By Rupert Howell
North Panola Superintendent Cedric Richardson told his board of trustees that kindergarten students entering the school district, “weren’t where they were supposed to be,” before noting that those same students improved to the top seven percent of growth after being tested at the end of the year.
“I think it is important for you as a board to know where our students are starting,” Richardson said later noting, “There are so many changes (in testing data requirements from the State Department of Education) it’s hard to see any strong data.”
“Are we moving toward data driven systems with parents,” the second year superintendent said answering his own question, “That’s where we are headed.”
Richardson said last year’s testing results would not be available until December.
Schools are expected to make data driven decisions concerning learning benchmarks, but some school officials including South Panola District Superintendent Tim Wilder question how can you make data driven decisions when the school year is half way over before the previous year’s test results are known.
In other business, the North Panola board and superintendent honored Maintenance Supervisor John Reed, E.D.U.C.A.T.E founder and State Representative Lataisha Jackson and Let’s Talk it Out director Vickie Brown.
Richardson said of Reed, “He is available around the clock to make sure North Panola School District is ready and safe for children . . .”
Jackson was recognized for her children’s service oriented association as well as Brown for her organization with Richardson stating, “They work as a whole community to help raise our children.”
Trustees unanimously approved 20 items on the consent agenda, 61 employment recommendations and three resignations. The majority of the employment approvals were connected to the 21st Century grants paying for after school teachers, tutors and bus drivers.
Also approved for first reading were 29 new or revised policy items. Those items will be on the agenda for another reading prior to approval.
Claims totaling $279,575 were approved as well as an additional $88,587 approved for the district’s food service expenditures.