PCES tapped for excellence in performance

Published 3:00 am Friday, September 9, 2016

Pike County Elementary School has been recognized for excellence in a high poverty system.

The recognition comes from the PARCA (Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama) which commissioned a report by the Business Education Alliance of Alabama.

The Pike County School System has 2,170 students and 69 percent of the students qualify for free lunches.

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Based on the performance of poverty students at Pike County Elementary School, the report stated that the sixth grade students scored 59 average percent proficient in math compared to 39.5 percent statewide and 69.2 average percent proficient in reading compared to 31.9 percent statewide.

Dr. Mark Bazzell, Pike County Schools superintendent, said he was not aware of the study until he was notified that PCES had been recognized for excellence in a high poverty system.

“The report was released on August 16 and was a very positive thing for the school,” Bazzell said. “Schools with a high number of students who are on free lunches correlated with low levels of academic proficiency. In the Pike County Schools, we don’t accept that. If you start giving the excuse that our kids are poor, you are giving permission to fail. We don’t make excuses. We find ways to succeed.”
Sixth grade math teacher Samuel Valentine said he posts his version of the 29 math standards his students will be expected to master during the year. That way they know up front what is expected of them. And, he also holds himself accountable.

“When a student turns in an assignment, I don’t mark wrong answers,” Valentine said. “I highlight where the calculation went wrong. And, if the students are not grasping the material, that lets me know there is something wrong with my instruction.”

Vanessa Johnson said she is committed to going the extra miles for her students.

“I try to find the right approach and the right material to engage each student,” she said. “To be successful and reach the goals we set for ourselves, we all have to work together, and that includes the parents.”

Bazzell said the teachers in the Pike County School System are committed to going the extra mile for their students.

“Our teachers do all they can to make sure that each student experiences success,” he said. “And, that begins by not letting them lean on excuses. Being poor is an excuse and it won’t get you anywhere.”

Bazzell said, at PCES, excellence is the benchmark for all students. He congratulated the sixth-grade students for achieving excellence in math and reading and challenged them to always keep the bar high in learning and in life.