Only two parents attended the recent community update meeting for the Mississippi Achievement School District this week.
Every month the MASD hosts community update meetings to ask for the public’s engagement and participation to provide feedback within the local city schools. The recent meeting was held last Tuesday at McCoy Elementary School with only two parents in attendance.
School administrative leaders provided a strategic plan for the next five years, focusing on priority themes and goals. Those priorities included operational efficiency, safe and orderly schools, high quality instruction, engaged stakeholders and student success.
Within operational efficiency, the attending parents said they would like the district to have open communication of audit findings and budget records. They also said public meetings to discuss policies, procedures and outlines of the staff and student handbooks would be beneficial.
One parent also suggested the district solicit student feedback on the district’s facilities in an effort to determine long-term goals for infrastructure improvement and maintenance.
“Make the students feel like they are a part of something,” the parent said. “They are the ones who are here within these buildings. A lot of them feel they are not heard.”
To provide safe and orderly schools, the parents also said open communication with the parents and guardians could be a starting point when it comes to proper discipline efforts.
“Discipline should start at home,” a parent said. “There needs to be parent and teacher communication.”
Meetings between parents and at-risk students should also be held to deter classroom disruptions, one parent suggested.
“There are students in the class who are trying to learn but can’t because of some disruptive students,” a parent said. “Hold meetings with those disruptive students and their parents. Some simply lack love.”
Parents said male mentors and one-on-one counseling sessions with those problem students could help the situation. The bottom line is having a welcoming staff culture among the schools, parents said.
In the terms of safety, it was suggested that up-to-date drills be implemented. One parent said she is pleased to see the school doors locked with proper procedures to get inside the school for safety purposes.
“That never happened before,” she added.
Certified teachers were also a need the parents said they would like to see more of within the schools. One parent of a Woolfolk Middle School student said there were not enough certified teachers at the school at one point.
“There were so many uncertified teachers that a lot of classrooms just had long-term substitutes,” she said. “To attract certified teachers, maybe offer some more incentives. Give them something to want to come here. If they have to choose between Madison County and Yazoo, who will they choose?”
Thinking outside the box, the parents also recommended having night classes, increased counseling sessions and sex and safe sex education to better fit the needs of students in the terms of alternative education, drop-out prevention and other non-traditional programming.
The next community meeting will be held on Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. at McCoy Elementary School. All community meetings will be live streamed on the district’s social media sites.