Cool Schools: Lester Elementary School

Cool Schools

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A feeling of relief can be sensed in the halls of Lester Elementary School.

In just one year, the school has improved from an “F” rating to a “B” rating, by the Mississippi Department of Education.

When principal Delacy Bridges arrived at Lester, the school was rated a “D”. The very next year, they improved to a “C” rating. And for the 2016-2017 school year, the school’s rating lowered to an “F”.

“I can’t pretend that it does not weigh on you. Because when you love what you do, it’s personal,” Principal Bridges said.

Bridges says she and her staff wallowed in the defeat for only a short time before they rolled up their sleeves and got to work. “We did a lot of intentional planning, intentional grouping, cross grade level instruction, lots and lots of pull outs.”

Katrina Clerk, who is a fifth grade teacher at the school, said she focused on reinforcing and reteaching areas that needed improvement, “We talked to them as if these are the areas that we need help in. We didn’t really say you failed in a particular area, because we didn’t want to discouraged them.”

Teachers spent extra time catering to each student’s needs, encouraging them to help each other, and making sure parents understood the objectives.

“One of the greatest things we use is what we call an eagle claw. And with our eagle claw, we let our parents know what we’re teaching this month, this week, this day, what’s going home, big ideas that you can go on and implement when your children are at home,” Clerk said. 

“It’s important to me especially to help my classmates, because we try to help them as much as we can to be on a good level,” 5th grader Jakiria Burks said.

When they were an “F”, Principal Bridges said the good thing was there was no further they could drop.

Now, they’re working on moving the meter just one more level to an “A”.

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If you know of a school doing something cool, or even a teacher or student that deserves recognition, tell us about it! Just email coolschools@wjtv.com to nominate them. We’ll feature a school every week in our “cool schools” segment.

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