Program hailed as ‘turning point’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2007

JACKSON – Northampton County High School—East Principal Pamela Chamblee is often known for being soft spoken.

But at the Northampton County Board of Education meeting on Monday night that statement could not be further from the truth.

Chamblee enthusiastically expressed her thanks to Northampton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathi Gibson and gave a review to the Board of her three-day experience in Rensselaerville, NY participating in the School Turnaround Program.

“There is a saying that if you don’t know what road to take, any road will take you there,” said Chamblee. “School Turnaround is that vein.”

Chamblee shared her plans for the school, covering topics from analyzing test data to discipline, right down to how teacher’s classrooms should reflect what they are teaching.

“This is going to help the kids we serve,” she said. “We will get results.”

Chamblee described the program as “a turning point” for the school system and explained she had learned every person and everything had to be used as a resource.

She said even the secretary will be included in the support system and administrators will be in the classrooms to support curriculum.

“Don’t be offended if you don’t see us in our offices,” she said.

Vice Chairman Bill Little asked Chamblee how she was going to get teachers to address the issues in the classroom like her.

“Communication is the key to everything and anything,” said Chamblee. “From one benchmark to another (we’ll have to) analyze (test) data to see where we went wrong.”

Northampton County High School-West Principal Willie Boone also expressed his thanks and his experiences at the program.

He noted the program helps encourage unity between East and West.

Chamblee agreed, saying that each school had to work together as one school system.

Board members were as equally excited about the program after hearing Chamblee and Bell’s comments.

“I’m very excited,” said Chairwoman Catherine Moody to Chamblee. “You did a fantastic job.”

Dr. Gibson said she was excited as well after hearing the principal’s experiences.

At the time of the meeting, elementary and middle school administrators were taking part in the program.

In June, it was announced Northampton County Schools had obtained a $1millon grant from Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and will partner with School Turnaround, a Rensselaerville Institute program in upstate New York.

The money will be used to train principals and teachers in leadership-development and establish after-school programs designed to enhance students.