LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - The new leader of the Long Beach School District just issued a challenge to his teachers and staff. He wants Long Beach schools to be the best in the state. On Monday, he shared his motivational message to teachers and his new motto.
Cheers erupted Monday afternoon as teachers at Harper McCaughan Elementary learned how well their fifth graders performed on last year's state math test.
"We're first of all just ecstatic about it. I mean, we work so hard and our goal was to collaborate and to be consistent and that's what we did," said Harper McCaughan fifth grade teacher Stacy Mooney.
Their new superintendent, Dr. Jay Smith, showed up at their school to congratulate the teaching team.
"We're simply here to cheer them on and show them the highlights of the great job they did last year," Smith said. "I'm very pleased with how Long Beach has done. In fact, we'll give one plug to our English II teachers. They're the top in the state in English II scores."
Smith also took the opportunity to share his new district motto.
"I want you to come up with something that you can do with the phrase 'Give Me Five,'" he told the group.
"Basically, what that means is, if we're tenth in the state in fifth grade reading and language arts, next year, I want it to be five and the next year, I want to be number one in the state," said Smith.
It's a challenge the teachers seemed ready to tackle.
"I'm thrilled that we had great test scores! I think all of us are very encouraged that we are moving up and are going to do better every single year. We're hoping to go five spaces next year," said Harper McCaughan fourth grade teacher Lindsay Rushing.
"If you reach high, if you get to the middle, you're still higher than you were. So I say, let's go for number one," said Mooney.
With all the momentum and motivation, the teachers believe it's a goal their students can achieve.
"There's no reason in the world that we cannot move up five spots in each category. If you spend any time with these teachers, they're ready for the challenge," said Smith.
Dr. Smith also shared the state test results with the teachers and staff at Reeves Elementary. On Tuesday, he'll be at Quarles Elementary and Long Beach Middle School, then at the high school on Thursday.