Breathe in long and hard...there's a fresh wind blowing

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By Angye Morrison

There’s a fresh wind blowing across Gadsden County. Can you feel it?

I’m talking about the new excitement in the schools and at the administrative level. It started with the shifting around of personnel, not because district leaders wanted to move people out of positions, but because the skills of those administrators and teachers would be better utilized elsewhere. Principals who have led their former schools to higher levels of achievement have been moved to schools that were faltering, and we can be sure their new schools are already on the rise.

There’s also been change among teachers, with fresh, new faces hired and new levels of skill attained by those who’ve been around a while.

Some of the most exciting changes, I think, are in our high schools. The high schools have in the past been the “problem children” of the district, with low test scores, behavior problems and issues with instruction. Both high schools have been labeled as “failing” schools, due to poor performance on the FCAT.

But with new leadership and a new plan, the high schools are poised to make tremendous breakthroughs. It won’t happen overnight, but the changes will come. I’ve heard about the plans being put in place by each of the high school administrators, and what they’ve got in mind is nothing less than extraordinary. We can expect great things.

I was also encouraged to watch the community take pride in their schools this summer. The Coalition for Change worked with community members to give James A. Shanks Middle School a makeover by painting, making repairs and working on the grounds. It was a wonderful thing to see the community take pride in one of its schools, and put that pride in action.

At Gretna Elementary School, family members of the school’s new principal, Delshuana Jackson, joined with Jackson to do some painting. I was there last week, and saw a janitorial worker who went out and purchased cleaning materials to use at the school, because she felt the ones she’d been given weren’t doing the job as well as she’d like. Both incidents showed pride in that school.

That’s the fresh wind that’s blowing. There’s a new pride in Gadsden County’s schools. Things have been rough in recent years, but change is on the horizon.

It’s time we all get on board...

You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/missangye. E-mail your comments and suggestions to me at editor@gadcotimes.com.