Curbside classrooms get support
THE EFFORTS of Taneka McKoy Phipps, who has been teaching scores of children through a curbside classroom initiative in Delacree Lane and surrounding communities off Spanish Town Road in Kingston, have been bolstered with support from a proven corporate friend.
Yesterday, Proven REIT provided an e-pay card each to McKoy Phipps, her daughter, Martanek Phipps, and her sister, Michelle Campbell, who are her assistant teachers, to help offset expenses associated with the project.
The e-pay cards, which will be topped up each month for the next three months, are in addition to printing paper, ink cartridges, school supplies, as well as paint and paintbrushes, to be used to create blackboard spaces on walls in the community.
Aisha Campbell, chief executive officer of Proven REIT, said that her team became aware of McKoy Phipps’ initiative after her story appeared in THE STAR recently. She explained that her organisation was pleased to support the children to continue their education following the disruption of classes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Transformation in Jamaica starts with our children,” she asserted, while commending McKoy Phipps for her selfless act.
“Her initiative allows them to continue their education as much as possible under the circumstances. She is keeping them engaged, keeping them loving school, [and] keeping them loving learning.”
Kerry-Ann Davis, a resident of the community, is relieved that her three children, ages six, seven, and nine, are benefiting from the classes as sometimes she doesn’t have data to facilitate their online classes.
“They are learning whatever she puts on the board, and whenever they get anything wrong, she explains it to them,” Davis said.
Davis further underscored the benefit of McKoy Phipps’ initiative to the other children of the community.
“I think it is very good because you have children who are not able to do the online [classes] because some parents don’t have smartphones.”
Following the closure of schools in March as the new coronavirus emerged in Jamaica, McKoy Phipps has been keeping children on Delacree Lane, where she lives, and surrounding communities occupied with schoolwork by using worksheets that she develops and noticeboards or walls that she painted to facilitate teaching.
By 6 a.m., McKoy Phipps, accompanied by her two daughters and sister, begins her walk through the communities of Union Gardens, McKoy Lane, Tavares Gardens, and Payne Avenue. She uses a whistle to get the children’s attention to collect the worksheets she takes and to mark those she gave out the previous day.
McKoy returns to her home by 10 a.m. in time to conduct online classes with her early childhood students at the Union Gardens Infant School.
“I’m so thankful. I’m really blessed and favoured by God,” she told The Gleaner.
“I’m seeing where truly no man is an island, no man stands alone.”
Aisha Campbell (left), CEO of Proven REIT, and six-year-old Taneemar Phipps as they paint a community blackboard in Tavares Garden. Proven donated paint and school supplies to the children of Tavares Gardens, Delacree Lane, and other surrounding communities during a handover ceremony on Tuesday.