Local Principal Gets New "Do"

Local Principal Gets New "Do"
By: CJ Cassidy

EAST PRAIRIE, Mo. - Some teachers and principals would do just about anything to get their kids to learn more.
Now, an East Prairie educator is putting her hair on the line.
You could easily mistake the Principal of Martin Elementary in East Prairie for a rocker chick, but underneath the madness there's a very serious message she's "dyeing" to pass on to her students.
Her students still can't get over their principal's new do.
"I was shocked when I saw it.  I thought it would be hot pink, didn't think it would be school colors,"  said 11-year-old Rebekah Douglas.
"Everybody was like 'It's probably going to be a wig," said 12-year-old Abbey Henderson.
No, it's real and students who've pulled on the principal's multicolored hair can vouch for it.
It's quite a change from her usual look and stems from a challenge Donna Turnbo-Smith gave her students-- to raise their MAP test scores.
"The kids were having difficulty reading,so we decided as a group of teachers we'd focus our professional development towards communication arts.  The math scores were low as well," Turnbo-Smith said.
When her students came through with flying colors, Turnbo-Smith couldn't shy away from adding some color of her own, red, black and somewhat-white.
Now she hopes her hair-raising antics teach students to trust in themselves and their abilities.
"I told the kids I was proud to be from East Prairie, proud of students here, and very pleased to wear school colors," she said.
Rebekah Douglas gets the message.  "I really want to go to a good college, and get good grades so I can move on and have a good life," she said.
And they already have some ideas to help motivate them next year.
"I think she should do a mohawk," Abbey Henderson said giggling.
The principal says her students would have to get 100 percent on their test scores before she gets a mohawk.  She already has this hairdo for a month.
She says an unofficial survey puts Martin Elementary in top rankings for MAP tests among southeast Missouri schools.