Officially established in September 2018, the Pineridge Educational Center (PEC) was brought on stream by the Member of Parliament, Frederick McAlpine, specifically to afford constituents, who could not, the opportunity to complete their high school education.
However, due to Hurricane Dorian back in September 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic, PEC was forced to delay classes.
In the meantime, McAlpine said that the transition to online learning platforms was being carried out at the center, to conform to the new normal of learning.
“We were adapting to the health protocols and recommendations as much as possible, to welcome the students back into the classroom.
“So, on Monday (September 7) PEC officially welcomed students back to school for the 2020 Fall semester.
“We are happy to report that the Pineridge Educational Center (PEC) is back up and running for our students, who are trying to get their diplomas. For some reason or the other, they may have not been able to accomplish that, but they have a second chance. In this COVID-19 environment, we thought that it was important that our students get back to school.
“We have followed all the protocols, and we would only hope and pray that this would have been the same situation with most of our schools. We think that students need to actually be in school at this time, trying to get their education. It is important.
“As you can see we have redesigned the classrooms by making sure the protocols are in place. We have installed plexiglass and we also have our sanitization station. We are very happy for this opportunity,” said McAlpine.
He expressed appreciation to the principal, teachers, faculty and returning students.
“Since we opened, during our first year, we graduated four students. We now have additional students who are making preparations to also complete courses. Last year was very difficult, because we had Dorian and then COVID-19. It was almost as if last year was non-existent (for the school). We have to now catch up and do what we can to see that the students complete this program,” said the Pineridge MP.
McAlpine noted that a total of 32 students are registered for the present semester.
“We can actually accommodate 50 students, but because of COVID-19 we are not going to be able to do so, in this environment. The maximum that we will do will be a total of 40 students. There is separation in between the students, and even to an extent it becomes a little tight, because the rooms are a bit small. But, again, we have all of the protocols in place, by using the plexiglass as a divider on the desks.
“That is something that I think the government can also consider, to get schools open; to use this time to perhaps consider a shift system,” he suggested.
PEC Principal Delores Kellman informed that the center uses the curriculum published by Alpha Omega Publication, which is an online Christian high school program in the United States.
“The curriculum goes from Kindergarten to high school, but we are using the curriculum for grades nine through 12.
“The program is accredited; credits are accepted by colleges and universities throughout America, Canada and other parts of the world,” she explained.
Kellman noted also that the students attending PEC, would not have completed high school for some reason or another.
“A number of them come in with their BJC (Bahamas Junior Certificates); they have the requirement for the Bahamas National High Diploma but may not have all of the credits that they need to graduate.
“Some kids may not have done community service or perhaps may be missing a BJC. Usually it is either Math or English thus, they would not have been eligible to graduate, in the local high school system. We do not do BJC exams here, but we advise them that if they wish to take it, they can do the classes privately,” informed Kellman.