Superintendent proud of work

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 9, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

After 15 years as superintendent of Selma City Schools, Dr. James Carter and his staff are reaping the rewards of their hard work and dedication to the children of Selma.

Carter said test scores show his students are making progress in the areas of reading, science and math; and are on their way to being able to read by the third-grade.

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“DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) test results show remarkable improvements in students’ reading scores,” Carter said. “Our teachers and staff have been doing a great job.”

Even as test scores go up, Carter said he is most proud of the success of the system’s new Early College High School at Selma High.

This fall the program will begin its first full year at the high school with approximately 200 ninth-graders enrolled.

The ECHS, which began in January, allows students to earn two years of college credit by the time they graduate from high school.

Carter said because the program began late this year, Many ECHS students are taking summer courses at Wallace Community College Selma to earn college credit.

“We also have students going on internships to different colleges this summer,” Carter said.

Carter said the program has helped change Selma High from a traditional school to one that is on the cutting edge of success.

“The 10th-graders (in ECHS) will be taking more dual-enrollment courses on the Wallace Campus this fall,” Carter said. “This is when we find out how serious they are, because those course demand good study habits.”

Carter said he hopes that by the time ECHS students graduate, they will be more willing to attend college.

“I want them to think ‘I’ve already got two years of credit, so I might as well go on to college,’ because a college diploma is a lot better than just a high school diploma,” Carter said.

The success of the elementary-level reading programs, combined with the recent promise of a college education, has led to a steady decline in the school’s drop-out rate.

“We’ve gone from double digits to single digits, so you know we’re doing something right,” Carter said.

The system is also leading the way in promoting healthy eating habits of the students.

Carter said the system is partnering with state Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, Sen. Hank Sanders, Mayor James Perkins Jr. and WCCS to implement changes in th type of food being served in school cafeterias.

“In August we are going to start offering more healthy choice for our students, as they go through the cafeteria line,” Carter said. “There will be even more nutritious snacks in the vending machines.”

Carter said the changes will be made in all the city schools, but a study of the program’s effectiveness will take place at Clark Elementary, Payne Elementary, Selma Middle CHAT Academy and the School of Discovery.

With that many partnerships, programs and resources offered within the system, Carter said Selma has a lot to be proud of.

“We have a quality education right here in Selma,” he said.