As students head back to class on Monday for what will hopefully be the first full year of in-person instruction since the pandemic began, the V.I. Education Department invites the territory’s fathers and male caregivers to be an important part of the big day by taking their children to school.
The invitation is part of the DADS (Dedicated Achievement Demonstrates Success) national initiative that supports and encourages fatherhood engagement in education.
DADS is designed to recognize the significant role men play in children’s educational development, create an environment where males feel welcomed, and to foster supportive partnerships with fathers/male caregivers to further the academic and personal growth of children, the Education Department said in a press release announcing the initiative.
Participants are also encouraged to voluntarily pledge to remain involved throughout the child’s educational journey, Education said.
DeShawn Williams, the department’s program manager for Social-Emotional Learning, who organized the event in the St. Thomas-St. John District, and Karen Chancellor, director of School and Community Relations, who organized the activity in the St. Croix District, encourage uncles, brothers, fraternities, and the like to adopt a child who may be without a biological father and take them to school.
Upon arrival at school campuses territory-wide on Monday, fathers and male caregivers will be given the opportunity to take photos with their children and be treated to other activities.
Assistant Education Commissioner Victor Somme III encouraged the fathers and male caregivers to participate in the important initiative.
“As the father of a daughter, I took her to school every day and I thoroughly enjoyed the times she and I spent in the mornings going from home to school, talking about her life and the things that were important to her,” he said. “I urge all fathers to take their children to school on Aug. 8. Let’s do this, fathers.”
St. Thomas-St. John District Superintendent Stefan Jurgen recounted a childhood where his own father took him and his siblings to school.
“In my childhood household, my dad was responsible for taking my siblings and I to and from school, and those are some of my fondest childhood memories,” he said. “So, I’m calling on all fathers, brothers, uncles, and papas to take a child to school on Aug. 8. In the V.I., fathers that show up, rock.”
Local father, Terence Corbett, offered motivational words to other men.
“Calling all dads, fathers, and male role models to bring your children to school on Aug. 8,” he said. “I plan to be there for my daughter and son. Enjoy and have a blessed school year.”
DADS participants who wish to have their photos featured on the department’s social media platforms, may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, Government of the Virgin Islands, and the Virgin Islands Department of Justice have partnered with the Department of Education to ensure the success of this year’s activity.
The department’s effort to encourage fathers and male caregivers to participate in their children’s education isn’t the only initiative for the new school year.
As students return on Monday to the territory’s four public high schools and St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center, the Education Department has, for the first time, established a standardized start time of 7:40 a.m. and an identical daily schedule, as part of its efforts to better address students’ academic and social emotional needs, supplement teacher shortages, and expand program offerings to students.
The change was made after school principals and state and district curriculum and instruction leaders began re-evaluating teaching and learning practices at the high-school level last spring, the department said. This involved five months of intensive planning and cross-district visits to assess needs and find solutions to common problems being experienced at the schools, the department said.
The new schedule establishes a 45-minute flex block that will create time for programs and experiences that cater to students’ academic and social-emotional needs.
Another significant benefit is to provide students with access to classes offered at schools other than their own, according to the press release announcing the initiative. Students at Charlotte Amalie High School and Ivanna Eudora Kean High School will now be able to enroll in classes at St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center, Central High School, and St. Croix Educational Complex High School, and vice versa.
In August, the initial rollout will see high school students in the St. Thomas-St. John District enrolling in the Aviation Academy at the St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center, the release stated.
A third part of the high school transformation, which will roll out in January, will establish six territorial career pathways that are aligned to the V.I. Board of Education’s new graduation requirements for students in grades 9-12:
Career & Technical Education
Early Admissions/Dual Enrollment
This means that if students were to transfer between any of the territory’s public high schools, they would have the opportunity to enroll in either of the pathways, the release stated.
Following is the schedule for school start and end times in each district.
St. Croix District Start and End Times
|Grade||School||Start time||End Time|
|9-12||St. Croix Central High School, St. Croix Educational Complex, St. Croix Career & Technical Education Center||7:40 am||2:30 pm|
|7-8||John H. Woodson Jr. High School||8:00 am||3:00 pm|
|PK-8||Eulalie Rivera, Juanita Gardine, Pearl B. Larsen||8:15 am||3:15 pm|
|PK-6||Ricardo Richards, Lew Muckle, Alfredo Andrews,
Claude O. Markoe
|8:30 am||3:30 pm|
St. Thomas-St. John District Start and End Times
|Grade||School||Start Time||End Time|
|K-4||Jane E. Tuitt Elementary School||8:15 am||3:00 pm|
|K-5||Joseph A. Gomez Elementary School||8:15 am||3:00 pm|
|PK-6||Joseph Sibilly Elementary School||8:15 am||3:00 pm|
|PK-8||Julius E. Sprauve Elementary School||8:15 am||3:00 pm|
|K-3||Lockhart Elementary School||8:15 am||3:00 pm|
|K-6||Ulla F. Muller Elementary School||8:15 am||3:00 pm|
|PK-5||Yvonne Milliner Bowsky Elementary School||8:15 am||3:00 pm|
|6-8||Bertha C. Boshulte Middle School||7:25 am||2:25 pm|
|4-8||Addelita Cancryn Intermediate & Junior High School||7:45 am||2:45 pm|
|9-12||Charlotte Amalie High School||7:40 am||2:30 pm|
|9-12||Ivanna Eudora Kean High School||7:40 am||2:30 pm|