STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE SHARIE B. DE CASTRO
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, YOUTH AFFAIRS & SPORTS
EIGHT SITTING OF THE FOURTH SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
TUESDAY, 15TH NOVEMBER, 2022
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATORS
Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to update this Honourable House and the entire territory about the Ministry’s commitment to continuous professional development for educators to support the development of skills, the expansion of knowledge and the efficacy of instruction. The theme for the 2022-2023 school year is “Virgin Islands Education: Moving Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead.”
The annual Summer Institute was held during the week of 29th August to 2nd September, 2022 to usher in the new school year. During this week, five hundred (500) educators from both public and private schools across the territory engaged in a week of professional development that focused on attaining the best learning outcomes for students by empowering educators to create relevant and tailored instruction by using data to make modifications to academic programs and teaching techniques.
Madam Speaker, with improved student achievement as the main goal, the 18th to 20th October, 2022 provided additional professional development with a focus on teacher collaboration and planning. The objectives covered included the Virgin Islands Literacy Programme, construction of effective classroom centres and Positive Behavioral Management. The early identification and support of students with learning needs is critical in order to provide interventions at increasing levels of intensity to expedite the rate of learning. The creation of teaching and learning resources also support the effective teaching of subject content and concepts. Taking a proactive approach to discipline that aims to promote positive behavior and create positive school environments ultimately improves school climate as well as student achievement.
Madam Speaker, another impactful training opportunity has been the Excellence in Teaching Professional Development series that started on the 25th of October and will run until 18th of November, 2022. The Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports has partnered with the Institute of Education at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College to facilitate sessions on S.T.E.A.M [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics], assessments through measurement and evaluation, Special Education and workshops for new teachers. These sessions have been planned to benefit educators across the territory in Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada. The Effective Leadership & Coaching sessions, intended for new principals and aspiring principals, will begin in January of 2023.
Madam Speaker, I am extremely proud of the impact of the professional development sessions thus far for the 2022-2023 school year. At this time, I wish to thank all the facilitators who have played an integral role in the effective execution of these sessions that support the improvement of the quality of education in the territory.
Madam Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to share the continuous work being done to upskill the administrative and teaching staff in our schools. This is all in an effort to improve the system by developing the capacity of educators which positively impacts student achievement. Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports remains committed to creating opportunities for professional development of educators in the Virgin Islands.
Thank you Madam Speaker.