Acting Principal Gives Math Initiative Top Marks

September 9, 2019 | 2 Comments

Staff at Harrington Sound Primary School realised things just weren’t adding up in the Mathematics classes.

“I don’t like Math!”, “I’m not good at Math!”, “Math frightens me!”. were all complaints heard from students at the school before September, 2018 — and the Mathematics results tended to bear these comments out.

“It was disheartening to see, students who felt defeated, deflated and a significant number across years, were low performing in Mathematics,” said Acting Principal Cindy L. Weeks.

“This despite their impressive scores in other core subject areas, such as, English Language, Science and Social Studies.”

In the 2017-18 school year Mrs. Weeks decided that enough was enough.

It was time for the school to do something which could not only change the students’ attitude towards Mathematics but also change their failing grades into passing ones.

Mrs. Weeks said: “The negative attitudes towards Mathematics proved counterproductive and was impacting the students’ ability to grasp the content.”

Determined to change the situation, Mrs. Weeks consulted with her administration team, in particular Crenstant Williams, the former Head of Mathematics and the then Parent-Teacher Association executive.

Thanks to a grant from the Bank of Bermuda Foundation and additional funding, from the Bermuda Community Fund and HSPS Community Partners – Deloitte, Adam Unwin-Berrey, was brought on to assist in this mammoth task.

Mr. Unwin-Berrey is Regional Curriculum Leader for Mathematics in the Midlands and Northern England, overseeing some 200-plus schools with his team from the Academies Enterprise Trust.

Mr. Unwin-Berrey and the Academies Enterprise Trust have been responsible for improving results in Mathematics and other subjects in more than 200 low-achieving schools in the UK.

He has also in the past assisted private schools on Island.

After several planning meetings, a solid blueprint was created to change the Mathematics narrative at Harrington Sound Primary School for the better.

Acting Principal Weeks continued: “This was a year of intense hard work on the part of the teachers, students and parents.

“Long hours were put in and workshops were mandated, for all stakeholders”

She said that Harrington Sound Primary School students were reintroduced to Mathematics in “a fun, but challenging way”.

From Primary 1 – 6, students “inhaled Mathematics”, with the P6’s attending what was called a “Booster Week”, which took them off campus to work on the subject in preparation for the 2019 Cambridge International Examinations.

The hard work and consistent effort paid off.

“We are more than delighted, with the gains made in Mathematics to date,” said Mrs. Weeks. “As a comprehensive school, we do not as a practice exempt students from taking the Cambridge International Examinations.

“All P6 students, no matter their academic ability, have an opportunity to sit these examinations at the age of 10 like slightly older students around the world.”

And the 2019 Cambridge results for the Harrington Sound Primary were impressive, a significant improvement over past years and reflective of the dedication and commitment of teachers, parents and. most importantly, the students.

“Out of a scale of 1.0 – 6.0, with 6.0 being the highest that one can attain, our students rivaled the rest of the world with many scores in the 2.0 – 5.0 range. There were instances of outperforming some of their global counterparts with a 6.0.

“We could not be more proud of our students. ”

Mrs. Weeks said: “Our teachers must be commended for their commitment to this Guided Mathematics Programme, and the students from P1 – 6, must be commended for their resilience.”

The Acting Principal added: “They are loving Mathematics and enjoying the learning process, which translates into a significant improvement in their attitudes towards Mathematics and ultimately, their performance in the subject.”

Mrs. Weeks concluded by saying Harrington Sound Primary School students now stand ‘”shoulder to shoulder with –’ and in some cases – a step above their global counterparts.

“The students are soaring, and as is said, ‘the best is yet to come’,”

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  1. Overboardhope says:

    Thank goodness someone is grabbing the bull by the horns and doing something to change the same old same old. Well done!

  2. Well done says:

    Yes about time. Thanks for her leadership. Like her roots getting things done and less complaining. Congrats to all. Hope it spreads.Stop the nonsense about “why we can’t find a Bermudian to do this etc”. Congrats Mrs. Weeks, staff, parents and students.

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