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Sep 3, 2010

Adventist Mission tells upset parents to have a little patience

On Wednesday, News Five aired a story of twenty-three students who stayed away from classrooms at the Santa Clara Seventh Day Adventist Primary in the north. At the eye of the storm is Principal Wilbert Tamay and the parents told News Five that they have concerns over the students’ poor performance on the Primary School Exams and the lack of financial reports.  The parents are threatening to transfer the students to other schools if their request for a new principal is not met very soon.  Earlier today the General Manager and Director of Education at the Mission, Pastor Leslie Gillett, granted an interview to News Five.  Gillett said that the parents’ have legitimate concerns but that they need to bear patience while the Adventist Mission monitors the progress of the school under Tamay’s stewardship.

Pastor Leslie Gillett, Director of Education, SDA Mission

leslie gillett

“One of the problems that Santa Clara has always had is that often the principals have not been able to stay at the school long enough to really bring about genuine change and improvement.  Fortunately for Mr. Tamay, he has been there now for six years and so he has been able to make some progress.  We do realize that there needs to be more progress.  However, at this juncture, what we’re doing, based on the letter that was sent to us by the parents, we have launched a full scale investigation.  We have to go by the facts, so I’ve asked the principal to prepare for us a comprehensive report.  For example, one of the concerns I believe was the PSE.  I have asked him okay bring us the comprehensive report, show us what has been the trend with the PSE.  Once we have all the necessary reports, both from the principal, from the local manager working with the school boards and with the parents, we will analyze and evaluate the full information and then on that basis we will have to make a recommendation to the relevant boards as to how we proceed with Santa Clara.”

The parents told us that if the change didn’t happen by today, come Monday they will begin the process of transferring their children to other schools in the Corozal District.  But Pastor Gillett said that changes cannot happen overnight.

Pastor Leslie Gillett

“We have put some procedures in place, let’s see, in good faith, what transpires.  Let us finish our investigation, let us see what transpires and let us take it step by step.  We cannot tell parents what to do with their children, we cannot do that.  The laws allow them that if they want to transfer their children, they can. Education is a partnership between parents, teachers and students.  All of us have to abide by the same rules.  There can be no point where parents say we are giving you an ultimatum.  Come on, if their children don’t bring their books to school, we have to work with them to see how they get them.  And that’s what we have been doing for years so there can’t be a point where parents will say we are giving you an ultimatum because then the partnership no longer exists, and I’m saying if you cannot partner with us and work with us then you are free to take your children wherever you will be able to have that kind of a partnership that you want to have, where you can give ultimatums and then people have to be jumping and there’s no organized way of dealing with issues.”

Pastor Gillett says the investigation should be complete by the end of September.

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5 Responses for “Adventist Mission tells upset parents to have a little patience”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    As the Director of Education, why does he not know how his schools are performing in the exit exams? If a 55% pass rate is an improvement, how poor was their performance before & why was it not addresses until the parents spoke up? And, his knee jerk response was to blame the parents?.

    Parents, despite the inconvenience, do him a favor & place your children elsewhere because it is doubtful that there will be a resolution that is beneficial to your children.

  2. jonh says:

    As a parent, I am tired of reading about our failing schools. Most of the time, people blame teachers or lack of school funding. The real problem, lack of parental involvement. Our schools can’t improve until parents get “actively” involved in their children’s education. This includes reading to our children, checking their homework and talking with their teachers.
    Education starts at home, let’s stop blaming others and take some responsibility.

  3. mason says:

    I always find it amazing how well students perform when parents get involved. Too many times people go shopping for better schools. The real problem is lack of parental involvement. This is why you see such a large range of test scores at any single school. We see this in our local schools which have an average rating, but some kids are obviously doing much better than others. When you talk with the teachers they will tell you the kids who do better have parents who value and care about their education.

  4. BZNinCALI says:

    What I had in Belize when I went to school were teachers who took pride in how well we performed in the exit exams & how many of us went on to High School. Most of our parents had very little education, so it was important to them to see us do better & our teachers understood that. As a young teacher, it was important to me to make sure the children who lacked the support at home, got that from me. Others did it for us, we owe it to the next generation. The joy I felt when a disruptive, unmotivated child responded to positive stimulus did as much for me as it did for them.

    Too often I have heard teachers talk to parents as though they were idiots simply because they were poor or “different” from them. In Belize, like many places, we bestow certain qualities on certain people because of who or what they are & when they have the right connections, they are nurtured. Many of us had parents who could only tell us to do our homework, they could not help us. Teachers have to deal with the students they have, not the ones they want & how they meet that challenge can be the difference between a child who ends up standing on a street corner terrorizing the neighborhood & one who contributes to society.

    There are several families in Belize whose children grew up in homes with parents who could barely read or were illiterate, yet many of them have advanced degrees, including PhDs. The parents are not asking to squeeze blood out of stone, they are asking that the school at least teach their children enough to make them competitive. IT CAN BE DONE,

  5. Daniel says:

    Amen to John saying … (As a parent, I am tired of reading about our failing schools. Most of the time, people blame teachers or lack of school funding. The real problem, lack of parental involvement. Our schools can’t improve until parents get “actively” involved in their children’s education. This includes reading to our children, checking their homework and talking with their teachers.
    Education starts at home, let’s stop blaming others and take some responsibility.)

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