Oktibbeha County schools to improve?

Reported by: Susan Parker
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Updated: 8/06/2013 5:24 pm
OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) -- Dr. Margie Pulley has a monumental task before her.

As the leader of the failing Oktibbeha County Public Schools, she must find a way to get everyone on board.

She is optimistic.

"I think the administration and administrators and the teachers have bought into our vision of improving student achievement, and that is evident behind the improvement we have."

She says much is being done to enhance the teacher's performance in the classroom.

Mississippi State University educators are serving as mentors. Consultants in the classroom are the norm these days.

"They provide professional development, but they also come in and observe our classes and give our teachers feedback, and they come in and do lessons with our teachers and our students," Teacher Courtney Honnoll said.

A parent advisory committee will meet monthly to gain their input. Teacher and parent Denesha Howell says that definitely helps parents who had their doubts in the beginning.

"We didn't know what to expect. That was new to everyone here, and so we're taking it one day at a time."

"They're seeing that we haven't really had a lot of changes when it comes to the school day and school everything, but there have been more academic changes just from the depth of what we have to do now," Honnoll added.

"My children attend school here, so what I expect for my own children, I expect for all children here at East Elementary," Principal Yolanda Magee said.

Thirty minutes away we find Sharon Bonner. She is the new principal at East Oktibbeha County High School and fills a spot that has been vacated multiple times by others.

She was not necessarily surprised by the takeover.

"This school, which is the school that I'm assigned to now, was failing for three years, so I knew that probably would be in place, but we just didn't know what."

They would find that out last September when test scores at the high school tanked again.

She and others believe that will not happen this time around.

"When they're released in September, I hope that we have improved enough that we move out of our failing status into a different status, so I'm excited that this year we will move even higher."

She and others in this district say they hope all this work will lead to their most important goal-graduates.
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