A step forward for Berta

Published 6:25 pm Sunday, September 17, 2017

School has been back in session for a little over a month now, but there is still plenty to celebrate with the new year.

In the Friday edition of the LaGrange Daily News, we wrote about a ribbon tearing event at Berta Weathersbee Elementary School, where students, parents, faculty and staff celebrated the renovations completed at the school over the summer.

These improvements represent one small part of Troup County School System’s commitment to “Back Berta,” but it is perhaps the most visible sign of effort in the school.

The other obvious sign of change can be seen standing front and center in the photo, surrounded by those he serves — Principal Willie Cooks.

Cooks stepped up to the plate as Troup County’s newest principal mere months after a report was released listing Berta Weathersbee among the state’s worst 10 schools for fighting, so by accepting the position, he was accepting the challenge to make the school a better place for students and teachers.

It was a challenge not to be taken lightly.

Change, at least lasting change, takes time to build, but as of Thursday, Cooks could confidently announce that the school was already seeing improvement. Cooks reported fewer referrals and suspensions so far this year than by this time last year and that too is something to celebrate.

The work is just getting started for Cooks though, as it is for all the teachers and principals across the county who are striving to make this year the best year for students.

There are months of hard work ahead, and there is no one step to take or one program to enact that will solve every problem for every student and every teacher. Education is a bit more complicated than that.

Education is about forming relationships, so teachers know when a student needs extra help — or so principals know when teachers need extra help.

Education is about having a safe place for students to learn and grow, where they have access to the latest information.

Education is about the journey.

Thursday night was a step on that journey for all the students, faculty and staff at Berta Weathersbee, and we look forward to seeing where the road takes them.