GMS to be divided into two schools

Published 4:59 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

It will be one campus, but two schools. Greenville Middle School will start the 2009-2010 school year with two principals and two separate academic and disciplinary tracks.

That’s the word from Superintendent Mike Looney and the BOE, who announced the decision to the public at Thursday night’s regular board meeting.

“We have seen tremendous progress in the past four years in our school system – but we have seen the least amount of progress at Greenville Middle School,” Looney said in an interview prior to the meeting.

“And I am not satisfied with where we are at with GMS. You’ve got 750 kids on one campus in the midst of puberty, lots of raging hormones, and that can be difficult to deal with. It has been our biggest problem.” Looney said.

He told attendees the board members had come up with a creative solution to provide more in-depth services for students and their families.

The school will be divided into the lower middle school (fifth and sixth grades), to be headed by Alton Abrams, with Margaret West as assistant principal, and the upper middle school, (7th and 8th grades) to be headed by Jai Hill, with Kent McNaughton serving as his assistant.

Abrams is the former principal of R.L. Austin Elementary School in Georgiana. Hill served as the principal of 5th-8th grades at GMS.

“Research models show that small learning communities work best for children this age. Our teachers, principals and support staff will work as one with their grade levels to give them the special attention and support they need. In terms of academics, discipline – these will be treated as two separate schools,” Looney said.

“I view this as a win-win situation for our teachers and our students. We are looking for stronger and better days at GMS.”