Aired on: March 13th, 2018
3:30–4:30 p.m. (ET)
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Our Guest(s) This Week
Courtney Beard is currently the District Test Coordinator and Special Education Director for Pontotoc City Schools in Pontotoc, MS. She has been a classroom teacher for four and a half years as a special education teacher and a technology teacher. Mrs. Beard has also served as lead teacher for the district’s technology team, designed technology courses, and conducted professional development for teachers on testing software. She is certified in advanced Blackboard® and online learning and holds Internet and Computing Core and Master of Teaching Economics Certifications. She earned a Master’s of Science in Instructional Technology from Mississippi State University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Instructional Systems and Workforce Development at Mississippi State University.
Michelle Bivens, PhD, is Superintendent of Education of Pontotoc City School District in Pontotoc, MS. A lifetime educator, she has experience in teaching, mentoring, curriculum development, and school administration. A classroom teacher for five years, she also mentored for two of those years. As Assistant Principal of Weir Attendance Center in Weir, MS, for three years, she was responsible for curriculum, textbooks, mentoring, and the Teacher Support Team. As the Assistant Superintendent for Choctaw County School District in Butler, AL, she worked closely with curriculum, mentoring, differentiating instruction, formative assessment, intervention, special education, testing, and federal programs. Dr. Bivens earned an EdS in Educational Leadership and a PhD in Educational Administration from Mississippi State University. She has presented at the Mississippi School Board Association, National Model Schools Conference, and the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents Conferences.
This Week's Topic
Join Dr. Michelle Bivens and Mrs. Courtney Beard as they present an exciting dropout prevention program being implemented in Pontotoc, MS. Designed for students one to two years behind academically, the Warrior Excelerators program includes students based on school principal recommendations; teacher conversations; student grades, attendance, willingness, and dedication; and family buy in.
Participants in the Warrior Excelerators program are identified at the end of sixth grade and tracking is begun in seventh grade. Intentional scheduling for Warrior Excelerators students is started in eighth grade. Qualified students can then be promoted mid-year in ninth grade and extracurricular activities can be added back in high school, allowing students to experience a senior year that includes all senior privileges, but more important, allowing them to graduate with their cohort.
Warrior Excelerators program successes include
- All students passing all classes
- No discipline issues
- Increased success for students with IEPs
- Improved teacher relationships
- Increased student attendance
- Increased extracurricular participation
- Graduation with cohort
- Community support
The future for the Warrior Excelerators program includes expansion to other at-risk groups.