After a number of academic successes in recent years, Heritage High School has set its sights on loftier goals. "We'll continue to provide students with rigorous, relevant curriculum," said Principal Jake Jones. He succeeds Earl McMahan, who retired effective June 30. "We'll build upon a culture that prepares students for the highest level of learning," Jones said. "Our Data Response Team is already diving into it. I want to know what are areas of strength, what are areas of concern. A previous area of strength was U.S. history, but we weren't tested last year. We had good results in English and math. We've also made tremendous progress in science."
Educators are preparing this school year for the state's new,
improved TCAP test for English language arts and math: TNReady. The
tests, which will be administered in grades 3-11, are designed to assess
true student understanding, not basic memorization and test-taking
skills. Students need to be able to write across the curriculum and cite
evidence in their writings, Jones said. Teachers will focus on writing
in their own professional development. In addition to the state tests,
he said that educators are "strategically evaluating options to help
students with the ACT." They have discussed mentoring and tutoring
opportunities, possibly two to three times per month.
Empower staff, students
Jones' goal is to create a positive working experience that allows staff members to utilize their strengths. "Each day is an opportunity for us to grow and challenge students and staff members." He plans to build relationships with staff, challenge them to reach new heights and coach them along the way. "Relationships are important as we begin this journey together. I'll be listening, observing and watching. I'll be visible. I'll listen to their concerns, ideas and suggestions. I'll support their needs. In short, I'll be a servant leader." Jones has challenged staff to be "positive fuel" for students and "radiate with positive energy." He also encouraged them to be "be consistent and visible," in addition to being "communicators" and "great listeners."
By Matthew Stewart-The Daily Times