New principal receives credit for turnaround

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Those who work at Tubman Middle School say the much-maligned school has made a tremendous turnaround.

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Tubman Middle School Principal Wayne Frazier stops to talk with pupil Alejandre Williams and paraprofessional Tamara Martin in the hallway. Dr. Frazier has taught the children how to behave at school.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Tubman Middle School Principal Wayne Frazier stops to talk with pupil Alejandre Williams and paraprofessional Tamara Martin in the hallway. Dr. Frazier has taught the children how to behave at school.

A state employee monitoring their progress agrees.

"There are many, many talented students here and talented teachers," said Amy Wright, a leadership facilitator for the Georgia Department of Education. "I'm very impressed with the instructional quality of this school. I am really encouraged that this school will make tremendous improvements academically."

Tubman Middle has struggled for nine years to make adequate yearly progress. It's one of only 10 Georgia schools to earn this dubious distinction.

But the culture of the historic school on Walton Way has changed, Dr. Wright said, crediting the efforts of Principal Wayne Frazier.

"He has helped build rapport with students. You can tell they respect him," she said. "He tells them all the time he loves them and they respond in kind."

On Wednesday morning, Dr. Frazier strolled down the hall softly singing "I love you" and asking pupils how they felt about him.

"Let me show you what men do," he told a pupil, giving him a hug.

"The children, especially the boys, don't feel comfortable with men hugging them," Dr. Frazier said.

That's changing, he said, just as he's hoping to change the school's reputation. In less than four months at Tubman, he has drilled into the pupils how to behave. With a little prodding, they hug him back and tell him they love him as well.

The hallways are considerably different than the ones he inherited. Superintendent Dana Bedden reassigned him to the school in January, asking him to instill order and halt the number of teachers leaving because of the way pupils treated them.

"These are the same people who had the reputation of being out of control, mean, unwilling to learn," Dr. Frazier said.

The new principal has also made strides in getting the community involved, Dr. Wright said. For instance, a bus went into the neighborhoods to draw people to an event at the school. So many people participated that the bus had to make three trips.

"The more children see the number of people who care about their success, the more they will feel inspired to achieve," she said.

Changes at Tubman are expected to continue. Next year, sixth-graders zoned to attend there will remain at their elementary schools, board member Helen Minchew said.

The following year could see even greater changes. Officials are considering the best use of the facility, which could house the alternative school, county orchestra or evening school.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

TIMELINE OF CHANGE AT TUBMAN A LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENED AT TUBMAN MIDDLE IN THE PAST YEAR:

2007


MAY 10: First-year Principal Thomas Norris (right) is assigned to Tubman Middle School as part of state-mandated restructuring.


SUMMER: State monitors begin working with Tubman.


2008


JAN. 10: Wayne Frazier (right) is transferred from Bungalow Road Alternative School to Tubman to relieve Mr. Norris.


JAN. 24: State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox (left) visits Tubman and says she is hopeful of the school's turnaround.


APRIL 21-25: State standardized tests are administered. These tests are used to determine whether a school makes adequate yearly progress.

Comments (25) Add comment
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jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 05/08/08 - 07:33 am
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Tubman's downfall started and

Tubman's downfall started and remained because of Dr. Welcher when he was there it was a mess, after he left it stayed a mess. Now he's at Laney and we have been on AYP 3 years. Before he arrived at Laney we were NOT on it. Descipline is on point at Laney but that's it. Laney is in dire need of new leadership.

pofwe
5
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pofwe 05/08/08 - 08:15 am
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If jackfruit ... is right...

If jackfruit ... is right... and the evidence supports his allegations ...
Then RUN that NON-PERFORMING "replica of an educator," WELCHER off of school property. Sounds like he's incompetent and can't be trained. Welcher, I'm coming to Laney. If I find these accusations true ... you will be back on the "turnip truck" come Monday. Don't cry, there is still a position open for custodians. Straighten-up & fly-right!!!

alumna
10
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alumna 05/08/08 - 08:37 am
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You are both wrong, jackfruit

You are both wrong, jackfruit and pofwe. Dr. Welcher is a wonderful educator. Everyone wants to blame the principal for the students' shortcomings, but Dr. Welcher's job is to make sure that discipline is established and that the teachers have the resources they need to teach. He's done that. If the children won't show up for school and do their homework, do we expect him to do this for them? No. At some point we must expect the students and their parents to take responsibility for themselves. That's how academic success is achieved.

