Island Academics

By Dionne Wells,
Guy Benjamin School Principal


Let me first begin by expressing my sincere appreciation to the Tradewinds for giving us the opportunity to have the principal’s corner in the newspaper. I think that it is an excellent avenue to keep the public abreast of what is happening in our schools.
I am proud to say that Guy H. Benjamin School is on the move. We have increased in enrollment from 65 student last year to 94 so far this school year.

With this growth in population comes the diverse differences in students. We have a regimented plan as to how we deal with diversity to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all of our students. I am grateful to say that we have made great strides thus far.

Being that we are a Reading First School this year, we have implemented a series of programs at GBS to help us to improve student achievement in reading. Our ultimate goal is to have all of our students reading at or above their grade levels.

Throughout the course of the year we administer a diagnostic reading test, DIBELS  to our students three times a year. Students whose oral reading fluency is below the designated benchmark are provided with intervention and progress is monitored every two weeks.

This gives us substantial data on each student so that we can see gains and identify students who may be of great concern and my need extra attention. The teachers, along with our Reading First Coach, have been tirelessly working to make sure that all of our goals are met.

We also were able to implement the Accelerated Reader program where students are encouraged to read books independently at home, take a quiz on the book and if they have a passing score, they receive credits for that book. At the end of each marking period, students will be rewarded for their accomplishments and at the end of the year, we will have a grand finale.

The Conflict Resolution Creatively Program that we have implemented in our school is actually very successful. Our teachers are more in tune with our students and I am more in tune with my staff. The consultants did a training for parents which was awesome and well attended.

The response from the majority of parents was, “we want more.” When parents ask for more, we want to give them more. So we are in the process of coordinating with the consultants to come back and and do another parent training along with peer mediation training for our students and teachers in grades 4 through 6.

Thanks to all the community members that came in to participate in Career Awareness Week. Our students were excited with the presentations and have actually identified careers of interest.

This school year we have identified various projects that we would like to work on at GBS. These include a cafeteria, automatic bell system, intercom system and new lunch room tables.

The school, in conjunction with the Parent Teacher Organization and other community organizations, will be hosting a series of fund raising activities and we would like the support of the community.

Actually, any assistance that you can give, whether it is an idea for a fund raiser or monetary contribution to these projects would be welcomed. You can always contact me at the school at 776-6242.

At GBS we have an open door policy and we welcome you to stop by and experience the wonderful educational opportunities that our students receive. Words cannot express to the community the importance of having partnerships.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of our children. I encourage you to get involved in your schools and in our futures. On behalf of the faculty and staff of GBS, we wish you a very happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.