School board reviews plan to repair MS Dept. of Ed findings
by Kaitlyn Tucker
Jul 09, 2010 | 2602 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Shaw School District will be a little different when school starts again in August.

At the board of trustees meeting held Thursday night, the consent agenda included the resignations of two Shaw High School employees.

Both Principal Martha Jackson and Guidance Counselor Nakita Goins tendered their resignations.

There were also bullet points on the agenda for personnel recommendations at McEvans School and Shaw High School.

“At the request of several of the members of the board, these are the recommendations that we’re making,” said Superintendent Dr. Cederick Ellis. “Ms. Mary Johnson will spend 20 percent of her time as the assistant principal at McEvans School and 80 percent of her time acting as the elementary supervisor of curriculum.

“Mr. (L’Kenna) Whitehead will be moved from McEvans School to Shaw High School as principal,” he continued.

Aside from sharing the personnel recommendations at the request of the board, the consent agenda was not discussed at Thursday’s meeting.

The entire agenda, however, was approved by the trustees.

Additionally, McEvans School Principal Sharita Giles presented the building plan for the upcoming school year.

“On March 23, 24 and 25 we were visited by the (Mississippi Department of Education),” said Giles. “They did a snapshot of the problems with the school.

“I received their report and went in with the leadership team,” she continued, noting the team’s desire to make corrections based on the report.

A representative from MDE visited the district in June to reveal the department’s findings, which included lapses in communication, safety, curriculum and discipline.

Giles addressed each of the concerns Thursday night and presented the board with the school’s plan of action.

“Just because we are a failing school doesn’t mean we don’t have strengths,” Giles said. “It just seems our weaknesses outweigh our strengths. We’ve got to figure out some kind of way to come together. We’ve got to come in and tackle what things need to be done.”

One of the issues noted by MDE was the open nature of the campus. Several of the outside doors are broken and have to be chained, posing both a safety and security risk to students.

One of the top priorities for the school will be fixing doors on campus, as a result.

Another aspect of this issue was the constant interruptions to classroom time, both from students and parents.

“Because we are a failing school, we’re going to have to give up some of the niceties,” Giles said. “We’re going to ask that all visitors go to the office before walking around on campus.”

She noted that parents will not be allowed to visit classrooms anymore and that interruptions to classroom instruction will not be tolerated this fall.

A pass system — requiring students to have a specific pass in order to leave class or return to class — will be added.

Additionally, the leadership team will be working more closely with teachers to improve the issues noted in curriculum and classroom management.

“The rigor isn’t there,” said Giles. “The leadership team will work with teachers to produce in-depth lesson plans.

“Text books are to be used as a supplement, not as a primary source,” she continued. “Each classroom is responsible for displaying outstanding student performances.

“Two hands-on activities must be planned each week and detailed in the lesson plans,” Giles said.

To help teachers, the school will be adding some new materials and improving on old plans.

“We’re creating a new professional development plan,” said Giles. “We’ve also purchased some materials that will go in a resource library for teachers to check out.”

The school will also be establishing study groups for teachers to go over some of these new resources.

The board approved the 2010-2011 McEvans School building plan.