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Department of Special Education Needs Services makes strides at CEC 2024 convention and Expo

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The Department of Special Education Needs Services (SENS) has marked a significant milestone in its journey towards enhancing services for exceptional learners through its participation in the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) 2024 Convention and Expo, held in San Antonio, Texas March 12th to 16th 2024. This event, renowned for its dedication to advancing the field of special education, provided a platform for our team to immerse themselves in a wealth of knowledge and resources.

The convention, with a rich history of fostering collaboration and innovation, focused on sensitizing attendees to global initiatives in special education. Our team, consisting of four professionals from the Department of Special Education Needs Services; Mrs. Paulette Simmons – Special Education Teacher at SNAP Center, Jamiliyah Jordan – Speech and Language Pathologist, Christina Joseph – Behavioural Analyst, Lashaunda Skippings – Coordinator of Assessments and one representative from the Department of Education, Mrs. Faaida James – Special Education Officer benefited immensely from four days of information-packed workshops, networking opportunities, and exposure to cutting-edge assistive technologies and programs.

 CEC 2024 Convention and Expo has been a driving force in shaping the landscape of special education. Each year, it gathers professionals, researchers, and advocates to exchange ideas, share best practices, and explore innovative solutions to support individuals with exceptional needs.

 Lashaunda Skippings, Coordinator of Assessments, and a part of the team, shared her thoughts on the convention, stating, “ The CEC 2024 Convention exceeded my anticipations. It was incredibly enlightening and stimulated thoughtful reflection. I am grateful for the openness of presenters who shared their exemplary practices in Special Education, that address the needs of students with disabilities globally.”

Dr. Anya Malcolm, Director of Special Education Needs Services, expressed her excitement about the department’s progress, stating, “The thrill that fills the department and the parents as initiatives in Special Education Needs falls into place remarkably is tangible. We are dedicated to utilizing the knowledge and experiences gained from events like CEC 2024 to further enhance our services and support for exceptional learners.”

 Hon. Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports, and Social Services, expressed her commendation for the Department of Special Education Needs Services, stating, “I commend the Department of Special Education Needs Services for their unwavering dedication and proactive stance in participating in the CEC 2024 Convention and Expo. The Ministry acknowledges the pivotal role of such initiatives in elevating the standards of special education services and fostering the comprehensive development of exceptional learners nationwide.” 

 The Department of Special Education Needs Services remains committed to its mission of providing comprehensive and inclusive support to individuals with special needs. Through continuous learning, collaboration, and innovation, we strive to create a nurturing environment where every exceptional learner can thrive.

 For more information about the Department of Special Education Needs Services and its initiatives, please contact sens@gov.tc.

Education

MEMBERS OF THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ATTEND ASCD 2024 CONFERENCE

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The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Education proudly announces the successful participation of its esteemed members at the prestigious Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) 2024 conference in Washington DC. The delegation, comprised of Education Officers, Principals, and specialized teacher groups, showcased their dedication to excellence in education and commitment to staying abreast of cutting-edge methodologies.

The conference, held from March 22-25th 2024 served as a platform for educators worldwide to converge, exchange ideas, and delve into the latest trends shaping the educational landscape. Among the driving topics that garnered significant attention were Universal Design for Learning (UDL), differentiation strategies, and the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in educational practices.

The delegation from the Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Education had an enriching experience at the ASCD 2024 conference, participating in discussions and workshops on Early Childhood, School Safety, UDL, differentiation, and AI technology has equipped them with invaluable insights and tools to enhance teaching and learning outcomes in their schools.

The conference provided a forum for educators to explore innovative approaches to curriculum development, instructional design, and student engagement. Members of the delegation seized the opportunity to network with international counterparts, fostering collaborations that will further enrich the educational landscape of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The ASCD 2024 conference was said to be a truly enlightening experience. The team returned home inspired and empowered to implement new strategies that will cater to the diverse needs of our students while harnessing the potential new skills and technology to personalize learning experiences.

