Picayune School Board hears about new program at South Side Upper Elementary

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Members of the Picayune School District’s Board of Trustees heard a presentation about South Side Upper Elementary’s new program during Tuesday’s meeting.

The program is funded through a donation by the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, which provided a binder and flash drive, that students will use to store everything they learned and produced through Project SUCCESS.

Gifted teacher Susan Spiers said the program is a year long effort to help students understand why they are going to school and why it’s important for them to put forth their best effort, while at the same time gauging their interest in specific career paths.

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Students in the fifth and sixth grades participate in the program. It begins with a test that determines each student’s interest in a specific set of career clusters. Each teacher is assigned a specific career cluster, and hold classes based on that criteria for a seven week period. Students rotate through four career clusters per year, allowing them to participate in a total of eight before moving on to junior high.

The classes are held each Friday for an hour and 20 minutes at the end of the school day.

Each cluster will introduce the students to hands-on activities and research projects that will help them determine if that career path is right for them, Spiers said.

In addition to gaining research skills, students also learn how to write a resume and hear from guest speakers who are knowledgeable in a specific career path.

Spiers said field trips are also planned to further that instruction. Trips are planned for the Crosby Arboretum’s Pinecote Pavilion for those interested in architecture and Pearl River Community College for all students in the program.

Students interested in law hold mock trails, while those considering a career in manufacturing would visit Heritage Plastics, Spiers said.

Spiers said the program is funded through $17,457 in grant funding from LPRVF.

South Side Upper Elementary Principal Debbie Smith said she is proud of the teachers who put in the effort during the summer to help plan the project, and she is appreciative of LPRVF for donating the funds.

Spiers said she intends to apply for funding for next year to continue the project.

For more on Tuesday’s meeting, see Thursday’s edition of the Item.