THE Jamaica National Business Foundation hopes to continue its thrust to revolutionise the education sector when it hosts a School Leadership Summit on July 25 and 26.

“What we are trying to do is establish a movement of change. We’ve been involved already in leadership in a really big way through Jamaica National in terms of the projects that we have done, the Centres of Excellence and the iLead Programme, and our focus has been energising, empowering, equipping leaders to truly transform the education system and their schools and to effect meaningful change,” Dr Renee Rattray, director of education programmes at JN Foundation, told journalists at yesterday’s

Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper’s head office in Kingston.

Expressing confidence that the summit will energise participants, Dr Rattray said the event is targeting all leaders in education, including school board members, principals, vice-principals, senior teachers, middle managers, student leaders, and Ministry of Education officials.

She said the summit is aimed at introducing and educating participants on innovative practices in the sector worldwide.

“We’re really keen on bringing school leaders together to share best practices. We’re going to have many panel discussions with leaders who are actually in the field and who have turned their schools around, as well as with leaders who are veterans and are doing really exciting things,” she explained.

“We have a panel discussion with young innovators who are going to be telling school leaders the kind of environment they need in order to have students thrive and become entrepreneurs and innovators like they are,” Dr Rattray continued.

She noted that there will also be ground-breaking initiatives that will excite participants in training.

“We have two really great international speakers, one of them is Dr Christopher Emdin, who is from Columbia [University] and his research has surrounded using hip-hop to teach science. He’s a science professor and he has a project called Science Genius and it’s a competition that we’re actually going to be partnering on… a competition where the students are going to be using dancehall to teach science, to come up with science concepts and having a really great battle and kind of like a clash around science,” Dr Rattray said.

Participants will also benefit from presentations from several local and international speakers during the two-day event, which will be themed ‘Join the Education Revolution: Innovate, Impact, Lead’. The summit will also feature principals who have turned their schools around, such as Salome Thomas-El, head of school at the Thomas Edison Charter School in Delaware in the US, who will be the keynote speaker on the opening day of the summit.

An award-winning teacher and principal, Thomas-El, has had a track record of assisting challenging young people in the US to achieve success through chess. An acclaimed chess coach, he assisted students at Vaux Middle School in the US to be recognised as eight-time National Chess Champions.

Dr Rattray, as well as Kasan Troupe, principal of Denbigh High School — recognised by the National Education Inspectorate as the most improved secondary school in Jamaica — and Dr Nsombi Jaja, management consultant and change leader, will be the local presenters at the summit.

Dr Rattray said R Danny Williams, who has been instrumental in helping to shape Jamaica College, and other chairmen, are slated to participate with a focus on school boards.

“We believe that with governance the buck really stops at the top, and the school board sets the tone on how things are managed and how operations have been in the school. So we want to shed some light on that issue to bring it to the fore, to have persons who are interested in becoming members of boards, or who are presently serving on boards, to help them to understand the importance of their roles and to help to give them insight as to how they can improve on what they do,” Dr Rattray reasoned.

She encouraged school leaders to register.

“We believe that the time for change is now, and we can’t continue to do the same things in the same ways because it hasn’t been getting us far enough,” she said.

The summit is slated to be held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

School leaders and school board members who plan to register for the event may visit and clicking the link, ‘register here’, to complete the online registration form. They may also call 926-1344, extension 5164, to register.

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