Train­ing con­tact teach­ers on agenda for JTA pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rant

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Ju­dana Mur­phy/Gleaner Writer ju­dana.mur­phy@glean­

THE PRIN­CI­PAL cred­ited for the trans­for­ma­tion of Con­sti­tu­tion Hill Pri­mary and In­fant School is one of two Ja­maica Teach­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (JTA) pres­i­dent-elect can­di­dates for the 20202021 ad­min­is­tra­tive year.

With a pop­u­la­tion of 42 stu­dents and a Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion In­spec­torate grade of be­ing des­per­ately in need of sup­port, the school was sched­uled to close in 2012.

Win­ston Smith sold his vi­sion for the East Ru­ral St An­drew school dur­ing the sum­mer and com­menced the aca­demic year with 88 stu­dents.

Dur­ing his five-year ten­ure, Smith worked with the teach­ers and par­ents to place the school at a sat­is­fac­tory level.

“The lit­er­acy rate moved from 40-some­thing per cent up to 92 per­cent. We moved the nu­mer­acy rate from 37 per cent up to 78,” shared the cur­rent prin­ci­pal of Golden Spring Pri­mary.

Smith started his ca­reer in teach­ing at age 18 and is two re­search pa­pers shy of ob­tain­ing his master’s in ed­u­ca­tional ad­min­is­tra­tion from The Univer­sity of the West Indies.

He has served on the fi­nance, res­o­lu­tions, and salaries and con­di­tions of ser­vice com­mit­tees of the JTA.

“I am the mem­ber of the JTA who rep­re­sents the teach­ers at the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion on the 50 per cent re­fund ap­peal com­mit­tee. At the last meet­ing, I won nine of 15 cases that were brought up, and two were sent back for ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion,” he shared.

Should Smith suc­ceed as pres­i­dent-elect, the sep­a­ra­tion of va­ca­tion and study leave would take high pri­or­ity on his man­i­festo.

He plans to re­brand and strengthen the role of JTA con­tact teach­ers.

“The con­tact teacher will get a chance to be ad­e­quately trained in how to rep­re­sent the teach­ers at the do­mes­tic level. In be­ing proac­tive, I want my teach­ers to have a more har­mo­nious re­la­tion­ship at the do­mes­tic level, rather than bring­ing ev­ery­thing to the head of­fice level,” he ex­plained.

Smith will also seek to ad­vo­cate for the pro­vi­sion of nurses in pri­mary schools, as is the case in sec­ondary schools.

With more than 20 years in teach­ing and a decade of ex­pe­ri­ence as a mem­ber of the JTA’s gen­eral coun­cil, he will also seek to en­sure that salary claims are prop­erly sub­mit­ted to the fi­nance min­istry for ne­go­ti­a­tion and that teach­ers in spe­cial po­si­tions, such as depart­ment heads, are ap­pro­pri­ately paid.

The po­si­tion is be­ing con­tested by God­frey Drum­mond, a se­nior teacher at Peters­field Pri­mary and In­fant School in West­more­land.

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