The storm was the deadliest, most destructive hurricane in Dominica's history. But it did not defeat the school's spirit. Principal Martha Stephenson and her teachers vowed that the hurricane would not take away the gains in child literacy that they'd made with their school library. The extensive rebuilding of the school would include—of course—the repair and resurrection of the school library. The students' love affair with reading must continue.
Now the library at Jones Beaupierre Primary School is better than ever—colorful, welcoming, child-friendly, a magnet for students of every grade and reading ability. Hands Across the Sea wishes to recognize and celebrate the dedication of Jones Beaupierre Primary School to the advancement of child literacy.
Sixty other schools on the island were severely damaged, and many school staff and students lost their homes, belongings, and loved ones—almost every school on Dominica is in some stage of post-disaster recovery. There are many stories of recovery and resilience. The spirit of Jones Beaupierre Primary School is an inspiration to all.
DOMINICA Honorable Mentions: Atkinson School • Bagatelle Primary School • Castle Bruce Primary School • Giraudel Primary School • Isaiah Thomas Secondary School • Roosevelt Douglas Primary School • Salisbury Primary School • Wesley Primary School
Millet Primary School
Readers in the Rainforest. You won't find Millet Primary School (103 students, Grades K to 6) on any tourist map—the school can be found at the end of an unmarked, narrow, winding road through the rainforest—but what you will find are children, teachers, and a Principal who are super-excited about reading and their new library.
Hands Literacy Link Clara Paul mobilized everyone into a Library Team, and together they transformed a large, underutilized room of various "school stuff" into a colorful, enticing, child-friendly library space. Clara also trained a dozen children, ranging from Grades 3 to 6, as Student Librarians. All this took place several years ago, and the school's library has been chugging along happily since. Hands sent the school 539 new amazing books, plus a "reading corner" floormat, as part of the 2016-2017 shipment to St. Lucia, and we plan to "fill in the gaps" of their collection. But no amount of books can make a difference if the passion and commitment of the school staff is lacking, and these essentials are fully present at Millet Primary School, where we see the level of child literacy advancing every day.
ST. LUCIA Honorable Mentions: Anse-La-Raye Primary School • Augier Combined School • Beanefield Comprehensive Secondary School • Dugard Combined School • Entrepot Secondary School • Fond Assau Primary School • Fond St. Jacques Primary School • Lady Gordon Opportunity Centre • Monchy RC Combined School • Roblot Combined School
ST. KITTS AND NEVIS
Cayon Primary School
A Turnaround, a Makeover, and Now We’re Better Than Ever. It’s been a highly productive year in the Cayon Primary School library. To rejuvenate their library, the new Principal, Angela Matthew, with her Librarian, Karida Morrishaw, the Library Team (four teachers), the Student Librarian team, and Heidi Fagerberg, the Hands Literacy Link for St. Kitts and Nevis, have: removed all old books; processed and shelved the new books; fixed a long-broken table; solved the bookends dilemma; found stickier tape for library signs; removed old computers from the library area; made the teacher resource shelf more inviting, adding suggestions for the classroom use of specific books; encouraged students to look at grade level bookshelves above and below their own, as well as the reference shelf; created a follow-up policy for damaged or lost books; made library time mandated, not optional; ensured that Grade K and Grade 1 students receive read alouds by their teacher/librarian and book-handling lessons during library time; encouraged teachers to use library books to supplement their classroom lessons; and had students maintain a wish list of books for the library.
Wow, you may be thinking, that sounds like a lot of work! Yes, it’s always true that creating or rejuvenating a school library takes passion and dedication, and another thing is always true: when the library gets better, child literacy gets better. When children are encouraged to explore the library, they become better readers, and their literacy skills—vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, writing, grammar, speaking, problem-solving—begin to rise in the process. A school library, after all, is far more than a collection of books—it is a center for the advancement of child literacy. And for making such great progress toward that goal is why we salute Cayon Primary School as the winner of the 2018-2019 Hands Literacy Award for St. Kitts and Nevis.
ST. KITTS AND NEVIS Honorable Mentions: Charles E. Mills Secondary School • Charlestown Primary School • Dieppe Bay Primary School • Dr. William Connor Primary School • Jocelyn Liburd Primary School • Joshua O. Williams Primary School • Sandy Point Primary School • St. Thomas' Primary School