Brookhaven Principals share plans to reach ‘attainable’ goals

Published 3:00 pm Saturday, October 29, 2022

Brookhaven school principals appeared before the School Board Tuesday to give updates on Term 2 action plans.

Stacy Walker of BHS, Patrick Hardy of Alexander Jr. High, Rita Robinson of Lipsey and Nancy Fisher of Mamie Martin Elementary were present. Latronda Gayten of Brookhaven Elementary was absent due to health issues. District Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Jessica Broome was also on hand.

Each principal discussed successes in testing, as well as plans to overcome areas of struggle and reach new goals.

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Walker stressed that the high school’s goals were achievable, and a B grade overall was the target. Using interventions, training and strategic scheduling for all testing areas — reading, English, math, biology and history — the principal said they are seeing improvements. Students are also taught ACT and WorkKeys prep.

“We have big goals, but we feel like all of them are attainable,” Walker said.

Hardy said junior high students were demonstrating a higher level of comfort in testing, and were showing improvement in reading and analyzing. He attributed math and English success to focused, student-achievement driven teachers, who are working with the data. He also praised Robinson and the staff at Lipsey for the advanced level of the students who were transferring to AJH.

Areas of struggle for his students came in learning real-world application for science instruction, and in a lack of motivation among some students who had come into the district from other areas.

“This board, the superintendent, the mayor, police chief, the aldermen, this entire community needs to make it evident that we need to be on grade level,” Hardy said. “Our teachers are working, pushing, but some people moving into our community do not have the same expectations. Everybody in leadership at each school is pushing to get students to leave at grade level. As a collective group, we’re doing that on the campuses.”

Lipsey principal Robinson said it is very important for the students to understand where they are and what they need to achieve to reach their next standard.

“Informational text is difficult. It’s not entertaining. Y’all, it’s boring as dry dirt,” she told the board. “So we try to build endurance. We try to make things digestible.”

Teachers are collaborating well, and supplementing curriculum as needed to get where they want to go.

“I’m so proud of that staff,” she said.

Fisher said Mamie Martin focuses on reaching students where they are and giving them the support they need to advance. They give short tests to see where help is needed, and teachers share strategies to help each other achieve goals.

Another key is providing as much training as possible to teachers across the year to help them teach their students all they need to know at grade level.

After each principal had spoken, Broome complimented the students, teachers and principals for the work they have consistently done.

“I’m really proud of the progress they’re making,” she said. “They’re asking, ‘What can we do to improve?’ every day.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved a student request to transfer into the district.

• Approved accepting donation of $337.90 from R. Netherland and M. McCarthy for the BHS Clothes Closet.

• Approved a school bus turnaround at 3690 Harmony Drive.

• Approved automated plan for implementation of federal programs included in the Mississippi Comprehensive Automated Performance-based System (MCAPS).

• Approved Zoom Cloud subscription for 12 months.

• Approved Mamie Martin Elementary yearbook contract with Jostens.

• Approved trip to Audubon Zoo Nov. 3 for students and faculty of Digital Media and Health Science Program.

• Approved a list of personnel recommendations, including a new assistant special education teacher at Alexander; a new custodian at Mamie Martin; and some after school tutoring staff.

• Adopted written policies for Vocational/Career Technical Education that are already in practice.

• Accepted and approved financial reports and claims dockets.