Several schools and institutions for Special Education achieved outstanding, first-time successes in the 2018 Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) exams, including the Resource Centre for the Blind, the Grenada School for Special Education and the School for the Deaf.
Tonya Hyacinth, Speech-Language Pathologist and Autism Specialist at the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Religious Affairs, is pleased with the achievement.
“It’s a great success for us. It’s the schools for Special Education first attempt at CPEA. In the past many of the students have been reintegrated into primary schools and have sat it via their schools,” Hyacinth said.
At the Grenada School for Special Education, located in Grand Anse, St George, Jeremy Hankey is the first special education, school-based successful CPEA candidate. He is excited about a career in Information Technology and his recent success is expected to be a good first step in that direction. “I was in the class when Ms Williams and them came and told me I passed for my first choice and then I was happy when I heard that,” Jeremy said.
He will be attending the Presentation Brothers College in the new school term, starting September 2018. He extended appreciation to several key people. “Thanks everybody for helping me and I want to say thanks to Ms Williams, all my teachers who helped me and my mother,” he said.
Jeremy also went on to provide some advice to upcoming CPEA candidates. “Just study a lot and when you go to do the exam – when you go to do the exam – don’t worry about nothing. Just be calm,” he advised.
Principal for the Grenada School for Special Education, Patricia Williams-Prince, said since Jeremy was admitted to the school, they noted his great potential and pushed him towards excellence. Their strategy was to build on weaknesses and transform them into strengths. They accommodated him with assistive technology, where he used a computer and recordings, rather than asking him to write everything, to mitigate some challenges with his fine motor skills.
“When we thought that he was ready for the CPEA, we said we will give him a try. We spoke to the relevant persons at the Ministry of Education, explained to them and they assisted us tremendously and accommodated us very well – gave us the syllabi, in the different subject areas. The teachers worked with him and here we are with the results today,” Williams-Prince explained.
Hyacinth said that when the team at the ministry knew Jeremy would sit the exam, they contacted the Measurement and Testing Unit at the Ministry, who were able to provide the necessary support, in terms of getting him ready. Williams-Prince said that assistance provided during the exam included allowing him extra time to complete the exam and having someone dictate for him.
Williams-Prince noted that Jeremy’s mother has been instrumental in working along with them, towards achieving her son’s success.
“Jeremy’s mom is a big plus. She’s been there. Even sometimes when we don’t get certain information, she will say ‘Do you all know of this?’ and, so, that is a big plus with the success we have today. Parental support and the teamwork by the teachers – all members of staff,” Williams-Prince said.
She said the school will be continuing to send students who are ready, to sit the CPEA. They are currently working with one female student, who she said is expected to sit the exam in the next two years.
“From the Special Education Unit, I would really like to extend congratulations to Jeremy. He actually got his first choice and I know that he’s very excited for that,” Hyacinth said, extending additional congratulations to successful candidates from School for the Deaf and Resource Centre for the Blind.
Candidates from the School for the Deaf were
Che Medford will attend Happy Hill Secondary
Thorie St Louis will attend St Mark’s Secondary School.
Successful students assisted by the Resource Centre for the Blind are
Kyanna Bishop sat CPEA at St George’s SDA and will attend the Anglican High School;
Jonathan John sat at St Patrick’s RC School and will attend Presentation Brothers College;
Donato Christopher sat CPEA at St Andrew’s RC School and will attend the St Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS);
Simone Worme sat CPEA at St Louis RC Girl’s School and will attend Wesley College
Candesha Bishop sat CPEA at South St George Government School and will attend Westerhall Secondary School.
Jonathan John, who is from the parish of St Patrick, is the first student assisted by Resource Centre for the Blind to be among the top CPEA performers, placing 173 – an achievement, Hyacinth says, particularly given his visual impairment. He also will be attending the Presentation Brothers College.
Vernice Morain, a representative from the Resource Centre for the Blind, said 2018 has been a good year for them. The Resource Centre for the Blind is an educational institution, under the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Religious Affairs, which provides support for visually impaired or blind students in the regular classroom.
“I wish to encourage the teachers who will be picking up those students to accommodate them in the way – in needs that they will have. It’s a challenge, but with the support from the Resource Centre for the Blind, we can have these children being successful and they can lead normal lives,” she said.
Michelle Brathwaite, Principal at the School for the Deaf, is encouraged by this year’s successes and asks the public to ensure that these students be given opportunities to excel. “It shows to us that we are having success stories. Inclusion of deaf persons within the mainstream schools can be successful, with the appropriate support,” Brathwaite said.
She thanked the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Religious Affairs; parents, teachers and all others contributing to the students’ success.
“I would hope that our success this year would dispel the myth that Special Education is for children who can’t do anything,” Williams-Prince said.
Hyacinth said that as the students go through secondary school, the Special Education Department, along with the Resource Centre for the Blind and the School for the Deaf, will continue to monitor and support the students’ efforts.
“For us at Special Ed., we really want to show the nation that our children can achieve, once we afford them the opportunities,” Hyacinth said.