STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE SHARIE B. DE CASTRO
MINISTER OF EDUCATION, YOUTH AND SPORTS
EIGHT SESSION OF THE FOURTH SESSION OF THE FOURTH VIRGIN ISLANDS ASSEMBLY HOUSE
TUESDAY 15E NOVEMBER 2022
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATORS
Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to inform this honorable Chamber and the entire territory of the Ministry’s commitment to the continuing professional development of educators in order to support the development of skills, the expansion of knowledge and the effectiveness of teaching. The theme for the 2022-2023 school year is “Virgin Islands Education: Moving Full Steam Ahead”.
The annual summer institute took place during the week of 29e August to 2n/a September 2022 to inaugurate the new school year. During this week, five hundred (500) educators from public and private schools across the territory engaged in a week of professional development focused on achieving the best learning outcomes for students by enabling educators to create relevant and personalized teaching by using data to make changes to academic programs and teaching techniques.
Madam President, with the improvement of student achievement as the main objective, on 18e at 20e October 2022 provided additional professional development with a focus on teacher collaboration and planning. Objectives covered included the Virgin Islands Literacy Program, building effective classroom centers and positive behavior management. Early identification and support of students with learning needs is essential in order to provide interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate the pace of learning. The creation of teaching and learning resources also supports the effective teaching of subject content and concepts. Taking a proactive approach to discipline that aims to promote positive behavior and create positive school environments ultimately improves school climate as well as student achievement.
Madam Speaker, another impactful training opportunity was the Excellence in Teaching Professional Development series which started on the 25the of October and will continue until the 18e November 2022. The Department of Education, Youth and Sports has partnered with the Institute of Education at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College to host sessions on STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics], assessments through measurement and evaluation, special education and workshops for new teachers. These sessions have been planned to benefit educators across the territory in Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada. Effective leadership and coaching sessions for new and aspiring directors will begin in January 2023.
Madam President, I am extremely proud of the impact of the professional development sessions so far for the 2022-2023 school year. At this time, I would like to thank all the facilitators who have played a vital role in the effective execution of these sessions which support the improvement of the quality of education in the territory.
Madam President, thank you for this opportunity to share the continuous work carried out to develop the administrative and teaching staff of our schools. All with the aim of improving the system by developing the capacity of educators, which has a positive impact on student success. Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports remains committed to creating professional development opportunities for educators in the Virgin Islands.
Thank you Madam President.