Dinner program a success
Published 9:11 am Wednesday, August 24, 2016
This year the Picayune Separate Municipal School District began offering dinner to children in the area, and it’s been successful.
District Food Service Director Debbie Byrd gave a presentation at the Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday to update the Board on the new program’s participation level.
Last week staff served dinner to 750 children, Byrd said. And that number is already growing.
Monday night staff served 196 children, Byrd said.
“So it’s picking up,” Byrd said.
In previous years the district has served meals to students on Fridays who were practicing for athletic and other extra curricular activities, at the school’s expense. This is the first year federal funds are paying for everyone to eat on every weekday.
Byrd said the program is offered to any child from birth to 18-years-old for free. Adults can purchase a meal for $3.50. Meals are offered from 4 to 6:30 p.m. each weekday at the Picayune Memorial High School cafeteria.
Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell said Picayune’s is the first district in the state to implement such a program.
Career and Technical Director Joaun Lee gave the Board an update on how their dual enrollment LPN program is going. Lee said the LPN class currently has eight participants, but there are 260 students enrolled in the various classes offered at the Career and Technology Center. Lee said the LPN program partners with Pearl River Community College to provide students with a quick way to receive their certification.
LPN teacher, Todd Smith, said the program can help dedicated students receive that certification within 6 months of graduating high school.
However, it will entail a lot of hard work, meaning students essentially give up all of the fun activities associated with senior year.
Jewlia Peoples, a student in the program, said she knew that the program was going to be challenging.
Peoples, and a couple of the other students in the program, said they studied every day over the past weekend.
The five participants at the Board meeting said they intend to continue their schooling to become a registered nurse after becoming an LPN.
Another benefit to the program is that students save money by finishing college courses while still in high school. Additionally, there is a Vo-Tech scholarship opportunity to pay for the remaining college courses, Smith said.
In a separate matter, the Board approved a motion to adjust 16th section commercial leases to 5 percent of fair market value from the previous 6 percent.
The Board also discussed the only bid submitted for the installation of playground equipment at two satellite locations for the Early Head Start Program. The bid came from Great Southern Recreation for $48,749 each for two locations, the McCarty Learning Center and Linda’s Family Child Care.
The Board approved a motion to take the bid under advisement until the district’s architect can review the plan’s specifications.
The next Board meeting will be Sept. 13 at 5:30 p.m.