Visitor to Dawson-Bryant district offers praise

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2003

As a school improvement consultant for the Southern Regional Education Board, Linda Mabe had heard good things about the Dawson-Bryant School District long before last week's visit.

Even then, she was impressed with what she saw.

The Southern Regional Education Board, founded in 1948, has worked to improve every aspect of education by preparing students for careers and furthering education by improving curriculum and instruction in high schools and middle schools.

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Mabe visits schools that are involved with the Making Schools Work initiative in grades 6 through 12 to help them determine what they are doing right and what can be improved upon.

Overall, Dawson-Bryant is headed in the right direction and lived up to the excellent reputation that preceded it, she said.

"What I have seen here is a very good influx of technology and the students actually using the technology, not just decorating the rooms," she said. "What I also see here is a very nice relationship between the adults and students. You might take that for granted if you did not know it was not like that everywhere else."

Mabe said she was also impressed by the fact that the district has raised the bar and helped the students meet their goals.

"What I want to applaud, as far as the district goes, is they are raising expectations," she said. "It sends a message to the students saying, 'I know you can do this.'"

Dawson-Bryant High School Principal Brenda Haas said that the visit was an excellent opportunity and that the schools opened all their doors to Mabe.

Mabe plans to write a report that sums up her visit, but she said that school officials don't have to worry about receiving much bad news.

"I usually do a weaknesses section, but this report will not have one because there aren't any weaknesses, only things that need to be tweaked," she said.

To continue the improvement, the district will host a teacher seminar Dec. 9-10 that will focus on improving grading practices that may limit progress.

Robert Lynn Canady, a former professor at the University of Virginia and former chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, will be the speaker.

Teachers from Dawson-Bryant middle and high school will be joined by teachers from Collins Career Center and possible other schools across the county, Haas said.