Island Notices

Island Notices (1612)

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs held an interactive and informative session entitled, “The Dangers of the Internet and the Effects of Technology on Students.” The information session was presented to groups 7 & 8 students of the Sister Borgia Elementary School in order to empower them and their peers in using the media to their benefit and bring awareness of the many potential dangers.

The session was held on Wednesday 15th February, 2017 at the Sister Borgia Elementary School at 10:00 a.m. The objective of the session was to bring awareness to students about the many uses and types of media, the effects that this can have them (both academically and socially), and how their decisions play a great role in their future outcome.

The Student Support Services Division thanks the school manager and teachers of the Sister Borgia School for their initiative in taking advantage of the many services that are offered by SSSD all in the best interest of their students.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Leaving home to pursue higher education can be an intimidating experience for those looking to further their studies. Those who arrive equipped with an understanding of how the college/university system works are better prepared for the challenges that lay ahead. The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs aspires to educate both parents and students alike about the academic opportunities available in Canada.

We will be conducting a workshop entitled College or University 101: “ The Canadian System”. It will be held on February 28th, 2017 at the SSSD’s office from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.

PHILIPSBURG, St. MaartenThe Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, via iSTEP, hosted an EdTechTeacher management and teacher training at NIPA from February 13th - February 17th 2017. The week was divided into two trainings; a 3 day management training and a 2 day teacher training.

The management training, which began on February 13th and ended on February 15th, for all school managers and student care coordinators of the public schools and was geared towards preparing management for the integration of ICT devices within their schools and their essential role in this process. Management representatives of the other school boards  also took part in the training. The management training ended on a high note, whereby the management teams of the various schools were enthusiastic for the project to commence and to get the programs and devices up and running in the schools, in order to reach each student at his/her level of interest.

The 2-day teacher training, which commenced on February 16th and ended on February 17th, was for the public school teachers whom participated in the iSTEP pilot program. This training was geared towards training the teachers on how to integrate the various ICT devices into their classroom instruction, curriculum and assessment. The teachers will receive monthly follow up trainings which will coach them in the transition from traditional classroom setting to tech-laden classrooms. 

The 2-day teacher training ended with the remarks of the Head of Division Public Education, Mrs. Glenderline Davis-Holiday. “We can’t do anything without your commitment and I hope the energy displayed here today, does not fade away.” Mrs. Fabiana Vanterpool-Arnell, Policy Advisor of the Cabinet ECYS, who spoke on behalf of the Minister who could not attend, congratulated the teachers, iSTEP team, and Mr. Tom Daccord, on a successful training. She encouraged the teachers to continue to be enthusiastic and to share on the knowledge gained with colleagues. Mrs. Vanterpool-Arnell conveyed the Minister’s wish for the teachers to be the change they want to see in the classroom by striving to make learning the best time in their students’ lives. “The children are growing up in a technological world and this is their reality. Let us grow with them,” Mrs. Vanterpool-Arnell added.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Minister of VSA met with WICLU to discuss a number of issues related to the field of Labor, including Labor day celebrations, representation on SZV, International Labor Conference, changes to the civil code, improved compliance and concerns with a couple of businesses that are encountering financial difficulties.

Based on the outcomes of the meeting, the Ministry of VSA and WICLU have agreed upon key areas within labor that will require collaboration or attention in 2017; beginning with the Labor Day celebrations. In the past the Department of Labor has been the lead organization in coordination Labor Day, however last year Minister Lee empowered WICLU to take on the role of coordinating the Labor Day celebrations in order for the event/activities to resonate with the working population.

In 2016, due to budget constraints, it was decided not to attend the International Labor Conference, however WICLU has expressed interest in a delegation attending in 2017. It was agreed that while the Ministry would prefer to host an event locally with support from ILO Caribbean, the Ministry would see if budget was available to support a delegation in 2017.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Sint Maarten recently hosted some thirty-three birding enthusiast from Carefree Birding, a birding based cruising group that travel throughout the Caribbean to engage in the growing birding tourism sector.

Nature Foundation Board Member and Birding Guide Binkie Van Es showed the thirty-three birding enthusiast Sint Maarten’s unique bird habitat and species; “It is exciting to be able to bring increased birding tourism to Sint Maarten and put the island on the birding map.

We often do not realize how unique and important birding tourism is for Sint Maarten and how much potential the island has in tapping into a significant market. During this trip I also had the honor to show Sint Maarten’s unique birding wildlife to Kevin Karlson and his Wife Dale, both celebrity birders and authors of multiple field guides, amongst which the famous book The Shorebird Guide.

This goes to show that nature tourism and birding in particular can be a very valuable addition to Sint Maarten's package and that under management of the Nature Foundation and its expertise in this matter this can and should be further developed for the destination, “ commented Van Es.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten Subcontractor for the Sewage line connection project on Arrowroot Road, D’MYRA General Maintenance and Construction, recruited a group of young men to carry out emergency work last weekend to ensure that the project stays on schedule.

In the week to come the sewage line connection project on the Arrowroot Road will be entering the next phase where homes are connected to the sewage mainline.

D’MYRA is in the process of recruiting young men from the area of South Reward for the continuation of the project. These young men will not only be helping with the construction, but also educated on the processes, intricacies of the work and materials used, which they can utilize in the future if looking for work in the construction field.

