Learning continues at this rural school, via motorbike!

At Little Bay Primary School in Westmoreland, where I am Principal, we have a lot of communities that are far off main roads and cannot be reached by normal transport. Some of our students may not always have internet access, and with school being closed they are even more disadvantaged.

Now is the time to think of different ways to get things done! So I started to use a motorbike taxi to deliver and pick up printed homework assignments once a week to the students who cannot get online.

I remember the first time when I rode up on the bike the children were like “Oh my God!” and would run to the bike. We put their names on the homework packages, and especially during this time of COVD-19 something as simple as that can make them feel special.

Leaving no child behind

Parents too have been excited – they say no one has ever reached out to us like this.

We do our best to ensure that no child is left out of teaching and learning. We take our school register with us and with each delivery we mark the children present as if we would for school. The next week we pick up the work and in the meantime teachers can reach out to the students by phone.

Through this process the children still feel like they remain part of a learning community.

Thanks to partnership

Photograph of Keron King, Principal of Little Bay Primary School in Westmoreland before the COVID-19 outbreak.
ContributedKeron King, Principal of Little Bay Primary School in Westmoreland without his mask before the COVID-19 outbreak.

How it came together was simple: a partnership between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, the school, the parents and the community. I especially want to thank our Senior Education Officer Patricia Haughton in Region 4. I emailed her all the work for students and while she was at home, she got them printed and organised at her office where I could pick them up. Back in the community, I asked one of the bike taxis to help me deliver.

Truth is we’ve always tried every means and method available to reach parents and engage our students. For our leadership at the school, equity is extremely important, and it’s something we must continue to work on even beyond COVID-19.

There is a mindset that rural schools are distant, but the reality is that it doesn’t have to be that way. For instance, we ensured we got funding from stakeholders to have EduFocal as a timetabled course. Every student at the school has an access code. So, when COVID-19 happened to us and we met as staff we could take some comfort in knowing that we were ahead.

Ensuring equality of access

We must recognise that not every child has access to the internet. Before COVID-19 our computer teacher Romaine Penado from the Rockhouse Foundation would come in on a Saturday and those children who can’t access at home come to the lab to use computers there – we also arrange for their transport.

Some people may see us as ‘way out inna bush’, but we are showing up, and thanks to supporters like the Rockhouse Foundation, we can keep improving. I’ve been here about two years, and at 32 years old I am one of the youngest Principals in this region, and during this time the school has moved from being rated unsatisfactory to satisfactory.

When you partner with a local school like ours you are partnering with the future. Three years ago, this may not have been the school people would want to highlight, not the school of choice. COVID-19 is testing us as educators, but we are determined to pass, and with distinction!

What is UNICEF doing?

For more information about our response to COVID-19 assisting government and non-governmental organisations to protect the rights of children, and to access resources for parents, visit our webpage dedicated to this emergency: unicef.org/jamaica/coronavirus-disease-covid-19

This post is part of a series looking at how COVID-19 is impacting children and families and also people who are addressing their challenges. Post your #COVID19diaries story to social media and tag @unicefjamaica to be featured!

 

 

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Comments:

  1. This is so wonderful. My son attend Church hill primary in santoy Hanover it would be great if church hill was doing the same thing that if they are not .

  2. This is a commendable approach by principal Keron King. One in which equity among students is valued. This approach suggest that the Principal is a front-line worker and a bold ‘captain’. I am confident that this move has improved his school-home-community relationship.

  3. Commendable. The whole idea of reaching out to ensure learning continues…

  4. Absolutely amazing. A real out of the box innovation. I’m impressed.

  5. Commitment of the highest order.Putting students first and going above and beyond is commendable

  6. awesome heart Mr King, God bless you. What suggestion do you have to enhance early childhood school teachers and principals. ( Basic school )

    1. Simply wonderful Mr Principal. Your actions display the authentic Jamaican principle…caring. I salute you sir, keep up the good work.

  7. very excellent initiative my colleague,keep up the good work.

