The 2012-2013 school year officially ends June 30th and the new 2013-2014 school year begins July 1st. And with the beginning of the new year we welcome new leadership to our district, as Mr. Kirby Craft takes the reins at Mendenhall Junior High as Principal and Dr. Rasheda Bell joins the team as Principal at Magee Middle School. We extend our best wishes to outgoing Principals Janice Skiffer and William Trammel as they begin new phases of their lives. The district expects great things from these new leaders and we invite the community to share in their efforts to improve student learning by getting involved in the school system.
The School Board has adopted new policy guidelines for school volunteers that place responsibility on our Principals for effective use of a volunteer's time and energy. In cases where volunteers are placed in situations where they could be alone with students the district requires a comprehensive background check, just like we do for employees. We hope the new policy invites persons who want to get involved with our schools to do just that…get involved. We welcome reading tutors, Big Man on Campus volunteers, assistants for pageants and plays, and just about any activity you can think of we have at our schools. Volunteers are always needed. Please visit your Principal and see what you can do to help.
Student achievement has been notable this year with many members of our band program earning scholarships, Technical Center students winning competitions at the state and even national level, seniors earning college scholarships based on their academic performance or athletic prowess, and our youngest students showing great progress learning literacy and numeracy skills - the foundation for academic success as they move towards Destination Graduation. These achievements are triggered by the excellent teaching staff in the classroom throughout the district. Our administrators continue to work hard to recruit the very best teachers for our students. The measure of a teacher's success will be the success of their students. The State of Mississippi has adopted and will pilot next year the M-STAR instrument which evaluates teachers based on twenty domains that evaluate their abilities as a teacher in the classroom (30%), includes a component for professional growth goals (20%), and has the rest of the evaluation process (50%) linked to student performance. A renewed focus on how students are performing will be the benchmark for educator success in the coming years.
Deputy Superintendent Debbie Davis has led the district in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which will be evident in kindergarten through high school next year. The state is piloting the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments next year with full implementation scheduled for 2014-2015. These are much more strenuous tests and engage students in multiple levels of reasoning and problem solving to reach the correct response. Our teachers presented many of our curriculum initiatives at Making Connections, a statewide teachers' conference, this summer and were so well received we have become a resource for other districts as they begin to transition into Common Core.
So, take care of the proofs of residency requirements, get your children immunized correctly, get them registered, volunteer at your local school, and become a part of the growing success of the Simpson County School District where our vision is Excellence in Education with a mission to have all students reach Destination Graduation.