PRESENTED BY: PAUL J. GLAYDOR, SR., PRINCIPAL
AT THE CLOSING EXERCISES OF ACADEMIC 2009/2010
SUNDAY, JUNE 27, 2010
Madame Guest Speaker, Chairperson and members of the School Board, Members of the faculty Senate, the District Superintendent and officers of the St. John River District/UMC, Directress, Department of General Education and Ministry/the United Methodist Church, County Education Office/Grand Bassa County, Government Officials, Special Guests, Distinguished invitees, parents, friends and well-wishers Ladies and gentlemen.
It is my distinguished pleasure to present to you highlights of academic activities here at the J.F. Yancy Elementary & Junior High School, Camphor Mission for the academic period 2009/2010 which ends today, June 27, 2010.
We assumed leadership of the school on March 1, 2010 from a decision of the 177th Session of the Liberia Annual Conference held in Gbarnga in February of 2010 after briefly serving as Mission Station Superintendent for Camphor Mission. From the onset of this appointment to provide leadership of the school we saw the responsibility as a big challenge, and yet, an opportunity. It was a challenge considering the several limitations and conditions of scarcity under which we would have to operate the school. A ninety percent dependence on donors for financial support, insufficient facilities and programs to motivate teachers; including inability to pay salaries for some long periods, were some of our fears. Other specific concerns were getting community people to respond to the need for early learning and supporting the continuous education of their children, the effect of indigenous village community traditions on decisions of both parents and school-aged children on schooling, and the consequent low level of girls’ enrollment at school within this community, high poverty levels of parents that would not allow them to send their children to school etc. In all of these conditions however, we found an opportunity to respond to God’s call to serve a deprived community, a community that is left behind in the contest for education, health care and prospect.
Our first response to this call was to try to create a conducive environment in which children in this community will receive the kind of education that will make them capable of meeting the numerous challenges of life with confidence, despite any limiting conditions. This meant to us first, making frantic efforts to provide incentives that will improve learning and learning conditions. Establishing good relationship with villagers and encouraging them to send their children to school in time, adhering to prescribed curriculum, ensuring professional teaching skills and methods, improving students/ teachers’ and teacher to teacher relationship, addressing discipline issues, motivating teachers and support staff for increased productivity were laudable goals. We are pleased, Madam Chairperson, to report that much of these have fallen in place, and that is why we are here today. Many thanks to you and members of the School Board, our donors both local and overseas, the Department of General Education and all those who have lent helping hands.
Academic 2009/2010 began on schedule. The doors of the school were opened and classes began on September 1, 2009 with a total enrollment of three hundred and fifty (327) students. This number included two hundred and seventy (247) community (village) students and 80 boarding students. Sadly noted, the enrollment of girls was only twenty-six percent (26%) of the total enrollment. Out of the total enrollment, thirty (30) students dropped and one (1) was expelled for gross indiscipline. The school year ended therefore with a total of two hundred and ninety-seven (297) students.
Instructional activities were carried out throughout the period under the supervision of sixteen (16) teachers. The lower school (kindergarten) had five (5) self-contained teachers, whereas the middle and upper schools (Elementary & Junior High) schools jointly had eleven (11) teachers. The various instructional departments remained active during the period in report. Mathematics, science, language arts and social studies were given major attention considering that these subjects are the focus of national examinations and foundation for future academic pursuits and professional studies. Overall academic activities at the school resulted into a total number of two hundred and five (205) students making straight passes (with no deficiency) to various classes. A total of thirty-three (33) students who have deficiency in one subject were recommended by the Academic Committee for vacation school as prescribed by the Division of General Education and Ministry of the Liberia Annual Conference/UMC and a total of fifty-three (53) with deficiency in two or more subjects failed. In the category of those who passed, we will today be graduating fifteen (15) students ten (10) boys and five (5) girls) from Junior High School to enter high school, and eleven (11) students; nine (9) boys and two (2) girls from kindergarten to primary school. Madame Chairperson, the above statistics puts academic performance at the school at seventy-nine percent (79%) which is above average. Many thanks to our able teachers and support staff for working assiduously towards achieving these goals. We are also grateful to our parents for the level of support they gave us and their children during the academic period.
As part of instructional activities several workshops aimed at improving the instructional skills of teachers were held during the period in report. In furtherance to securing qualified teachers, a number of our teachers will be enrolling at teacher’s training institutes on an in-service basis. We are making special arrangements to ensure that after the completion of their studies, they will return to the school.
Campus life of students
As stated in our report on enrollment, there are a total of eighty (80) students that are boarding on campus; fifty-five (55) boys and twenty-five (25) girls. They are resident in two separate dormitories (boys’ dormitory and girls’ dormitory). The school has ably borne the responsibility of feeding, providing lodging, medical care and doing guidance and counseling. Madame Chairperson, we would like to report that our staff has not only seen these children as students, but as members of our various families because we realize that every child needs a parent, and that these children are away from their parents. During the period in report, cordial relationship existed between these students and our faculty and staff, including other mission personnel not connected directly with the school but who are staff of other projects at the Mission Station. The school has provided them a minimum of two meals per day, safe drinking water, given intermittent electricity, provided recreational and sporting facilities and activities, nurtured them in Christian discipline and discipleship. We proffer many thanks to all faculty members and mission staffs who have helped us maintained our children on campus.
