Florida A&M University Developmental Research School has had problems in the past performing on the level specified by the state education standards.
FAMU DRS’s grade, according to state standards, moved up to a grade “C” the 2002 – 2003 academic school year from a grade “D”, the 2001-2002 school year. During the 2000-2001 academic school year, the school’s grade was an “F.”
FAMU DRS remains at a grade C this academic school year 2003-2004 based on its grades on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) last year.
According to administration, the school is ready to show that its students are capable of excelling and becoming some of the best in the nation. They also say that by the year 2005, they plan to be an A school.
“We’re a ‘C’ school this academic year and we have initiated activities and academic classes that will help students reach higher scores on the FCAT test,” said Rose Campbell, principal of the elementary school.
Some of the other administrators feel strong about improving the school with academic achievement.
“The school intends to promote their vision of progress by making the DRS Florida’s No. 1 school of excellence and academics,” said Kelvin Norton, DRS’s middle and high school principal.
Several reconstruction procedures and policies will be implemented in the school to bring the school back up to par.
“Florida has enacted the Reading First Program, which is an essential component to students’ comprehension and vocabulary,” said Beverly Kerrison, at first grade teacher at FAMU DRS.
According to Kerrison, the school has also developed a differentiated instruction program, which means if a student learns a certain way, the student will be taught that way.
Norton said students would also have a reading literature period to reinforce reading and writing skills.
“Students have a two hour block of uninterrupted reading and language arts,” Kerrison said.
School officials aim to remedy the problem of language arts deficiency. Data taken from previous standardized tests will be accessed in order to determine areas of weakness.
Campbell feels that language arts skills are important, because those skills provide a foundation for other subjects. Campbell said she wants to see the school “spiral upwards and reach the pinnacle of academic excellence”.
Parent participation has played a key role in boosting the morale of teachers at FAMU DRS.
“There were 150 parents that came to DRS’s last open house and gave positive feedback,” Campbell said.
She said the faculty is teaching with a renewed spirit and greater commitment to all students.
FAMU DRS School Director, Marvin Henderson, said he boosts teacher morale by asking them how they feel.
“Teachers have given positive feedback on the school’s climate survey,” Henderson said.
According to Campbell the District’s Climate Survey was created for teachers (as well as parents and students) in spring of 1998. It focuses on the learning environment components and assist school decision makers and stakeholders in identifying areas for school improvement. The survey also serves to demonstrate the relationship between teachers and parents, teachers and students, and teachers and the administration.
Internships and assistantships are also available for current college students.
Said Campbell, “Our goal is academic excellence for all students at all levels.”