Sunday , December 4 2022

Director of the SCS did not have a smooth start

Caribisch Netwerk published an interview of the Director of the SCS with Hazel Durand. “Saba Comprehensive School must become the best school in the Caribbean Netherlands,” said the new director of the only secondary school on Saba, Anton Hermans. Currently the The Golden Rock school on Statia bears this title.

Hermans has plenty of work ahead of him. The school has been struggling for years with the employment of teachers and problems with the school board. In 2016, all schools on the BES must meet the basic quality of the Netherlands. But Hermans cannot count on the support of everyone on Saba.

Anton Hermans (Photo Caribisch Netwerk)
Anton Hermans
(Photo Caribisch Netwerk)

In April, the school sacked  four teachers and the director and then the situation worsened, when two additional teachers resigned out of solidarity. Only in June the school started looking for new staff and then the three members of the school board resigned. Many parents and former teachers are in solidarity with the previous director and have expressed their opinion on social media.

“I feel attacked,” said Hermans. “I respect the freedom of speech, but this mode of communication is not good for the school, the teachers and, ultimately, the students. If these people really care about education, stop complaining on social media and come up with ideas to improve education. ”

On October 10, the school was visited by the Dutch Inspectorate of Education. “They were much more positive when leaving, then when they arrived,” said Hermans. “This gives me hope that they will approve our approach. The Inspectorate has asked, if we will be ready with the necessary improvements by 2016. My answer is: why not? Else, the 2016 targets will automatically become 2017’s and then 2018’s. ” In order to achieve our objectives, we are working hard to improve the curriculum for each subject itself. Currently, the teachers are working to improve the programs for testing. The classrooms of the school will be renovated starting December.

The school has been struggling for years with the continuity of employment of teachers. “We spend more money to better educate our teachers. But then, after having acquired the additional knowledge, they leave the school as they find better opportunities elsewhere. On the other hand, there are teachers who remain on the island, but who refuse to take the essential courses. ”

OCW has six million dollars available for recruiting and retaining teachers, especially in the BES islands. State secretary Sander Dekker has already threatened to cut funds if the quality of the education has not improved by 2016.

Hermans wants to invest in iPads for students. But, for these to work, first the Internet has to work properly. In the IT department of the school computers often crash and it takes a long time to get new ones. According to the director, this is very worrisome for meeting the 2016 targets.

The number Saban students that do not complete their follow-on education in The Netherlands is high due to the language barrier and lack of guidance and information. Starting this school year, students will receive more guidance in choosing a follow-on study in another country. This week, students participate in the first career fair at the school. The idea is, to show the  students that the Netherlands is not the only option.

The school has made ​​a false start because not all teachers were on the island at the beginning of the school year. This was due to the immigration procedures. Currently, the school only lacks the teacher for ‘Business’. He is expected to arrive on island this week.

Start of police training Caribbean Netherlands Police Force, KMar and Coast Guard
Saba delegation attends Green Aruba Conference

11 comments

  1. Dear Mr. Hermans, The Saba Comprehensive school was the best school within then BES islands, until the school board started to take things at their own hands and dis not renew contracts of teachers and the director.
    In your interview you state that you want to be the best within the BES. Mr. Hermans the SCS was the best but due to mismanagement of the school board with support of OCW BES and the Executive Council, the school recruited unqualified personnel and tried to cover their mistakes by getting who ever was available. The care coordinator is not functioning and you know that very well. The teacher for principals of business and accounts is not available and you know that very well. The Dutch teacher for academic stream is not available and you know that very well. The atmosphere among staff and management is deplorable and you know that very well. So why keep up the intention that everything is going well. My child and others dislike school more than ever before and are afraid of speaking out because they will be called in the office.
    You as director are managing the school to a disaster and not for being ready in 2016.
    You try to send this false message to the public but you know very well that this is a sinking ship while last year it was a sailing ship with course and direction.
    Mr. Hermans I asked several times what your plan is for the students who miss out on various subjects. You have NOT responded to this. In the meantime time give us lies and picture the school as a happy place. IT IS NOT. Nor students, teachers, non teaching staff, nor parents have the school at heart.
    Mr. Hermans, the school is in a mess and you know it, so does the VO-raad and Inspection. Don’t picture the place to rosy since it shakes on all corners.

