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Pearl River County school board accepts donation; approves two major changes for 2018-2019 school ye

Doug Mooney, Mike Posey, Principal Stacy Baudoin, Alan Lumpkin

The Pearl River County School Board met on Thursday night. During the meeting, the board accepted a donation from the Kiwanis Club of Picayune and also made two major changes in their overall structure that will be implemented in the fall for the 2018-2019 school year.

The board accepted a donation of $2,600.00 from the Kiwanis Club of Picayune to support the formation of a library for special needs students. Doug Mooney, a charter member of the Kiwanis Club, presented the check to Director of Student Services, Mike Posey.

Posey said, “I can’t say enough about this group of gentlemen from the Kiwanis Club. They do so much for our special needs students. Every year they are basically hounding me and asking what can they do for us. They are always there for us. Last year, even before the school system had Chrome books, the Kiwanis purchased some for us to use for our special needs students. They are such a huge asset to our community.”

In regard to the proposed changes for the 2018-2019 school year, one change will be the consolidation of the Lower Elementary (grades K-2) and the Upper Elementary (grades 3-5) into the Pearl River Central Elementary School (grades K-5) with one principal.

Superintendent Alan Lumpkin explained the basis for the decision.

“We’ve been looking at this for the past two years, real seriously for the past year. Looking at K-5 schools across the state, you will find across the state, many different arrangements at elementary schools. When you have schools on the same campus, like we have at McNeill, you typically see one elementary school. When we checked around, we found out we are already doing the tough part; Feeding the children all together and transporting them all together.”

Lumpkin added, “When the typical person walks on the campus at McNeill, they can’t tell when the lower elementary stops and the upper elementary begins. The combining of the schools, from an administrative perspective, will bring to the table a consistent alignment throughout K-5 for curriculum, instructional resources used, and assessments. As we went through this, we worked closely with Ms. (Melissa) Holston, our Director of Instruction and a former elementary principal, and our existing administrators at the upper and lower elementary schools. We think it’s what’s best for our schools to move forward.”

Lumpkin also pointed out that the accountability system is setup for K-5 schools, not K-2 schools. He said the main benefit is to have consistent alignment in kindergarten through 5th grade that supports the school system's “one vision, one team, one goal, no limits.”

The board also approved adding a Director of Human Resources and Community Relations position beginning with the 2017-2018 school.

Mr. Lumpkin said that the responsibilities of this new position are currently juggled between the two Directors of Instruction, Ms. (Kim) Alford and Ms. Holston, himself, and Operations and Business Director, Mr. T.J. Burleson. Lumpkin stated that some things have fallen through the cracks and a dedicated resource will shore up this area, and as the district moves into another bond election, this position will be critical to getting out and speaking with the community and telling the story of the district, and bridging the gap with the public.

Board President Jeremy Weir stated, “I bet you will not find another district in the state of our size here at Pearl River County that doesn’t have this position.”


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