Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Emerging Leader: Turning around Schools and Futures

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Emerging Leader: Turning around Schools and Futures

Article excerpt

Sherrod Willaford is principal of C.J. Hicks Elementary School in Conyers, Ga., which is part of the Rockdale County Public Schools. He has led a turnaround at the school during his six years there. Recently, Willaford answered some questions from Kappan.

Yours is a high-poverty school. Much of education policy reform debate focuses on such schools and students. What do you believe is missing from these discussions that would help your school and students?

Missing from the debate and discussion of students served in high-poverty schools is the issue of advocacy and education for the community. Community centers would help support schools in terms of health care, GED classes, workshops, and providing a place for students to learn when school is not in session.

In addition, promoting advocacy (in terms of the teachers and leaders) and resources (time, energy, and supplies) is needed to do the work. We know how to help socially and economically disadvantaged students achieve. High-poverty schools require the best teachers and leaders, who will have an unwavering commitment and dedication to ensure that students from these communities receive a quality education. The work is challenging, but invaluable to the future of our country and our communities. More resources are needed to be more effective.

Your school is in a small town on the edge of a big metro area. Do rural, suburban, or exurban schools challenged by poverty have different concerns than inner-city schools? …

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