A Revolution is Coming… An Education Revolution, That Is!


The JN Foundation is recruiting revolutionaries… education revolutionaries, that is.

They are SERIOUS! At foreground is Kasan Troupe, principal of Denbigh High School in Clarendon. Back row (from left) are Nadine Molloy, principal, Ardenne High School in St Andrew; Coleen Montague, principal, Wolmer’s Girls’ School, Kingston; Oneal McCleod, National Mathematics Teacher of the Year of Godfrey Stewart High School, Westmoreland; Esther Tyson, former principal and JN Foundation’s School Leadership coach; Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith, principal, Allman Town Primary, Kingston; and Dr Renee Rattray, director, education programmes, JN Foundation. Second row (from left) Lawrence Rowe, principal, Mile Gully High School in Manchester; Lynton Weir, principal, Old Harbour High School in St Catherine; and Karl Coke, Principal, Buff Bay Primary School in Portland. (Photo: JN Foundation)
They are SERIOUS! At foreground is Kasan Troupe, principal of Denbigh High School in Clarendon. Back row (from left) are Nadine Molloy, principal, Ardenne High School in St Andrew; Coleen Montague, principal, Wolmer’s Girls’ School, Kingston; Oneal McCleod, National Mathematics Teacher of the Year of Godfrey Stewart High School, Westmoreland; Esther Tyson, former principal and JN Foundation’s School Leadership coach; Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith, principal, Allman Town Primary, Kingston; and Dr Renee Rattray, director, education programmes, JN Foundation. Second row (from left) Lawrence Rowe, principal, Mile Gully High School in Manchester; Lynton Weir, principal, Old Harbour High School in St Catherine; and Karl Coke, Principal, Buff Bay Primary School in Portland. (Photo: JN Foundation)

These fierce-looking rebels in camouflage are in fact school principals, who are campaigning in support of the Foundation’s iLead Project (read more at www.jnfoundation.com/ilead). It has been said many times that strong direction and focus are needed as a firm foundation for the education of our children – and that this is lacking in some areas and in some institutions. So, the JN Foundation has decided to take the bull by the horns and confront the issue of leadership and change management in education. Its School Leadership Summit 2016, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, will take place at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Monday, July 25 and Tuesday, July 26. All leaders in education – school board members, principals, vice-principals, senior teachers, middle managers, student leaders, and Ministry of Education officials – are invited to attend, so do register as soon as possible – the deadline is Wednesday, July 20. Full details are here: http://ileadjamaica.com  Register today!

CONFERENCE material set 2b

Dr. Renee Rattray, Director of Education Programmes at JN Foundation is not only passionate about education. She also has a clear vision of what is needed. Essentially, this is: We need to do things differently. We cannot keep doing the same thing over and over and getting the same poor results. And we need to act urgently! We owe it to generations of young Jamaicans, don’t we?

I firmly believe the education system is failing our young people. We cannot keep pushing them through a production line, coming out the other end still struggling with literacy and numeracy issues, still lacking in self esteem and life skills. Every child has potential for something – not necessarily an academic genius, but that spark of creativity and imagination that makes each child unique. A truly “wholistic” education can bring this out. I personally was fortunate enough to have benefited from such an education through the Froebel philosophy. Educator Friedrich Froebel said (and perhaps this is what we are searching for):

Protect the new generation: do not let them grow up into emptiness and nothingness, to the avoidance of good hard work, to introspection and analyzation without deeds, or to mechanical actions without thought and consideration. Guide the young away from the harmful chase after outer things and the damaging passion for distraction.

