Linton Park All Age seeks sponsorship to improve facilities

Administration working hard to feed, provide technology for students

Observer staff reporter

Monday, March 19, 2018

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For principal Arlene Clarke-Dunbar and the staff of Linton Park All Age School in St Ann, their role as educators is not only about teaching students in classrooms.

These educators recognise that if their students' other needs are not met, they may not perform at their optimum level in the classroom. In a bid to ensure that all the needs of the students are taken care of, Clarke-Dunbar said the school is seeking sponsorship through partnerships from past students and all those who wish to assist, and those who are presently a part of the school's family.

“We seek donors to ensure that we have a good breakfast programme for our children,” she said. She explained that the school has received assistance through the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education; however, they would like to improve its feeding programme from three days per week to a daily one.

“Some students coming from as far as Grant's Bailey leave their homes very early in the mornings and sometimes do not have breakfast; as a result, the school wants to ensure that these students have breakfast. Further, some parents are not always able to provide a nutritious breakfast for their children.

“We ask for any help we can get because we want to ensure our children attend school regularly; some of the parents really don't have it.

“In any way that we can assist the parents, we try to assist…to ensure that they are at school and that they learn,” the principal said.

“Once they come to school, we will feed them,” she forthrightly stated.

However, the school is unable to do as much as it would like because of the lack of resources. As a result, Clarke-Dunbar is calling for persons to sponsor students.

“It's not easy in these parts. we can't pressure the parents because they truly don't have it, so the onus is on us as a school to see what can we do to assist these needy students. When we ask for sponsors it is to assist some of these students, even with bus fares. Once we get the sponsors we can earmark the parents who are in need and then can give the students a scholarship in terms of paying for transportation for the children,” Clarke-Dunbar posited.

In addition to seeking assistance for students, the school is also looking for sponsorship to improve the physical layout.

Clarke-Dunbar said the school has received assistance from political representatives and parents to paint the teachers' cottage and this has been transformed into a library and mathematics room.

The school has also started a beautification project, with students, teachers and parents working together to improve the school's environment.

“We want to make our campus beautiful, as beautiful as possible,” she said.

The school currently has 84 students and Clarke-Dunbar is moving to increase that number for the new school year.

“We have done a number of projects. we have improved our canteen facility; we are aiming towards a state-of- the-art canteen and we are about 90 per cent there,” she informed.

The school also has a computer lab that requires additional building work in order for applications to be made for the donation of computers.

“With the new curriculum, we need the use of technology. we are using technology to some extent as teachers are bringing their own laptops,” she offered explained.

Clarke-Dunbar informed that the school has been told it can apply to the Universal Access Fund for assistance in equipping the computer room; however, the facility has to be grilled.

“For them to assist, we have to grill the building. The estimate for that grilling is approximately $170, 000; the school has so far raised $48,000, meaning that we still have a long way to go — we need some help,” the school principal made clear.

She said the administration is reaching out to past students and others to help make more happen for the school, which serves children from at least three communities.

“The areas we cover are farming communities so most of the parents are farmers, and even though they are doing their best, they don't necessarily have the resources, so we have to look outside,” Clarke-Dunbar said.

While some students face challenges, students have been doing well academically and in other areas, including agriculture.

The school has an agricultural programme which plays a vital part in the learning process of students. Also, the school has been using this programme to boost the nutritional items children are fed.

Clarke-Dunbar explained that the Noranda Community Council has provided the school with seeds and fertilisers.

“We want them to get healthy foods and the children did most of the gardens too,” she said with pride written on her face.

The Linton Park All Age School principal further offered that the school has been playing its part to ensure parents are knowledgeable about the new Primary Exit Profile that will next year replace the Grade Six Achievement Test. She explained that the ministry has been sensitising parents, however, the school has also been ensuring that parents understand what this change is all about.

“We explain to them what it is so they are aware, because the parents have to be working with the children.

“Students will now be required to do more hands-on assignments, meaning that parents have to know what is required of them.

“It means that homework is integral; projects are integral. We called a parent-teachers' Association meeting to explain the role of parents, our role, the students' role. We monitor the children here, they have to monitor the children at home in order for them to do well, so it's a partnership,” Clarke-Dunbar said.




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