By STEVEN NALLEY
Oktibbeha County School District conservator Margie Pulley approved annual plans for technology, professional development and test security at the district’s regular monthly meeting Monday.
Pulley said each of these annual plans are critical for meeting state accreditation standards, and she discussed the district’s other efforts to meet those standards. In October, the state placed the OCSD under conservatorship because it failed to meet 29 of 30 accreditation standards the state evaluated.
“The process standards are being worked on daily, and I can assure you that progress is being made on those standards,” Pulley said. “(As far as) maintenance and transportation, we’re working hard, and we’re working on maintenance issues in the district. (Regarding) instruction, teaching and learning, teachers are teaching from the Mississippi Curriculum Frameworks. Lesson plans are to be required, and principals are required to be in the classrooms at least three hours per day.”
Pulley said she also meets regularly with district administrative staff, including principals and central office administrators, as part of their professional development. In addition to the after-school remediation programs approved at last month’s meeting, she said, the district is also providing remediation for seniors who need it in order to graduate.
The district has also hired consultants at high schools to train teachers in state test subject areas, Pulley said, including math, language arts, biology and U.S. history. Last week, she said, the districts gave student performance assessments for grades 3-8 in all subject areas, and principals are using data from those assessments to make decisions about instruction.
“I’ll tell you, it was revealed that we have some very bright spots here in Oktibbeha County, but (the tests) also revealed we had some places where we need to improve,” Pulley said. “The message to the principals was that it’s not too late. The (state) tests for these students will be given in May. We have all of February, March and April.”
Multiple students, teachers and parents were assembled at the meeting for Pulley’s recognition of students of the month, one of which was named for each grade at each school, and employees of the month, two of which were named for each school and three of which were named for district administrative offices. Pulley took the opportunity to ask students to do their part to help the district regain accreditation.
“We encourage you to do your very best,” Pulley said. “You can be the best students in the state of Mississippi. All you have to do is put forth a little more effort and study, study, study. We also say ‘Thank you’ to the parents. If we’re going to make a difference here, it’s because you’re working with your children and sending us your very best from home.”