For the first time since the inception of school grades, Havana Middle School (HMS) under the leadership of principal Delshauna Jackson has become an ‘A’ school.
“This is a historical moment in Gadsden County School District’s history,” Superintendent Reginald James said, “that a middle school has reached this level.”
It is not common statewide to see middle schools make ‘A’ grades, James said, and it is a significant accomplishment for HMS and the Havana area.
“Havana should be proud and embrace and support their school,” James said of the ‘A’ grade.
James praised Jackson and her staff for their work last year and their commitment. He said Jackson gave her job 110 percent and that type of commitment was contagious.
HMS Reading Coach Kameelah Weeks was named Gadsden County’s 2014 Teacher of the Year and James said she is a great example of the hard work all of the staff at the school have shown.
“The result has been the ‘A’ grade,” he added.
Audrey Lewis, District 2 school board member who represents the area surrounding HMS, commended Jackson on her dynamic and unprecedented accomplishment of taking HMS to its new status.
Lewis said Jackson had a vison for the school and she is excited that Jackson will be at the helm of the school for the merger of the elementary and middle schools next year.
She said Jackson and her staff’s ability to get parents involved in students’ work at home was powerful.
Jackson came from Gretna Elementary School where she had taken that school to the ‘A’ status to lead HMS last year.
HMS was a ‘C’ school in the 2012-2013 school year.
Jackson gives credit for the grade to her staff and the students who worked hard last year to meet and exceed her expectations.
“I am elated and happy for the students,” she said of reaching the top of the grading scale.
She explained that one of her goals when she took the principal position at HMS was to draw those students back to HMS that are now attending other schools outside of the Gadsden District.
Now that it is a high performing school, she believes that will happen.
“An ‘A’ puts us academically on the same scale as any ‘A’ school across the state,” she said.
This year she had students who were enrolled in high school algebra and biology classes. Those students will start their final four years with credits already established in those two areas, she stated.
Next year will start a whole new set of issues with the implementation of the New Florida Standards, she said. Those tests will require a change in curriculum and the testing will be harder.
Her goal, however, is to keep HMS an ‘A’ school next year, which she said will require a lot of hard work from her staff, students and parents.