Welcome back to school, Cayman!

Monday was the start of a new school week for thousands of students returning to government and private schools after a long summer break.

As of June this year there were 2,687 students enrolled in government primary schools, including 310 reception students. There were 2,364 students enrolled in government secondary schools. At Lighthouse School, the country’s school for special needs students, 60 are enrolled in primary and 49 in secondary. According to the Education Department, enrollment for the new school year is still in process.

When schools opened on Thursday, Aug. 24, children familiarized themselves with new teachers and new classrooms.

As classes got under way Monday morning at Bodden Town Primary, Principal June Elliott continues to lead the school. She challenged all students to be at a satisfactory level by the end of the year, to work hard, and to speak with teachers and get their support with anything they do not understand.

Ms. Elliott also welcomes four new teachers for the new school year: Ashley Osbourne; Keisha Morrison; Eleanor Graham; and new PE teacher Kerry-Ann Jones. She said the school will continue to focus on positive behavior and intervention programs, looking at how children behave in different parts of the school. The school is also continuing the after-school program run by the YMCA. This year, 270 students attend Bodden Town Primary School.

George Town Primary School school started the new school year with a new principal, Sharon Campbell-Danvers, and deputy principal, Danielle Duran. Ms. Campbell-Danvers takes over the reign from retiring principal Marie Martin.

The teachers are motivated, energized and ready to go,” said Ms. Campbell-Danvers.

Students in George Town Primary School’s Year 3 class make their way to classroom with teacher Mariline Parker. – Photo: Jewel Levy

“As an institution we believe in the mantra that every child can learn, so as a team we will be working together to raise expectations, to highlight effort, and [to] work with the parents and the community to build on the positive foundation that has been laid by the previous administrators,” the principal added.

The school will be continuing with many of the programs in place, and looking at getting parents more involved in the lives of their children. The school intends to implement a leadership program for the students.

“One of the things we are looking into is creating a science department where children can develop a love for science, which may help propel many of them in that career field,” the principal said.

The school is also carrying out the final touches on its drama center. “That will be a department we will be using to raise standards in the institution and develop students talents and skills,” the Ms. Campbell-Danvers said.

Close to 300 children attend George Town Primary School.

Students at West Bay’s Sir John A. Cumber Primary School were asked to continue to give their best efforts and be on their best behavior by Principal Paul Samuel.

The school of over 500, the largest government primary school, starts the new school year with two deputy principals, Leonora Mendoza-Hydes and Jessica Jackson.

“It will be an exciting year, students and staff are enthusiastic and we are looking forward to a good year,” said Ms. Mendoza-Hydes.

North Side’s Edna Moyle Primary school welcomes newly qualified Caymanian teacher, Kelcy Huggins and some new support staff.

The small school of 86 students is entering the new year with most of its programs already in place, said Principal Marcia Rennie.

She is looking forward to students continuing “Steps to Success,” a positive behavior system they have in place, the take-home reading program and the back to school night.

“I am encouraging them to do their best they year and to be on their best behavior,” she said.

Led by Principal Allison Greaves, East End Primary School welcomes several new support staff and counselors for the new school term. She said they will continue to focus on literacy and numeracy. The watchword that students are following this year is “perseverance.” Each month the students at the school make a new word their focus.

Presently, 95 students attend East End Primary.

Cayman Brac Creek and Spot Bay Primary School started the year with the same staff except for one addition to the Response to Intervention program, said principal Claudette Lazzari. An additional literacy program has also been added to get some students up to par. Also for the first time, the school is starting a reading recovery program and special training for staff carrying on the program. There will also be back to school nights, beginning Tuesday for the 44 infants schooled at the Creek location and Thursdays for the 34 juniors schooled in Spot Bay.

The school is continuing with many of the programs that are already in place.

Prospect Primary School also had one long-time teacher retire over the summer holidays. Cerrone Glasgow had been at Prospect Primary since the school first opened. Principal Matthew Reid said he was sad to report that she was leaving. The school is also looking to fill the gap of Coach Mark O’Sullivan, who was a volunteer of the football club. Teacher Shawn Harris joined as a new member of staff. Orientation was held last week and a back to school session is planned this week, for parents to meet with teachers and to hear what’s on the curriculum for this year.

Close to 350 students attend the Prospect primary.

In Cayman, it is compulsory for all children from the ages five to 16 to attend school or be home-schooled. All students entering government or private schools in the Cayman Islands for the first time are required to undergo a health screening. The Education Department mandates that these screenings must be completed before the new school year begins, in September.

Caymanian students do not pay school fees to attend government schools.

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