The Rockhouse Foundation transforms the places where Jamaica's children learn and supports the people who teach them. 2013 marks the Rockhouse Foundation's ten-year anniversary! We are deeply grateful for our loyal and generous friends who have made it all possible - well over US$2 million invested improving the lives of young people in and around the Negril area. To date, the Foundation has entirely transformed and modernized four schools - Negril All Age School, Negril Basic School, Little Bay All Age and the Bunch of Stars E.C.I. - along with a complete renovation and expansion of the Negril Community Library. All projects combined, the Rockhouse Foundation directly impacts the lives of thousands of young people and their families.
In communities whose basic needs far outstrip available resources, nothing is more enduring than creating learning environments that value students and educators, programs that support a child's physical growth and well-being, and partnerships that leverage the knowledge and experience of the great people already dedicated to working with Jamaica's young people.
The Foundation has always had a strong conviction that its contributions to education should be meaningful and enduring. Ongoing facilities maintenance and extra support on site ensure donations have lasting value and generations of children and teachers will feel their effect. At the same time, the Foundation continually aspires to evolve and examine new ways to be even more effective. And so, while improving infrastructure remains our signature in and around the Negril community, recently we have done two things we believe are critical to assist the area's youngest students get a solid start in life and stay on the right track - focus on early childhood education and, for the first time, provide direct technical assistance to the teachers and directors in our pre-K partner schools so that the quality of instruction and materials reflect the very best in theory and practice.
The Foundation has established a cluster of pre-K's to share resources, peer support and best practices. Additionally, we have contracted an outstanding early childhood specialist based in Jamaica, to provide curriculum development, teacher training, leadership development and assessment tools to gauge the impact of the Foundation's ongoing investment in the sector. Over the next several years we will continue to expand the cluster, providing a combination of infrastructure improvements and support from our early childhood specialist, all undertaken in cooperation with Jamaica's Ministry of Education. At a recent dedication celebrating the Foundation's renovation of the Little Bay School, Minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites, applauded the Foundation's contribution to, and partnership with the Ministry as "truly extraordinary".
The Foundation's current endeavor for 2013 is creating a combined Infant and primary school in Moreland Hills, Westmoreland. Moreland Hills Primary has experienced many challenges over the past decade or more, having lost the confidence of the community to adequately prepare its students for secondary education and beyond. Most families send their children to Little London Primary, at burdensome cost and lengthy travel time. In the past several months, however, the school has been assigned a dynamic and motivated interim Principal, and a new teacher, both of who have begun to inspire confidence in the community. In short, a turn-around has commenced.
Rockhouse Foundation proposes to bolster that turn-around by transforming the school facilities in much the same fashion as was recently achieved at Little Bay All Age and Bunch of Stars E.C.I. We intend to effect the renovations in time for a re-opening in September. As part of the renovations and expansion, the Foundation will reconfigure space to incorporate an Infant School, with age appropriate furniture and supplies, sanitary facilities and the ongoing support of the Foundation's early childhood specialist who currently works with the other schools in our growing network.
Every cent of every donation goes directly to support our programs - the Rockhouse Hotel and its owners underwrite all administrative expenses. In Jamaica a donation goes a long way - our projects cost as little as one fifth of the budget for the same project in the United States. Our projects are concrete and have an impact that can be seen. We are on the ground to manage capital projects, monitor programs, maintain facilities, and deliver the resources needed for success. The Rockhouse Foundation is a New York based, IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
To gain a wider visual perspective on our history and work, please view the Rockhouse Foundation's archived videos by clicking the following links and scrolling down to Academy Award nominated director Marshall Curry's documentary short Negril All Age School Project on our Projects page and also Air Jamaica's In-Flight Video "Island Stylee" profile on the Foundation on our News page.
The Rockhouse Foundation has received so much support from our guests and friends through donations in kind. Many guests have supported the Foundation by packing items to bring with them on their trips to Jamaica. The children and teachers of Negril and Little Bay could further benefit from the following supplies:
Before you pack, check with your airline and travel agent to determine luggage allowance. In order to maximize space and minimize weight in your luggage here are a few packing tips: remove supplies from their original packaging and place them in a bag or loose in your luggage; wrap fragile items to prevent breakage.
Beverley Wedderburn, Principal, Negril All Age School
"The community is looking at the school in a different light. Even children who would not have wanted to come here are now looking at the school. Jamaican families do value education. Everybody wants their children to move a step higher."
Fiona Vassell, Teacher, Negril All Age School
"I get up in the morning and I feel good about coming to the school, this transformation means a lot to the local community, everybody is talking about it."