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DIRECTORíS SPEECH

DIRECTORíS SPEECH FOR THE 57TH PTA ASSEMBLY THIRD TERM 25TH AUGUST, 2010

Mr. Chairman, current members of the P. T. A executive, past members, parents, members of the schoolís council, teaching and non teaching staff, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

I am glad to welcome you all to the 57th section of our Parent Teacher Association meeting.

I particularly want to welcome new parents who may be attending this meeting for the very first time.

We also welcome our parents from the sub region.

Welcome once again to the noble family where academic excellence and total training of our pupils and students is our vision.

This year, 2010, our great institution is 20 years old. We want to use the occasion to thank all those who in diverse ways have held us both our critics and our funs.

Above all we are most grateful to the almighty God who has been our leader and our guide throughout these years in the wilderness and unto our promised land.

I am deeply grateful to all.

From a modest beginning in 1990 with sixteen (16) pupils and two departments, nursery and primary, St. Peterís Mission school can now boast of more than 1500 pupils and students, with four departments Nursery, Primary ,JHS and SHS of which, about 250 are boarders from far and near.

Mr. Chairman, the catalog of our achievements is long and wide in academic, sports, CSR, co-curricular activities, infrastructure developments etc.

In academic, since 1996 we have excellently graduated over 1330 BECE Candidates consistently into about 25 top class SHS both locally and internationally. In all these schools, St .Peters has become a household name due to the great academic work and leadership skills of our young ladies and gentlemen. The scholarship secretariat is flooded annually by our qualified students seeking to pursue their degree programs abroad.

In sports, we have won two (2) inter- private schools awards in both football and athletics competitions.

In the area of co-operate social responsibility, we have given enormously to many institutions including SOS at both Tema and Asiakwa. We have awarded scholarships to both needy but brilliant students and football gifted pupils. Currently, there are about 200 pupils and students on scholarship across all the departments.

Co curricular activities, we have severally visited places of historic and academic importance in all the regions in southern Ghana.

Infrastructure, we have moved from a humble beginning of a 5 classroom wooden structure and now operating in about eighty(80) concrete classroom blocks and still developing and modernizing.

Our state of the art science laboratory, libraries, computer labs, visual arts studio and home economics labs: all emphasizing on our philosophy of providing academic excellence and total training to our students and pupils.

In St. Peterís Mission school, a sense of good value and leadership has been very significant in all our operations. Our accomplishments are truly global in scope and scale. It has made us the focus of the media on academic issues both electronic and print, but the above mentioned only tell a part of the tale.

Mr. Chairman, our humble pride of great effort and exemplary performance was extraordinarily justified by a Dr Kwame Nkrumah Outstanding Merit Award we honorably received on behalf of the entire St. Peter's Mission community on the republic day, 1st July, 2010 at Novotel Hotel.

We were honored by a leading sub-regional magazine, West Africa International in recognition of our consistent and excellent performance in education both locally and internationally.

In Ghana, we are the second school to Akosombo International to win this award since its inception in 1962. We believe it is a tremendous honor to our joint efforts, parents and teachers; hence we shall present this award to the PTA today in the course of the meeting.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen since the commencement of the school, we have successfully implemented three (3) strategic plan documents.

The first was from 1991 to 1996, the main trust of the strategic document was to be a leading institution with great academic excellence and to acquire a permanent site since we were operating on a rented premise.

The second, from 1997 Ė 2002, the main vision was to become a household name as far as basic education in Ghana was concerned.

The third, 2002 to 2010, the dream was to deepen our lead in BECE results and prepare the grounds for the smooth start of SHS.

Already we have successfully graduated three sets of candidates from our SHS in the following programs: Business, Visual Arts, Home Economics and General Arts. I am happy to inform the house that we have now added a new program, Pure Science, with about 9 students enrolled during the 2009/2010 academic year.

We promise to make Archimedes International College a science and mathematics school which will be likened to the debatably unmatched academic achievements of the great academician it has been named after.

Currently, we are working on our fourth strategic plan which will span to 2015. This will take us to the grand celebration of our silver jubilee. Our vision is to be the major brand name as far as academic excellence and total training is concern.

The core of our mission statement is that we will work to build a strong foundation for lifelong learning by nurturing, guiding and challenging all of our students to be critical thinkers and independent learners within a multicultural environment among others.

Within the series of our objectives, we shall endeavor to recognize the needs and talents of each pupil and to facilitate the development of the whole child: creatively, intellectually, morally, spiritually, emotionally, physically and socially through co curricula activities.

Also, we aim to develop basic life skills among students through our hybrid curricula in literacy, Numeracy, Communication and Research methods.

Additionally, we aim to recognize, reward and celebrate achievement of both staff and students consistently in all areas of endeavor within a purposeful and secure community. All the four departments have also established their annual and term objectives.

Mr. Chairman, our strategic choice will be to produce good quality and unique service at a lower cost than our competitors. This will help us to maintain our leadership in academic excellence at a relatively lower fee.

