PBSD officials provide update on turnaround program

Pine Bluff Superintendent of Schools Linda Watson on Thursday outlined the district’s progress in the past year and its coming year’s plans with the University of Virginia’s School Turnaround Program.

Watson gave a report on the matter during a luncheon at Simmons First National Bank. The event was designed in part to provide an update to the Pine Bluff School Board and an advisory committee focusing on the program within the local district.

SFNB, Relyance Bank and other concerns are helping to fund the district’s partnership in the two-year turnaround program that aims at boosting results within some of the nation’s lowest-performing schools. In exchange for the commitment to the effort, the school board and district administrators have pledged to work together on a plan to enhance students’ educational opportunities and performance results.

In a written statement provided to The Commercial, Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services Tiffany Bone said the 2014-15 academic year will begin with a common assessment for math and literacy to be used as a pre-test.

“We will use the week following the assessment to analyze data and set our power standards for the year,” Bone wrote.

After module arrangements are finalized, teachers will develop action plans for their students. A mid-year common assessment will be administered in January 2015 to see if students have shown improvement from the August pre-test.

“The data from this assessment will allow time for adjustment prior to the state performance-based assessment which will be administered in March,” wrote Bone.

Watson said the UVSTP will provide executive leadership coaching to the district’s principals and assist them in developing each school’s intervention plan. Principals are slated to attend a program launch boot camp in July.

PBSD, in addition to initiating implementation of a leadership academy, has hired Alesia Smith an a district improvement officer to work with four priority schools and Cheryl Hatley as an executive principal coach to assist with the remaining five campuses.

Watson and Bone attended a UVSTP data workshop in February.