Community partnership unveiled

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Picayune School district 1

ALL IN IT TOGETHER: Some members of the P-16 council speak during the school district meeting. Photo by Ashley Collins.


Tuesday, during the Picayune School District meeting, Nicholson Elementary Principal Patrick Rutherford spoke about the importance of engaging the community with the school in order to ensure student achievement.

He said the school can succeed via a new community-based organization, the P-16 Community Engagement Council, which consists of community members working to increase parent and community involvement at the school.

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P-16 stands for pre-kindergarten through higher education, Rutherford said.

“The goal of the council is not to take away any authority from the school or district, but to broaden the pool of good ideas and innovative solutions to engage communities in support of their children and schools,” Rutherford said.

Nicholson Elementary is designated as a focus school primarily because of the distance between the low to high performing students, Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell said.

“When we heard three years ago that we were listed as a focus school, lots of things happened, where we began to get federal money to help do some professional development for our teachers and help do some software programs for our students. We have seen growth from our students in the last several years,” Rutherford said.

The council plans to continue that growth. Since August, the council has met three times and selected council representatives including, Angela Morrell, Lt. Lamar Thompson, Johnnie Mae Roberts, Erin Stockstill, Jennie Heberg and Gladys Vaughn. The council plans to reach out to churches and local businesses in the coming months as a way to increase community engagement at the school.

The council’s mission statement is to, “provide a safe place and mechanism for community input in the Nicholson Elementary decision making process, as well as, incorporate and increase parental involvement and to increase student daily attendance.”

Board President Edward Stubbs said they support the council’s mission.

“We thank you for getting this started and we want to do what we can to keep it moving,” Stubbs said.

Rutherford said anyone interested in getting involved can reach the council at 601-798-6309.

In other news:

—The board approved an increase of the pay scale for a recently hired part-time nurse, who will fill in when a full-time nurse is absent.

—The board approved an agreement with a medical contractor to continue providing occupational and physical therapy to special needs children via the federally-funded SPED program. Harrell said the district’s current provider couldn’t provide physical therapy services anymore, so it was necessary to find another contractor who could at the same price. Harrell said many students at the school benefit from the services.

—The board approved the disposal of financial records that date prior to July 1, 2010. Records include claim dockets, invoices, payroll time sheets and reports older than five years.

The board of trustees will meet again Dec. 22 at noon in the district office on Goodyear Boulevard.