Jonesboro school looks at ways to improve

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Are the teachers and administrators at your child's school performing like they should?  One Region 8 school volunteered to be put to the test and graded.  The teachers and administrators at the eleven campuses of Jonesboro Public Schools are ready to receive their report cards.

The results of "The New Teacher Project" study is out revealing the schools' strengths and weaknesses.

When you think of a classroom you usually think about how the kids are graded, not the staff but a newly released study is reviewing the performance of those who educate your kids.

"We wanted to look at our retention teacher policy.  We wanted to look at our recruitment policy, we wanted to look at our minority recruitment policy," said Dr. Sue Castleberry, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary for JPS.

Dr. Castleberry said they jumped at the chance to be a part of this study knowing that not all of the results would be positive.

"We were really going to be able to do a self analysis," said Castleberry.

There are over five thousand students and almost four hundred teachers in Jonesboro Public Schools with about twenty administrators overseeing them.  The study found some of those administrators, the principals, don't get the professional development they need.  Castleberry said while she disagrees with that, they will work to improve the education they give their staff members and in turn their students.

In education there's a fair dismissal process where it's harder to get rid of a teacher who is under-performing.  The process of how teachers are evaluated did come under fire in the study.

"Even the response from our teacher's say our evaluation tool needs to be improved," said Castleberry.

Castleberry said about a third of the teachers said administrators were too lenient on teacher evaluations and that is something they will work on.

"Are we happy where we are district wide?  No, because we want to be the best.  Are we improving?  Yes," said Castleberry.

Along with their students the teachers, principals, staff members and superintendents are always learning and they say this was another tool to help them learn.

Other schools approached with this study include Springdale, Fort Smith, El Dorado, and Pulaski County.

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