School overcomes obstacles

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When Principal Marva Tutt talks about her school, she puts it in the same category as magnet and private schools.

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Jenkins-White Elementary teacher Tacardra Rountree (center) celebrates with her students, Tyeshe Wright, 8, (right) and Caitlen Prince, 8, after winning the tug-of-war competition. The school will hold its open house today from 5 to 7 p.m.  Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Jenkins-White Elementary teacher Tacardra Rountree (center) celebrates with her students, Tyeshe Wright, 8, (right) and Caitlen Prince, 8, after winning the tug-of-war competition. The school will hold its open house today from 5 to 7 p.m.

Such a comparison may be a bit surprising, considering that the state required Jenkins-White Elementary School to undergo restructuring in 2004 after years of languishing on the "needs improvement" list.

But last year, the school was off the list, and last summer state officials gave approval for it to become a charter school.

Since then, Dr. Tutt has involved parents and the community in the school's restructuring, and this evening it will be open to the community at large during a weeklong celebration of National Charter School Week activities.

As part of the week's festivities, schoolchildren had a field day, which came on the heels of last week's state testing. They hopped around in sacks, played tug-of-war and competed in relay races.

"It's pretty challenging, but it's fun," Caitlen Prince, 8, said.

And Beyonce Johnson, 8, agreed, saying it was fun to work out.

But children weren't the only ones enjoying the activities. Many parents also were at the school.

"It's very important to me that the community get involved because basically it's a home away from home," Nelva Ridley said as she watched her son pull on the rope.

Parent and teacher Angeline Andrews-Milton said things are looking up at the school and she is proud of the changes taking place.

"It feels a whole lot better this year," she said.

Mrs. Andrews-Milton cited more small-group instruction and after-school tutoring for children in first through fifth grades.

A year ago, Dr. Tutt and other school officials spent much of their time answering questions from the Department of Education as Jenkins-White's charter application crept through the approval process.

"That's a huge burden lifted," she said.

As part of the plan, Jenkins-White is preparing to be the first elementary school in Richmond County to offer the International Baccalaureate Programme, which will provide a world class curriculum and Spanish classes to all pupils.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or

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GotCha 05/02/07 - 08:56 am
Congratulations on a job well

Congratulations on a job well done by ALL!!! And this goes with the understanding that many, many hours of HARD WORK was put into the process. I certainly want everyone who reads this to appreciate THAT. CONGRATS, again!!!

NoSocialism 05/02/07 - 03:12 pm
The federal government needs

The federal government needs to get out of the education business and schools should be privatized. Teachers Unions should be outlawed and bad teachers should be fired. The good ones should be paid well.

istp 05/02/07 - 03:33 pm
I am very proud of Ms. Tutt,

I am very proud of Ms. Tutt, she happened to be my assisitant principal when I went to Sego. Keep up the good work.

Pepper 05/03/07 - 09:46 pm
This young principal has

This young principal has managed to acheive only what others can think of acheiving. We all know it takes a person who truly cares about our a kid's education to make a difference. Having a good principal is the first step to having an excellent staff. Now, if we can get other principals on board. Maybe Richmond County can rank higher in the State. Way to go Marva!!! I only wish you could have been at Deer Chase Elementary.................. Help is needed

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