The connection of the homes is expected to take approximately 3 weeks.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten —Tuesday, February 7, 2017 marked the kickoff of the Cops & Kids program in the primary schools. The program which is comprised of five (5) modules was written collaboratively by four (4) CPOs, namely Steven P. Carty, Daryl A. Chandler, Shawn P. Crispulo and Ethelwoldus S. Josepha with Head Inspector ECYS, Priscilla S. Bell, M.A.Ed. The first module, “One on One” will be conducted in the month of February. For this particular session, students had 2 weeks in January to write down any questions, anonymously if they wanted to, of interest about the CPOs, their work, lives and the Police Department. Those questions will now be answered during the visits to the schools.
School Boards and School Management were informed during the first school trimester and teachers were invited to an information session in January at which time the program was explained, questions were answered and schools that were interested in participating, signed up for the first two modules (Feb & Mar). Eighty percent of primary schools (16 of 20) have chosen to participate. The sessions will be conducted in the 16 schools by seven (7) Community Police Officers; Steven P. Carty, Daryl A. Chandler, Shawn P. Crispulo, Rensley V. Henson, Ethelwoldus S. Josepha, Arcella V. Leonard and Helen S. Romeo with support from the Head Inspectors Priscilla S. Bell and Marie N. Gittens.

The value of the Cops & Kids program is multi-tiered as both the CPOs and the students will be getting to know each other past being “a face in the crowd”. Both groups may have opinions about each other based on what has been rumored by others. This program will allow them to get to know each other “for themselves” and separate truth from opinion. The presentation of this first session allows the students to see the officers first as human and then as protectors. Our Police Department is not perfect, but they do work hard and the safety of the people and country remains their priority. To stand vulnerable in front of students helps and encourages students to establish a healthy self-image, they understand that they are good enough.

They are reminded that despite making mistakes, their mistakes do not have to shape their future—they are not the sum total of the mistakes that they have made. We don’t want students to end a chapter in their life prematurely just because things have taken an unwanted turn. Instead, we are striving to encourage them to ride out the storm and grow from any challenges that are encountered. In their grammar lessons they would have learned how to use a period and a comma. The first denotes the end of a sentence, the other requires that you pause and then continue. In the “real world” the same hold true. In many instances it would behoove us to pause, breathe, pull our thoughts and emotions together—and continue with our lives.

It has become obvious that the mindset that caused the escalation in student conflict will not be the mindset that reduces or eventually eliminates it. It is a problem that needs to be addressed before the problem even presents itself in the secondary schools. Cops & Kids addresses school-aged citizens; as members of the community who are responsible, caring and community minded. The program does not take into consideration that in the opinion of others this may not be true of our students. The program is written to approach students as we see them in the near future (responsible, caring and community minded). Our expectations of them as citizens will be a contributing factor in their roles and productivity as contributing citizens. The program is not written to expose the weaknesses or shortcomings of the students. It is obvious that those exist.

There is no value or purpose in holding what they cannot do against them or causing them to feel ashamed. Cops & Kids was written to highlight and emphasize students’ strengths as individuals and as teams; and ultimately to bring the teams together as a group. The focus is to inject their self-esteem with an improved perspective of themselves. People who like themselves are less likely to be aggressive with others while in contrast hurt people.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - For those 60+, your current physical condition can benefit from exercise.

Join the More Movement for the Elderly by participating in the next activity on Friday, February 24 at I&I Fitness, Welfare road, Cole Bay (behind the I-Store in Cole Bay) from 3.00PM to 3.45PM

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Good governance and the tension between ethnic diversity and national identity, are the two hot topics within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Given the upcoming elections in the Netherlands and the recent tensions within the Kingdom, Intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic have dedicated much of their effort in analyzing the two topics.  The USM has broken ground with two new academic publications that address respectively good governance and the relations between ethnic groups in a time that defining national identity is high on the agenda.

Mrs. Geneve Phillip-Durham, the Dean of Academics, has written the entry on “Governance in the Dutch Caribbean” for the “Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy and Governance”. Encyclopedias of this caliber, published by the prestigious Springer in New York, is what policy makers, academics, and transnational organizations like Transparency International review in doing their work. The Dean of Academics had this to say about her publication:

“When governance is discussed in relation to developing countries, it often has the adjective ‘good’ appended to it to describe what should be strived for. What I seek to do in my work therefore, is to address governance in a non-normative way and in a way that departs from universalistic and utopian ideas. Notwithstanding, it remains important for me to acknowledge the governance challenges that are common to us on a national and regional level, if we are to obtain an improved experience and eliminate the level of apathy toward governance that has become ubiquitous”.

GREAT BAY,  St. Maarten – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, says due to Tuesday’s rainfall, CPS re-enforces its message that all residents and businesses need to take proactive measures to prevent mosquitos from breeding. 

Be on the alert for mosquito breeding sites and eliminate them especially after rainfall!

CPS is calling on the populace as well as visitors to wear light colored clothing at dusk; long sleeve shirts and pants; and use mosquito repellent to prevent being bitten by a mosquito that could possibly be carrying a mosquito borne disease.

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