She said she was stunned by how one program transformed a school and made it the center of a rural community.
"We all know that the culture of learning is changing, and we have to sell this to the community in Decatur," Priest said.
She said Decatur already is doing some things like Winterboro, such as making sure academic programs are aligned toward grade levels.
"We still have challenges, but I believe in this," Priest said.
Teamwork, which is a major component of project-based learning, is what Decatur school employees learned in the first hour of training. Ridgeway and Parks asked them to participate in discussions about several issues at their school.
Administrators and teachers from Chestnut Grove Elementary talked about how best to implement the program. They concluded it's a significant change and was important to explain the change to students.
"They were discussing real-life issues before reaching an answer," Payne said. "This is what we want our students to do."