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PRC student to participate in school safety program

The Pearl River County School District school board Monday approved the participation of a student in a safety program and to hire a survey to survey possible locations for a new school.

PRC Superintendent Dennis Penton asked the board to approve the participation of 11th grader John Criswell in a program sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Education Division of School Safety. The program would provide internship for Criswell in Jackson at the Office of Safe and Orderly Schools for six weeks.

“This is a pilot program at the state department in Jackson… (Criswell) has a recommendation from Principal (Loren) Harris. I recommend we allow him to participate,” Penton said.

The board voted unanimously to allow Criswell’s participation in the program.

Penton also requested the board allow him to find a surveyor to survey two sites of 16th section land that are possible locations for a new school building.

“We need detailed topographical surveys for a master plan. We need to survey the land for the new school as well as for planned expansions,” Penton said.

The board voted unanimously to allow Penton to find a surveyor to do the work.

Penton said he has been approached by several principals asking for special days that students may be allowed to have variances in the dress code for special occasions, such as in honor of students who donated to charities or Walk of Life, or for students who do not have any other dress code violations within a nine week period.

“These dress code variations would be at the principals’ discretion with my approval on a limited basis,” Penton said.

“That’s with the understanding that if they abuse the privilege, it would be taken away,” said board member Jeff Jones.

“That’s absolutely right,” Penton said.

The board voted unanimously to allow the special privilege days in the dress code at principals’ discretion.

Penton told the board that school projects that have been started under the direction of architect Gary Bailey are scheduled to be completed this summer. The three projects, renovations to the band hall, the field house and building bathrooms for physical education, will be sent out for bid soon, and the bids should be back in May, Penton said.

“All our projects are either fully planned or almost fully planned … We will have the full campus under construction this summer, but the projects will be completed by the time school starts,” Penton said.

The board also voted to accept the differentiated diploma track for graduation.

Penton said the new track will require 28 Carnegie Units, including advanced classes, to be considered an accelerated graduate. Accelerated graduates will provide the pool for valedictorian and salutatorian. A college preparatory student will be required to obtain 26 Carnegie Units, some of which will be upper level courses, Penton said.

For a student to graduate with high honors, he or she must be enrolled in the accelerated track. Students in the college prep track will be considered for graduation with honors.

Core level students will be allowed to graduate with the state required 24 Carnegie Units, which include four math courses, four sciences, four social studies and four English classes as well as various electives to complete the number of required units.

In other business, the board:

— Approved personnel matters.

— Approved financial matters.

— Approved 16th section matters.

— Approved repair/maintenance for school bus turnarounds on Jolly Roger Point Road.

— Approved the 2008-2009 school calendars.

— Approved travel.

The board recessed until 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Apr. 24.