SP School Board

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2011

‘Pushing’ SP to improve spotlighted at board meet

By Rupert Howell

School administrators used strong words concerning South Panola schools that are not performing at a high level.

While school principals were giving oral reports to trustees, Middle School principal Dr. Carol Gary said her staff was undergoing a “paradigm shift” that “changes the basic foundation of teacher strategies.”
Gary noted that the shift was causing angst and she was meeting resistance.

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Asked by trustee Sandra Darby if the goal of 100 percent student engagement in every classroom all day, every day, was unrealistic, she replied that it was not.

She explained that the type of engagement was totally different from the way of the past.

“That’s why we are meeting resistance,” Gary noted and then stated, “We can’t afford to lose any children at Batesville Middle School.”

Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer said that middle school is a student’s, “first opportunity of independence,” and noted that Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jeremiah Burks, whose responsibilities include both personnel and curriculum, was working with Dr. Gary.

“He’s (Burks) pushing me,” Dr. Gary said.

“He’s encouraging you,” Shaffer said.

“It requires teachers, administrators, custodians and everybody to do things they’re not used to,” principal Charles Beene stated during his report adding that working with Common Assessment would measure both teachers and students.

Beene’s report continued along the lines of Dr. Gary’s report. He thanked school board members and administrators for backing them while they try to make changes.

“I think we’re on the same page,”  Beene added.

“Their (teacher) happiness is not a major concern,” Shaffer later stated.

“If we were a high performing (school) happiness is what we would need to work on. Point blank — if we don’t have our school successful, we lose our jobs.”

“It all goes back to the children,” Darby said, “Do you want a failing school,” she asked openly.

Shaffer then said, “It’s easy to make an excuse like, ‘They don’t come to us prepared.’ Well, it has been proven elsewhere it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Board president Lygunnah Bean summed it up stating, “If it was easy we would hire somebody much cheaper.”