Whiteville Elementary principal discusses school’s improved scores

WHITEVILLE, Tenn. — Whiteville Elementary School was recently taken off the Tennessee’s priority school list, which marks schools that have shown poor academic performance, according to the Tennessee Department of Education.

Whiteville Elementary School

Principal Cedric Crisp is sharing the years-long effort to get his students to this point.

“Nine years ago, when I took over as principal, our school was on the state’s priority list, which is a list of schools with very poor test results,” Crisp said.

He says his school has gone from a level one school, to a level five.

This rating means Whiteville Elementary reached past the minimum needed to be taken off the list.

Crisp says that his students grew in all categories, even when facing their hardest subjects.

“Major area of challenge would be Reading and Language Arts, and for us to score a Reading and Language Arts, that was some validation to some reading teachers that have been working really hard,” Crisp said.

He says the school took multiple approaches to help students, from teachers, all the way to the way they discipline.

“Find ways to keep students in class and learning. If a student is out of school for disciplinary infraction, I am not certain that certain students are going to be better suited, or that is actually a deterrent for them not committing that infraction again,” Crisp said.

He says they used the School Improvement Grant to help students have access to the latest technology.

“We were able to buy a lot of technology. We opened up two new computer labs in our building,” Crisp said. “We are a one-to-one school, where each student has access to a device at all times at any point during the school day. Each of our teachers promethean boards and BrightLink projectors.” 

He adds that students even have access to computer programs at home.

But overall, Crisp says that a relationship between students and teachers are what makes them all move forward.

“Giving teachers support, showing that from my chair as principal, making sure teachers know that I am here to support you. I want you to do well,” Crisp said. “Just building those bonds. Now all those other things, the new technology, the new resources, they’re great, but it is the person that is driving the train that makes those things great.”

Crisp also noted the great support he has seen from parents.

“Parents want to see the school succeed. Just the support they give us, especially during the challenge we face with COVID-19. Parents are sending us wipes, Germs, disinfectant,” Crisp said.

He says their most recent scores will serve as their baseline moving forward.

“We want to make sure we stay at that level,” Crisp said. “Our students are excited, our staff are excited, so we want to ride this wave of momentum and keep this train rolling.”

Crisp wanted to share a thank you to so many who help the school.

“Thank you to the faculty, staff, students and parents of Whiteville Elementary School and the community of Whiteville for a tremendous school year, and to get ready for the great things that are to come,” Crisp said.

Crisp says they plan to add more STEM activities and more to make sure students continue to learn.

You can read more about the priority school list here.

Whiteville Elementary says it will also be hosting its Fall Festival over the weekend.

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