Pisgah High School Principal Dr. John Prestridge is excited and happy that his school has been selected to pilot the A+ College Ready Middle School Training and Incentive Program. Pisgah and Scottsboro Junior High School were among the only seven schools in Alabama chosen to participate in the program which will increase the rigor in the middle school grades sixth through eighth.
Prestridge said that his teachers are on board and welcome the opportunity. The teachers will participate in four days of special training this summer to prepare for implementation of the program in the 2020-2021 school year.
There is an orientation in February for representatives of the selected schools. Prestridge will attend along with A. J. Buckner who is the curriculum and instruction director for the Jackson County School System, Pisgah Assistant Principal Whitney Smith, and Allison Gilbert, teacher representative.
“This is an opportunity for growth,” said Prestridge. “Pisgah is a great place with great students and teachers, and I am happy to be here.”
He added that often the middle grades are overlooked as the focus is on the elementary and high school, so he welcomes this program.
It is hoped that with increased rigor in the basic subjects that student scores on the reading and math portions of the PSAT and ACT will increase. This is a concern across the state. The training that the teachers will receive this summer will be vital to the program.
“We want to get our students to a higher level of critical thinking,” said Prestridge.
This program allows teachers to go deeper into their subject giving students more knowledge. It is hoped that this will increase participation in the AP classes as well as the dual enrollment classes already in place at Pisgah.
Pisgah has a great working relationship with Northeast Alabama Community College and the dual enrollment program.
In raising the expectations and standards, it is hoped that there will be improved attendance. There will be so much going on each day that the students can’t afford to miss and will want to be there.
This pilot program comes at a time when new math curriculum standards have been passed by the State of Alabama Board of Education. The new rigor of this program is designed to meet the students where they are and move them ahead.
All of the students in grades sixth through eighth will be a part of the pilot and will be held to high academic expectations.
“Educators as a whole are continuous learners,” added Prestridge. “We welcome opportunities to better ourselves. This is a win-win situation.”
He said that he is excited to hand the ball off to his teachers and just see where it goes.
This program will benefit both teachers and students as it provides a common language for the core subjects. The program gives the teachers all the tools they need to implement the curriculum so they will not have to be searching for teaching materials. Subjects included in the program are English, mathematics, science, social studies, as well as computer science.
Prestridge is in his first year as principal at Pisgah High Schools. He is happy to be back in North Alabama as he was raised in nearby Madison County. He is excited about all of the positive things going on at Pisgah and is constantly looking for ways to reward and recognize his students.