By David A. Farrell, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
On Monday night at the Poplarville school board meeting, former high school principal Ilene Davis accepted on behalf of Poplarville High School a recognition award from a private educational consulting company, recognizing the high school for obtaining a Star rating in the state academic rating system, a classification that only 36 percent of state high schools obtained last year. It’s the state’s highest academic rating for a school.
Patricia M. Bridges, Mississippi director for JBHM Education Group, LLC, which operates in 10 Southern states, told the school board that Mississippi has some of the highest standards when rating schools, and that the Star classification obtained by the Poplarville High School was a significant educational accomplishment and deserved special recognition.
“For a school to reach Star school status is an accomplishment indeed, and for Poplarville High School to reach such a status shows the contributions of this board, the administration and the dedicated contributions of the staff at the high school,” Bridges told the board as she presented the award to Davis, who recently retired as high school principal.
Bridges told the board that she was especially honored to be presenting the award to Poplarville because she began her teaching career at Poplarville High School in 1977 after graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi. She said she was hired by superintendent Joe Beach. “That was a long time ago,” she told the board.
Bridges said her company presents the awards to schools and school districts that have excelled in educational accomplishments to highlight the areas of excellence in schools throughout the area in which her company operates.
Poplarville High School, in obtaining the Star designation in 2012 was one of only 29 high schools in the state obtained that designation last year, said Bridges.
In another matter, the school board took under advisement plans for a new field house for the boys’ baseball team, and directed architect Lewis Griffin of Petal to come up with another proposal that would incorporate less expensive materials to reduce the projected cost of the structure.
Griffin estimated the cost of a new brick-and-mortar facility to run $81,000. Board member and vice president Samuel Gentry said that was too much and requested another proposal.
The board had hoped to bid the project out and have it completed by the time baseball season begins in the Spring, but it is not expected to meet that deadline.
Board member Tommy Strahan said he wanted a facility substantial enough to last “so the board won’t have to be reworking this thing in five years.”
Supt. Carl Merritt said the district has the money in a capital improvement fund to cover costs.
The new field house was proposed because of health and safety concerns caused by the old field house.
In other matters, the board:
— Acknowledged attendance reports showing the high school with a 96.55 percent and the Middle School with a 96.85 percent average attendance for December. Merritt told the board that Poplarville has some of the best attendance records in the state.
— Approved the Early Head Start agreement.
— Approved the Follett Destiny resource management agreement.
— Approved the copier service contract with RJ Young Co.
— Approved district procurement cards.
— Acknowledged and approved personnel resignations and recommendations.
— Approved reception of appraisals on farm resident leases on 16th section land.
— Heard an update on 16th section land properties.
— Discussed school board policy updates.
— Changed the February school board meeting from the 11th to the 18th.
— Approved adding members to the middle school cheer leading squad and the high school dance team.
— Approved the dance and cheer constitution.
— Approved the consent agenda: Student releases, acceptance of out-of-district student, out-of-state travel, IDEA Part B and preschool project application amendment No. 3, emergency repairs, donations, disposal of equipment, claim docket, payroll, financial statement, activity fund receipts and minutes of the Dec. 10 and Dec. 14 meetings.
— Adjourned to Feb. 18.