Picayune third graders excelling

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2017

Third graders in the Picayune School District are excelling at literacy testing, more so than many schools in the south end of the state.
Curriculum Director Mary Williams told the Board that District-wide the passing rate was 94.5 percent on average, which was better than many other Gulf Coast schools and better than all other schools in Pearl River County.
Several schools celebrated the fact that 100 percent of the year’s testing was complete. Williams said there are only four students in the district who have to retest during the summer.
She attributed that success to the students, teachers and administration working together.
“Our students are excited about the progress they are making,” Williams said.
With the good cause exemption factored in, all students at Nicholson, Roseland Park and West Side elementary schools completed their testing for the year.
The good cause exemption applies to a student who is limited English proficient, has a disability that applies under state law, demonstrates proficiency under an alternate standardized test or received intensive reading intervention for two or more years.
Other aspects that helped with the achievement include the iReady program and representatives with the Millennium Group keeping the teachers on task, Williams said.
In a separate topic, Todd Gigglio presented an update to the Board concerning two of his students donating their time and talent to making a Bogalusa, La. girl a prosthetic hand using only a 3D printer, some fishing line and dental bands. Gigglio has long been a supporter of technology-based instruction, and has championed 3D printing since it became publicly available.
During Tuesday’s Picayune School Board meeting he showed the Board photos of the young girl receiving and learning to use the prosthesis. For more on this story, see Saturday’s lifestyles section.
In line with what Gigglio said, Joaun Lee, the Career and Technology Center director, said at the end of this year, there were 187 seniors, 111 of which completed a course at the center and 13 completed two courses.
In a separate matter, the Board heard about the workload at the District’s bus barn. Betty Jo Peterson, the district’s director of bus routing, said there are only two technicians on staff. One of those employees recently received his certification in air conditioning repair, so he spends the majority of his day keeping the buses cool. The second technician joined the staff this year. The discussion came up when the Board considered an agenda item to send the men for additional training to make their jobs easier and more effective. Peterson said there are 65 buses in the fleet, many of which are decades old, so the two men stay busy, at times relying on other mechanic shops to fix the more modern buses due to a lack of equipment and training. Additionally, Peterson said there are times when some of the newer buses are taking children to field trips, meaning the older backup buses are used that day.
Peterson said one bus in the fleet is 25 years old, but is primarily used as a backup.
The Board approved a motion to send the technicians to the training.

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