A Message From Dothan City Schools Superintendent Dr. Phyllis EdwardsRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Sep 15 2019 8:53 PM
A Message from DCS Superintendent, Dr. Phyllis Edwards
THANKS TO DAVID MECKLEY FOR POST FROM THEMECK@THEBECK.COM
YESTERDAY · PUBLIC
Dothan City Schools made a huge shift in the past year. There was much research and data to support the change. There were hours and hours of public discussion and questions. Perhaps the greatest reason to move toward a different approach was the lack of results and achievement of the students.
In the past six months, teachers and administrators have given of their own time to go to various professional development opportunities. Building issues, while not completely resolved, due to lack of adequate funding, have been addressed. People in positions at the central office have cleaned and polished schools, equipped schools with technology, moved books and materials and accomplished more than most other systems in the course of a period much longer than one summer. The opening of the schools at the elementary and secondary levels was relatively smooth. It took one week to iron out many of the kinks. I would submit that even if nothing had changed, there would be a week of bus issues and carpool concerns.
However; even with the massive amount of intensive work and dedication by so many teachers, administrators, staff and community members, there seem to be some issues that we still must address as a system.
Principal Darius McKay and his team of administrators and teachers have worked very hard to create an orderly and safe environment at Dothan Preparatory Academy. Last Wednesday, after school, there was a fight, as students were walking home. Cell phones taped the fight and someone chose to place it on social media. Even though it was after school, teachers on duty ran to get help. Even though it was after school, Mr. McKay has identified the students and has taken disciplinary action.
I believe it is important for our community members that care about our students and schools to reach out to Mr. McKay to speak with him directly so that they can learn the necessary steps that are in place to not only place our children in an environment that is conducive to learning but also providing a safe place where violence and misbehavior is not tolerated. It might also help if some in the community, as well as parents, would offer their time to assist in helping mentor our young students. There are 110 staff members at the Dothan Prep Academy and 3 School Resource Officers. There are also 5 Assistant Principals. However, I am sure that if a group of adults wished to volunteer their time a few afternoons a week, Mr. McKay would gladly accept their assistance. There are some students who just need more adult interaction. What might start out as an issue to assist with supervision, might become an opportunity for the creation of mentorships.
It is also important to reiterate that was the only fight at Dothan Prep since the beginning of school. We have been criticized for not enforcing the rules and so a tougher Code of Conduct was written and adopted. We have been consistently and proactively enforcing the Code of Conduct across the system since the code was adopted.
Also, I ask of our community to please step away from social media and call your school officials to address your concerns. Allow us the opportunity to address the needs of our community directly. The Principals, teachers, and staff at the Dothan City Schools deserve the respect of the community that they serve. It is a difficult job and getting more difficult as it seems every day that effort must be spent to fend off the rumors and attacks, rather than to focus on how to best serve our children.
Teachers and staff deserve recognition for the massive amount of work that was done but also for their daily work. They have big hearts and work to see students succeed. There are many more good things going on in the schools than what gets reported.
I want to go on record thanking the people who work at all jobs within our schools. It is not a small task to take students from every walk of life and help them meet their highest potential. This is a calling, not a job. Thank you, Dothan City Schools’ Employees! Let’s give the schools a chance to shine this year!