The Windsor Central School District is hosting a delegation from the nation of Belize Tuesday and Wednesday, including the highest-ranking education officials from the Central American country.
The contingent includes Louis Zabaneh, Ph.D., Ed.D., Belizean Minister of State, Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology, Dian Castillo-Maheia, Chief Executive Officer, Belizean Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology, and Clarivel Cocom from the Master Teacher Support Team.
The group is visiting Windsor to learn about the district’s programming, with a focus on its career pathways for students, collaborative teacher teams, and professional learning opportunities.
“It’s very important to for us to see how education can be applied in such a way that students during their time at school have opportunities for practical experiences so they’re prepared when they finish high school. That’s easier said than done. You need to have innovative ways to make children competent going to the workforce or college when they’re finished high school,” said Dr. Zabaneh.
The Belize Education Ministry has instituted a nationwide effort to improve student outcomes called the BESPlan. The plan is organized along four domains: reforming the education system, transforming teaching and learning, prioritizing underserved sectors, and maximizing human capital.
“In our country, we’re going through transformation of the education system. We’re moving away from kids memorizing and regurgitating facts for exams to where they now can apply knowledge and become competent in many areas. We wanted to come share what we’ve been doing and see what we can bring back. We feel there’s a lot of great things that have happened here and it’s a place we wanted to start with,” said Dr. Zabaneh.
Former Windsor CSD Board of Education member Barbara Mirch made connections with educational leaders in Belize. This led to Mrs. Mirch and Dr. Andrews visiting the Belizean embassy in Washington, D.C. in September 2022 to meet with the Belizean Prime Minister and Minister of Education.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn from one another. We’re proud of our programs and outstanding staff but we can learn from the delegation and nation of Belize as they undergo this reform initiative nationwide and how we can learn alongside them,” said Windsor CSD superintendent, Dr. Jason Andrews. “We’re excited to move past Broome County and New York state to make sure our programs are world-class and that we learn from partners around the globe.”
While in the Windsor CSD, the delegation from Belize will visit classrooms and meet with teachers at Windsor Central High School, Windsor Central Middle School, and Floyd L. Bell Elementary School.