GREENSBORO, N.C. — Dr. Chelsea Smith is proud of where she came from. She grew up in East Greensboro and went to school in the area. The long-time educator had been assistant principal just three years ago, when a chance to become a principal at Bessemer Elementary, in the community she grew up in came open, it was the perfect fit.
“I have ties to this community, I know this community,” Dr. Smith said.
The new job would not be easy, Bessemer has been an underachieving school and had an F rating when Dr. Smith arrived. In just her first year the school improved to a D.
“I was really proud of our teachers and students and I was sure we were going to improve on that and then the pandemic hit,” Dr. Smith said.
Each year 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders take an end-of-year exam. The tests help the district better evaluate students' progress and the education they are receiving. It also helps determine the overall academic grade for the school. Last year because of the pandemic the tests were called off.
“I am excited for our kids to take it this year, I know they are going to do great,” Dr. Smith said.
The exams are often stressful for kids and teachers for that matter. It is the first major exam these 3rd and 4th graders will have taken.
“I know they have anxiety about taking the assessment that is coming up,” Dr. Smith said.
To help inspire the kids and hopefully show them how proud she is, Dr. Smith decided to make a music video. With the help of a few members of her staff and some teachers, Dr. Smith performed the popular Cardi B song Up, with several lyric adjustments.
“I’m letting them know I’m more than just a principal, I’m a performer,” Dr. Smith said.
The vocals were tracked in a recording studio here in Greensboro and the video was shot at the school a few days later. Dr. Smith did all the singing and the staff and some kids were in the video.
“It was cool, I liked it,” Ronasia Simmons said.
The 5th grader is one of the students that got to be in the video. As for what she thinks of her principal performing in a music video.
“She did good, I liked it,” Simmons said.
Dr. Smith said she borrowed the music video idea from another principal he does it every year. A couple of years ago Dr. Smith performed the song Old Town Road.
“I like to pick a song the kids know and like,” Dr. Smith said.
One of the lines in the song that Dr. Smith sings is, scores are up, scores are up, scores are up and they stuck. The hope is to show her kids they can do anything they want to, and she is already proud of them. As for her singing, she certainly wouldn’t say she has a musical background.
“No, no, I’ve been in the church choir a time or two, but I’m not a singer or a rapper,” Dr. Smith said.
The end-of-grade assessment test is next week.