Atlantic Caribbean Union

ATCU K-12 schools strategize to function as a school system rather than a system of schools

ATCU K-12 schools strategize to function as a school system rather than a system of schools
ATCU Communication Department

On January 17, 2016, the education department of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU), headed by Dr. Cheryl Rolle, welcomed members of the Bainum Family Foundation, a Seventh-day Adventist Initiative located in Silver Springs, Maryland, to the union territory to conduct an assessment of its schools in The Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and at a later date, the Cayman Islands.

“While the Adventist church does have an evaluation process in place for its schools that is implemented systematically by the union, it does not mean that other independent educational agencies cannot be used to help us realize our goals.  Recognizing that there is always room for improvement, we have taken this proactive approach of identifying our strengths and weaknesses, particularly in the areas of leadership and governance, academics and instruction, and finance in order to develop strategies that will make us an excellent school system rather than a system of schools,” said Dr. Rolle.

Mr. David Daniels, senior director of the Bainum Family Foundation and leader of the audit team commended the ATCU’s education department for its proactive approach in addressing the issues in the schools within the union. “I have been accustomed to being called when things are bad,” said Daniels. “But, here at ATCU, we’ve come to help bring the schools from good to great as it were.”
Several weeks prior to the visit, students, teachers, and parents from Bahamas Academy in Nassau, Bahamas; Grand Bahama Academy in Grand Bahama, The Bahamas; and Maranatha Academy in the Turks and Caicos Islands, completed surveys in preparation for the audit.  The professional team also reviewed school documents such as external exam results for over a five-year period.

When asked about his initial assessment, Daniels said that he was extremely impressed with how excited the students were to learn. He stated that the schools within ATCU had great potential for being model schools not only within the Adventist school system, but also for the government school system.

Daniels and his team members, Amy Soper, Marcus Gray, and Ginger Slaughter, during their weeklong assessment, interviewed representative stakeholders of the schools, met with students, teachers, and administrators, and conducted classroom observations. On Thursday, January 21, they presented an initial report of their findings to Dr. Rolle and the education directors from the fields: Mrs. Lynn Smith from the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission; Mrs. Joan Scavella from the South Bahamas Conference; and Mrs. Desiree Forbes from the North Bahamas Conference. Within three weeks, a more detailed report will be submitted to Dr. Rolle to be shared with the stakeholders.
Dr. Rolle said that she was grateful for the assistance from Mr. Daniels and his team who volunteered to assist on their own time, as the foundation works with faith-based schools in the United States only. 

“The wonderful thing is that Mr. Daniels and his team will continue to work with us as we implement the recommendations.  So, we look forward to this working relationship and their support as we forge ahead to ensure that all schools in the union are schools of excellence, speaking the same language as it relates to the delivery of quality Seventh-day Adventist education.”

Stakeholders were excited about  the process and have committed to supporting the endeavor and initiatives.

“This process gets us excited because I expect positive developments in our school as a result of the audit,” stated a local church elder and former parent of Bahamas Academy.

The Bainum Family Foundation supports educational programs and projects assisting underserved children and youth as well as Seventh-day Adventist primary and secondary schools. To meet this mission, the Foundation develops programs that build instructional and organizational capacity in schools to ensure that both students and schools reach their full potential for success

The goal of the four schools within ATCU is to provide a balanced spiritual, mental, physical, social, and vocational education in harmony with Seventh-day Adventist standards and ideals that will prepare children and young people to be productive citizens in their communities and heaven.