Summary Exceptional School project, October 2019

Summary Exceptional School project, October 2019

The Sister Marie Laurence Primary school in the community of Middle Region Sint Maarten had been severely damaged during hurricane Irma on 6th September 2017. The school is in need to demolition and reconstruction rather than a patchwork rebuild.  We, along with the school board have been pushing for this and have requested from the World Bank Dutch Disaster/Recovery Funds the budget to do so and are awaiting the final approval from Government and funding for this. 

We have designed a school that will be future proof taking into mind several key thoughts and aspects. The class room design and layout will be complimentary to the "Exceptional Education" format that the school will pilot; this transformation being a major part of the Global Grant. We also have added a parent's room, where Parents can come and use a computer, internet, printer, etc. with the hope that they will be a more active participant in the school.  A community room will allow the Community Council to meet and host events for the overall betterment of the neighborhood as a whole.  Rotary or other service clubs can also use this room to host job trainings, resume assistance, clothing drives, medical check ups, etc. 

The idea is to create a school and surrounding that is the heart of this depressed neighborhood and an environment that the population will protect and have pride in rather than loot and further damage like what happened after the passing of Irma and Maria. Unfortunately this process and approval has been slow and frustrating as Government and World Bank have been not fast nor aggressive in making decisions.  The SML School was not listed amongst the 19 schools on phase one of "water and wind right" roofs, windows, and doors which is great news meaning that it is the intention to reconstruct the school based on the attached plans.

There has been great support and excitement from the teachers as well as the parents.  We had a community briefing in the gym in July where we informed of the progress and the future plans were unveiled and discussed.  

Rotary Global Grant:

The Rotary Global Grant has been approved last year November. It has three parts:

1.

Basketball court and play area

2.

New school: Refurbishment and equipment for the new school

3.

Training and education program

At Rotary Club Sint Maarten John Caputo remains the Program and Global Grant contact, At Rotary Club Huizen-Gooimeer Gert-Jan van Dommelen gjvandommelen@gmail.com

remains the Program and Global Grant coordinator on behalf of the International Sponsor Clubs.

Rotary International planned a review visit from 19-23 October 2019, this is now postponed with 6 months as a review makes more sense at that stage.

Message of Ray Petty, TRF Cadre Monitor: "Given the delay in project start ups, TRF has authorized the postponement of my monitoring visit until March or April, 2020. It is imperative that attention be given by each of the participating agencies/governments to begin the various components to assure that they are well underway, if not completed, by then.  It is important for both students at the Sister Marie Lawrence Primary School and the community it serves that significant steps are undertaken to advance the project! They deserve nothing less."

Latest updates:

1.

The basketball court, play area and recreational park around the school still require about 35K USD. We are waiting for the final bid from the construction firm Winward Roads (WWR) and the approval of The Rotary Foundation (TRF) for spending 30K from the Gobal Grant for specific refurbishments. Then the first phase the basketball court could start.

Afbeelding met lucht, weg, buiten, atletiekwedstrijd

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

Afbeelding met tafel

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

2.

The new school: A meeting with all government parties took place 2nd October 2019. The government of Sint Maarten has resigned at the end of September, and the interim government needs to make decisions and clarify all steps needed to start the Technical assessment by the World Bank. We are now waiting for an update.

o

An Early Recovery Project 1 (ERP1) budget is available for all emergencies on public buildings including schools (repairs of windows, shutters, generators...). This budget is also available to pay for the technical assessment of rebuilding the new school.

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In Spring 2019 a boost has been given by granting a Recovery-2 budget of 35 Mio USD to the Masterplan Education which includes the rebuilding of 4 schools, the library and sport accommodation.

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A Fast Track process has been agreed in July that enables the selection of some parts to be processed without the full Masterplan having been specified.

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The Sister Marie Laurence has explicitly been mentioned as 'specific cause" because of special education and is part of the Fast Track.

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On September 25th 2019, Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops met with the School Board on site at the Sister Marie Laurence Primary School.

3.

Training: In the weeks of 14th and 21st October the first CPC Training session starts for the teachers. Costs and Expenses of the Vocational Training Team (1 person traveling to Sint Maarten) have been approved by TRF and are being paid from the Global Grant. This is then the first payment from the Global Grant since its approval.

Status and progress:

1.

Basketball court and play area:

We are pressing along with the sport court, park, and garden area as this also brings great value and engagement to the youth of the area.  Most of the funding for this has been secured via a separate 175 K USD fund from the National Dutch Disaster program and our Global Grant has aspects that could fund another 24K-30K (currently approval from TRF has been asked).

We realize that to keep up the excitement the community as a whole the people need to see some progress. The sporting court, play area, garden, and park is about to get underway and will hopefully be completed within a few months.  This will be a major upgrade to the area and as mentioned gives the youth a safe place and the community the confidence to stay positively engaged.

We have had a bid for the construction and a meeting with the construction firm at Sint Maarten took place. on Tuesday 10th September. This meeting turned out to be positive in a way that a new bid with firm specifications, a phased approach, and lower prices will be presented by the contractor.

This presentation will then be taken up with the Dutch Disaster Fund to see how their funding can best be used for this project, specifically for Phase 1 which is the rebuilding of the basketball court.

The Global Grant part of about 25-30 K USD is only for specific parts such as the sporting attributes (tribunes, backboards etc) and fencing (needs approval from TRF in Evanston).

