History made at Selma High School

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 29, 2008

Although Wanda McCall’s appointment as the new principal of Selma High School comes with some controversy, it is also marked historically.

McCall is the first female principal of Selma High School.

She has her work cut out for her.

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The school has fallen below the state average of 20.2 on the ACT college entrance exam score.

The school also has failed to make Adeqaute Yearly Progress last year because of its dropout rate.

Those two statistics are disturbing.

Most colleges seek students with ACT scores of 19-21. That’s average. Above average is 25 and higher. The highest score is 36.

The national average is 21.

What the scores reported from Selma High School says is that most students don’t hit the average range to make it into college.

Educators, who help write the tests and who study the students who take the tests, tell us the scores indicate if a student has the skills to tackle college-level courses.

Apparently, many at Selma High School do not.

Educators also tell us a variety of reasons could complicate the scores – home environment, poverty, instruction, even diet – all play a role in the ability of a student to perform well on these standardized tests.

Issues regarding tests do not always rest on the teachers’ shoulders.

But teachers, administrators, students and their parents must all form a team to ensure success.

That doesn’t always happen.

Evidently, McCall must examine the causes and form a plan for student success.

Secondly, the school has a basic problem with a dropout rate.

Thus, the question, why is Selma High School’s dropout rate so high?

The easy answer would come if we pointed at the general intellectual malaise that has become the rule nationwide, rather than the exception.

But staying in school, especially in a low-income area, is difficult at best.

A recent national survey conducted by Solutions for America indicated dropouts said they would have likely remained in school if they could have seen a link between the academic subjects and the real working world.

Other students sought an improvement in teaching skills and smaller classes. Some students said they would have stayed in school if they could have received more tutoring during the summer or after school.

Still, some young people said they would have stayed in school if they had felt it was a safe environment. Many, at least 70 percent of those taking the survey, said schools needed increased supervision and classroom discipline.

We’re certain McCall is aware of the facts and figures; the statistics and the theories surrounding school administration in the early 21st century.

For her sake and the sake of the children and teachers under her watch, we hope she quickly implements her plan, and the school board stands behind her and supports her decisions.