MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - All children can learn despite their circumstances and hurdles they face. The students at Thelma Smiley Morris Elementary in Montgomery demonstrate that every day.
More than 80 percent of them are considered poor and more than 80 percent of them scored proficient or better in both reading and math on multiple state tests. Both are requirements for even being considered to be a Torchbearer School in Alabama.
T.S. Morris was not only considered – but selected for this state designation for the 2009 school year.
The students, their parents and their teachers and administrators, led by former principal Sophia Johnson, all deserve applause.
Only eight schools were picked statewide, with Meadow Lane in Phenix City the only other one in our area selected.
Last year, only F.S. Ervin Elementary in Wilcox County was selected from our area.
Two years ago, E. D. Nixon Elementary in Montgomery and Edgewood Elementary in Selma were among nine schools chosen.
High poverty schools can be high performing schools. The key is strong school leadership and parental nurturing to excite and motivate students to excel.