The Rockhouse Foundation transforms the places where Jamaica's children learn and supports the people who teach them.
The Rockhouse Foundation over the past decade has invested US$4 million in projects improving education for the children in the Negril area. Since its inception, the Foundation has completely transformed and modernized five schools: Moreland Hill Primary and Infant Schools, Negril All Age School, Negril Basic School, Little Bay All Age and Infant Schools, Bunch of Stars E.C.I., in addition to the complete renovation and expansion of the Negril Community Library.
Several years ago, the Rockhouse Foundation decided to focus its resources and energy towards improving early childhood education institutions, affirming empirical evidence that all children, but especially poor children, need a solid foundation in order to thrive academically throughout their education and, consequently, as self-determining members of society. After two projects improving facilities and programming in separate rural communities, the Foundation is developing an inclusion model, mixed ability, special needs early childhood school.
The Savanna-la-Mar Inclusive Infant Academy (SIIA), the Rockhouse Foundation’s current construction project, is a brand new school purposely built to service those with special needs in an inclusive environment. The SIIA addresses a demand that has been expanding dramatically, and for which there are no services in the western half of Jamaica.
Through these projects the Rockhouse Foundation directly impacts the lives of thousands of young people and their families.
Special Needs School
The Foundation’s current project is the region’s first Special Needs Inclusion Model Early Childhood School to be opened in September 2017. Located in Westmoreland (pictured below), the Savannah-la-Mar Inclusion Infant Academy will offer developmental services to regular learners and special needs children deprived of treatment by health and education systems that are unable to offer facilities, adequately trained professional care, affordability, or simple proximity.
This inclusion model school will be the first of its kind in Jamaica. A trained staff of teachers, caregivers, therapists and healthcare professionals not only will create the highest quality special needs school community, but will also training for teachers and parents in the western region of Jamaica to detect and work with children with developmental delays and physical disabilities.
Moreland Hill Primary and Pre-k School
In January 2013, after decades of neglect the Moreland Hill Primary School had an enrollment of just 32 students and was slated for closure by Jamaica’s Ministry of education. In September 2013, the Foundation completed a total transformation of the Moreland Hill Primary School, alongside a dynamic new principal, welcomed 120 pre-K - 6th grade students who had previously traveled long distances in search of a better education that all children deserve.
We are recognizing Moreland Hill Primary for scoring 87.5% in Numeracy and 100% in Literacy tier 5. Tier 5 is the Ministry of Education's highest level. The school average for GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test) moved up 2% from 67% in 2016 to 69% in 2017.
Tech-based Literacy Program
In 2015 the Jay Hatfield Family Foundation provided Rockhouse Foundation with the largest grant in its history to implement a computer-based literacy and numeracy program called SuccessMaker. SuccessMaker’s implementation, and overall technical expertise has been driven and supervised by Foundation board member, Ian Coville. Now in its second year, all students in 1 - 6th grades at the Moreland Hill and Little Bay Schools devote several hours weekly on this powerful and engaging platform improving their math and reading skills. SuccessMaker is designed to allow each student to work at their own pace, advancing through each achievement level only when they have demonstrated proficiency and clear understanding of the underlying competencies.
Children in Jamaica often have limited access to robust technology. Rockhouse Foundation believes that all children deserve 21st century skills to compete in a global economy, and that reading, writing and math are fundamental to becoming fulfilled, self-determined members of society. SuccesMaker is a potent and effective platform that complements the heroic everyday work of the great teaching staff at both schools. Many thanks to the Hatfield Family Foundation for making such a major investment in the future of Jamaica’s young people.
Bunch of Stars Pre-k School
The Foundation's 2012 project centered on Bunch of Stars Pre-K in Old Hope, Westmoreland, located approximately 15 miles east of Negril. For 20 years Bunch of Stars was a community fixture, initially located on the veranda of its founder, and then for 13 years in a small, two room rudimentary structure absent even the most basic early childhood supplies and amenities. Bunch of Stars now welcomes a burgeoning student population everyday onto a brand new compound abundant with supplies, new furniture, a vegetable garden for sustainable school nutrition, and a rejuvenated spirit.
Little Bay All Age and Pre-k School
Little Bay often ...