Covering Caruthersville Middle School's halls with encouragement

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

For a lot of our students, we're their last chance," said Caruthersville Middle School Principal, Matthew Hodges.

At Caruthersville Middle School, they're working to help give all their students that chance to succeed.  One way they're turning things around is with the University of Virginia's Turn Around Project.

"They know where we started, they're going to see where we're at after a year, and after two years that will gauge were we successful in turning our school around or not," said Hodges.

Hodges says the project addresses the needs of academically low performing schools and offers help reversing the trend.  It's help for students and teachers.

"Giving them strategies and different ways of doing things, bringing in people to model different ways of presenting lessons," said Hodges.

We have to take this opportunity with the Turn Around Project, and the money, and the training that they're providing, so that we can work smarter and help our kids more," said Reading Specialist, Sandra Hooker.

Administrators say day to day scores as well as standardized testing scores will be followed.  Hooker says they are asking for help getting students motivated for those upcoming tests.

"One of the important things we're trying to do is get letters of encouragement from people anywhere we can," said Hooker.

With letters already trickling in from the community and far beyond, she says she wants to cover the walls with the well wishes.

"If we can bring the world to them, maybe we can make a difference and let them know there is something else out there," said Hooker.

She hopes to help provide the students with something to strive for--something to motivate them.

"Let these kids know they're our future," said Hooker.

Principal Matthew Hodges says it's a two year program that he hopes will benefit students and the school long after it's complete.

"We're doing things already.  After this year's data, we can see where we're at and if we need to go back and think about how we need to do some things differently, than we'll do that.   It's just an  ongoing process," said Hodges.

Schools from three areas of Missouri, Kansas City, St. Louis, and the Bootheel, are participating in the project.  Hodges says schools including those in the Kennett and Hayti school districts have participated, or are currently participating in the project.

You can send letters of encouragement to Caruthersville Middle School at 1705 Ward Ave. Caruthersville, Missouri 63830.

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