On Monday, August 28, 2017 the Office of the Insular Superintendent, St. Croix District officially welcomed back school administrators at its annual Administrator's Meeting held at the Juan F. Luis Cardiac Center. The meeting kicked off a year of transforming the Department of Education through teamwork.
During registration, the District's Curriculum and Instruction staff, the division of Special Education, the Superintendent's office, and over 35 principals and assistant principals conversed amongst themselves after watching a video clip of Karen Keffeler speak about feeding the teachers so they won't eat the kids. Keffeler, a member of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association (MESPA) argues that there are five food groups for administrators to feed teachers: love, information, freedom, fun and food. Click here for the video clip.
Insular Superintendent of schools Ms. Colleen Mae Williams brought forth welcome remarks and encouraged administrators to be involved with teachers and students. More importantly, she urged them to utilize the centers and resources available through the District. Superintendent Williams also told the group of principals and assistant principals to lean on each other for support. She encouraged them to share strategies and methods that ensure teacher and student success.
Education Commissioner Dr. Sharon Ann McCollum attended the meeting and sang a song of hope as she explained the territory's financial crisis. "I want to thank each and everyone of you for returning, you didn't have to," said McCollum referencing the educator shortage in the territory. Commissioner McCollum also remained transparent in her commentary of the Department's budget cuts. She challenged the administrators to remain committed to the love of education through this economic crisis because "tough times don't last, tough people do." She ended on a high note informing the District that monies have been allocated for school participation in the festival and carnival children's parades. McCollum also commended the educators for a job well done and bragged about the scores of Virgin Islanders who live abroad and are successful products of the public school system.
After remarks by the Commissioner and Superintendent, meeting attendees introduced themselves and announced their school assignments and roles. Following an energetic show of introductions, brief presentations were made by three key district offices.
Dr. Saul Santiago, district director of data and assessment briefed the audience on the 2017 results of the Smarter Balanced Assessments in the schools. Individual scores will be sent out toward the ending of September, early October. English Language Learners coordinator Jose Perez spoke about the proficiency of the program and the focus on teaching students the English language as opposed to teaching the curriculum in Spanish. Professional Development Program Manager E. Xiomara Ottley-Herman informed the administrators on the Transformational Teaching and Learning Academy held the week prior at the Divi Carina Bay Resort for teachers and paraprofessionals in the district. She stressed the importance of professional development for teachers and support staff to ensure efficient performance within their roles.
The group of district administrators networked over lunch and remained in conversations and seminars geared toward transforming education for the 2017-18 school year. Teachers and administrators will return to their respective schools on Friday, September 1 ahead of the opening of schools on Tuesday, September 5.