One of the world's leading speakers in the field of education brought his motivational message to Biloxi. Dr. Harry Wong spoke to nearly 700-superintendents and principals from across Mississippi.
He says to improve student achievement, you have to start with excellent teachers. One Coast school district is about to kick-off a program this year that follows Dr. Wong's advice.
Miss C. Adkins faces days of unpacking, sorting and rearranging as she moves into the new Nichols Elementary in Biloxi.
"This is my first day preparing for class," Adkins said.
Adkins has been teaching for ten years. Keeping experienced teachers like her in the classroom is something Dr. Harry Wong challenges every school district to do.
Dr. Wong is an internationally-known education advocate.
"Teachers will stay with you if they're happy. They're satisfied they're making a difference, and they know their kids are succeeding," Wong said.
To succeed, Dr. Wong encourages superintendents and principals to focus on teaching teachers how to be good and effective in class.
"To close the gap, all you need to do is make sure that your teachers are quality teachers."
And that's exactly what the Biloxi School District is about to do.
"We are employing two members of our staff that will do nothing but train teachers all year long. It's not a meet and greet session for one day and then we throw you to the wolves, so to speak, in the classroom. There should be a method to assist them," Biloxi Superintendent Dr. Paul Tisdale said.
That kind of support and guidance is welcome news for Miss Adkins.
"Oh wonderful! We need it. We need it to focus and help us," Adkins said.
And with good teachers at the head of the class, school leaders hope that will lead to stronger academic achievement among students.
Dr. Wong spoke at the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents Conference at the Beau Rivage Resort. He has given 3,000 presentations in every state in the U.S., as well as Canada, South America, Asia, Africa and Europe.