Picayune school board approves cafetorium color scheme

Published 1:33 pm Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The cafetorium to be built at South Side Elementary School will have red brick up to the window sills and yellow brick above, and then dealt with a couple of matters not of bricks and mortar.

The school board for the Picayune Municipal Separate School District approved the choices of brick along with other color schemes and the layout for the inside of the building.

The board also approved the first reading of the revision of the board policy on credit recovery by students needing to make up work to receive their high school diplomas.

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Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell and Superintendent Dean Shaw said the district knew that there would come a point at which an expansion of the board’s policy on credit recovery was needed when the district decided two years ago to move from a four-period day, in which a year’s worth of work in most subjects was covered in a single semester because of longer class periods, to a seven-period day, which requires a full year to complete the required work in most subjects.

Under the old system, up to 32 credits could be earned in four years, while under the new system only 28 credits can be earned. The state requires a student to earn 24 credits for graduation, including required courses in math, English, social studies, history and science. Under the old system, students technically had eight more chances to complete a required course. Under the new system, a student has only four more chances to complete a course.

The problem arises especially when a student passes a state curriculum test in a required subject, but fails the high school course. The revision to the credit recovery policy allows more use of virtual classes taken on-line for a student to complete the number of required credits to receive a diploma.

High school principal Kent Kirkland and assistant principal Toni Tucei told the board the district has some students who could have graduated last year, if they had successfully completed the high school course, but were unable to graduate with their class, even though they had passed state curriculum tests in the courses they had failed.

In a related matter, Cindy Burgess, the mother of  student being home schooled because he competes on the road in motorcycle events asked that her son be allowed to take high school courses through the Mississippi Virtual  Public School so he could earn a diploma.

Burgess said she knows that Pearl River County School District has some students enrolled in the school taking a physics course because PRC school district superintendent Dennis Penton told her that it was cheaper for the students to take the courses on line than it was for the school district to hire a physics teacher.

Tucei told the board that Picayune Memorial High School has said Burgess’ son couldn’t enroll in the virtual because there are only a limited number of slots available in the virtual school and the state has suspend enrollment to give first priority to seniors entering the current year who need virtual school courses in order to graduate on time. She said the Picayune school district also has three students enrolled in the virtual school, taking a French II class, because the district does not have a French teacher.

The board also heard from dance school director Sarah Oldmixon about an effort among local dance schools to establish some sort of schedule by which they would try to lease school facilities around the end of the school year to hold their recitals. The board told her that such a schedule sounded like a goo year and Oldmixon said she would be back before the board, if the six local dance schools were able to agree to a schedule.

In other matters, the school board approved:

— Personnel matters.

— Finance, including accepting a grant for $71,264 from the state to replace air conditioners at South Side with energy efficient units. Board member Duane Wheat pointed out that Leah Woodward, a secretary in the maintenance department of the district, was responsible for researching and doing the paperwork for the grant. He said she is leaving the district to take a job at Pearl River Community College and he wanted the board to be aware of her efforts. Shaw said he had called Woodward personally to thank her for her work.

— Approved consent items, including donations from PMHS swim team coach Raymond Lossett, Jr. to the swim team and from Winn Dixie Stores to South Side Lower Elementary.

— Approved an increase of $5 in the price of all sports reserve tickets, students from $35 to $40, adults from $65 to $70 and school personnel from $15 to $20.

— Approved a Wellness Works proposal; membership dues for the Gulf Coast School Boards Assoc.; school bus turnarounds; student acceptance requests; proposal from Innovative Health Solutions, and requests to use district facilities.

Went into executive session on a student matter.