Fayette County High School and its feeder schools have laid the foundation for a bright future. Speaking to the Board of Education at their last meeting of 2018, representatives from each of the schools painted a picture of a team on the rise.
Fayette County High School Principal Yolanda Briggs-Johnson, in her first year at the helm of the Tigers, introduced her colleagues at the schools that eventually feed students into the county’s oldest high school.
“It is our sincere goal to share a story that reflects academic success, progress, achievement, community support, reflections on growth opportunities, and a robust outpouring of pride in our feeder pattern from our most important assets: our students, teachers, and parents.”
She offered a quote from Sheila Tobias on the “Power of Yet”: “There is a difference between not knowing and not knowing yet.”
Principal Angie Southers of Cleveland Elementary pointed to several factors in the school’s improvement, including part-time instructional coaches, a tutoring partnership with Bennett’s Mill Middle, a daily intervention block, and summer tutoring.
Tabitha Lawrence, Principal at Fayetteville Elementary, talked about shifting focus from remediation to acceleration. Pre-teaching allows them to give students a head start.
“When that information is presented to you as a student, you’re now at an advantage,” she said. “That’s empowering to a student. It builds that confidence.”
Jamie Munoz, in her first year as Spring Hill Elementary Principal, highlighted the school’s test scores and status as a Leader In Me school, among other accolades.
“We have a lot to be proud of at Spring Hill,” she said.
Principal Dr. Marcus Broadhead of Bennett’s Mill Middle lauded his school’s attention to a diversity of needs.
“We have a do-whatever-it-takes kind of attitude when it comes to supporting students wherever they are, and we work tirelessly to do that,” he said.
He pointed to staff working with 8th grade students on a Saturday to prepare them for finals.
“That is a testament to our mindset that, not only do we have to do what it takes, we meet kids where they are,” he said. “We recognize the importance of the individual, and we do whatever we can to build them up.”
Briggs-Johnson highlighted FCHS’s focus on foundational pieces. She said they have a focus on teaching a growth mindset to both students and staff.
“My focal points for the 2018-2019 school year were simple: getting back to basics, which included standards-based instruction and cultural proficiency,” she said. “Fayette County (High) is doing a pretty good job of implementing these two focal points: professional learning and connecting relationships of trust between students, teachers, parents, and staff.”
Briggs-Johnson closed with a message of optimism for the schools.
“I believe it’s important that when we look at where our students are and where we know they are going, that we consider that power of yet,” she said. “We’re not where we want to be, but we’re certainly on our way. We’ve started a path. and our students, our parents, our teachers, they’re buying in, and we truly are getting back to basics.
“We recognize we are not where we want to be…yet.”