  2. Mr. Hermans, you stated that teachers leave the school after obtaining the acquired knowledge. This is absolutely a joke. The total staff of 2014 wanted to staff, although they all had obtained training and support in curriculum development. NO ONE wanted to leave so don’t give me this nonsense. You are hiding behind the fact that were accomplished in the previous years and you try to get a gain out of this. But we are smart enough to know that this is just an escape trick from you to show how well things are going.
    Mr. Hermans, if the GvP is now number one, you are to be blamed for this because the SCS was always on top and with a running team you should have kept the school on top. In my opinion you are FIRED for mismanagement and arrogant behavior in the school.

  3. When reading this article of Caribisch Netwerk I wonder to what extent the interviewer captured the real position of Mr. Hermans. I understand that he has confirmed that the previous schoolboards did made a mess, i.e., I expect several sequential boards, not only the last one. Mr. Boeken also had to send his schoolboard away.

    This might be the price one has to pay for nepotism. When one looks at the Members of the Board in most foundations on the island, it is not difficult to detect the family connections. It is much more difficult to detect any subject knowledge of the Members of the board. Maybe this is the reason why so many say that things “don’t work” properly? But then, we have elections coming up. Do we have a choice? Any volunteers?

    It seems to me that the poor Mr. Hermans landed in a political snake pit. This is not uncommon in the Caribbean, just observe what is happening on St. Maarten today.

    I give him the credit, that he does not understand the local situation on Saba. There is a world of difference between the society in Holland and locally. However, I have also some hesitation that a person like Mr. Hermans, coming fresh from the Netherlands, can really believe that introducing iPads in a CXC environment has any chance of success. Just have a look what CXC offers in their online shop, as presented in an earlier article on Saba News. A curriculum that is in line with such tools, seems way too complex for the teachers that we have now. In Holland this is only introduced in very special schools, not the simple environment that we have here. Maybe the interviewer did not get it right. But, if she did get it right, then we have a real problem for this academic year!!!!

    Nevertheless, given the poor quality of the Caribisch Netwerk interview, I have to hold my position until someone knowledgeable writes a real overview of the situation. Maybe the Commissioner responsible for education or the Island Council who is supposed to monitor the performance of the Commissioner? The members of the Island Council are elected by us and paid by us to look after our interests. They have an obligation to inform us, don’t they? They live of our tax money!!!!

  4. Mr. Terry Cunningham

    Mr. Hermans:

    And how do you know what ‘many former’ teachers have been posting and that they are aligning with the former Director? I am not sure where you get you information but I hate to inform you that you are WRONG! I can tell you that we the ‘former teachers’ and former director have for the most part been quiet in this matter. I have posted earlier before you arrived about the Board and the treatment that we received from them.

    I understand that you had the gall to tell the teachers at the beginning of the year that ‘we the former teachers were told why we were not renewed.” Well again you are WRONG!!! Get your facts straight before you start attacking former teachers and the former Director and blaming your rocky start on us. Your sources are misinformed!!!!

    Mr. Director you should come visit with me and I will tell you what happened before you arrived and how my reputation as a fully qualified teacher has been slandered by misinformed people. So don’t put the blame on us ‘Former Teachers’ blame the former BOARD and yourself for being misguided and misinformed.

    BTW for the misinformed: I hold a Bachelors Degree in Business and a Masters Degree in Computer Science with a specialization in Training and Education I also have several years of training in the sciences and agriculture. I have taught at University level and I did training and educational design for Fortune 500 companies all around the world.

    As for i-pads for the classroom: you first need a research library with computers for the kids to go to and do their work during study halls at school. I hate to inform you but in this climate i-pads have a very short life and the wear and tear on them by students would make them even more short lived . In addition, to use i-pads you must have a curriculum and online content that integrates the use of these devices.

    In order to properly use technology in the classroom you must have teachers who require the students to use the textbooks that have been provided. You must teach the students how to use books and discuss what they have read. Throwing money at i-pad technology does not fix the problem since many of our kids are unwilling to read or do proper research.

    With this I will stop and catch my breath. And if anyone wants to know, I am angry and hurt that you blame you own problems in management on us, the former teachers. That Mr. Director is not the case.

    We had a fabulous school and the former Board tore it apart.

    Stop blaming the former teachers and put the blame were it belongs. (The former School Board, BES-OCW and our Commissioner of Education) and your own ignorance in this matter.

    Enough is Enough!

  5. Mr. Hermans did not state that GvP was the number 1 school in the BES islands. He stated that Golden Rock is. You cannot blame this new Principal for SCS not being the number 1 school, when he has just arrived. No examinations have yet taken place at the school to place it any other spot.

