"D" School Changing Curriculum

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Panama City- Teachers at Oakland Terrace Elementary School got a somewhat intimidating visit Thursday. Bay County School Board members stopped in a few classrooms to see education in action at a "D" grade school.

The board also sat down directly with Principal Teresa Holzman and other school administrators in an effort to figure out why it's one of Bay County's worst-performing institutions.

Title One Resource Instructor Deniece Moss said the main reason is the children's situations outside of school. 92% of them qualify for free or reduced lunch. Most, according to school officials, are the third generation of a poverty stricken families.

"Parents are a child's first teacher. They're the teacher at home before we ever see them here at school. And a lot of our kids, they're underresourced at home, so we have a lot of catching up to do for a lot of our students," said Moss.

But School Board Member Ginger Littleton said that's not an excuse.

"These kids are poor, these kids are needy. I don't care. Our job is to educate these children however difficult that might be," said Littleton.

Moving forward, Oakland Terrace officials said they plan to find a new curriculum provider. They'll also explore tutoring options and several other avenues to specifically target student achievement.

School board members will also visit Bay County's three other "D" schools. They'll be at Patterson Elementary Friday, then Springfield and Cedar Grove Elementary Schools next week.

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