As a prelude, we are modernizing all our working tools to conform to our current strategic plan.

NURSERY DEPARTMENT:

The whole infrastructure of the department has been reconstructed to meet current standard and it is nearing 90% completion. Air conditioners will be fitted and the complaint of heat will now be a thing of the past.

Fifteen WCís, a bathroom, changing room, a water heater and Laundry services will be provided in their new set up. They will now have classroom libraries with books and teaching aids imported from Oxford in the UK through Mayan books and stationary services located in East Legon.

We believe that children learn fundamental skills and appropriate behavior through play. Hence more toys will be provided in the various nursery libraries according to their age requirement.

Winneba University College of education runs a sandwich program in child care and development for nursery teachers. The content of the curricular covers entirely what any professional teacher requires to be effective and professional.

As part of our human capacity building program, we sponsored one of the teachers, Miss Evelyn Abbram to pursue the course. She has successfully completed and providing efficient care to the pupils of her class and leadership to her peers, complimenting the work of her hardworking headmistress.

As l speak, two more nursery teachers are on sponsorship in winneba following the same program. We are committed to training and retraining all the staff to ensure consistent improvement in service delivery and a good value for money.

PRIMARY DEPARTMENT:

A standard modern library has been completed and stocked with essential reading materials. Research books from various poplar authors relating to their curricula have also been acquired. Children will be encouraged to access different materials on the major topics, taking note of the various approaches used by each author.

By this they will be developing their research skills and become independent learners. And also appreciate different approaches in solving a problem. This will help reduce learning monotony and introduce diversity.

All the old computers in their lab have been faced out. We have introduced a higher capacity system units and flat screen monitors. Creating an academically stimulating environment and also providing an ICT capacity that will facilitate the assessment of electronic materials. Furthermore, a projector will be installed to enhance teacher demonstrations.

A new set of books have been introduced in the area of science, mathematics and English grammar. These will be combined with some selected ones from our local Authors. Our quest to provide a hybrid and balanced curricula strongly informed our selection: some of these books are on display here.

The implementation of our 35 pupil maximum classroom size will be strengthened. Teachers will receive regular training in the teaching of Mathematics, English and Science. This will commence during the holidays. They will be introduced to the new foreign books, the teacherís guide and reference materials. The use of our state of the art science laboratory will be encouraged to gain much interest of pupils in the study of Science.

Teachers will be helped to totally avoid the use of copra punishment in the classrooms and still command the needed discipline for an effective academic work.

JHS DEPARTMENT

Our old strategy of securing the top SHS for our candidates continues. The 100% distinctions record will be sustained. Our pride of being at worst second best on the league table will be desperately defended. Our best grades continue to be the nationís best and our worst the best of all others.

In the present-day age of information, the use of the internet has become indispensable in academia and arguably, the cheapest source of good learning materials. Students will be helped to be good learners by introducing them to the appropriate research methods through the use of internet to search for the needed information for their project work.

To achieve this, teachers have been guided to prepare a ninety week program covering the three year JHS syllabi and under each topic identify a web site that has enough and standard materials on the topic, most especially in the core subjects, Mathematics, Science, English and Social Studies.

Before or after each topic students will be given some questions to answer using materials from both the web site and their prescribed text books. Children get more excited behind the computers than behind their text books. So why not use their source of excitement to facilitate teaching and learning process? The effective use of both the internet and the prescribed text books as a means of enriching academic work is part of our current debate.

Mr. Chairman the use of the internet as a source of research for academic materials is crucial and a necessary tool in modern education. If this strategy is efficiently pursued they will even discover information and knowledge above that of their instructors.

Currently, most children are under utilizing the internet and I sincerely believe a policy like this will help them reap the full benefit of their access to internet as students, comprehend their course materials more readily and bolster their confidence. Internet today is more accessible in our homes and communities even than text books.

Mr. Chairman the screening of over 500 applicants for teaching vacancies is underway. Ten new teaching staff will be employed across the various subject areas to augment the current number of teachers. This is to reduce the load of work on the existing staff and to free them for effective guidance and mentorship of the students.

We are fully on course to help our students build the needed foundation not only for distinctions in B.E.C.E but also for their onward academic scholarship.

SHS DEPARTMENT:

The Senior High School is 6 years old. Our current strategy is to ensure that in each subject, students attain at least grade B while we work to increase the grade Aís from a current 42% to 60%.

They have enjoyed a highly stable, astute and hard working teaching staff. Their classroom environment has received a huge face lift. They have received new classroom furniture.

Also new books have been acquired to restock their library. Additionally, their physics and biology labs have been equipped. Besides, they have been already introduced to appropriate search engines on the internet and they are briskly using it as an additional source of academic information.

We are very much on course benchmarking with a highly rated science school like St. Peterís secondary school at Nkwatia in the Eastern Region of Ghana. They are eagerly waiting for the completion of the assembly hall complex. The proposed SHS block. However, work is on schedule.

