Superintendents Week: Bartlett City Schools Superintendent David - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Superintendents Week: Bartlett City Schools Superintendent David Stephens

Bartlett City Schools Superintendent David Stephens (Source: WMC Action News 5) Bartlett City Schools Superintendent David Stephens (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Kendall: It is WMC Action News 5 Superintendent's Week and joining me now is David Stephens Superintendent of Bartlett Schools.

David: Thanks for having me.

Kendall: Are you excited about the new school year?

David: We are excited. Year 2 was not as daunting as year 1. So we are excited.

Kendall: Right! Let's talk about that. Looking back, on the first year of Bartlett. What kind of reflections come to mind? Standouts for the first year, what are you looking forward to for year 2?

David: This time last year we were just trying to get operational. This is something creating a municipal school district is something that hasn't happened in the state of Tennessee in many many years. So there were so many challenges and I'm thankful for our community and our staff and our teachers and everybody pulling together to make our first year such a success. And it was better than I ever dreamed. You know going into year two, we're excited. Instead of now looking at the operational side, we're saying how can we make our schools better? What are some improvements we can do? You know one of the big things we're looking at is how we can implement technology inside the classroom. So we last year we created a 9th Grade Academy where we have all our 9th graders in a separate building away from the high school and we had tremendous success with that. But we did a pilot program with technology where 100 students had devices and we went through that process. Well this year we want to expand that and every student in Bartlett Schools grades 6 thru 9 will have a laptop that will be issued to them that they will be able to take home and we really think that it's going to transform the learning environment, it's going transform how our teachers teach. But you know these young people are digital native that is the world they live in so we are excited about that, and then we look at expanding that as we move forward. So that is a big thing we're looking at in Bartlett—preparing for our teachers, getting them prepared for working with our students. We're excited about their future.

Kendall: You keep mentioning these improvements and they must of been really important to the people of Bartlett. Instead of building a new school, want to throw that money instead into these improvements.

David: That's right and the beauty of this is we have 11 schools in Bartlett. And we have a superintendent and a school board and a community that are concerned about those 11. We want to see all schools in Shelby County do well. But we are focusing all our energy and efforts and the beauty is we also have 1 high school and I tell this to the principal there that's the blessing and the curse. I'm always talking to him I'm in the same building as the high school offices so it keeps me connected to what's happening. We can stay on top of things and react to situations as they happen quickly. When I was previously in the larger district, there's always a little bit of that disconnect. We feel more connected to those schools.

Kendall: Absolutely, is there anything else specific that you're really looking forward to for this year. Are there any particular challenges you think are going to come up for the second year.

David: I think in year 2 we have a news assessment. We're going to the TN Ready Assessment. It's going be an online assessment. It's a new assessment in line with the standards that are going be higher standards. We're looking at the standards that we're developing. We've had so much reform and so much change in education and I think this is the culminating piece is this new assessment. So that gives us the unknown as we look at how well our students are doing, how well our teachers are doing. But we feel like we've got the mechanisms in place to make sure we meet all those challenges. So we are excited about year 2.

Kendall: Advice for parents and teachers and kids on the first day and the first week.

David: As any first day, or first week, there's going to be bumps. I think last 2 years everybody was waiting for something to happen and I been doing this for 27 years. There's always going to be late buses. There's always going to be situations in the cafeteria and schedules not right. That's part of starting the school year. We feel like we'll have a few of those bumps. We just hope that everybody's patient they'll work thru those as all the other districts will. It'll be a great 180 days for all the students in Bartlett.

Kendall: It's going to be another good year.

David: Looking forward to it.

Kendall: Thank you so much, good luck with the first week.

David: Thank you.

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