ECMS Principal has big plans

Published 8:32 am Monday, May 9, 2005

By By Zickeyous Byrd
I would like to first thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve the residents of Escambia County. I also would like to thank Superintendent Powell and his interviewing team for believing that I could step into the shoes of such a wonderful leader as Mr. Payne. I had the opportunity to visit the inside of Escambia County Middle School on May 2. My experience was absolutely wonderful. The school building was beautiful, the students were well behaved, and the hospitality from the teachers, students, and community was simply amazing.
I have been working diligently preparing for my move to Escambia County. Upon gathering the data for ECMS, I have begun to develop a plan to address student achievement.
One thing that I noticed from analyzing test data was the underachievement of boys vs. girls. This is common in some schools because until recently, many educators never thought about the phenomenon of boys' learning vs. girls' learning. About a year ago, I read Michael Gurian's book Boys and Girls Learned Differently along with our faculty in Mobile. When we finished the book study, we finally understood the developmental differences that we had been noticing for a long time but found very little research to back up our claim. Different processes take place at different times for boys and girls during the stages of development. Last year, in Mobile, we experimented with gender based classes. This year we continued it and we found that teachers enjoyed having gender based classes. We found that we had fewer conflicts between males and females; both sexes were able to concentrate better in classes because they were not trying to impress boy friends and girl friends; teachers found it easier to plan their lessons because they were able to predict how boys would respond to the lesson and how girls were able to respond to the lesson, which enabled them to plan accordingly. With this in mind, I would like to present this concept to our teachers and parents for input.
I have also been busy reviewing the academic schedule as well as planning staff development for this summer. Student achievement is my No. 1 priority and I hope to model this as a leader. This summer teachers will be engaging in extensive, meaningful staff development to ensure we are aware of the latest strategies, driven by research, in improving student achievement.
We will cover issues in research such as: How boys and girls learn differently, Classroom Instruction that Works, Classroom Management that Works, Inclusion, Translating Research into Action, and analyzing test data to see where our students are and to set goals for where we want to take them academically.
To the parents of Escambia County, I would like for you to know that if you have transferred your child from Escambia County Middle School for any reasons, I am asking you to bring him or her back.
We are going to implement new researched based, best practices that have been proven to be effective in raising student achievement in schools that share common demographics as ECMS. I would like to see our enrollment go up this year. Our parents and students of Atmore deserve to continue to have a high quality education and that is what I plan to guarantee.
ECMS has some of the best teachers in Alabama and we are going to do whatever it takes to make sure that every need for every child is met. Our parents, students and teachers will continue to be treated with dignity and respect. Above all, I want our parents to feel as though they can come to me with any problem. My mission is to serve the residents of Escambia County. ECMS will be one of the highest achieving middle schools in the state.
I don't want our students and parents to miss out on what is about to take place because the best is yet to come.
Zickeyous Byrd is the new principal of Escambia County Middle School.

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