The principal of one of Memphis’ most popular schools will lead Shelby County Schools’ efforts to add more advanced courses for students.
Docia Generette-Walker, who led Middle College High School for six years, was named Tennessee’s principal of the year for the 2016-17 school year. The state Department of Education was impressed that all students at her school enrolled in college-preparatory courses such as dual enrollment and Advanced Placement.
In her new role, Generette-Walker will oversee the district’s expansion of those courses, ACT preparation classes, and student internships as part of a $1.3 million overhaul to get more students across the stage at graduation.
Taking advanced classes in high school is especially important for Memphis students, who are mostly from low-income families. Course credits from advanced courses can allow students to skip some college classes, saving them thousands of dollars. But a recent district report showed that students from poor families are less likely to have access to those courses in high school.
Dual enrollment allows students to enroll in college courses while they are still in high school. Advanced Placement courses allow students to take advanced high school courses that they can receive college credit for.
Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said recently Generette-Walker is “undoubtedly one of the top principals in the state and probably the nation,” and said she would work closely with others in the district’s central office to redesign college preparatory classes, and how students are trained to prepare for jobs.
Under her leadership, Middle College High boasted 100 percent graduation rates and was recognized as a Tennessee reward school for academic performance and progress in 2015, as well as a National Blue Ribbon School. Students at the Midtown school must meet certain grade and behavior requirements to enroll.
Kimberly Rodriguez will replace Generette-Walker at Middle College High, according to school board member Miska Clay Bibbs.