Clarksdale Schools: Striving for Improvement Every Day
By Melody Dixon
Clarksdale Municipal School District
All parents want their children to be enrolled in schools where accountability is key, and where educators constantly try to improve. Here in Clarksdale, it appears those goals will be in full force for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.
A Department of Education report of Clarksdale Municipal School District’s 2017 accountability score showed improvement, and Clarksdale Schools Superintendent Dennis Dupree believes technology — as well as parent involvement — has something to do with this turn in the right direction.
Dupree, speaking to Parents & Kids–Mississippi Delta via email interview, said he is pleased by the positive, noticeable improvement, yet he remains focused on the need to continuously improve.
“Our current rating is the result of numerous hours of hard work and effort on the part of our employees,” Dupree noted. “But as important as those efforts are, I also believe the improvement was fostered by the emphasis that parents are placing on improving student achievement at home.”
As far as professional development goes, the school system has been able to target those areas where it appeared help was most needed. Superintendent Dupree credits the aid of technology, in and outside of school, as one of the reasons for students’ educational growth.
Every student has his or her own one-to-one technology device, allowing each child opportunities to learn, build skills, and practice in 24/7 environments, he said.
Dupree said his vision for his school district leaders involves much assessment. The assessment is for the purpose of learning what aspects need the most attention, so the school leaders can point their schools toward overall excellence.
School faculty and staff members now have monthly data meetings.
“We are also using our monthly Teacher Advisory Committee input to keep us focused on what is helping, and where teachers need additional help,” Dupree added.
Intensified review of data at the student and school level, plus constantly reviewed progress and instructional practices, have transitioned Clarksdale Municipal School District from a failing district to a rising school district.
“Having been in this business for more than 35 years and having worked in a number of regions, has given me a unique set of experiences and an often different perspective,” Dupree observed. “What I realize most of all is that to improve, the work must be put in by many.”
We at Parents & Kids wish the best of luck in the coming year to the Clarksdale Municipal School District, Superintendent Dupree, parents of children across the city, and the kids who work so hard every single day. If everyone works together, the next Department of Education accountability report might have even more positive news to share.
Melody Dixon is a 24-year-old freelance journalist and grace revolutionist who resides in Clarksdale, Mississippi. She earned her bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Mississippi and enjoys keeping up with the latest in popular culture, especially fashion and feminism.