Phases 2 and 3 which focus on the play area and the garden area will require some additional sources of funding (we probably need another 35K USD). Important now is to get Phase 1 started as this is the largest portion of the project (in terms of cost as well as in terms of execution of works).

2.

New School:

We are waiting for actions from the government of Sint Maarten, the National Recovery Programme Bureau, the World Bank and the government of The Netherlands to rebuild the school.

We are confident about the outcome, we (RC Sint Maarten and RC Huizen Gooimeer) are continuously collaborating with the School Board, both our governments and the World Bank.

Architectural drawings and presentations • of the proposed new school campus have all been made and were well received by the authorities. The drawings are in the final stages and are ready to be submitted for the building permit pending the decision of the relevant authorities to execute this project.

The Community Council of Middle Region is involved to make use of this new multi-functional school and The Red Cross is involved as the school will be a Hurricane shelter and warehouse for emergencies.

However till today priority has been given to the smaller repairs at other schools and not to the rebuilding of the Sister Marie Laurence primary school in Middle Region. These smaller repairs have yet to begin, all these processes are taking extremely long. This "Early Recovery Project 1" (ERP1) will precede the larger projects such as the reconstruction of facilities.

One of the projects of the ERP1 is the repair of the hurricane shelters. The school's gym has always been used as a hurricane shelter. Five (5) visits have been made so far at the school (last one was on Sept. 24th) to meet with various experts and contractors, however there seems to be some disagreement on whether the school should be used as a shelter, seeing its present state of destruction/disrepair. Until there is more clarity to rebuild a new school, it may not be wise to "waste money" fixing the school gym.

The ERP1 budget has been granted for all emergencies on public buildings including schools (repairs of windows, shutters, generators...). This budget is also available to pay for the technical assessment of rebuilding the school as part of the Recovery-2 budget.

In Spring 2019 a boost has been given by granting a Recovery-2 budget of 35 Mio USD to the Masterplan Education which includes the rebuilding of 4 schools, the library and sport accommodation.

A Fast Track process has been agreed in July that enables the selection of some parts to be processed without the full Masterplan having been specified.

The Sister Marie Laurence has explicitly been mentioned as 'specific cause" because of special education and is part of the Fast Track. The Ministry of Education at Sint Maarten should now approve the money out of the 35 mio USD to allocate to the Fast Track projects..

On September 25th 2019, Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops met with the School Board on site at the Sister Marie Laurence Primary School.

Also present were the Dutch Representatives based here on the island (VNP), Mr Claret Connor, National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB), and Mrs. Michelle World Bank Program Director, the Ministry of Education (MECYS), and the Ministry of Housing/Infrastructure (VROMI).

It gave the School Board the opportunity to share the vision of the new school and to also indicate the great value of the collaboration between the School Board and the Rotary Clubs (on both a local level as well as on an international level).

Also, the School Board was able to stress how important it is to rebuild this school and to sub-sequentially reopen the school ASAP.

Afbeelding met persoon, gebouw, staand, groep

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

Afbeelding met muur, persoon, grond, staand

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

A follow-on meeting with the Government of Sint Maarten MECYS, the Dutch government VNP, the National Recovery Programme Board, World Bank and the School Board has taken place on 2nd October to make clear what steps are still required before the technical assessment of the World Bank can be done, after which the building process of the school can start with a tender to construction firms.

The technical assessment by the World Bank looks into aspects of safety, environment, sustainability and costs, and take a few months.

The building license can be provided at the moment the technical assessment is due, so the tender process for building the school (another few months) can start straight away after the technical assessment.

The NL Ministry proposes that Rotary Sint Maarten jointly with Rotary
International and Rotary Huizen Gooimeer to have a controlling part in the execution. In that way it can go in a way that belongs to the Sint Maarten culture while still ensuring the money goes to the school and community and money is spent wisely.

On Monday September 23rd 2019, the government of St. Maarten fell. Is it not sure yet how this will affect the recovery efforts but there may be some delays. Government plays a crucial role in the decision-making and it also needs to live up to its obligations. The Governor has indicated that snap elections will be held on the 25th of November. However, during the visit of Minister Knops at the school a decision was made to see how the project for the school could be expedited, so hopefully this will ensure that this project gets prioritized.

3.

Training: 

15-25th October the first CPC Training is held on Sint Maarten for the Staff of the Sister Marie Laurence school. This first (of five) sessions will be the kickoff of the Training & Development program of the Global Grant funds, which is very exciting!

The CPC training is first and foremost a personal development trajectory that focuses on the teacher as a person as well as on the quality of the interaction between the teacher and the students. The notion is that teachers must be connected to himself/herself, learn about the importance of self-awareness, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-respect and critical self-responsibility. The teacher who is connected can then "touch" his/her students from well-attuned relationships, and can challenge, support and guide them to become connected with themselves, with others and with the world around them.

This first upcoming session will be a combination of training as well as on the job coaching. The topics which will be addressed/taught/reflected upon include the following: the pedagogical biography, the basic psychological needs, your favorite teacher, 10 Common Principles, personal pedagogical statement, teacher styles etc.

The budget and VTT has been reviewed and approved by the TRF Valerie Perreira (travel and expenses for 2 weeks for 1 teacher).