A packed audience was introduced to the future leader and his vision for the newly formed Yazoo City Municipal School District this week.
Achievement School District Superintendent Dr. Jermall Wright provided the community with his background and his direction to improve the local city school district during a meeting at the L.T. Miller Community Center Wednesday night.
The meeting follows the recent announcement that the Mississippi State Board of Education will place the Humphreys County and Yazoo City school districts in the state’s first Achievement School District, which will launch in the 2019-20 school year.
“We want to make sure that you receive the best education, the best educational experience possible as a student in our school district,” Wright said. “What is an Achievement School District? It is an opportunity. I know that the reason why we are here is not one that is a pleasant reason. There are many negative connotations associated with the state coming to take over a local school district. I know it doesn’t feel good. I know there are a lot of questions and fears. Hopefully, tonight, we will have a chance to make sure you understand what this process is all about.”
Wright began his career as a classroom teacher, eventually working his way up the professional ladder into administration. It is a career path and calling that he said he takes very seriously.
“For many children, including myself, public education was the only avenue to have some opportunities to make my life what it is today,” he said. “And because many of our students are in the same boat as me, we do not have the luxury to messing up their educational experience. For may of our students, this is the only chance that they can have to have choices in life. We have to take our roles and responsibilities seriously.”
Wright provided the audience with his educational background and experience to show his vision for the Yazoo City schools. While at many school districts, he was able to improve failing schools to acceptable standards. For example, while at a Washington D.C. public school system, he raised the district from a “F” to a “B” status within four years.
While in a Birmingham, Ala. school district, he decreased the number of failing schools from 22 to five. And that district was on track to have no failing schools by the end of the current school year.
Locally, Wright said Yazoo City schools will be placed under the Achievement School District, along with the Humphreys County School District. It will be one district with two separate regions yet one central support team.
Wright also said no money from Yazoo taxpayers will be used within Humphreys County. Tax funds will be used accordingly within its own region.
Wright also said the local athletic programs will also not be removed. All athletics will remain within the district. He said names, mascots and facilities will also remain the same within the district.
The Yazoo City Municipal School Board will also be disbanded by June.
“Any questions or concerns you may have will go through the state school board since the local board will be disbanded,” Wright added. “Although there will not be a traditional board meeting, every month we will have meetings to share our progress and updates.”
Wright said a number of committees will also be formed to involve parents and other community stakeholders in the process. Testing, instruction, safety and certified staff will also be top priorities.
“I want to view this as an opportunity for us, as a community, to remove all the barriers in this community to make it right for our children,” Wright said.