By Johnny Jackson
About 75 Jonesboro Middle School faculty and staff members gathered and sat studiously in the school's media center to view a pre-recorded address from Superintendent Barbara Pulliam on channel 24, Tuesday.
Teachers across the county took a break from their pre-planning exercises to view Pulliam's address and celebrate the district's clear status with Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
"Everybody seems to mesh well," said Samuel Clifton, observing the pre-planning atmosphere at Jonesboro Middle School.
This is Samuel Clifton's first year at Jonesboro Middle School. He'll teach between 25 and 45 students with speech therapy. That is, Clifton will provide instruction for those students who have problems with articulation and speech disorders.
He agreed with the welcoming broadcast. He said he expected to hear rules for the school district and support for its teachers.
""It's a good idea," he said. "However, (Pulliam) is not here to answer our questions, if we have them. But I think it's appropriate."
"I think it's very positive, very team oriented," said Dee Mobley, special education instructor.
She said she expected to hear about changes, but mostly to be motivated to have fun teaching this school year.
"It has been a summer of much hard work," Pulliam said in her address to teachers. "We must continue the educational renaissance. We must stay the course that we started.
"My messages have not changed from last year: school is important, school is important; you can do it; and don't give up.
"Being in the classroom, coming to school is important," Pulliam said, emphasizing students in the district. "We want them in their seats ready to learn, day one. Their participation in learning is important.
"Hope - let students know that you will not give up on them. We can't give up on them," she said, near concluding her address. "Create a place that is so special that no outside influence can disrupt it."
Charlotte Wilkes, a sixth-grade literacy teacher said that she is excited about this school year.
"I think it's always good to have an effort in unity, to come together as a one and pledge our devotion to education," Wilkes said. "It's a start on the right foot."
Faculty and staff members laughed with Pulliam through the broadcast medium and applauded her address and great wishes for the school year. Afterwards, members were treated to cake, again, in celebration of the district's clear status with SACS. The cake at Jonesboro Middle School read, 'Congratulations. All clear.'