Two Lowndes County teachers make a difference - Montgomery Alabama news.

Two Lowndes County teachers make a difference

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email


On the highway of life Kimberly Washington has yet to slow down since taking over Jackson-Steele Elementary School 3 years ago. That was a time of uncertainty, a time when something had to change.

"The first need was to change the culture," said Washington.

And the climate, an environment according to Washington that wasn't necessarily focused on making things better like math and reading scores.

"The change looked like more days staying late, more days coming in early," she said.

But what a difference 3 years can make.

On the wall near Washington's office is a 'Points of Light' school award, presented by the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, a point of pride for Kimberly Washington and her assistant Tara Green.

Green and Washington were publicly recognized at a conference in Orlando, Florida, in early December.

"I was surprised," said Green.

Yet the women will be quick to credit the teachers and parents who bought into their new way of thinking. 

Part of Green's job is to offer immediate feedback to teachers on how they can deliver a lesson more effectively. The pair used $3 million of a $14 million dollar grant to buy smartboards for the all the classrooms and laptop computers.

"We use a modeling program and observation to help them," Green said.

There was a touch of resistance in the beginning.

Today, Green and Washington say everyone's on board and the most recent Alabama Reading and Math test scores seem to show that; a 13% increase in reading scores in one grade level and even better in math, 30% better in 3 years also in one grade level.

The plaque seems to suggest the school is on the way.

"It's two steps below a National Blue Ribbon school so we're headed in the right direction," said Green.

Sedrick Smith for one says he's always enjoyed learning but the 5th grader credits the duo for taking it to a new level.

"They make it fun. Before I was an A, B student. Now I'm all A's," said Smith.

Perhaps the biggest payoff comes at the end of the day for Washington and Green, something worth far more than the hardware they picked up in Florida.

"My children hug me and tell me 'I love you.' I didn't believe I could have such an effect on the little children," said Washington.

Blazing trails, aiming high, Kimberly Washington and Tara Green, making the grade at Jackson-Steele Elementary.

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