ST. THOMAS, USVI – Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) Commissioner Racquel Berry-Benjamin and other Education officials, in an August 13 press conference held at the Charlotte Amalie High School (CAHS), announced sweeping changes at Charlotte Amalie High School, Addelita Cancryn Jr. High School, and Lockhart Elementary School that would affect where students enrolled at the schools attend classes in the 2019-2020 school year.
The changes are the result of the Department’s recent decision to shutter CAHS Building A and the remainder of Building B, which was partially closed under the previous administration.
“We are here on the steps of the historic Charlotte Amalie High School, which is celebrating its centennial in 2020, with the understanding that CAHS is symbolic of many of our Territory’s public schools,” Berry-Benjamin told reporters. “CAHS represents the challenges we face at our aged school buildings that are rapidly deteriorating, but CAHS also represents the tremendous opportunity we have as a community to transform public education and schools in the Virgin Islands.”
Following a structural engineering report and walkthroughs of the two buildings that revealed visual and structural damages, Berry-Benjamin and officials in the St. Thomas-St. John district made the decision to close the two buildings in the interest of the safety and security of students and staff.
While Building C on the Charlotte Amalie campus will remain in use during the first semester of the 2019-2020 school year, consideration is being given to close Building C in the second semester of the school year. With Buildings A, B and C closed, it allows the Department to plan for the demolition and rebuilding of CAHS, which is celebrating its centennial in 2020.
In order to compensate for the closing of CAHS’s Buildings A and B, which left the school with a deficit of 35 classrooms, the following plan was devised with input from the Department’s senior leadership team and the administrations of Lockhart, Cancryn and CAHS.
Lockhart Elementary School/K-3 Primary School
Lockhart Elementary School will temporarily become a primary school (K-3) and will be housed in the colorful modular structures currently located on the southeastern side of the Lockhart campus. Students in the Lockhart Primary School will wear the traditional Lockhart uniform.
Addelita Cancryn Intermediate & Junior High School, Grades 4 – 8
Addelita Cancryn will be temporarily housed in the Lockhart building, as well as the modular units currently on the CAHS tennis courts. Students in grades 4-6 will wear the Lockhart uniform and students in grades 7 and 8, will wear the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School uniform.
Charlotte Amalie High School, Grades 9 – 12
CAHS Buildings A & B will now be housed in the modular structures on the field and on the outskirts of the main campus, amounting to the whole of the Cancryn modular campus, except the modular units on the tennis court. CAHS will continue to use the auditorium, gymnasium, modular units, Career & Technical Education classes, Building N, and JROTC buildings. Students will continue to wear the traditional CAHS uniform.
The Territory’s public schools will open for the 2019-2020 school year on September 3.