Thursday, May 24, 2007
Letters to the Editor
Would you please print this letter to the graduating class of Byhalia High School? I am currently serving in Iraq and cannot be present at my brother’s graduation and would like to contribute something so that he knows I care and regret not being there. Thank you for your help and letting them all know that we are proud of their accomplishments.
Specialist Heather Perry
Response to audit:
The recent article on the accreditation audit of the Holly Springs School District should help this community to develop the saying “that leadership does count.” This audit shows us that the managerial focus of the school leadership, beginning with the Board of Trustees (school board), should be on improving the quality of education so that a new era of growth can occur to improve teaching and learning as well as to support economic development.
The deficit standards identified in the audit were all process standards. It has always been apparent that there has to be a change in the implementation of the process standards in order to meet the outcome standards (testing—Level 3 or better). In doing so, I hope the community, which includes the Concerned Citizens Association and local government, keeps in mind that change is a process and not an event. In order for the district (school board and superintendent, etc.) to correct the process standards it is going to take time and support from all.
It is easy to sense the impact of this particular audit on the future of the Holly Springs School District. All stakeholders involved (parents, students, teachers, school administrators-principals, central office staff, superintendent, board of trustees members, as well as the community — which includes, yes, even the Concerned Citizens Association, local politicians and state representatives) will have to take a look at our responsibility to learn what it is that we can do to help improve both process and outcome standards. What will we learn? We must learn to resolve disagreements with a willingness and ability to support the very institution that should be the cornerstone of economic development for this community. How will we learn it? Through mutual respect for the school district and its leaders we will learn that an effective means to better outcomes, both process and outcome standards, will occur when we respect each other’s opinion. What do they need from us? The board of trustees needs support from all groups in the community (politicians, churches, parents, etc.). The superintendent needs support from the board of trustees, the administrative staff, the teaching staff, the parents, community and businesses, and yes, the Concerned Citizens Association and local and state public officials. School administrators need support from the teaching staff, the students, the parents, and the community. The teachers need support from the school administrators, parents and students. The students need support from the parents and the teachers. In other words, everybody needs to be doing their job; therefore, the district could achieve level 3 or better.
As a community and a school district are we able to meet both sets of standards (process and outcome)? My answer to that is yes. However, it has to be a concerted effort on everybody’s part. Starting with the board of trustees, whose members are capable of updating district policies, they need to be like Nike --- just do it. The superintendent, central office staff, building administrators, teachers and staff are equally as capable of completing a corrective action plan with procedures and timelines to meet the deficit standards and implement up-to-date school board policies. The parents, community (public officials and businesses), students, and yes, the Concerned Citizens Association can and should take on the role of support and partnership and community pride in the district’s effort to improve teaching and learning.
Although this was not the first, nor the last, audit Holly Springs School District will experience, the timing of the audit was bad for such a new administrative staff. However, what is even more disheartening about this audit is it was apparently called for by a member of our community.
Finally, keep in mind that the one thing that sold Toyota on the Tupelo area was their concerted effort to show their commitment to public school education and workforce development, not only in Tupelo but in the surrounding areas.
We cannot continue to destroy our school district without destroying opportunities for economic development. Most school districts are reflective of the community in which they are a part. Therefore, where there are level two school districts there are communities functioning as level 2 communities. So let us start working toward lifting up the school district as well as our community!
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