New plan affects students, faculty members

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 29, 2010

NATCHEZ — After presenting the latest Natchez-Adams School District accountability plan last week, NASD Superintendent Anthony Morris said there are still many things to consider when it comes to student achievement.

Morris was commissioned in December to create an overview of plans made for the school system on how to improve test scores and academic performance.

Morris said the plan he presented to trustees at the board’s Jan. 21 meeting was a broad look at the steps every school needed to take to improve academically.

“I was very impressed with (the plan),” board president Norris Edney said. “If we can adhere to it we will reach our necessary goal.”

Morris told the board that schools would be working toward increasing the number of students scoring proficient or better on state tests through increasing the rigor and relevance of material presented to students, continuing to increase the clinical supervision provided by teachers and keeping an updated pacing guide for students to work by.

Morris told the board the community has to stand behind its children.

“A public education must be valued by all. Until that happens, you’re not going to reach the highest level,” Morris said.

Morris’ plan states the goal of the school board is to tailor teaching methods to the students the school is serving.

However, students aren’t the only group involved in the system’s plan.

Teachers’ evaluations are an important part of making sure students stay on task.

Low-performing teachers are subject to be reviewed by the board along with their salaries.

“However, there is no mechanism in the law which will allow us to readjust an employee’s salary,” Morris told the board.

Morris said the real key to focusing on student performance comes with truly focusing on students as individuals.

“Every one of our children has a different handprint, and with that, you have to develop a different plan for every one of them to fit their particular handprint,” Morris said.

Morris said even though the plan he presented encompasses each school, every school’s plan is subject to change due to the different ways students learn.

“I can put a plan together this summer and have every intention of following through with that due to previous data. But we could have some major achievements and at that point I have to look at my plan and do some revision,” Morris said.

Whether the children are catching on to what is going on in class and keeping up with the plan is something Morris said the school system continuously monitors.

“I know that we’re going to have to stay extremely focused on making sure that we are diagnosing our problems correctly,” Morris said.

“We have a plan. We are working from a plan at all times. I don’t know whether the community understands that the plan is constantly being revised depending on situations that come up.

“I don’t care how good your plan is, it’s always a work in progress,” Morris said.

Edney said he hopes to see the schools take their individual plans and partner them up with the latest accountability plan.

“Each school could use the plan and lock it to their plan and get the job done,” Edney said.