Proud, happy teachers at St. Mary’s RC

By Demion McTair. Updated 1:57 a.m., Saturday, July 18, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

From left: Andia Hadley-Thomas – Book reports, Spelling and Vocabulary teacher, Ruthier Gumbs – Mathematics teacher, Cherrodawn McDonald – Health Education and Social Studies teacher, Juliete Culzac – Language Arts Usage and Comprehension teacher

Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – The St. Mary’s Roman Catholic School dominated the 2020 Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) and the school’s teachers say they are proud of the school’s performance.

Six of the top positions in the CPEA exams administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), were taken by the school this year, including one of the students who tied for first place.

Four grade six teachers at the school told One News SVG, on Friday (July 17), that they were all elated.

“We are elated, we are very happy, but these children have been working well all the time, so it’s kinda been expected” – one of the teachers – Ms. Culzac told One News SVG.

The teachers also spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected preparations, saying they managed to battle through the pandemic to complete the curriculum.

“Well, we have a curriculum to cover, COVID-19 kind of cut it a little bit, but we came up with strategies of getting it completed. So, I was quite happy, especially social studies, I was quite happy that we completed everything despite COVID-19. So, we battled COVID-19,” – teacher McDonald said.

The St. Mary’s Roman Catholic School is a government-assisted primary school. The school is one of a few schools that usually produces top performers in the CPEA.

The teachers, when asked about the preparation for the top student said they did not invest in the preparation of only one top student, but rather, several top students.

“We were’t preparing a top student, we were preparing top students,”, teacher Culzac said, adding that most of the students had been working well “from kindergarten”.

“If you ask any teacher who has ever interacted with them they would say the same thing that they were expecting great things from these students. We had great expectations from them,” she added.

One of the teachers said that despite some resources being limited, such as a photocopying service, they managed to improvise, to assist the students, sometimes, from their own pockets and other times, asking parents.

The teachers said that when classes went online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, about 80-percent of students were able to come online for classes.

The other students could not be reached due to connectivity or device issues.

Matthew Wilson – one of the students who tied for first place in the 2020 CPEA exams.

Matthew Wilson, the top performer for the school, who also tied with two others nationally, said he prepared a lot for his exams, both at home and at classes.

Matthew wants to be a pilot, just like his brother Luke Wilson who also placed first in the CPEA back in 2016.

Luke was also a student of the St. Mary’s RC School.

Matthew said he likes cricket and uses his computer in his spare time.

Matthew’s mother, Lystra Culzac-Wilson

Matthew’s mother, Lystra Culzac-Wilson said she believed that her son could take the top spot and she really expected him to do well.

She said working with him at home during the COVID-19 disruption and keeping him on the ball played a key role in preparing her son for his exams.

“He is generally a discipline person when he is ready to study, but he likes to be active. So, that is the part that sometimes can be a bit challenging, even when he is studying, he likes to study on the go,” Culzac-Wilson said.

“He is focused, he knows his stuff but we really had to work together. I think the part where we really had to start working together is from being at home during the COVID, making sure that he is on time for class, wake up on time for classes (online) and those kind of things” – she said.

She said both her sons Matthew and Luke are seemingly into engineering and both want to be pilots.

THE EXAMS

“Grade 6 students registered for the 2020 Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) concluded their final examination on Friday June 26th, 2020. Of the 1920 students registered, 1915 wrote the final examination: 959 males and 956 females,” the education ministry says.

“Students’ final scores were derived from the aggregate scores of both components of the CPEA. That is, the External Assessment which consisted of Multiple Choice Tests in Mathematics, Science , Language Arts and Social Studies and from the School-Based Assessment which comprised a Project, a Writing Portfolio, a Book Report as well as Teacher Tests, Pupil Made Tests and Can-Do-Skills exercises in Mathematics, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies,” the education ministry added.

“The preliminary results indicate that the proportion of students who met the prescribed standard was 1650 (86.16%) a slight decrease over last year’s 87.19%. This number includes 780 (81.33%) males and 870 (91.00%) females,” the ministry says.

Three male candidates tied for the top position with an average of 97.8%.

The students are Kai Francis of the Kingstown Preparatory School,
Matthew Wilson of the St. Mary’s Roman Catholic School, and
Ajani Neverson of the Windsor Primary School.

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