It was standing room only for the first Parents-Teachers Association’s meeting that was held on the evening of Thursday, September 20.
The meeting was opened by the PTA President, Soluke “Luckie” Innocent and was soon underway as Dr. Lenora Black, always challenging and encouraging, urged parents, guardians and administrators to embrace the time their children spend in school because it is a time of growth and development. She reminded the audience that the gathering was aimed at focusing on the new school year and that the purpose of going to school was not only to merely attend, but to learn.
“Parents, help your children set realistic goals and in those times of multi-tasking, help them develop a contingency plan.” Dr. Black said. She told them to identify things that get in the way of being ready for a good school day, such as staying on Facebook late in the night and not getting enough sleep. Create a plan of action and follow-up with it by periodically checking the progress of your children. Encourage them; do not confront them before having found something positive to tell them. She advised parents to enroll themselves in a class to show their commitment: “Let us, as adults, continue to build ourselves.”
The minutes of the March 26 meeting were read by Ms. Saunders. That last meeting had dealt with the sale of the t-shirts as a fund raiser for the PTA, about the fees for the graduation package and contained words of encouragement from Principal Arthur Jones. Sgt. Johnson had been present and had mentioned that there were a lot of infractions committed by young people. He complained that the kids were not very disciplined and that they needed to work with other cultures. The minutes were approved without any corrections needed.
The new Guidance Counselor, Mr. Longley, observed that more security was needed on the school grounds, to which he was informed by Dr. Black that the matter of security had already been submitted to the Minister and will be addressed. She also mentioned that there were plans to refurbish the computer labs, the upstairs lab by College of The Bahamas. Someone objected to the lab fees since there was no computer to be used but was told that the fees covered supplies expenses and not computers.
After the reading of the Treasurer’s report by Ms. Stubbs, Vice- Principal Sophia Miller was introduced. She in turn, presented to the parents three new teachers, Mr. Perez (Science Department), Ms. Silvan (Spanish) and Ms. Rolle (Social Sciences). She said that Ms. Thompson (Religion) and Ms. Brown (Physical Education), a former CARIFTA Athlete, completed the panel of new teachers.
Dr. Black welcomed the new Principal, Ricardo Ferguson, who introduced himself and exposed his goals for the coming year. A self-described no-nonsense educator, with years of experience at W Davis and R M Bailey, Mr. Ferguson stated that he will enforce the rules and regulations of the school to the utmost.
“I am not here to oppress your child,” he said, “but we are trying to establish pride, respect and excellence. The needs of the many exceed the needs of the few.” He cited the example of students who presented themselves at the school three weeks after the opening day. They had to bring their parents and be accompanied by an administrator before they could register. He asked the parents to have decency and order when visiting the school and reiterated the no-cell phone policy. He reminded them that in order to lift the level of education the students needed all the equipment required. He also asked them to pay the examinations fees (BGCSE and BJC) before January 2013.
Mr. Longley then mentioned that the SAT examination was scheduled for December 1 and that a study guide was available for $26. Classes will be held for students interested in taking the SAT.
Dr. Black explained the criteria for graduation diplomas that will be standardized across the country starting 2014. To receive a diploma, a student will have to pass at least four subjects and have maintained a 2.0 GPA over three years. He or she will need to maintain a 90% attendance and 90% or higher punctuality as well as providing 40 hours of community service.
Several police officers, among them Officer Dorsett and Officer Moss, were present at the meeting and were invited to speak. Officer Dorsett, the on-campus police officer, presented a new program- Urban Renewal 2.0- that was being put in place. He said the program would fail if parents were not on board. “We have to go back to the motto ‘it needs a village to raise a child,’” the officer explained. “Get involved with your child and other people children,” he urged. “We need to hold hands together to create a future for our country.”
The PTA board members were introduced and before ending the meeting with a prayer by Pastor Knowles, Dr. Black announced that there will be an all-male Service on September 28 at 10:00 a.m. at Change Ministry International.