New Coahoma County Jr./Sr. High School principal Shun Readus gave his first report in his new position at the school board meeting Tuesday.
Readus was going into his third year as assistant principal, but took over after Cortney Jackson’s resignation earlier this month.
Jackson applied to be the grades 7 through 12 academic success coach position in the Helena-West Helena School District in Helena-West Helena, Ark. She is one of eight candidates for that post which has yet to be filled.
The Helena-West Helena School Board had its September meeting Monday night and did not recommend any hires. There were just two resignations on the agenda that the board discussed in executive session from 8:39 to 9:25 p.m.
As Readus moves forward as the CCJSHS principal, he will be giving monthly reports at the Coahoma County School District board meeting since it is considered a school at risk.
Readus told the board Tuesday he would be expecting a data update from the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) in the near future.
“The MDE informed us that because of COVID they have not released those calculations just yet, so hopefully we will have those next time,” Readus said.
“I’m super excited about the new school year. Thus far, we’ve been able to move forward with not only meeting school goals, but district goals to be at least a C grade and also to make school engaging that students will actually want to come to school.”
Readus said he hopes the school reaches the growth target of the Mississippi state assessments, which is at least a C grade.
“We plan on engaging students in effective instructional practices that will impact learning in all subjects and also provide learning experiences that will provide an enthusiastic desire to attend school every day and actively participate in activities,” Readus said.
Readus said the school enrollment is currently at 546 students and the average daily attendance above 95 percent.
Dr. Manika Kemp is the career technical education (CTE) director. She worked for the Clarksdale Municipal School District in different administrative capacities for several years.
Kemp proposed a workplace early release plan for students that the board approved.
“It’s basically an opportunity for students to earn academic credit while actually gaining work experience,” Kemp saod.
Kemp said students will have workplace opportunities in classrooms and on campus based on interests. She specifically said they may work with the technology or maintenance department.
“What we’re requesting is those students who actually have jobs will be able to leave a little bit earlier from school to be able to go to those particular jobs,” Kemp said.
Kemp said students who have off campus jobs or internships would be allowed to leave at 3 p.m. The student must be in attendance for the day and fulfill academic requirements.
“We’re not using that excuse that because I checked out early, I don’t have to complete all my other assignments,” Kemp said. “That’s not going to be acceptable.”
Dropout prevention and suicide prevention action plan
Latasha Turner, CCSD director of curriculum and testing, proposed a dropout prevention and suicide prevention action plan that the board approved.
The plan goes beyond high school.
“We use data to attract struggling students in elementary,” Turner said.
Superintendent Dr. Ilean Richards said school resource officer Stephen James would help execute the plan.
“We also work with a liaison from the State Department of Education and a truant officer in working with these children,” Richards said.
“Plans are in there to try to continue to work with the youth court judge.”
Richards said the district would also work with others in the community.
“I do want to say if you look at the data, we’ve come a long way with dropout prevention,” Richards said. “We are now 80.5 percent. When I first got here, we were in the low 60s and 70s. So we have done some things to keep children in school. So we’re making progress.”
CCSD approves vaccination incentive plan
The Coahoma County School District Board approved an incentive plan at Tuesday’s meeting that could pay employees and students for taking the COVID vaccine.
ESSER 3 funding will pay CCSD employees $500 if they are fully vaccinated by November 15. Students will receive a $50 gift card if they are vaccinated by November 15. The parents of the vaccinated students will also receive a $50 gift card. Only students in grades 7 through 12 would be able to take the vaccine as children younger than age 12 are ineligible to take the vaccine.
“This will be retroactive because people in the community are going to ask what about me, I’ve been vaccinated?” said superintendent Dr. Ilean Richards.
Richards said those who have already been vaccinated would have to show proof.
“This was just another way of doing it,” Richards said.
Richards said being fully vaccinated means taking Moderna or Pfizer twice or Johnson & Johnson once.
She said last Friday she received an email from the Mississippi Department of Education that encourages all school districts to look at a vaccination plan incentive.
It started with President Joe Biden’s push for more people to take the vaccine.
“This email came on the heels of an email to the State Department of Education from the United States Department of Education and a push by President Biden,” Richards said.
Richards said incentives range from $1 to $1,000
“I probably looked at about 25 school districts and the average that was being paid out for vaccinations was $500,” Richards said.
“This is voluntary. This is not something this school district has to do. Staff members do not have to participate in this plan, but again, this was an option the federal government wanted to give the school district to help facilitate staff members and students who are eligible to become vaccinated to try to stem the tide of the spread of COVID-19.”