(AUDIO AVAILABLE)Monday, August 17th it will be back to school again for thousands of students, and back to work for school managers, teachers and other school administrators.
Allow me on behalf of the Executive Council of St. Maarten, and as Commissioner of Education, in particular, to avail myself of this opportunity to extend the very best wishes to all Students, School Directors, School Managers, Teachers, and all other persons directly or indirectly involved in Education, whether public or private, for a very productive school year 2009-2010.
The beginning of the school year is often filled with heightened expectations and of great things to come. This heightened expectation is usually tainted with nervousness, fear of the unknown and apprehension.
The life of a teacher is to elevate hope and confidence above cynicism and despair, if only by the slightest measure. As educators, we have the responsibility to educate and inspire the whole child, socially, emotionally, physically, academically, and spiritually. (mind, heart and soul).
Over the past years education has been going through innovations at all levels, from elementary to secondary. I am fully aware of the sacrifice our educators are making to fulfill the requirements of these innovations, with the numerous workshop sessions and with the "TRUP" Program the Teacher’s Retraining & Upgrading Program.
The long hours the assignments that had to be completed alongside your regular responsibilities in the classroom. As well as sacrifices that your families have had to endure during this process.
I want to let you know that we appreciate all the sacrifices that you have made. We are grateful and are extremely confident that the good results of our students will be our reward in the future; when our students are productive citizens, ready to take up their responsibilities in country St. Maarten.
As this new academic year begins, I wish to assure our educators that education, as a whole, has my attention and is of the highest priority. Teachers have an awesome responsibility to prepare our students today for the future.
On Thursday morning, I had the privilege to sign contracts for three important school projects related to the construction of a new school in Cay Hill, the expansion of the Genevieve de Weever School and the Sister Magda School, and there are more to come.
This school year the Government will begin with the introduction of compulsory education. It is the intention, that every child living on St. Maarten between the ages of 4 and 6 will be given access to one of our schools. Not only Public Schools but to private schools as well.
The Executive Council has requested the cooperation of all other school boards, in insuring that there is a seat for every 4, 5 and 6 year old this year.
Lastly, I appeal to the parents not to sit idly by, get involved in your child’s education. Get to know your child’s teacher. Don’t wait to be called, go in. Get involved in all aspects of your child’s education. Remember education begins at home. Parents are the children’s fist teacher. Do not relinquish your right. Home and school must work together, if our children are to be successful, we need your involvement now more than ever.
Once again, to all School Boards; Public as well as Private, Directors, School Managers, teachers, support staff, students and parents, I wish you a smooth start to the school year 2009-2010.
I wish you much strength, patience and a very successful school year 2009-2010.
Mr. William Marlin
Commissioner of Education