Staff photo by George Anderson
According to South Principal Kim Lowry, South's team consisted of Sue Warrington, Nancy McVey, Tara Pierce, Jennifer Nigut, and Gayla Campbell.
Lowry said five to seven teachers from each school, including Kennett, Charleston, Hayti, Senath-Hornersville, and Caruthersville, attended the meeting, along with members of the University of Virginia, in an effort to discuss plans and obstacles that each district is facing.
Lowry said the group looked at data from each district as a way to interpret what the students need in terms of development.
Teachers were able to discuss ways of what was working and what was not and put the information together to better serve the students, according to Lowry.
The two-year Turnaround Program, which was developed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and Virginia Principal Larry Flakne, focuses on helping each district meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
The meeting kicked off with a welcome from Cheri Fuemmeler, director of the Southeast Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC), and Richard Trout, DESE state supervisor.
Following the welcome, Mike Terry and Eleanor Smalley, with the University of Virginia, discussed the overview of the Turnaround Program and qualities needed for Turnaround leaders.
According to the representatives, the Turnaround Program is part of the School Improvement grant, the National Governors Association Turnaround Challenge, and the Darden-Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education.
The representatives said the goal of the program is to build a system to provide executive leadership and turnaround leadership training and support in the RPDCs in cooperation with the State University System modeled after the Darden-Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education at the University of Virginia.
Lowry said South has made "significant improvements" over the past two years prior to becoming involved with the program, but they, like many other Missouri schools, are facing the struggle of ever-increasing state standards.
Lowry noted that Missouri has the second hardest state-mandated test in the nation.
Lowry said she feels that after the plan is fully implemented, the district will have a better idea of what to do to improve the test scores.
"I think that is going to be the biggest thing," Lowry said.
"When we get all of our curriculum and our pacing guides and our exams set up and can give those [benchmark tests] and see the results, [we can] re-teach and work on the things that the kids are missing."