Evaluators deem First Baptist Christian School ‘satisfactory’

Montessori By The Sea graded ‘good’ while Tiffany’s needs more work

The Office of the  Education Standards graded First Baptist Christian School as ‘satisfactory’ in a report drafted last month by inspectors.

The inspectors, in their latest reports, also deemed Montessori By The Sea to have ‘good’ education services. Meanwhile, Tiffany’s Pre-School has made little progress to address its ‘weak’ grade given to it by the Office of Education Standards last October, according to a follow-up report on that school.

‘Satisfactory’ is the minimum level of quality required for education services in Cayman, while ‘good’ is the level the Office of Education Standards expects all schools to achieve. ‘Weak’ is unacceptably low quality education services, and ‘excellent’ would be exceptionally high quality services.

For First Baptist, evaluators said positive behaviour and a healthy and safe environment were among the institution’s strengths. Student performance was evaluated as satisfactory in science and math.

“The majority of teachers encouraged students to delve into appropriately challenging mathematical concepts relating to time, classification and number,” the Office of Education Standards report states. “As a result, most students achieved in line with expectations. For example, in Kindergarten, most children were confident to use mathematical language to describe shapes.”

However, evaluators found that students across both phases rarely demonstrated higher level mathematical skills because of the weak mathematics curriculum.

“For example,” the report states, “too few students in Grade 1 were able to count forward and backwards to 100 with accuracy. In the majority of mathematics lessons, elementary students’ critical thinking was underdeveloped, so their understanding lacked depth when they applied their skills and knowledge in different contexts.”

Student performance was graded as weak in English, and evaluators said few children at First Baptist made sufficient progress in their language and communication skills. There was evidence that students’ achievement in reading and writing actually worsened over time, according to the report.

“Work in class and in portfolios demonstrated that students were not covering core content in English or using the same strategies year on year,” the report states. “Consequently, their skills were not systematically developed. In Kindergarten, a minority of children received instruction that was in line with the most up-to-date practice.”

Montessori By The Sea received a more glowing evaluation.

“The students were passionate about environmental, global and social issues. They were friendly, articulate and polite. Relationships were excellent between students and adults and amongst the students,” the report on that school states. “The individual support and encouragement given to every student, including those with special educational needs, enabled them to achieve well.”

Evaluators found that all areas of Montessori’s education services were either satisfactory or above. The report did identify a few relatively minor soft spots, such as students becoming disengaged when their teachers talked too much.

“Activities provided for follow-up work occasionally consisted of colouring in pictures or doing a word search and such were not sufficiently challenging,” the report adds.

Along with the reports evaluating First Baptist Christian School and Montessori By The Sea, the inspectors drafted a follow-up report on the weak evaluation Tiffany’s Pre-School received last October.

According to that report, Tiffany’s Pre-School has done little to address those weaknesses. For example, the report found that the school has still not made sufficient progress in establishing an efficient schedule for its students.

“On the first day of the inspection, there was insufficient time allocated to outdoor play. Transitions from one session to the next were not always managed effectively and whole class activities were not, at times, well suited to the various needs of the different children in each of the three and four-year old classes,” the report states. “Transitions were not always efficient and this sometimes resulted in children waiting for lengthy periods between activities.”

Moving forward, the Office of Education Standards stated that it will evaluate First Baptist and Tiffany’s again within six months to see the progress of those schools.

Montessori By The Sea will not be evaluated again until September 2020, as the school is judged to be providing a good quality of education.