Friday, October 2, 2015

Teacher and Principal of the Year Awards close nominations with double the nominees

The 2015/2016 LASCO/Ministry of Education (MOE) Teacher and Principal of the Year awards closed nominations recently with a record number of educators submitted. The number of nominees has doubled compared to the last staging of the awards programme. The winner will be announced at the annual ceremony to be held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in November.

A revised, more liberal nomination procedure has contributed to the increase. In previous years, only teachers, principals, or members of the school's administrative bodies were allowed to submit nominations. This year, however, the category of nominators was broadened to include parents, members of the community and the wider public, who were encouraged to submit the names of the educators they felt deserved to become the next Teacher and Principal of the Year. With the opening up of the nominations, more educators than ever in any single year have a chance at the sought-after title.

From the pool of candidates, Twelve finalists, six in each category, will be shortlisted to compete for the top spot. These finalists will undergo a rigorous evaluation process to determine who will be named the winner come November. The LASCO/MOE Teacher and Principal of the Year committee is in the process of selecting the teachers and principals who made the semi-finals, after which the committee members will assess them in their school environments. Following the school assessments, the twelve finalists will be chosen to participate in a number of activities including interviews to determine the winner.

Winners, Anieta Bailey (left) former teacher at Marymount High School and Heather Murray, Principal of Hampton High School were awarded trophies as the 2014-2015 LASCO/ Ministry of Education Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year respectively.
The Teacher and Principal of the Year Awards are still regarded by many as a hallmark of excellence in teaching. The programme recognises and rewards the outstanding educators who have given dedicated service to the education sector and the school community. The award is not only a learning experience for the winners who attend the annual
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) conference in the USA, but it is a platform for teachers and principals to share their knowledge and expertise.

The LASCO/MOE Teacher and Principal of the Year programme has evolved significantly since its 1997 inception and is now a more inclusive competition for teachers in several categories of schools. LASCO, with the assistance of the Ministry of Education revised their approach to the competition, which in its early stages appeared to favour the higher ranked educators.  In 2005, the programme sought to assess teachers based on the category of students they taught at various levels of the education system. Then in 2006, the programme further evolved to individually recognize the top teacher and principal with separate awards. This was the birth of the Principal of the Year award.

Following the recent National Launch of the 2015-2016 School Year, the current awardees, Anieta Bailey, Teacher of the Year and Heather Murray, Principal of the Year are currently rounding out a busy year of activities. These include the LASCO/MOE Teacher and Principal of the Year National Project, which is a requirement for the winners, as well as participation in various nationally recognized initiatives.

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