Dawson gives case for permanent superintendent’s position

Published 8:58 pm Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Verdell Dawson, interim superintendent of Selma City Schools, made her case to take over the position on a permanent basis before the Selma City School Board on Wednesday.

Dawson stressed her time as interim superintendent, connectivity to the community, passion and dedication for Selma children, knowledge of school law, curriculum and finances, and a want to pass on what Selma afforded her as reasons she is qualified for the job.

She said she takes the most pride in keeping the school system afloat and financially sound.

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She also stressed a decision-making system based on a combination of information and data from which to base decisions. She stated that all decisions rest on federal and state, as well as board policy.

She wants a system of data to measure student progress, citing that data is not used at the district level to the extent it should be, and an instructional audit of kindergarten-12th grade is necessary.

Dawson wants a switch to scripted learning based in scientifically researched instruction and integration of subjects. As an example, she cited reading and its being taught through the day in a variety of classes.

She stated that many Selma City Schools procedures are not written. She stressed a need for written policy and procedures, and a policy manual and handbooks.

She stated that she worked with all city schools to achieve adequate yearly progress.

She emphasized the need to ensure that the students will be taught the subject matter the state tests them on, and taught in such a way that they can learn it. She also feels celebrations can be used to motivate children and teachers for a job well done.

Dawson provided a variety of money-saving and budget-saving ideas to the audience. She emphasized the need to use state money, then see what funds local taxes bring in. she also plans to invest state and local funds in an effort to double the system’s money.

She wants a reorganization of duties, in which the duties would be segregated. Employees would be dedicated to particular, assigned roles, to reduce reliance people and businesses outside of Selma City Schools.

Dawson informed the board of a revised math program brought suggested by teachers concerned with the sequential order of the classes. In the 2008-09 school year, sixth grade will have elementary math and the Selma Middle CHAT Academy will have middle school math. She also wants to make career and technical vocations equal with academics.

The school board gave Dawson its superintendent expectations. These include strong leadership, an ability to make tough decisions, diversity, community involvement, honesty, dependability, fairness, model for children and passion.