Everybody is for progress but nobody wants to change and that includes students and administrators at Coahoma Early College High School and a new focus for the 2020-21 school year.
The plan is for CECHS to turn into a true early college program as mandated by the Mississippi Department of Education, according to principal Cloretha Jamison during her presentation at the June board meeting.
That means for students to enroll, they would have to go through an interview process. Once accepted to the school, they would have the opportunity to earn college credits at Coahoma Community College.
The school’s sports program will likely no longer exist. Students who do attend CECHS are expected to be able to play sports for Coahoma County or Clarksdale high school.
Jamison estimated 170 students for grades nine through 12 have turned in applications to attend CECHS next year.
“Right now, we have interviews that are taking place,” Jamison said. “Those people are being trained to do the interviews with our students that want to return to us. This is the process that MDE mandated take place.”
She said there would be an online virtual enrichment session for sophomores through seniors and a week-long summer bridge program for freshmen in July.
“They will have things to do and will have the teachers engaging our students,” Jamison said.
Jamison stressed the importance of CECHS students taking college courses.
“Every semester, we’re going to work with our CCC liaison to make sure that all the paperwork is complete and each student is enrolled in the early college program,” she said. “Our goal is to have 100 percent of students taking college classes.”
Plans were announced to the students later that day and a protest took place just off campus grounds on Friars Point Road, Wednesday, June 10. Students walked along the road stating how they felt.
Calviyuna Johnson, who is going into her sophomore of high school, organized the protest. Her goal was have around 30 students show up.
Johnson, a Jonestown resident, finished her freshman year with a 3.8 GPA and her goal is to become a pediatrician. She said she would attend Coahoma County or Clarksdale highs school next year if she is not accepted into the early college program.
“I feel that this is our school,” Johnson said. “We have our own opinion. Everybody should get in because if everybody doesn’t get in, that’s discrimination because how do you know where somebody’s education is going to lead you? How do you know how smart someone is by an interview?”
Johsnon said she wrote letters to administrators asking why students’ opinions were not heard before making the decision. She said turning students away from a high school would make CECHS similar to a private school
Marchellos Scott, who is going into his senior year at Clarksdale High School, organized a petition and a protest one night earlier after word circulated throughout the community that Coahoma County High School basketball coach Derrick Moore and his brother, assistant coach Daryl Moore, received letters of termination. He said he supported the CECHS protest one day later because students voices should be heard with educational policy.
“Aggie has become an early college high school. Now they have to interview to get back in the high school,” Scott said. “Also, their sports programs have been cut. Due to the sports programs being cut, a lot of students are looking for schools who have sports program such Clarksdale High School and Coahoma County, which are the only two schools they can choose from.”