Livingston, Ala. For Sumter County Schools, the new year is bringing a commitment to further strengthen partnerships between the district, community, parents and students. It's this ultimate goal of meeting the students' needs, which Superintendent Katie Jones Powell says is leading to even more emphasis being placed on increasing the literacy rate within the district.
"We are strengthening what we have at our kindergarten through 8th grade schools,' says Superintendent Powell. "At the high school we have the Read 180 program, making sure that the 9th graders, who are coming in who are having any issues with reading, that they are in that particular reading class."
So far, there also appears to be good news concerning enrollment.
"As I sit here, I see all of the students who come to the district that are new. I'm noticing that we're getting some transfers in," says Powell. "So, we're hoping that enrollment is up in Sumter County this year."
Currently, the superintendent says the district is on track to possibly add 50 new students this year. She also says that one of the goals for the year is to increase parental involvement even more by adding every parent within the district to a committee to help with schools.
Sumter Central High School Principal Darrell Woods shares the Superintendent's vision. Appointed just two weeks ago, the Jackson State graduate and 17 year education veteran comes to the district from Pickens County High where he also served as principal. He says his goal at Sumter Central High is to properly prepare students.
"We understand that they are not just competing against just kids in Sumter County, or in the surrounding areas, they're competing globally," says Principal Woods. "In order for our kids really to try to be successful, they have to have those types of attitudes and abilities to go out and get jobs globally. So, that's one of the big purposes for why I think why I'm here."