The Heinz Simonitsch School, located in a corner of the grounds of the Half Moon Hotel, a 400 acre property in Montego Bay, was founded in the year 2000. It is a two-storey building, with twelve classrooms, two libraries, a science lab, art studio, a computer room and a large auditorium. It is located beside the Mobay Hope Medical Centre, close to the hotelís Nature Reserve.
The school was started in 1997 by Mrs. Elisabeth Simonitsch, wife of the then Managing Director of Half Moon, Mr. Heinz Simonitsch, in two rooms over the shops in the Half Moon Shopping Village, with eight students. The students population rapidly grew and in 1998 the school expanded to occupy a further four rooms. By 1999 it became apparent that a new, larger school was required and the present school was built in 2000 with funds provided by Half Moon. It is now completely independent of Half Moon financially, but is supported by the Heinz Simonitsch Education Foundation.
The school opened in September 2000 with Mrs. Diane Girvan as Director.
The school at this time has 240 pupils from Kindergarten 1 to Senior 5. There are 2 Kindergarten classes, 5 Junior classes and 5 Senior classes. The age range is 4-16 years. The average class size is 20.
The school is a Jamaican school and follows the Ministry of Education Curriculum but adds its own programmes for enrichment. 95% of the students are Jamaican, the remainder being children of expatriates who work mainly in the hotel industry. There is quite a large turn-over of these students but they integrate well and give our school, an extra dimension.
The Junior school offers much the same subjects as any other primary school and aims for success in GSAT in Junior five for those who wish to move on to a government High School, although most students remain here at our school. There is a huge emphasis on the Performing Arts - Dance, Music, Speech and Drama. Also high on the agenda is Environmental Awareness (and every class has one period per week.) All our children are taught to conserve, reduce, re-use and recycle, and not to pollute. They are responsible for the school garden and for keeping their surroundings clean and tidy.