Mr. Chairman, we will affiliate with both foreign and local universities to know and understand their admission procedures and requirements for any necessary addition to our programs for easy admission there on.

Valley View University and other Canadian universities have expressed interest to affiliate with us. Some students on the request of the administrators of Valley View University have had the privilege of touring their facilities. They were briefed on the admission procedures and programs available and the importance of higher education. They returned highly motivated.

For the Canadian universities, we are still studying their proposal for the needed action. In the course of the period, we shall bring in officials from the Ghana scholarship secretariat to also brief them on the various opportunities that exist and the yard stick for selection so that they will be aware and incorporate that in their studies.

Mr. Chairman, we hope these will motivate them and open up their options in their quest for opportunities to pursue higher education.

CO-CURRICULAR EDUCATION:

Mr. Chairman, the importance of co-curricular activities in todayís job market cannot be over emphasized. Internationally, most universities are even considering it as a requirement for scholarship awards. It is of these necessary reasons why our current strategy is and will be laying huge emphasis on its development in the school.

They are by no means new. They are as old as organized education itself. A number of activities which we perform today in the name of co-curricular activities existed in schools even in ancient times, for example, music, debate, drama, athletics, etc.

TYPES OF CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES:

Co-curricular activities are categorized under seven headings:

1. Literary Activities; Debates and discussions, subject-wise club, School Magazine, Dramatics, Study Circle, Story Writing, Seminar, Recitation and Library Work.

2. Physical Development Activities; Games, Indoor and Outdoor Athletics, Mass Drill, Parade and Scouting.

3. Aesthetic and Cultural Development Activities; Music, Dancing, Drawing, Painting Sculpture, Dramatics, Exhibition, Fancy Dress, Folk Dance, Folk Songs and Variety Programs.

4. Civic Development Activities; Students' Council, Celebration of Religious, National festivals, Social Festivals and Mock Parliament.

5. Social Welfare Activities; Social Services on Special occasions like Fairs, Festivals, Cultural Programs, Assembly, Scouting, or Guiding, First Aid and Red Cross and Social Survey.

6. Leisure Time Activities; Stamp Collection, Coin Collection, Photography, Reading, Needlework and Knitting.

7. Excursion Activities;

NEED AND IMPORTANCE OF CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Mr. Chairman, the advantages are inexhaustible. However, a few are as follows; Co curricular activities have a number of values like educational value, development of social spirit, character training, education for leadership, worthy use of leisure time, team spirit, improved discipline, and development of cultural values.

EDUCATIONAL VALUE

These activities have great "educational" potential. All classroom teaching is theoretical. Practical knowledge can be imparted through co-curricular activities. Excursions and tours provide firsthand experience and reinforce classroom knowledge.

PSYCHOLOGICAL VALUE

These activities as the name suggests meet the psychological needs of the students. They help in expressing personal behavior and provide a vehicle for creative thinking.

EMOTIONAL HEALTH

Some students who are backward in studies develop inferiority complex and find school life disgusting and can get emotionally unbalanced. Such activities provide a means of emotional adjustment for students.

Recognition of Individual Differences By providing a number of co-curricular activities, we can ensure the expression of potential capacities of each individual. e.g. writing, public speaking, dramatics and many more.

DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL VALUE

Social cooperation is recognized as one of the important demands of citizenship. This is difficult to teach through school subjects like Languages, Mathematics or Social Sciences. By 'participating in group activities, students learn good manners and develop a sense of cooperation.

FINAL IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF CIVIC VALUE

Qualities like initiative and leadership are not always developed in a classroom. On the playground, students get opportunities to develop leadership qualities like initiative, decision- making, the power of individual judgment and tolerance.

Mr. Chairman, Parents, distinguished ladies and gentlemen our current vision to be the major brand name as far as academic excellence and total training is concern can be seamlessly divided into two.

First, academic excellence. This is the academic work of which we have achieved over the years and are still on top.

Second, total training, this will come from the effective combination of co- curricular activities.

Our objective of endeavoring to recognize the needs and talents of each pupil and to facilitate the development of the whole child: creatively, intellectually, morally, spiritually, emotionally, physically and socially, is a goal to combine academic work with effective co curricular activities and reaping the benefits there of.

Today we have displayed some of the co curricula activities in the school. This has given our dear parents the opportunity to learn at firsthand the laudable development so far in this direction.

We also wish to galvanize support and the blessing of all stakeholders in this direction.

On display includes: Taekwondo, Chorography, Arts & Crafts, Cadet, School Choir and many more.

In addition to the above, music lessons have been introduced as an externally examinable subject in the primary and SHS. This will be supervised by the music department of the University of Ghana.

In conclusion, Mr. chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, William Arthur ward an American dedicated scholar, author, editor, pastor and a teacher said, ďthe mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates. But the great teacher inspires.Ē

We in the community of St. Peterís Mission Schools, the great Persco we will inspire all our pupils and students onto greater heights.

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