Joanna Clarke award winners

Catch Up Literacy and the Speech and Language Therapy Department split the winnings equally as recipients of the 2011 Joanna Clarke Excellence in Education Award.

The winners were honoured at the Grand Old House on 14 May.

The award, in its fifth year celebrating education, was created by the dms Organisation in 2007 to honour local educator Joanna Clarke and to recognise the efforts of all people and organisations that contribute to education in the Cayman Islands.

“It is inspiring to see how many educators we have out there continually striving for improvement in the education system,” said Ms Clarke. “There is great opportunity for funding from the private sector to help drive even greater success stories.”

Teachers and teaching departments, students (clubs or organisations), PTAs and schools may apply for the award.

Award committee member Tara Tvedt said, “Catch up Cayman was selected firstly due to the future sustainability – it provides a train-the-trainer aspect where, going forward, there will be no requirement to hire trainers from the UK foundation, and thus the programme becomes self sustainable,

“In addition, the organisation has already identified and recruited local volunteers from organisations such as Rotary International and the Pink Ladies who would like to be trained as facilitators, and thus it also demonstrates the criteria – to contribute to community involvement in education.”

Catch Up Literacy requested funding for its Catch Up Cayman programme, which seeks to address the problem of underachievement that is often rooted in literacy and numeracy challenges.

Ben Webster, chairman of the Webster Foundation, said, “We are absolutely delighted and honoured to receive this award. Less than a year ago, the Webster Foundation set out to implement a literacy programme for the Cayman Islands and give it the best chance of success. Through the hard work and cooperation of the Ministry and Department of Education, the school principals, teachers, and the teaching assistants who administer the programme, we are already seeing extremely positive and encouraging results.”

In 2010, literacy coaches underwent training to offer the programme, which is based on a literacy model that enables and supports the sustainable use and embedding of the Catch Up Cayman intervention for ‘at risk’ students across Cayman’s public schools.

Many of those literacy coaches were teachers’ assistants, a few of whom attended the night’s dinner with the help of three private sponsors, Capital Realty and Foreshore.

“With this award from the Joanna Clark Foundation, we will be able to continue and expand the programme to help more struggling readers and make a positive impact in their lives,” Mr. Webster said. “We thank the award committee for choosing this programme from all the worthy applicants, and I am deeply indebted to the hard work that my wife Pamela has done to coordinate this programme, and without her hard work none of this would have been possible.”

The Speech and Language Therapy Department sought funding to set up a training assistance programme to train and support parents and caregivers of children with language delays to understand how they can assist with language development.

Parents and caregivers will undergo a 12-week training programme to become language facilitators and understand how to maximise children’s daily routines, even playtimes.

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