New Aberdeen superintendent aims for success through team approach

ABERDEEN – Aberdeen School District Superintendent Dr. Andrea Pastchal-Smith’s career successes during the past few years include increasing an F-rated school to an A, first-place accolades in statewide third-grade math proficiency scores and a 100 percent proficiency rate in Mississippi’s science test.

Last week, she began publicly sharing her 90-day plan for advancing student success and raising expectations for the ASD. Thus far, the response rate has illustrated an increased enthusiasm from the community for the upcoming school year.

“We’re taking the team leadership approach and we welcome our parents to come in. We have an open door policy, and parents will be recognized for their support within our schools,” said Smith, who most recently served as principal of Eiland Middle School in Louisville. “We welcome our stakeholders to be a part of our plan of action and strategies we’ll continue to use to make sure we are excelling and striving for excellence. If we have any retired teachers, stakeholders, vendors or businesses who would like to assist with us contributing to our goals, we welcome them to contact us at the central office.”Her ultimate goal is for Aberdeen to be an A-rated district but said it takes a collective team approach to meet goals and expectations.

She plans to meet with various other district stakeholders, particularly parents.

“We’ll be having the Parent University sessions each month where we’ll provide various topics parents need to be aware of and provide assistance to give parent support. We want to make sure we’re providing that guidance for parents to make sure we offer the support needed to make sure they’re successful and our students are successful within the district,” Smith said.

Additionally, there will be math and English language arts nights held at the schools for families, parent of the month recognitions, listening sessions throughout the district and scheduled meetings for members of the public to tour the schools.

“We’re encouraging our parents to be more active in our Parent Teacher Organizations at the school level. We have great parents here and we welcome and invite all parents to be involved,” Smith said. “We know when parents, students and the school all work together as a team that our district will be successful.”

Fifth- through 12th-graders will be eligible to apply for the Superintendent Student Advisory Council, which will give them monthly opportunities to offer input from their campuses.

Monthly celebrations of student achievement will continue to be held during Aberdeen School Board meetings, which are generally held the third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Aberdeen Resource Center.

Last week, approximately 25 new teachers participated in an orientation, which included a tour of the city, expectations for the school year, open dialogue with the school’s leadership team and meetings with principals.

“It’s been a great week for faculty and staff of the school district,” Smith said.

An ASD administrative retreat was scheduled this week for principals, assistant principals, counselors and secretaries to review and collaborate for goals and expectations for the new school year.

Events planned for next week include a districtwide convocation Aug. 2, districtwide professional development Aug. 3, open houses at the schools from 3 until 6 p.m. Aug. 4, and the first day for students is Aug. 5.

Throughout the school year, district leadership teams will analyze student data to drive daily instruction. Students will also be aware of growth targets for Mississippi Academic Assessment Program goals.

“We’re looking forward to a great year and anticipating a phenomenal year here at the Aberdeen School District,” Smith said.