Dr. Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University; where he also serves as Director of Science Education at the Center for Health Equity and Urban Science Education. He is currently a Caperton Fellow and Hip-Hop Archive Fellow at the WEB DuBois Institute at Harvard University. (Photo: hiphoped.com)
Dr. Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University; where he also serves as Director of Science Education at the Center for Health Equity and Urban Science Education. He is currently a Caperton Fellow and Hip-Hop Archive Fellow at the WEB DuBois Institute at Harvard University. (Photo: hiphoped.com)

One of the presenters at the School Leadership Summit next week is Dr. Christopher Emdin of Columbia University, a science advocate and founder of the #HipHopEd social media movement. He’s an innovator (clearly); you can look up his TED Talks on blending hip hop with education to reach our young people. It is hoped that a similar approach may be taken with dancehall. Yes! That’s revolutionary!

Salome Thomas-EL. (Photo: principalel.com)
Salome Thomas-EL. (Photo: principalel.com)

Then there is Salome Thomas-EL, an award-winning teacher and principal, currently the Head of School at Thomas Edison Charter School in Wilmington, Delaware. “Every child needs someone to be crazy about them,” he says. Throughout his teaching career he has helped children to overcome the barriers of poverty, violence and simply being ignored to achieve their dreams through learning and through their lives beyond school. He is passionate and caring. Revolutionaries are passionate!

Pete Hall sounds like a fantastic team-builder, trainer and coach, with a total of 19 years’ experience in teaching (12 as a principal). He is someone with energy, who can motivate teachers. Revolutionaries need motivation and encouragement at all times, don’t they?

Pete Hall is an award-winning teacher and consultant, who has published six books on capacity-building for teachers. (Photo: ASCD)
Pete Hall is an award-winning teacher and consultant, who has published six books on capacity-building for teachers. (Photo: ASCD)

The Summit is  not going to be a lot of speeches and nothing else, though. Each session will be highly interactive, with participants coming away with practical strategies and plans that they have worked out over the two days with other education leaders that they have networked with. Why did the JN Foundation choose the concept of a “revolution”? I hope it is clear that they are seeking to energize people into action, into the implementation of new ideas. Passion leading to action! That’s what revolutionaries do!

Nsombi Jaja is President of the Florida-based Quality Management Consultancy Inc., serving clients across the Caribbean, and a fantastic coach. She is the author of a book with the apt title: ‘How Leaders Develop Spiritual Intelligence’. (Photo: NCB)
Nsombi Jaja is President of the Florida-based Quality Management Consultancy Inc., serving clients across the Caribbean, and a fantastic coach. She is the author of a book with the apt title: ‘How Leaders Develop Spiritual Intelligence’. (Photo: NCB)

Three amazing Jamaican women will be pivotal to the event: Kasan Troupe, Principal of Denbigh High School; Dr. Renee Rattray of JN Foundation; and Nsombi Jaja, quality management consultant. They are all vibrant speakers and motivators, and if you have not met them before…Well, educational leaders, principals, student leaders…you should! Just get on board and absorb that collective energy!

Kasan Troupe is the inspiring Principal of Denbigh High School in Clarendon. (Photo: British Council)
Kasan Troupe is the inspiring Principal of Denbigh High School in Clarendon. (Photo: British Council)
Dr Renee Rattray (left), director, education programmes, at the JN Foundation, has words of encouragement for Sha-Ann Clarke, a first-former at Jonathan Grant High School, during Girls’ Empowerment Day.  (Photo: Jamaica Observer)
Dr Renee Rattray (left), director, education programmes, at the JN Foundation, has words of encouragement for Sha-Ann Clarke, a first-former at Jonathan Grant High School, during Girls’ Empowerment Day. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)

Oh, by the way – Happy Nelson Mandela Day! And let us remember these words from the former president of South Africa and 1993 Nobel Peace Prize laureate:

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

 


5 thoughts on “A Revolution is Coming… An Education Revolution, That Is!

  1. An idea so revolutionary it has been rejected many times with howls of horror – teach children to read in Jamaican patois/ creole. That would raise their self-esteem and they would learn to read easily. Children who learn to read in their mother tongue find it easier to learn to read in other languages subsequently.

    Liked by 1 person

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