ASHLEY NEWS OBSERVER
Allbritton Elementary School Principal Blake Higginbotham is looking to bring energy to his role as the school’s top administrator.
And right now, he’s excited about student learning growth.
Recent testing showed that the students at AES scored above the state average in the tested areas.
Higginbotham said that he and his staff are most excited that, “In every single subject tested, there was growth.”
For example, the third-grade students’ scores showed they brought their English up from 53 percent to 70 percent.
Their Reading increased from 16.3 percent to 40.2 percent.
This is especially encouraging because the students in that grade had underperformed in previous testing, due to the pandemic and the obstacles it presented.
He praised his staff, recognizing that “the work they are doing is making a difference.”
That work includes assessing students and using data to drive their lesson plans. He explained that doing so enables teachers to quickly “pinpoint and address needs,” and provide intervention right when that student needs it.
Previous methods of data collection from student testing that educators relied on for years provided feedback at a much slower rate, potentially causing a delay in intervention.
Higginbotham said school districts can now use their own testing to make “immediate changes.”
He said he is optimistic about the opportunity to continue the students’ growth through the new school year and beyond.
“We’re not where we want to be, but we’re on the right track.”
Higginbotham said that one change that was made for this school year that is already making a difference is the early release of students on Wednesdays.
He acknowledged that “it can be hard for parents,” but he believes “this extra hour is really going to be beneficial.”
Presenters from inside and outside of the district will be sharing information with the faculty covering topics such as literacy, math, and response to intervention.
Allbritton now has a full staff, Higginbotham said.
Twelve people have been hired for various positions that were open, which include math, literacy, music, physical education, special education, English as a Second Language and In-School Suspension, Nurse and Administrator.
Higginbotham emphasized that it does not matter what your job is at the school, because everyone plays an important part and steps in wherever needed.
He said that everyone in the district goes above and beyond, because “we’re in this together to do what is best for the kids.”
At the helm
Higginbotham in his eleventh year in education in the Hamburg School District, and is in his second year as principal.
Higginbotham spent his first years in the district as a first and fourth grade teacher before becoming the dean of students.
His next role was working with Principal Angela Maize as the Assistant Principal at Noble Elementary.
He then accepted a position as the Assistant Principal at Allbritton, working with Principal Tricia Johnson.
Higginbotham is now at the beginning his second year as principal and said that his first year in that role “was a learning year” for him.
He explained that although he learned about the various responsibilities of his current position while working as assistant principal, “until you’re in the position of principal, you just don’t know” everything that role encompasses.
Higginbotham strives to exhibit enthusiasm for the work he does with the aim that it will be beneficial for both the students and staff of AES.