old Harbour Bay Primary’s Michaelia Nesbeth, who averaged 98.6 per cent, leading all and sundry.

Two bright sparks are heading to St Jago High, while two girls will begin their secondary education at Holy Childhood High.

Two outstanding boys, which includes Old Harbour Primary’s Steven Wedderburn who averaged 94.6 per cent, are off to Kingston College, while Shakiela Boothe of Freetown Primary and Saphia Cothrel of Old Harbour Primary are respectively expected to blossom at all-girls institutions The Queen’s High School and Wolmer’s Girls.

Take a look below at our distinguished list of high achievers for 2016.

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Grade one students at Marlie Mount Primary will operate on a single shift system beginning the next academic year.

All grade six classes will follow suit by October of this year as the institution begin its structured out-phasing of operating two shifts.

Students on the single shift will attend school between the hours of 7:00 am and 1:30 pm while regular school hours remain applicable to those on double shift.

Calvin Harris, the school’s principal, told Old Harbour News that work on the new two-storey block is yet to begin, but is anticipating that the Ministry of Education will disburse the funds next month to commence construction.

Harris said the work will be undertaken by experts contracted by the ministry, however, a small percentage of labourers required will be drawn from the community.

During the summer school break he said they’ll be taking steps to create additional space to accommodate over 250 grade one students spread across seven classes.

The phasing out double shifts represents part of the government’s policy to improve the quality of education administered in public schools. This is based on research conducted by the ministry, along the lines of international best practice, which revealed that students on single shift perform better due to longer contact time between teacher and student among other variables.

Marlie Mount, which originally operated as a single shift school, is slated to return to single shift status by September 2017.


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