ASU98
0
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ASU98 05/08/08 - 08:51 am
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Great job Dr. Frazier!!

Great job Dr. Frazier!!

curly123053
4916
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curly123053 05/08/08 - 08:54 am
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I say congrats to Dr. Frazier

I say congrats to Dr. Frazier for his leadership abilities at Tubman. I want to see where Tubman is a year or two down the road. It seems to me the kids just want to know they are loved and somebody cares about them.

pofwe
5
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pofwe 05/08/08 - 09:29 am
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alumna, I said, "[If]

alumna, I said, "[If] jackfruit ... is right... and the evidence supports his allegations ..." You know "if," the longest word in the dictionary? Don't you? You sound like a teacher's pet.

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 05/08/08 - 10:17 am
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It's true Tubman was down

It's true Tubman was down WHEN, DURING and AFTER Dr. Welcher tenure there. Before he got to Laney we were not on AYP, the principal, teachers, students etc were inclusive together. Upon his arrival a mass exit of good teachers, his HAMMER hand for descipline (which is good IMO), but when you constantly HOUNDING, doing Political injustice, it makes for a weary soul. Laney will be on AYP as long as he's there BETCHA.

str8truth
0
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str8truth 05/08/08 - 10:20 am
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This article sounds good, but

This article sounds good, but what about the staff here at Tubman? If Dr. Frazier is the only one who is needed, we don't need to come to work. Let's see what he can do without any of us teachers here. Also, we have a wonderful Public Safety Officer that came when Dr. Frazier did. Why can't he get any credit for the turnaround at Tubman?

vicktotheend
0
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vicktotheend 05/08/08 - 11:04 am
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Pofwe and jackfruit.. What

Pofwe and jackfruit.. What have you two done to help the students at LANEY. It takes a village to raise each child. Stop talking and get off your butts and do something other than run your mouth.

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 05/08/08 - 11:12 am
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vicktotheend I am an Alumni

vicktotheend I am an Alumni and I'm THERE so really I should know. Why don't you join me.

Rozzie2003
5
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Rozzie2003 05/08/08 - 11:48 am
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Go Wayne --you got it

Go Wayne --you got it going---keep up the good work!

GSneed
0
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GSneed 05/08/08 - 12:01 pm
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Great job, to Wayne and rest

Great job, to Wayne and rest of the staff and administrators over there at Tubman! Now that there's discipline and control, let's work together to increase your academic successes!

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 05/08/08 - 12:16 pm
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StraightTruth, implicit in

StraightTruth, implicit in your remarks is the attitude that "I'm not getting my share of the credit" for TMS's turnaround. Well, if you're teaching because you want PUBLIC CREDIT/RECOGNITION for your efforts and successes with your kids, reconcile yourself to the fact that "seeing your students learn, grow and mature" is the best satisfaction you and any other self-absorbed colleagues could ever get out of your jobs. Forget about what the AC and the MS have to say about you. It's not about YOU or Dr. Frazier: it's about the kids! As for Dr. Wayne Frazier: he's dodged publicity about his efforts and successes. I KNOW that from the mouth of a local publisher who'd been pursuing him for a story for months. He's not media-mad.

TMS
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TMS 05/08/08 - 12:24 pm
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I am very proud of Dr.

I am very proud of Dr. Frazier! I am also proud of the teachers, paraprofessionals, coaches, public safety, librarians, custodians, and cafeteria staff. It takes a village to raise a child. If the teachers had parental support the school would be as excellent as it should be.

critter
2
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critter 05/08/08 - 12:26 pm
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I agree with jackfruit -

I agree with jackfruit - Welcher needs to go. Hey, Laney kids don't have shirtails out - that seems to be his main goal. Grades? Can't fix those, 'cause all the good teachers have already left. Respect? There is none, no support for his staff. But nobody's wearing a shirt hanging out, so we should all be happy....

3gifts
0
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3gifts 05/08/08 - 12:30 pm
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str8truth, "There are many,

str8truth, "There are many, many talented students here and talented teachers," said Amy Wright, a leadership facilitator for the Georgia Department of Education. "I'm very impressed with the instructional quality of this school. I am really encouraged that this school will make tremendous improvements academically."

Did you not read it? The article gave you your props too. Im an educator and I know its sometimes hard for us to go unnoticed, but believe me - students and parents know that its the teachers going through the battle with their children.

