MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point School District faculty and staff packed into the gym at Magnolia Middle School on Tuesday, all for a pre-school pep rally. It featured a very special guest, Ron Clark.
Clark is a distinguished educator and founder of the progressive and unorthodox Ron Clark Academy.
"He's so inspiring on so many levels, just all of his stories," said Stephanie Taliancich, who's a teacher in the district.
"He just gave you that extra nudge that you need to start off this school year," said Angela Campbell, a teacher support system administrator in the district.
This is just the latest move to get pumped up for the new school year and push the districts 'All In' slogan. It's a district that has struggled in recent years, but second year Superintendent Dr. Shannon Vincent said they're committed to getting back on track.
"Of course we knew that the data was low, so I had to hire instructional coaches, and I was able to get a director of curriculum instruction. We have been working on teaching guides, and we really want to build teachers' capacities to teach effectively," said Vincent.
The challenge this year is upping several benchmarks, including attendance, reading comprehension, and raising the graduation rate to prevent the state from taking over the district.
"We have a lot of work to do, but I don't think that it's impossible," said Campbell.
Each faculty member got a copy of Clark's book and an opportunity to talk with him one-on-one. Many teachers say they are already generating ideas from Clark's speech to use this school year.
"I'm ready to greet them at the door. We're going to dance. We're going to get excited about learning," said Derrick Caples, a district teacher.
Clark pushed the teachers to think outside the box and find ways to reach the students. The faculty and staff say they can't wait to implement what they've learned when that first bell rings on Aug. 4.