More than 50 volunteers went back into the classroom for Bibb Schools' "Principal of for the Day" event. Thursday morning, 5 volunteers grabbed a pen and pad and headed off to Southeast High School. For many, it's an opportunity to reconnect and see firsthand the challenges that students and teachers are facing in the classroom, but for one local pastor, he hopes taking the trip back to his old neighborhood will help inspire students.
Walking down the hallway of Southwest High School and watching students learn, Paul Little sees a piece of himself. “Having an inward view really helps us understand the different needs and the opportunities that we have,” said Little, Pastor of Bibb Mt. Zion Baptist Church. “Growing up in this area, growing up in this particular community, I've faced many of the challenges that these students face today.”
On Thursday morning, Little and 4 other community leaders sat down with Principal Dexter Martin to see how they can make a difference. “Currently, we have 801 students enrolled here in Southwest. 100 percent of those students fall under economically-disadvantaged category,” said Southwest High School Principal Dexter Martin. “We have an attendance issue. It's systemwide, but here at Southwest, we do and we want to address that. We also want to decrease the number of disciplinary referrals.”
Little believes that many of those big changes can happen with mentorship and communication. “We want to provide resources as well as mentorship to help bridge the gap from where those young people are currently to where they need to be as students,” said Little.
The goal this school year is that all students "head to the city of success" by building a mentorship program that goes beyond the school walls.
Principal Dexter Martin says their new volunteers have committed to mentoring students at least once a month, and they've also offered to make donations to fund school projects.