Rewards and Discipline
It is good to give people their flowers while they are alive. The Holy Scripture also states that we should not spare the rod and spoil our children. The Camphor Mission Station is a place that provides secured learning environment, supports social transformation and encourages the molding of responsible character. On account of the aforesaid, some students will be receiving award for good character while others will be receiving notice of disciplinary actions including expulsion for gross indiscipline.
We like to note that discipline here at the Mission Station is intended to correct, and not to destroy. As such, we are very careful on the process that leads to taking disciplinary action against a student. The process for disciplining students begin with classroom punishment or “special attention”, and then to work punishment or counseling on second or repeated offenses. Suspension is the third alternative and then expulsion is the final option for continuous defiance. This process is prescribed by the Department of General Education and Ministry and is standard for all United Methodist Schools. A student will be expelled who has gone through the abovementioned stages of discipline and the school’s administration no longer sees any way that he/she can improve. Against this background, Madame Chairperson, the faculty senate and the Administration of the school have unanimously decided that seven students be expelled on account of gross indiscipline and glaring academic incompetence.
Our objective of deciding expulsion is to avoid such students influencing other students of good conduct, especially those sharing dormitory facilities.
On the other hand, awards will be given to students who have demeaned themselves during their entire academic sojourn here at the school. The process of giving award is based on collaborative reports of discipline and good conduct from a majority of instructors, other mission staffs, background checks with parents and community dwellers. A second condition is the resilience of students at academic pursuit and excellence; in spite of the many odds against which this underprivileged community is existing. The following students will receive awards for good conduct, academic excellence and resilience. They are:
1. Alphonso Brown(longest staying student – from ABC to 9th grade)
2. China Dossen
3. Isaac Yates
4. Churchemar Krangar (longest staying student – from ABC to 9th grade)
5. Christiana Brooks
6. Ruth Sayuo
7. Annie Nimene
Students Alphonso Brown and Churchemar Krangar will receive “Resilience Awards”, in addition to good conduct, and academic excellence.
2010/2011 In Preview
Madame Chairperson, we are pleased to inform you of the following goals that we have set for academic 2010/2011.
1. Staff Development: As we embark on moving the school to full high school beginning 2012, the prerequisites of improving the instructional skills of teachers will be of major interest during the next school year. We will be advocating for scholarships for teacher to advance their studies in teacher training institutions. We are pleased to report that some of our teachers are already ahead of this process. Three of them have been enlisted for study at the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute under a government sponsored program. We will also be advocating for improved facilities; housing, salaries, etc for teachers. This we believe will attract more qualified teachers.
2. Academic Activities: Considering that kindergarten and primary education are the foundation levels of any academic pursuits, we will give these areas much attention. Every academic shrewdness depends on its foundation. Improving reading, writing and spelling skills of the lower school will be focused. We have identified resource persons who will help us introduce Phonics as a subject for the next academic year. We are also making frantic efforts to introduce French during the next academic year as required by the Ministry of Education. Information technology (computer studies) will be introduced to the middle and upper schools (4th through 9th grades).
3. Boarding facilities: As we advocate for increase in student population for the next academic year, dormitory facilities will be improved and possibly extended to accommodate more students. Electrification of the dormitories has already begun to provide reasonable “lightning time” for study and other extra curricular activities scheduled during evening time. The feeding program will also be enhanced. We are anticipating providing three meals daily beginning academic 2010/2011.
4. Girls’ Education: Realizing the low level of girls’ enrollment at school in our country and specifically in this community, it is our intention to steadily increase the percentage of girls who come to school here at the Mission. We have targeted to recruit and enroll about one hundred and fifty (150) girls during the next academic year which will put the percentage of girls’ enrollment from 26% to at least 31% for the first time. This process will continue each year until we can hopefully narrow the gap to a reasonable proportion or attain a one to one ratio.
5. Extra Curricular Activities: Madame Chairperson, subject to the School Board’s approval, we will create a Department of Extra Curricular Activities in the school that will focus on occupying the “out of classroom” time of the students with meaningful activities. These activities will include sports and recreation, academic clubs, press clubs, drama clubs, devotional and spiritual growth programs to include Bible study groups and evening services, choir, and etc.We have realized that when children are kept idle, they find anything to do. It is our responsibility as school administrators to give direction to what students do while here on campus.
6. Discipline: The United Methodist Church and the United Methodist School System give us the charge to develop in students Christian principles and moral standards. Doing this will require relentless efforts to keep a well demeaned student population. In order to ensure this, students and parents will jointly be required to sign a “behavior bond” prior to admission. In addition, our discipline process as prescribed in the Handbook of United Methodist Schools will be strictly adhered to. Students who are found to be grossly indiscipline and perform very poorly in their academic activities will be expelled.
Madame Chairperson, distinguished guests, parents, in closing, we wish to extend many thanks to our students, parents, donors and all who helped in making academic 2009/2010 a smashing success. As we will embark upon the journey into 2011/2012, it is our hope that you will continue to give us your support and cooperation so that together, we will mould the minds of your children, in order that our homes, our church and society will be better places to be. Long live the J.F. Yancy Elementary & Junior High School, long live the Camphor United Methodist Mission.
God bless you.
Submitted: Paul J. Glaydor, Sr.