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ERIC Number: EJ767006
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jan
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Determined to Succeed
Branch, Carol Hanna
Principal Leadership, v6 n5 p28-32 Jan 2006
In this article, the author presents Sharon I. Byrdsong, the 2006 MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year, who believes that all students can achieve and makes it happen with programs and policies that support students and teachers. When Sharon I. Byrdsong took over as the principal of Azalea Gardens Middle School in Norfolk, Virginia, in 2000, she felt the sort of jitters a student feels on the first day of school. However, she had a plan to raise students' test scores, to inspire students and teachers, and to bring the community back into the school. To connect with her new students and see what she wanted to change, all she did was remember her own childhood. To hold her students to similar high expectations, Byrdsong and her staff raised the bar on academic achievement for the 807 students at Azalea Gardens. First, they instituted powerful literacy practices in all areas. Next, they revamped the school's master schedule so that students spent more time studying core subjects and less time on electives. Finally, they initiated a zero-tolerance policy to tighten security, and teachers were scheduled for an hour of collaborative planning time each day. Three years later, eighth graders' scores soared on the Standards of Learning tests (SOL), Virginia's state-mandated assessment. The results included an increase in the pass rate from 51% to 99% in math and from 48% to 93% in history.
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia