Staying with the theme of this year of "Building a New Tradition," newly appointed Superintendent Dr. Fred Primm spent the day visiting the five schools within the Sumter County School District. He describes things as going 'so far, so good,' even with some changes. He says one of the biggest changes for this year includes using more aggressive teaching methods.
"One of the biggest things that we're doing is that on the high school level we're moving to a block schedule. In other words, instead of having six 50-minute periods we're going to have four 90-minute blocks, and that's going to allow us to instead of just offering six courses a year to offer eight a year," says Dr. Primm.
One of the most noticeable differences that you will first likely notice is not inside the schools, but instead outside of them where school officials are now in the process of replacing old signs and focusing more on general upkeep.
"I think that if they take time to do that they'll take time with our students," says Primm.
It's this paying attention to detail attitude which is already paying off district wide. He says tests scores from last year show that most, if not all scores were up. However, perhaps some of the most impressive scores were here at Kinterbish Junior High which ranked second in the state among schools that are part of the state's reading initiative.
"One hundred percent of our kindergarten children reached benchmark. Eighty six percent of our first graders reached benchmark. Eighty seven percent of our second graders and 92 percent of our third graders reached benchmark, which means that they are supposed to be on track for success in reading.
"What we want to do is we want to work together and make sure that we all go up together, so let this just serve as an example for all the schools," says Primm.
Later this month the school district will begin a series of town hall meetings on how to better improve the school system. The first meeting will be held Aug. 22 at North Sumter Junior High, followed by one on the 23rd at Livingston High and a final one on the 24th at Sumter County High. All of the meetings will be held at 6 p.m.