Davis defends term as superintendent

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2001

NATCHEZ – Dr. Carl Davis said he thinks the Natchez-Adams School District has become more &uot;student-centered&uot; during his past three years as superintendent.

He used to hear comments about how the district had never handled situations in a certain way. Now he says a new mindset has developed, and he rarely hears those types of things.

&uot;I think we’ve got everybody working on the same page and that is being student centered,&uot; he said.

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In January 2002, Davis will have been the superintendent of Natchez’s public school system for three years. His contract with the Natchez-Adams School Board expires June 30, and school board members say they plan to vote on the renewal of Davis’ contract in January.

Despite what happens with the vote, Davis said he hoped to have brought stability and focus to the district during his term.

Everyone, including staff, teachers and parents, are learning that the district has high expectations for them and that they will be held accountable for their actions, he said.

&uot;I hope that what I have shared with everybody is that these are the rules we are going to follow and everybody must follow, and there’s no exception to that,&uot; he said.

The district has policies in place for a reason, he said.

&uot;We might be in a small community, and we might know everybody, but we’re still going to follow these rules and regulations,&uot; Davis said.

Davis said he also heard more teachers, staff and parents talking about instruction and ways to help children learn and perform well in school.

&uot;One of my things has been to keep kids in school,&uot; he said.

By developing a fast-track program at the Central Alternative School, hiring extra counselors and developing behavior modification programs, the district has tried to provide alternatives for students other than just sending them home, Davis said.

The district has also provided extra staff development to teachers and administrators on instruction, how to analyze test data and how to use that data in teaching, Davis said.

&uot;No longer can a teacher just stand up in front of a classroom and lecture to kids,&uot; Davis said.

Teachers must use individualized instruction and make use of the recently implemented exit skills test to assess each child’s needs, Davis said.

And students need to attend an expanding number of tutorial programs offered in the district and receive assistance from parents and other adults, Davis said.

For people who express concern about the district’s test scores, Davis points to changes in the tests that the students take that make comparing the numbers difficult.

He also thinks those people may not understand what teachers and students are doing in the classroom to facilitate learning. Often children arrive at school with little educational foundation, and the district must learn to deal with those challenges, he said.

&uot;I’m real proud of the students. I’m real proud of the teachers,&uot; Davis said. &uot;The teachers are instructing our kids, and our kids will learn.&uot;

Even though the Natchez-Adams School Board has yet to make a decision on his contract, Davis said he is not concerned about the outcome.

&uot;It hasn’t stopped me from doing what we (the district) have to do,&uot; Davis said.