Education is the key to social mobility in the United States. This fact was not lost on African Americans who were enslaved and later sharecroppers in the South. In the 1880s one-room schools sprouted up throughout the region. Many of them are now gone forever and just a distant memory. But Flagg Grove School in rural West Tennessee is an exception.
On a recent Tuesday morning at Dexter Elementary School, kindergarten teacher Ashley DeBerry and Tyler Salyer sat down to talk. Salyer used to be a teacher, then he joined the Shelby County Schools Performance Improvement Team, or PIT Crew.
“You ready to get down to business?” he asked DeBerry.
This is DeBerry’s first year teaching and she’s getting a lot of help. A more senior teacher at Dexter Elementary mentors her, she collaborates with the other kindergarten teachers, and she checks in with Salyer regularly.