Bethel Springs Elementary plans for new school year
By Amanda Lowrance
Principal Terry Moore has been with Bethel Springs Elementary for 35 years. Beginning as a teacher and working his way up to assistant principal, he is now going on his 15th year as principal.
“Former Principal Wilson made the remark, ‘When I retire I’m going to leave it with Mr. Moore.’ I hadn’t really even thought about it until then,” said Moore. “He retired several years later and I was fortunate enough to get the job.”
“I had always thought I would like to but wasn’t quite sure. It’s a good job, and I enjoy doing it. It’s like any other job; you have good days and some days you don’t have good days.”
The No Child Left Behind Act passed by President Bush in 2002 has dramatically improved test scores of the elementary and secondary schools over the last nine years. While the students are improving, it’s not without a cost, according to Principal Moore.
“It has good points and bad points. Nobody is against accountability. I think the way that they have gone about doing it is not totally beneficial to teachers.
“I don’t think a lot of the people that make these decisions are totally aware of everyday happenings in schools; what teachers are responsible for, what principles are responsible for. I think they would have a better feel for it if they would come down and do it for a few days, and then they would get an idea of what it’s really like.
Moore stresses that there is nothing wrong with accountability: “We all have to be accountable for what we do. The government has left some pretty big questions and problems.”
Every spring grades three-eight take the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program test, which is a customized version of the previously used McGraw Hill Terra Nova examination.
“State standards in the Terra Nova/TCAP are a big challenge,” said Moore. “We have certain goals that we have to meet, certain percentages that we have to meet, and average yearly progress. Those are all challenges and the teachers have to make sure daily that they are doing as much as they can to reinforce those standards of skills that are going to be tested.”
The teachers and students need to meet these standards to be prepared in ample time to ensure that everyone is ready when the tests come in April. “A lot of people think that we are teaching to the test, but we are not,” said Moore.
Bethel Springs Elementary has gone through some changes, inside and out. Several have occurred over Moore’s time there, but the last cosmetic building change was just a few years ago.
“You always need space. I can look right now and think I could use two or three more rooms, but we are fortunate to have our space. As far as these other schools, if they need it and that’s what the people will then I have no problem with it. I know what it’s like to be in a cramped up space.”
The small, smiling faces will greet Principal Moore in August ready to start a new school year and learn to the best of their ability.
“The whole time I have been in administration, the kids have been my number one priority. They are what we are here for, to help them and to do for them as much as we can. I would like to make sure the teachers have everything that they need to make their job better and that everyone has a safe environment.”
Bethel Springs elementary
For more about Bethel Springs, visit www.mcnairy.org, click on the Schools link, and click on Bethel Springs Elementary, or call 731-934-7288.