MPS superintendent discusses "road map" for future - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

MPS superintendent discusses "road map" for future

The past eight months have been a roller coaster ride for Margaret Allen, superintendent of Montgomery Public Schools.

"It was eight months and it was a full eight months. I think everything that could have been experienced by a one year superintendent, I experienced," she said. 

Allen has been with MPS for more than 30 years. 

She went from being interim superintendent in the fall and moved to the top spot in January, overseeing a school system of 32,000 students and 4,000 employees, all in the midst of a grade changing scandal and the largest audit ever conducted by the state department of education. 

"We welcomed them in to Montgomery public schools. They partnered with us to do audits of our schools, they provided an interposition officer. They worked with us in creating 30/60/90 day plans for improvement and they're still with us. That was good for us. It was good to have the external eyes looking in on us as we turned our own internal eyes on ourselves," she told WSFA. 

With all of the information and data that was gathered, she says the system has made great strides.
 
"It required of this school district, of me and my staff, that we respond to questions that the state department had and we did that. We made adjustments in things that needed to happen from the central level. We put in protocols that schools would utilize and having done all that, our biggest challenge was to ensure that the protocols that we put in place were followed- that they were known first of all and that they were followed,' Allen explained. "From that point, when the state department received our response to the  grade change piece, we were satisfied. The state department continued in its investigation while we moved along with programs and practices and strategies that were necessary for teaching and learning."

She says the summer will be spent training staff members and preparing for students in the fall. 

"We have a roadmap and if we follow that roadmap, we will be able to accomplish more," she added. "The idea is to keep moving. You have to learn, you have to make adjustments and you keep moving so that's basically what we have done and what we will continue to do. Our organization is not a perfect organization because we do not have perfect people but we do have a perfect heart for what we want to do for children."

Allen also mentioned a tragedy that hit the school district this year. 

In February, Alexander Bridgman, a junior at Robert E. Lee High School, was killed in the Birmingham suburb of Pelham after being struck by a vehicle. He was part of a group of students returning to Montgomery after a field trip to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. They were on a dinner break at the time of the crash.

"We had a student meet a tragic end and that was felt by many," she said. 

A technical issue emerged this week, delaying the release of some report cards at area high schools.

MPS spokesman Tom Salter said the issue originated with the Mobile-based company STI, which the Alabama State Department of Education uses as a data compiler. The company handles data for school systems across the state.

Allen says STI had "difficulties averaging" but she was notified Thursday that the issues had been resolved. 

She also told 12 News that there are several MPS schools in "ill repair" and that the district would be looking at facility upgrades with what limited funds are available. She could not yet specify which schools might receive the upgrades. 

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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