From Poverty to Success

937 Words4 Pages
A torchbearer school is a school where poverty makes up 80% of the student body and at least 80% or more students are on free and reduced lunch. The torchbearer program was created in 2004 to recognize high poverty and high performing schools in Alabama. Since the program has been created, Birmingham City Schools have schools that are recognized as a torchbearer school based on high student performance despite being in the shadow of poverty. Dr. Tilghman and Mr. Brown are two dynamic principals who have turned their schools into torchbearer schools in the Birmingham City School District. Dr. Tilghman is principal of Hemphill Elementary School located in a highly secluded poverty area on the west side of Birmingham. As principal of Hemphill Elementary, Dr. Tilghman has transformed Hemphill into becoming the first school in Birmingham to be certified as an official outdoor classroom site through the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program. In May 2008, her school was certified as National Wildlife Schoolyard Habitat School. There are many things she had to do and many people she had to form a partnership with in order to help her school, students, and teachers succeed against the odds of poverty. Throughout her time as principal, she has spent time developing and training her staff to see the vision that is best for the improvement of student learning. Although, she believes that as a principal, you must have goals, ideas, and faith when you are the leader of your school. Culture and Climate is a very key component when being a leader of a school. Hemphill Elementary culture and climate is geared towards student achievement. More importantly, Dr. Tilghman believes that if you increase the learning of the teachers, the overall ... ... middle of paper ... used throughout the day. Using these techniques has not only proven to work from an assessment standpoint, but has improved the overall learning of the students. Throughout the day, struggling students receives about ninety minutes on intervention. Being proactive and taking control of a situation is what Mr. Brown does as a principal. Also, data is a big driving force and decision making component at Councill Elementary School. Mr. Brown and his staff use data to point out weaknesses and look for ways to move students towards being successful. Having a firm focus on student achievement and improving the knowledge of teachers have benefited Mr. Brown and his school. Lastly, Mr. Brown has put forth a strong effort investing in the training and improvement of his teachers as they take on the challenges that 21st century students are facing daily.
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