  8. principal with an extraordinary initiative, keep up the excellent job

  9. principal with an extraordinary initiative, keep up the excellent job sir.you will be rewarded.

  10. Bless you Sirs. Indeed you are beacons in the bushes and you give the rest of us in rural schools hope and encouragement. We are the unsung heroes who are overlooked in the flashy commercials. Continue to blaze the trail of enlightenment.

  11. Mr. King

    Continue to think outside of the box. You are making a difference in education

  12. Truly amazing. A true example of a great leader and mentor. May God continue to bless your effort.

  13. Mr Keron King Principal of Little Bay Primary School you are an exceptional leader. You have gone beyond the call of duty to ensure that no student was left behind. You ensure that there was equality in distance learning.

  14. This is great work, I think good teachers are hand pick by God. We have a role to play in this society and the world at large that we are living in. Whatever the circumstances are whether it be a pandemic or any other natural or man-made disaster, we as educational leaders and teachers will continue to chart the way and develop and use creative ways of reaching our students and continue to build a better tomorrow for our children.

  15. Big up to you Mr. King.Your action goes to show the world that you are not one of those Principals who sits in the office in jacket and tie and give orders. The students progress during this pandemic is first and foremost .They were not left behind and i suppose they will be on par with other students in other school . With you doing this you will be better respected and love.

  16. Excellent 👍 Keep up the awesome work. This approach is Maslow before Bloom Approach. The Covid 19 Pandemic has paved the way for educators to be very creative and indeed you master this approach.

  17. Commendations Mr. King, I was really impressed months ago when I saw this feature – you’re indeed a visionary principal and one who values equity in education.

  18. The work put in by this Principal is highly commendable. It shows that he truly cares about his students and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that every child learns.

  19. Congratulations to you and your team , Mr. King. The power of vision and collaboration are priceless. I laud your SEO for playing a very pivotal role. Continue to lead in a passionate manner . You did not dwell on your problems ; you sought solutions.

  20. I raise my hat to the Principal and his team at Little Bay All Age. Continue to build your community and the world through education.

  21. The topic “learning continues” perfectly articulates the content of the article. Mr. King must be lauded for being a proactive, caring leader who is championing the educational programme of the nation’s children. Congratulations to this Visionary Planner!

  22. May God bless you, you have proven to be an excellent leader, ensuring that No Child is Left Behind. Commendable sir, do keep it up!

  23. As a young professional and educator, kudos to your innovativeness and resilience for your students!

  24. I must commend Principal Keron King of Little Bay Primary School in Westmoreland for his resilience . he communicated frequently ,prioritized needs and he was flexible in his undertakings during this pandemic.

  25. “Those who can, find a way. Those who can’t, find an excuse”. There are so many plausible excuses that Principal King could find but clearly this is a man who has a vision to elevate his school. He is willing to fulfill this vision at any legal cost. This is what you call “tun yuh han (and mind) an mek fashan” His students were not going to be left behind. What an excellent way too to get the community involved. Principal King took on the mantle of David with a sling. He used what was available to him. The bike taxi man became the educational postman. I have no doubt he basked in the honour of carrying the King (pun intended) and the “big ups” from the students and their parents. A+ for you Principal. Those with better resources at their finger tips should take a chapter out of your book.

  26. What an awesome gesture..im amazed at your dedication to the education.May God continue to bless and strengthen you.

  27. Printing and packaging of work for students will be one of the main tools that will be used for our students because we do have students who live in deep rural areas.

  28. Very innovative and creative…great work!!! Love his determination..

  29. This is a truly remarkable story of a school leader going beyond means to ensure that NO CHILD IS LEFT BEHIND.

  30. Excellent job Principal Keith. No child should be left behind despite the emergency mode. Small gestures create big moves. I know you are impacting positively on the community that you serve. Continue to do the good job you are.

  31. Commendations to you Principal King. You are doing an amazing job. No child should be left behind.

  32. I am happy that this was publicized. It gave others in similar situation ideas about how to reach our students. The country’s students are better off due to initiatives such as this.