Virgill-Rolle sees FOCUS as a model for learning loss recovery in The Bahamas
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Lyford Cay Foundations (LCF) is doing its part to assist in learning recovery in The Bahamas by intensifying one of its signature education programmes, FOCUS, to help meet the needs of students in a challenging COVID-19 environment.
For more than 10 years, Lyford Cay Foundations has been engaging young people in the public school system across New Providence through FOCUS, a dynamic eight-year academic enrichment programme that works to keep selected students on track to become the first in their families to attend college.
FOCUS recruits fourth graders from six public schools on New Providence: Albury Sayle Primary, TG Glover Primary, Eva Hilton Primary, Gambier Primary, Woodcock Primary and Stephen Dillet Primary. Instructors are committed to working with students and their parents or guardians until they graduate from high school.
Dr Nicola Virgill-Rolle, executive director, Lyford Cay Foundations, said: “The Lyford Cay Foundations has done its best to help our FOCUS students address their unfinished learning from their regular school experiences.
“The first thing that Lyford Cay Foundations did, after getting advice from experienced educators, was to ensure that students had access to education diagnostic services so that we understood what additional assistance they needed.”
LCF looked at what the best schools in The Bahamas and the world were doing, studied advice from international organizations on learning loss recovery and adapted those approaches for FOCUS’ students, she said.
“Due to the generosity of our donors, we were able to obtain licenses for certain learning and diagnostic programmes for every FOCUS student,” Virgill-Rolle said.
“We provided MiFi devices and tablets and our programme staff followed up with parents to ensure that students continued to participate.”
Through testing, FOCUS teachers were able to identify students who had been struggling and offer individualized tutoring, said Kendra Moss, FOCUS programme coordinator. She noted that results have been strong.
Virgill-Rolle said: “Our students show up to class and are excited to learn, even as we intensify their learning to make up for the learning loss experienced during this very difficult time in Bahamian education history.”
This past Saturday, January 15, 2022, 250 FOCUS students eagerly logged onto their devices to begin the first of the Lyford Cay Foundations’ “Saturday Slam” FOCUS sessions for the year.
LCF invests a substantial amount in each student, inclusive of instruction costs, teacher training, meals, supplies and transportation to and from their homes during face-to-face sessions.
Instructors are drawn from teacher education students enrolled at the University of The Bahamas and experienced teachers from both private and public schools. The programme also provides the services of an experienced guidance counsellor and college and career specialists.
Virgill-Rolle sees FOCUS as a model for learning loss recovery in The Bahamas.
“We are grateful to our generous donors who enable us to carry out these services for so many students in The Bahamas,” she said.
To learn more about the FOCUS programme, visit lyfordaycayfoundations.org/our-programme-focus.