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Selmer Elementary faces changes as school year begins

Staff Photo by Emily Pitts

Many changes are taking place in schools across the state and county as this school year begins. Carolyn Giesler, who has been principal at Selmer Elementary School for 25 years stated, “I feel like Selmer Elementary is my second home, but a lot has changed in the time that I have been here.”

Schools everywhere are facing new state regulations, and Selmer Elementary is no exception. The school will continue to participate with the state in the federal government’s Race to the Top competition, which focuses on improving student achievement and brings many changes to the school.

 “The biggest thing,” stated Giesler, “is going to be the teacher evaluations. Each teacher is going to have to look at their styles and strategies and try to fit that into the state rubric.” 

Under the new state-approved teacher evaluation model, each teacher or principal will undergo a mandatory evaluation. Fifty percent of the evaluation for teachers is based on student achievement, with the remaining percentage of the score being based on a minimum of four classrooms observations using new state evaluation models.

“It’s going to be a learning year for the teachers and administration, as well as the students,” said Giesler.

Also changing this year is the way that the fourth grade classes will operate. Instead of having self-contained classes, fourth grade students will be moving from class to class, with one instructor teaching math, one teaching science, one teaching language arts, etc.

Despite the many changes, there are some successful programs that are remaining, for the most part, the same. The popular afterschool program will continue to offer homework and tutoring classes to every student.

“Our afterschool program has been extremely successful,” said Giesler. “When parents get off work at five, they can come home and enjoy their children and not have to worry about homework.”

Giesler expects an enrollment of about 600 this year as in years past and also confirmed that Selmer Elementary, like many other schools in the county, is facing a space crunch. 

“We are maxed out in the classrooms, and the traffic flow problem is just not fixable,” she stated. “We have outgrown the school and the campus.”

Giesler also expressed a desire to have an enclosed school, rather than the open, outside design of their current building.

Goals for the new school year will include implementing the new course standards for kindergarten, first and second grades, as well as moving to a constructive response type of teaching for all grades. 

Selmer Elementary

For more on Selmer Elementary, visit www.mcnairy.org, then click on Selmer Elementary, or call (731) 645-3131.

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