Superintendents’ Spotlight: Tamara Smith, Fulton Independent Schools

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Tamara Smith
Tamara Smith

The Fulton Independent school district is working diligently to improve test scores through Program Reviews, Response to Intervention, test practice and an intentional focus on student achievement. The district has developed a name and claim system where teachers specifically target individual students who need extra work to improve test scores and benchmarks for college- and career-readiness. Students may stay after school, come before school or meet with teachers during open opportunities to master core content subject matter. Fulton Independent also has community support and mentors coming to the school to meet with students, and help with barriers that may be standing in their way.

The new Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) is being implemented with staff, and will be piloted by the entire staff in the 2014-15 school year. The district also is working to implement a new principal evaluation system and the new superintendent evaluation tool. It is a year of many changes in our district and across the state since the waiver of No Child Left Behind was granted.

The elementary school primary program is using a new program called Shurley English, which impacts the students in the areas of English and writing. Students begin diagramming sentences at a very early age, and the work gets progressively harder as they change grade levels. The high school students also are using vocabulary books to boost their English and writing skills, and the district hopes to see a difference in these tested areas. These programs need to be implemented school-wide; however, with cuts in state and federal funding, the district does not have the funds to implement a school-wide program without restoration of funding cuts from the legislature.

Fulton Independent is delighted to offer a three-hour after school program for students. Bulldogs Beyond the Bell, or B3, gives participating students educational opportunities beyond the classroom. The district’s students also are taking more dual credit classes throughout high school.

Superintendent Smith’s goal for the district is two-fold:  1. All Fulton Independent students will be able to realize their dreams and 2. The district will make the top 50 districts deemed college- and career-ready in the state. If that happens, there is no doubt that student achievement will be just one area this district will be able to promote.

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