Road Town, Tortola, September 30, 2015 – Minister for Education and Culture, Hon Myron V. Walwyn and Permanent Secretary Dr Marcia Potter on Monday surprised students at the Vanguard School in Florida. The school is a coeducational boarding and day school that provides a fully accredited education to students with varying learning differences.
Minister Walwyn met with the school’s Present and CEO Harold Maready, Principal Derri Park and Admissions Director Dan Sheppard. Presently the school has five students from the Virgin Islands, three whom are on scholarships from the Ministry’s scholarship programme – Kaheem Malone, Shamori Palmer and Terell Harrigan.
In his address to the Territory at the start of the school year, Minister Walwyn stressed the need to forge relationships with institutions such as Vanguard saying, “While we work to raise the standard of education for our differently abled student population, we will continue to build relationships with agencies outside of the Virgin Islands to improve the education and health of our differently abled students.”
Commenting on Monday’s visit, Walwyn said he was very pleased with the facilities and the opportunities for students. “I was extremely impressed with the facilities that Vanguard provides for its students as well as its academic and extra curricula programmes. Based on their time at the institution, I can already see how our students have really blossomed and you can tell that they have become very independent and are learning how they can make their contribution to their community. It was a very exciting experience to see how the school has helped to transform our students.” Walwyn indicated that the Ministry will be seeking to develop an even closer relationship with Vanguard. “Based on our meetings on Monday and previous conversations we are seeking to form a partnership with Vanguard to utilise the institution as a training resource to provide training for all educators on early detection of learning challenges so that we can ensure that each child has every opportunity to learn.” Demonstrating its commitment to provide an equitable education for all students in the Territory, earlier this summer the Ministry hired an Education Officer to address the needs of the Territory’s differently abled student population.
The Ministry has adopted the OECS Education Sector Strategy that seeks to provide an opportunity for all learners to earn an equitable education. Collectively, the initiatives to support the education of differently abled students fit under the strategy’s trust to – provide professional development for teachers, and improve the quality of teaching and learning.