Not looking back, SP superintendent says 7/31/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 31, 2015

Not looking back, SP superintendent says

By John Howell
South Panola School trustees met for almost three hours Tuesday, first with administrative teams from each school and district department heads who heard Superintendent Tim Wilder describe goals for the 2015-2016 school year and how the district plans to meet them.

About 30 school officials utilized the upper story auditorium of the historic red brick school building — now brightly refurbished — overlooking what debris remained from the Batesville Elementary School kindergarten building destroyed by fire July 11.

But Wilder’s focus was not on the fire: “We’re not going to talk about the school burning a whole lot; we’re going to talk about what we’re going to build back,” he said. “That facility is going to come back better than it was.”

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For the next hour, Wilder described for trustees goals set by administrators and plans to achieve them — ranging from preventing dropouts before graduation to encouraging more high school students to enroll in advanced placement course and dual enrollment courses with Northwest Mississippi Community College (NWCC).

Eighth graders will be allowed to enroll in three courses that will offer high school credit, he said, allowing a student to enter ninth grade with three Carnegie credits toward graduation.
High school students will be able to earn in dual enrollment courses up to 12 hours of college credit, “much cheaper than if they went to take those courses in college,” Wilder said.

 Wilder also cited objectives from improving ACT scores to making available college credit courses for vocational classes from NWCC.

Ninety-four percent of South Panola third graders passed the third grade reading assessment required for the first time in the 2014-15 school year before passing into the fourth grade.
“Our district was in the top 10 out of 146 districts,” Wilder said.  “We want to increase that percentage. The district plans to provide reading tutors, a reading consultant and to monitor reading programs to achieve the increase, he told trustees.

The superintendent also provided overviews of plans:
•  To improve academic growth and graduation rates for special ed students and for students in the Alternative School;
• To improve district internal and external communication;
• Increase extracurricular activities, adding new programs and increasing participation in existing programs.
“We feel like our band before long will be putting 200 on the field,” he said.
• To rebuild the Batesville Elementary School and to build the new ninth grade building and have both ready by Fall, 2016;
• To standardize reporting and documentation of school discipline issues and to implement more immediate intervention to reduce suspensions and expulsions.