PLAYLIKETHUNDER4
0
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PLAYLIKETHUNDER4 05/08/08 - 12:45 pm
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str8truth...you sound a bit

str8truth...you sound a bit like part of the problem and not the solution...if that gentlemen's talent and skills have brought out the best in the teachers abd others, then he has done his job and deserves the credit for being the l-e-a-d-e-r that he apparently is. let go the sour grapes, or find another school, but don't be a naysayer...
vicktotheend....#1,vick is history,bad history at that...#2 it takes parents and teaches...the "village" crap is demo speak for lets let the government raise your kids.

OPINIONATED 7
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OPINIONATED 7 05/08/08 - 01:55 pm
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I have had the (dis) pleasure

I have had the (dis) pleasure of actually trying to work with Dr. Frazier. I was a parent of a student attending the alternative school. Dr. Frazier was often unavailable and not very supportive in any efforts (other than his own agenda) for parental involvement. I encourage all the parents with children attending Tubman to make sure that they themsleves and the children are being treated with respect and dignity. Don't just take these articles, and what 1 or 2 others might say. Parents (f children attending Tubman) make sure that what is being said is happening is really happening.

smartguy62
0
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smartguy62 05/08/08 - 02:17 pm
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OPINIONATED 7, In reference

OPINIONATED 7, In reference to your comment Dr. Frazier has structure and some people can't handle structure. The method and style of Dr. Frazier is one that needs to be displayed throughout Richmond County. I encourage all parents to go into a school and see the challenges teachers face. Your little angel is not an angel once he or she touches the school ground. For parents that do attend the school and help how about you try and encourage your neighbor to come to. My fear for educators is that one that they will stop fighting the fight to educate if they cant get the support they need from parents, administrators, and board members.

ladie
1
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ladie 05/08/08 - 07:04 pm
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0
dr.wayne frazier is not all

dr.wayne frazier is not all the media makes him out to be!!! i challenge the media to come to tubman and talk with staff memebers one on one and watch the results and the change of mind once it hit the newspapers!!!!!

ShakingMyHeadInShame
2
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ShakingMyHeadInShame 05/08/08 - 07:52 pm
0
0
I have seen Dr Frazier in

I have seen Dr Frazier in action at the alternative school. He held the teachers accountable for their positions and expected nothing less than a student's best. Being respectful was priority for teachers and students alike. He showed no fear when confronting ineptness and disrespect. He's a proven leader. So you teachers at Tubman, get with the program, show some backbone, stop blaming others for what you're not doing, can't do, or won't do. Being a teacher may not be your calling. Stop complaining and learn a method that has demonstrated a better way. Dr. Frazier, thank you not only for making an improved change, but doing it in the midst of mediocrity, resistance, resentment, and confusion.

tab0467
0
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tab0467 05/08/08 - 08:40 pm
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0
If he can turn Tubman he

If he can turn Tubman he should turn Harlem High with a 68% graduation rate last year. We will need more like him in all GA schools.

toppergem
125
Points
toppergem 05/09/08 - 03:04 pm
0
0
"This article sounds good,

"This article sounds good, but what about the staff here at Tubman? If Dr. Frazier is the only one who is needed, we don't need to come to work." This sounds like a little jealousy going on here. Not for one minute did anyone suggest that the teachers or any other member of the staff wasn't important in the school. Tubman's teachers needed help and they got that with a strong principal...this story was about HIM! If the leader of a school is weak you have a zoo(which is what Tubman was). You must a have a strong leader with vision and a strong constitution... or nothing will get done...students won't perform adequately and discipline of students will be nonexsistant. Celebrate in his recognition because it is a reflection of the total school. Get behind this great man and more good things will happen at Tubman.

Why
3
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Why 05/09/08 - 04:08 pm
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The Troops to Teachers

The Troops to Teachers Program is playing a positive role in this troubled school. Put more educated professional military veterans in the schools and you will continue to see the mission accomplished. There are many educators that still hold their liberal bias against service men and women. We truly need to recruit more veterans to teach and show many of the do-nothing traditional certified teachers the exit door. Check the end of course scores of students that sit in a veteran's classroom and you will see the difference. YOU GO Sergeant Frazier!!!!

FedupwithAUG
0
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FedupwithAUG 05/10/08 - 10:05 am
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I would be running around

I would be running around telling everyone I love them to for a base pay of 93,411.01 with 15 weeks of vacation too.

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