Okt. Interim Conservator: ‘Parents Should Be Involved’

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OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- The Mississippi Department of Education now has control of the Oktibbeha County School District.

The state took over after the district continued to show poor performance in their ratings. Officials with the state department met Monday night with parents about the upcoming changes.

State leaders want to reassure them that their primary goal is to improve the lives of the children within the Oktibbeha County School District. Governor Phil Bryant signed a proclamation Friday, turning the district over to the Department of Education.

Interim Conservator Dr. Jayne Sargent spoke to educators and parents about what they can expect in the upcoming months.

” We will look at certification of teachers, we will look at appropriate filing of that information to be sure that data is sound and correct,” says Dr. Sargent.

The Oktibbeha County School District failed 29 out of 30 of state standards. Both high schools are failing in performance, and the entire district received an overall “D” rating.

Ann Jones has a daughter in the 7th grade. Jones came out to the meeting because she wanted to know exactly what changes will be made, now that the state is in control.

“My main concern is about the education of my child.  Who’s hands are the kids gonna fall into,” says Jones.

Dr. Sargent says officials plan on looking at the climate of the school, safety, security, and overall curriculum. They also want Oktibbeha County teachers to voice their ideas on how to improve education in the county.

“Teacher’s input is important to us. They may be able to tell us why, and they should be able to. They’re professionals as well.” Says Sargent.

Rhee Hankins has a son at West Oktibbeha Elementary School. She says the best way to help children grow and improve is through parent involvement.

“Parents should be involved, in all aspects. They need to know what’s going on with their children’s education. Parents need to help with homework, their teahcers, their classwork.  Anything to help the child as much as possible,” says Hankins.

Sargent also agrees, parents and teachers working together will overall help the district.

“We must be a team.  Educators are a team with the parents. We must work together to get this accomplished for the sake of the children.”

Two schools within the district are passing. East Oktibbeha Elementary has a “C” rating and West Oktibbeha Elementary has the highest rating, earning a “B” in performance.

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