Kings Highway Elementary

Kings Highway Elementary: Keeping students on the right track

Arthurene Williams always thought she'd retire from the little school named after the Clearwater street on which it's located. After 34 years there, the behavior specialist was shocked to learn that wouldn't be the case.

As soon as she heard the school was closing, Williams put out the word to her counterparts at the schools where Kings Highway students likely would be re-assigned.

"You need to get to know these kids the first day," Williams told them. "You need to develop that kind of relationship with them in order for them to have a successful year."

She knows firsthand the challenges of working at a school where 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. And she knows the importance of maintaining a connection to kids who have come to trust her, even after they've gone on to middle and high school.

"Those who are going off on the wrong track I try to steer onto the right path," said Williams, 57. "I have one right now, I call him my project. He's gotten off on the wrong foot in middle school."

She worries about what will happen next year when kids like him come back to look for her and find that she's gone, along with Kings Highway itself. Parents already have begun asking her where she'll be teaching next year and how they can get in touch with her.

She has no answers for them, because she doesn't know where she'll be. It all depends on which school needs a behavior specialist.

Williams hopes it will be one like Kings Highway.

"You know every day when you leave that you've made an impact on somebody's life, whether it's a child or a parent," she said. "You know these are children and parents who need you."

Kings Highway Elementary: Keeping students on the right track 05/23/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 23, 2009 4:30am]

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