~Academic section Aug. 15; PSVE Aug. 22~
CUL DE SAC – St. Maarten Academy is preparing for an exciting new school year as it gears up to welcome 80 new students at the academic section, and 50 at the PSVE campus with registration still continuing. Both schools, which fall under the Board of the Foundation for Academic and Vocational Education (FAVE) will also be reopening at different times, with the academic section starting instruction on August 15 and PSVE, on August 22.
FAVE schools saw major changes this year both at the Board and Management levels, with Mr. Elroy Hughes assuming the chairmanship of the Board following the resignation of Mr. Roland Duncan in May.
Drs. Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool, former School Manager of the academic campus has been appointed Interim Executive Director with responsibility for both the Academic and PSVE sections. This position was left vacant since the passing of Vance James Jr some 15 years ago. Baly-Vanterpool said that two of her major goals in her capacity were to further expand the school’s educational reach, as well as to make it more financially sustainable. As such, Baly-Vanterpool is looking forward to the collaboration and support of the Academy family, friends and supporters, as well as the community at large. She shared with parents, students and staff, her continued dedication to excellence of St. Maarten Academy at both campuses.
Former Vice Principal Mrs. Kim Lucas-Felix was promoted to acting principal and together with sitting Vice Principal, Ms. Joanna Trim, will manage the Academic section.
At the PSVE section, former School Manager, Mrs. Lavern Nelson will assume the post of Innovative Coordinator; while her Vice Principal Ms. Monique Beek will take over as acting principal. Mr. Sydney Selbonne has been appointed vice principal of the PSVE section.
This academic year Lucas-Felix and Trim plan to further expand their vision for their section by developing independent learners, who are empowered with critical-thinking skills to lead, influence, and succeed globally.
“Our Management has a clear vision for this academic year. We believe in nurturing leaders that will shape and influence the future positively. Given what is happening in the world today, our students need to become independent learners, with essential entrepreneurial and scientific skills necessary for becoming active participants in the global economy,” Lucas-Felix stated. This can only be achieved by strengthening the relationships between home and school so that our students will continue to impact their communities in a positive manner.
Beek, in offering a warm welcome to the PSVE student body, stated: “We are standing on a threshold of a new dawn namely – the school year 2022-2023. The theme for this school year is, ‘Teamwork Always Makes the Dream Work’ [and] this theme is part of the universal message [that] unity is strength. This universal message was recently applied by two of our students who started out as adversaries, but ended up as a unit.”
According to the newly-minted acting principal, “St. Maarten Academy has the students’ interests at heart and; hence, we believe that together with all stakeholders, teamwork makes the dream work. The overall goal is to have all sorts of business events in place for our students, where a strong interest is created. This will be the catalyst to encourage the attendees to enroll their children at our institution. All business events will be used as a promotional tool to create a positive image in the community by highlighting the educational programs and a promising outlook for the school and future possibilities. This will be self-promoting for the school. Additionally, those events will allow future parents and students to familiarize themselves with the school’s educational system, environment, and the programs being offered,” Beek stated.
Expressing some challenges, Lucas-Felix said: “At the Academy we always strive to do our best despite the present challenges, which include the critical shortage of teachers on the island for secondary level education. Additionally, the school is still challenged when it comes to having fully-equipped computer labs. This has been the case since the hurricane in 2017. These are among the major setbacks that we are working assiduously to mitigate. Any assistance from the government or private sector is always welcome, and would help our staff and students to achieve our collective and individual goals.”
She said the Academic section retained 93 percent of its teaching staff and will soon welcome seven new teachers in the areas of Spanish, Science, Dutch, Information Technology, Business and Social Sciences, since the Academy had not replaced teachers who had left or retired in recent years.
The Human Resources Officer is working diligently to procure work permits for teachers hired from abroad, but there continues to be significant delays with the process. Additionally, receiving dispensation for immigrant teachers continues to be a challenge.
Despite these challenges, the Management would like to encourage parents to stay involved in their children’s education – both at home and at school. The Management of both sections would like to remind parents that their involvement plays a pivotal role in the academic and social success of their children. They should develop a relationship with, and keep in touch with both their children’s homeroom mentor and subject teachers, be patient with their children and check in with them consistently.
“It is our desire that students across all levels will live up to our school’s motto, ‘Caring, Learning, Achieving, Excelling’ by aspiring for greatness. We are confident that they will achieve this by taking accountability for their own success, reflecting on their past performances and working doubly hard in this new academic year, which provides them with new opportunities to succeed, once they remain steadfast and committed to their goals,” Lucas-Felix stated.
Owing to the aforementioned changes and transitions in the school’s organizational structure, there will be a delayed start to its academic year. All first and second form students of the school’s Academic section are being asked to report to school in full uniform with their parents and/or guardians at 8:00 am on Wednesday, August 10, 2022 for orientation. While at the PSVE section, all students of Forms 1 to 4 must officially report to school on Monday, August 15, 2022 at 7:30 a.m.
PSVE will be holding its orientation week during the period Monday, August 15 to Friday, August 19, 2022, with first formers on Monday; second formers on Tuesday; third on Wednesday, and the final year students on Thursday. Classes for all students at PSVE will commence on Monday, August 22, 2022 at 7:30 a.m.
As the FAVE schools continue to embrace the significant changes in the organizational structure, the Management Teams of both sections, with the support of the interim Executive Director and FAVE Board, are forging ahead with preparations to ensure that the school is ready to receive students and deliver quality education to their young scholars.