Hon Taylor Minister of Education added ” I commend and fully support our teachers’ participation in the ASCD 2024 conference. Investing in professional development opportunities like this not only enhances the skills and knowledge of our educators but also contributes significantly to the ongoing development of our human capital. The returns on this investment directly impact our educational landscape, fostering a more dynamic and effective learning environment for all stakeholders involved.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Education extends its gratitude to ASCD for organizing a dynamic and impactful conference and looks forward to continued collaboration with educators worldwide to shape the future of education.

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Caribbean News

Media Release: St. Nicholas University Champions Diversity in Caribbean Veterinary Medicine

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St. Nicholas University School of Veterinary Medicine (SNU) is implementing a targeted initiative to increase diversity within the veterinary profession in the Caribbean, focusing on attracting and supporting students from the Caricom region. This effort addresses a documented and drastic lack of diversity in the regional field, where Caribbean, Black, and Minority individuals – often from lower-income communities – are significantly under-represented. This under-representation can limit access to veterinary care for diverse communities.

SNU has established several programs to address this disparity. Their Veterinary Medicine Scholarship Program offers financial assistance specifically to Caricom students with academic merit and a demonstrated commitment to serving under-served communities.

Additionally, the university’s Mentorship Program pairs incoming Caribbean students with experienced Caribbean faculty members, providing them with guidance and support throughout their academic journey. These programs are resonating with students from under-represented backgrounds. An Aboriginal/Black student from the USA, Will B., exemplifies this. “After graduating from SNU I plan on returning to the U.S and starting an outreach program in an effort to show under-represented groups in my community that becoming a veterinarian is possible with universities like SNU, no matter how unlikely it may seem in their world” – he explains.

SNU’s commitment extends to faculty recruitment. The university actively seeks to recruit and retain Caribbean faculty members, creating a learning environment that reflects the real world of veterinary medicine.

This dedication to diversity has garnered international recognition. Recently, a delegation from the Jamaica Veterinary Board (JVB) visited SNU in Dominica to assess the program. “I see an emerging university that is propelling change for our region. We are impressed by SNU’s focus on inclusion, and that is the message that will be taken back to our board and to the Government of Jamaica” said Dr. Mattocks, a JVB representative. This assessment will help simplify St. Nicholas University graduates register as veterinary professionals back home.

“We are working to increase the number of veterinarians willing to serve in under-served communities,” says Dr. Naderkhani, President of St. Nicholas University. “We also emphasize additional qualities in our future veterinarians, such as compassion for animals. This, in turn, can contribute to improved veterinary care quality in various low-income communities.”

SNU students volunteering at St. Nicholas Animal Rescue to send rescued dogs on a Wings of Rescue flight to their new homes.

Despite ongoing efforts, SNU acknowledges the persistent challenges regarding diversity and inclusion within the veterinary profession. Systemic barriers, such as limited access to educational resources and financial constraints, can disproportionately impact students from many Caribbean backgrounds. The university recognizes the need for collaborative efforts to address these issues and works with external organizations to dismantle these barriers.

St. Nicholas University believes that a diverse and inclusive veterinary profession is essential to providing exceptional care for all animals and their companions. Through its commitment to attracting and supporting Caricom students, fostering a diverse faculty, and partnering with relevant organizations, the university strives to be a leader in promoting positive change within the field.

With the application period for the September 2024 class now open, St. Nicholas University invites passionate Caricom students to explore their veterinary dreams. To apply, visit www.snu.vet.


End of Release.

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Caribbean News

Jamaica teacher shortage 

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#TeacherShortage#Jamaica#England, April 5 – Schools in England have increased the recruitment for qualified teachers from countries outside of Europe including Jamaica, worsening the country’s shortage in teachers, according to reports. Statistics show that in 2023, 1,100 work visas were issued to qualified secondary school teachers for England, more than the five hundred and fifty five issued in 2022 and the two hundred and five in 2021. From Jamaica alone, there were four hundred and eighty six qualified teachers in 2023, twice as many compared to 2022. Head teacher and President of the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA), Leighton Johnson, reportedly highlighted that teacher shortages have been so severe to where positions were unfilled for more than a year and where retired, untrained and even teachers on vacation, were hired.

 

 

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