TPSD team to focus on THS scores, safety

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A group of district leaders will be assigned to Tupelo High School for the rest of the school year to help the school deal with academic and discipline concerns.
Assistant Superintendent Fred Hill will lead the new team and will be at the school full time for five days a week. Chief Operating Officer Billy Crews will spend several days a week at the school to study discipline problems and potential fixes.
The school will hire two new school security officers to help improve discipline and safety. The group also will include four district leaders who will help teachers in each of the core subject areas. Three members of the school improvement department will help teachers better incorporate technology.
“We have two focuses with the team,” Hill said. “It is to address the academic improvement that is needed at the high school and to address the discipline problem that has been identified at the high school.”
The presence of the team will allow administrators to focus on school discipline, Hill said.
The academic team will include Deputy Superintendent Diana Ezell, Chief Accountability Officer David Meadows, Executive Director of School Improvement Glenda Scott and Tanisha Smith, a curriculum specialist in the Department of School Improvement.
That team will observe classrooms, provide feedback for teachers, model lessons and lead training for teachers.
Jamie Baker, Kenneth Griswold and Deborah McCoy, all members of the Department of School Improvement, will visit classrooms to help teachers with technology.
Special education director Mary Ruth Wright is also a member of the team.
Hill said the added support is intended to help the school prepare for the state standardized tests in April and May. THS currently is ranked on the fourth of seven tiers that Mississippi uses to rate schools based upon state test results.
The new school security officers are in response to requests from staff, he said. The question of discipline in the schools has received much public attention during the debate about revitalizing Tupelo’s middle class.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@journalinc.com.