John Essex finds way to cultivate career motivation in its students

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 7, 2003

While some children are daydreaming about their weekend or running through the hallways, sophomore Patrick Allen is learning a few pointers from his high school principal. He is methodically watching her every move, noting her every grimace as he contemplates his own life goal… to be principal of the same school.

Patrick Allen, is so proud of his school that he encourages his principal, Loretta McCoy at John Essex, to remain until he completes high school and college &045; not so he can work alongside her, but so that he can take her job as principal of the school.

McCoy is not bothered by the possibility of an ousting. She is actually impressed and honored. She is glad to be apart of a community of young persons who seek to give back to their community. While other students are leaving home to seek careers in the big cities, Patrick wants to serve his community.

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John Essex School has made a tremendous effort to cultivate a community of academic achievement and artistic appreciation. They have launched several programs including Accelerated Reader and STAR programs. The newest program to be implemented is DIBBELS. DIBBELS is a reading program that incorporates elements of phonics. McCoy’s desires for the program are to meet the school’s goal for the "no child left behind" act. The program will focus on children in K-third grades.

In the tradition of John Essex, the school encouraged a weeklong Drug Awareness campaign. The concept of the campaign was to give students a sense of awareness of the consequences of drug and alcohol use. The classroom-directed presentations consisted of a quilt-making contest. The ‘mock quilts’ were made from paper and art materials, filled with a number of drug free messages, like one second grader rhymes: "Give me lots of hugs and no drugs."

McCoy has been principal for the past six years and prior to her position, was a fourth grade homeroom teacher.

This Stillman College graduate takes pride in her teachers. She appreciates their versatility and ability to take incorporate many components into the curriculum. The school has trained teachers to play and teach recorders. The recorders were donated to the school along with instructional books. McCoy as well as her staff will add this component to the academic curriculum.

Recently the school was featured on BBC Television, a British broadcasting network. The school was featured on a new segment. A segment that was sparked by the New York Times’ feature on John Essex and its efforts to improve the

McCoy says she cannot complain about the academic or disciplinary issues surrounding the school community, but instead blames failure of student response to the lack of teachers and funding.

She says the school is in dire need of new computers and an updated media center. Although parental support is necessary for a succeeding student.