Pickens pleased with new position at WPHS

West Point High School Principal Kendall Pickens talks with student Keita Cannon in between classes.
Staff Writer

There have been many changes at West Point High School this year.

The eighth grade classes, formerly at Fifth Street Junior High, are having classes at the north campus, where Wynester Cousins is now the principal and Kendall Pickens is principal at the south campus.

"Everything is going really well," Pickens said. "Everything is pretty much the same. Wynester Cousins is taking care of the north campus. Jermaine Taylor and I have always worked well together and now with Mrs. Coggins at the north campus, things should run just as well as before."

The stress of adding another grade to the north campus has been at a minimum, according to Pickens. The staff is settling in and the class sizes are the same as previously at Fifth Street.

"This year we want to continue to raise test scores," Pickens said. "We want to raise the proficiency rate. We want to give our students the help they need in the areas where they struggle."

He said he wants to retain or improve on the B rating the school has received last year. There is always room for improvement.

"I would love for us to have an A rating," Pickens said. "That is what I strive for and encourage our teachers and staff to always strive for perfection. I know we aren't perfect, but it means we can always be better."

Pickens said he never wants to settle for being a C-rated school. An A rating is the goal.

"Teachers and administrators need to be continually growing," Pickens said. "I want to grow as an instructional leader. Every one of our teachers and students have a lot of potential. Everyone has room for growth."

Graduation rates have been improving at West Point High School and students are being encouraged to stay on track to graduate.

"We are working with our seniors," Pickens said. "Some opt for early graduation, some are in the dual enrollment program with EMCC, We want them to understand all the options that they have. We have increased our focus on ACT testing. That is the key to continuing any sort of education, be it enrolling in a two-year technical program to become ready for the workforce or planning to go to a four-year university."

Pickens said they try to expose the students to something bigger than West Point whenever they can.

"Bruce Mize is doing a great job with his AR set-up, to allow the students to see the world without leaving the classroom," Pickens said. "Kahla Thomas works with the National Honor Society and they have community projects and learn the the importance of giving back. We want them know there is more to the world than right."