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New principal updates board on teacher training, student testing

Board members of the Dryades YMCA and James Singleton Charter School welcomed new principal Debra Robertson at their monthly meeting on August 21.

Wasting no time, Robertson updated board members on teacher preparation efforts during the summer. She said teachers returned to work in late July for an intensive week-long schedule of professional development topics and activities.

“During this training session we focused on the availability of support services including speech therapy and the screening process, school culture and classroom environment, reading intervention strategies and the new state implemented COMPASS evaluation process,” said Robertson.

Robertson said grade-level teachers will continue to meet weekly in professional learning communities to discuss baseline test scores and curriculum correlations pertaining to student achievement. Currently, Singleton employs thirty-five teachers.

The first round of baseline testing took place August 14-17, when students in grades 1-8 took the Math Achievement Predictors Diagnostic test. The second round of testing will focus on literacy and reading comprehension for students in K-8, and is scheduled for August 27 through September 10.

Baseline tests at the start of the school year help teachers focus classroom curriculum and determine whether students require intervention, such as small-group instruction, on particular subjects.

With 632 students enrolled for the 2012-2013 school year, Singleton has not yet met its 725-student target enrollment number. Current staffing levels are based on the target enrollment. Robertson said calls were made to the homes of students who are registered but have not reported. Social workers will also make attempts to contact students who have not yet shown up for school.

Robertson also announced that Singleton was awarded a “Gold Award of Distinction” by the HealthierUS School Challenge, an organization that aims to reduce childhood obesity. Singleton received $2,000 to further enhance its healthy food options for students, according to Robertson. The program is a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative. 

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