    Sabaguru, you’re implying that the current Care Coordinator “isn’t functioning,” however can you please state how did the last Care Coordinator function?
    You imply that the teachers who left or were not rehired were so much more qualified than the newer ones, and yet Guru you seem to have no idea.
    When comments have been made in the past on this site about teachers not knowing about the CXC system and other programs at SCS, I really have to ask myself how much these critics know about the previous teachers’ experience.
    Some of the previous teachers did not know about the CXC system, they needed outside help with SBAs, had health issues due to not being able to manage their classrooms, etc., etc. And yet, they were the crème de la crème.

    “The atmosphere among staff and management is deplorable and you know that very well.” I think you need to check your facts, and quit acting like you are THE guru. You should not make rash statements such as this based on perhaps one teacher’s opinion.

    Before anyone chooses to comment that this is Mr. Hermans, an SCS teacher, or a former SEF member, I can assure you this is not. I am a member of this community, and I am tired of the negativity and ignorant comments that are being continually made every time an article about SCS appears. The regular critics of Saba never seem to have anything positive to add. And yes, there are positive things happening at SCS, such as the Sports Day that occurred and the Career Fair that is occurring this week.

    “You try to send this false message to the public but you know very well that this is a sinking ship while last year it was a sailing ship with course and direction.” A SINKING ship??? Are you seriously saying that the only secondary school we have on the island is a sinking ship? Last I checked the school maintained the majority of its previous teaching staff, and they are maintaining their course and direction. While there may have been some bumps and hiccups along the way that does not mean that the school cannot and will not progress. It is this same negativity that the Principal talked about in this article. And shame on you, as an alleged parent of an SCS student, calling your child’s school a sinking ship.
    These sorts of statement imply that the current teaching staff, including the majority of the teachers from last school year, aren’t working and putting their best into their jobs.
    (Shortened by editor)

  6. I just want to say that none of this surprise me. I don’t know why Frank thinks that this article doesn’t represent this man as it in his own words. He come across as arrogant because he is so. Blaming everyone around him, even the current teachers working at the school. What kind of Director is he if he can not even support his own teachers and give the impression that theis lazy. Many of thems been on the island for years and are part of the community. How dare he say such a thing. This man just made a bumpy start a lot worse for he self. The new teachers were late coming back to the island and also had to leave again because of that dam board that lie to the community. Exams are in jeapardy come Spring but I sure there will be more excuses and blaming everyone else. I never remember any of this with Mr. Hemmie. He need to be brought back to fix this mess Commissioner Johnson. You wants to get reelected well here is your chance. Right will correct wrong!

  7. To all you Sabans reading this. What Mr. Hermans said is indeed correct some of the former teachers did not even know what was CXC.
    This principal knows how to speak to us students and is very nice. Yes the Dutch teacher is off island and the Business teacher is back on island.

    Do you really think we are getting free periods for our Dutch lessons! No we are not! The principal along with our teacher from Curacao is teaching the academic students Dutch. The teachers we have now are great.
    I do agree not the guidance teacher, but at least she is the one who started Saba’s FIRST JOB FAIR!
    You are not at SCS and I, as a student, think that this principal is one of the best we have ever had and I think he will reach his goal in 2016.

    Saba people stop complaining for once and pay attention. It is your children who don’t even pay attention. Worrying about relationships instead of their books. I say this with a kind heart. Please do stop complaining and try and realize he is trying to make our school better although our previous school board destroyed it. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR CHILDREN! It is not the principal, it is you yourselves who leave your children go partying every Friday night instead of having them in their books. But that’s none of my business!!!

  8. Anotherstudentatscs

    I too am a current student at SCS but I can not strongly disagree more with StudentatSCS. All of the teachers except one that was here last year taught vocational and didn’t teach academic so why would they know about CXC?

    The principal sits in his office all day and cannot speak to any of the students. Don’t believe me then come visit the school for the assemblies on Monday morning and you will sees that it is Miss Clement that runs them. Principal Hermans is the WORST principal I’ve had in my years at SCS and he don’t know how to even say welcome back to students or be involved in our sports day, so how is he going to have a conversation with any student. That doesn’t make any sense. The school environment is not the same this year and it is not for the better. Any student, teacher or outsider visiting will tell you so. All our bags was searched this morning before being allowed in the school. Is this even allowed?

    I do agree that the guidance teacher is no good and we shall see how this job fair goes. However she is no longer teaching us guidance as a former student is so I don’t know what she going to be doing with her time besides sit with her feet up on the principals desk like she done all last week few weeks.

