Byrd begins new project

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Zickeyous Byrd likes to finish what he starts. With his recent appointment as principal at Escambia County High School, he has a chance to do just that.

Byrd has been recognized for implementing a preparatory program Escambia County Middle School while he served the school as principal. Now that his location has changed, he said he has plans to carry an extension of the program with him.

“For the last three years, ECMS has offered a magnet school with the preparatory focus,” Byrd said. “Students were able to earn high school credit while they were still in the middle school. The problem was when they arrived at the high school, no such program was in place for those students to continue on the preparatory track.”

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Byrd said if his plans work out, that problem will be a thing of the past.

“I’ve made a proposal for the Escambia County High College Preparatory School,” Byrd said. “This program will be based on the same format as the preparatory program at the middle school. Students will arrive an hour early and begin to take courses one year ahead of their school placement grade.”

Byrd said at the high school level students will be able to continue on this track until they have completed all high school requirements.

The program at the middle school had an ultimate goal of obtaining high school credit before completing middle school, Byrd said.

“The ultimate focus of the college preparatory program at the high school will be to complete high school requirements by the eleventh grade,” Byrd said. “Students will then be able to enroll in a dual enrollment program at one of the area colleges.”

Byrd said Tuesday that discussions have been arranged with officials at Jefferson Davis Community College, Faulkner State Community College and Bishop State College in hopes of securing a dual enrollment program for students who participate in the preparatory classes.

“Dual enrollment has been an option for students in the past,” Byrd said. “However, due to funding cuts and the loss of scholarships from the Neal Trust Fund, the program was stopped.”

Byrd said he is currently searching for alternate funding for such a program to be able to continue at ECHS.

The future of students depends on how well they are taught and how far academic advancement can be made on their behalf, Byrd said.

“We have some very bright students here that must be challenged,” Byrd said. “I know this because I’ve had them all. This school will garner its rightful place at the top of Escambia County’s ladder of schools.

“It will get there not by baby steps or crawls. I’m too impatient for that. It will get there by leaps and bounds. Eyes have not seen and ears have not heard the things that are in store for this school. With God’s blessings and these wonderful students and teachers, watch out, because the best is yet to come.”

Byrd was recently named principal at Escambia County High School after a second search this summer by the Escambia County Board of Education.

This week marks Byrd’s second full week on the job at ECHS after serving at Escambia County Middle School for several years as principal.