What we do as educators is extremely important. Why? We are one of the few businesses that focus on the development of individuals, and the stakes are high because the future of our society is in our classrooms today.
In the Tipton County schools we focus on results:
- The Tipton County School System has approximately 12,000 students in grades pre-k through 12, making us the 13th largest school system in Tennessee. In per pupil expenditures, we rank 108th out of 136 school systems in Tennessee, about $1,200 below the state average; however, our students consistently SCORE above the state average in many achievement areas.
- We have placed our instructional supervisors in the schools. We have 34 assistant principals and five instructional supervisors, while the BEP formula calls for 13 system-wide instructional supervisor and only 12 assistant principals.
- We also use our limited resources to offer a competitive benefit package to our teachers. Even though we are 108th in per pupil expenditures, our starting teacher salary is number 6 and almost $3,000 higher than the state average. Our health and life insurance package also helps the Tipton County School System attract and retain high quality employees.
At the school district level, we must decide how to leverage existing resources to get the best return on the taxpayers’ investment.
In Tipton County we place more administrators in the schools and fewer at the central office level. Placing extra administrators in the schools allows our principals to focus on the tasks of academic improvement. For example, Tennessee’s new teacher evaluation system requires all teachers to be evaluated every year. Instead of our principals telling me their workload had increased tremendously, they told me this new system was improving instruction. Had the additional administrators not been at the school level to assist with this task, the principals could have been overwhelmed.
As district-level administrators, one of our major challenges is to maximize the use of school expenditures to achieve the highest possible level of student performance. When all students are achieving at high levels, all of society will benefit from the opportunities generated by their success.