    I feel sorry for all our teachers that are in this situation and that have been called lazy by Mr Hermans. This is not so but this shows you the type of person he is. If anyone want to see the truth then come to the school and see for yourself.

  9. Another concerned parent

    Well it seems that our students are starting to speak out about the inside situation at the SCS.

    I expect the inspection to report on this and that it will have serious consequences for them.
    Someone stated that Mr. Hermans came to Saba and found a snakes’ nest. Well Mr. Hermans, if you would have prepared yourself better you would have known that the school was in turmoil and that things could be expected.

    As parent, I feel that the escalation is near. The accusation from Hermans towards the old teachers is just a shame. He is jealous on Mr. Hemmie and rides free rides on what has been accomplished the last two years. So far he has accomplished nothing than irritation, anger and stress among everyone in school.
    And that is the SCS who was the flag ship of Mr. Oleana. By the way where has he gone?
    (shortened by editor)

  10. onemorestudentarSCS

    As a student in my last year this has been the worst year of my life all this new principal does is sit in his office, I know this is a principals job but he has to also communicate with the students, sometimes I walk in school and I tell him good morning and he doesn’t even answer, how do you expect us to like you if your so stock up? How do you expect us to speak to you when your closed up in a office all day. Today was the 2nd time I’ve been in his office and school started since August (I wasn’t in trouble I just went to ask a question) and he spoke !!

    As for the teachers all are doing great expect our Dutch teacher, I use to love Dutch so much and now I dislike it so much she doesn’t explain anything to you and the way she acts just has you asking yourself does she even have a diploma or did they just hire her because she’s Dutch? So many things go through my head while I’m in her class as for the guidance teacher she’s not as bad everyone say she is, she might get a little annoying but who doesn’t, she’s improving our school! I’m sure the other guidance teachers didn’t think about having a job fair.

    But this is still the beginning of things let’s wait to see If anything changes within the next couple of months

  11. Mr. Terry Cunningham

    Dear Saban:

    I really don’t want to get into an online tit for tat but I feed I must answer you post. I am going to answer part of your criticism with a question. Did you attend or are you aware the annual Sea and Learn events that were recently held on Saba? Well if you did attend any of the events you would have been lectured by what we educators call an “SME” this (Subject Matter Expert) specialized in a particular flora or fauna of the ocean or land. These SME’s work on a daily basis in their preferred field of the sciences and are therefore considered ‘EXPERTS’ in their field of study and research. Without these experts delivering their presentations, findings and research the Sea and Learn event would not have the prestige that it currently enjoys.

    So what does this have to do with your post? You said: “Some of the previous teachers did not know about the CXC system, they needed outside help with SBAs”.

    In the field of Business there are many different fields that you can concentrate in just like any other profession. In addition, there are people on Saba who have worked in large corporations and were SME’s in those fields. In order to do the ‘Marketing Business Plan SBA’ I called on my partner who has 30 plus years in the field of Marketing and Advertising to mentor the students and assist them with their assignment. I felt that they could benefit from his experience in the field and that it would help them make a stronger business plan.

    In order to do this we held after school sessions where my partner gave his time as a mentor to the students who were willing to come to the sessions. Of the 14 students we had about half of them who regularly attended the sessions and worked really hard at making a solid business plan. Your criticism of the use of ‘outside’ help in other educational venues is called a ‘mentoring program’ where students actually benefit from the knowledge of someone other than the teacher.

    I just want to let everyone know that I worked really hard to understand and come up to speed with the requirements for CXC. In addition I researched and found study guides that had been recently published to help the students study for the CXC exams. These study guides are from the same publisher that has partnered with CXC to provide even more study materials that was announced a couple of days ago on this site.

    In closing, I want you to know that out of the 14 students in my class there were 13 who actually completed their assignments and sat for the CXC exams. I had a pass rate of 83% and I had one student who scored a ‘Distinction’. Now before you go and do a rebuttal that some teachers had a 100% pass rate you have to know that they had a 100% pass rate of the students that they put forward in the class (this means that not everyone in the class took the exams). MS. Clements English class had a pass rate of 85% so my 83% pass rate for a first time CXC subject teacher speaks for itself.

    One more thing, Saba has a small population but for a tiny island we have lots of potential Subject Matter Experts that could be a resource for education in the form of Mentors. I won’t list them here but trust me there are lots of resources that could enhance the educational process.