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VWSD seeks commitment from community

Published 11:09 am Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I believe in Vicksburg.

That was the statement Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Chad Shealy and more than 120 community leaders made Tuesday night at a education forum held at Beechwood Elementary.

During the two-and-half-hour session Shealy outlined his long-term vision for the district, sought input on how to implement systemic improvements to the VWSD and a commitment from those in attendance to support his efforts. Those in attendance were broken up into small groups seated at tables in the gym. Shealy directed the groups to explore 7 Actions That Improve School District Performance, a study by The Center For Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, then provide feedback on ways the community can encourage and contribute to the success of the VWSD.

Creating a curriculum aligned with standards and assessments and redefining leadership were two actions that stood out and stirred the most conversation. Shealy sees Common Core standards as a way to accurately measure students understanding and comprehension of the curriculum. For the first time test results and assessments will reflect what is being taught in the classrooms.

Redefining leadership and the role of the superintendent, principals and central office staff could be key to the seven actions. The central office will now take a support role in assisting principals to help and support teachers in the classroom. The superintendent’s role will be akin to that of a conductor of an orchestra. The superintendent sets the tone for the district and directs those under him in order to achieve harmony and success.

More than 60 percent of blue-collar jobs are going to be in science, technology, engineering and math related fields by 2020. The district is partnering with Hinds Community College, Cameron Corporation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ERDC facility to prepare students for those careers.

Shealy stressed that he is a research and data driven leader who will make changes based on data compiled through various accountability procedures, test results and student, teacher and principal evaluations. “I’m going to do things to make us better from a very selfish standpoint,” Shealy said referencing that his three children are enrolled in the VWSD. Shealy sees this job as his last in education and he  wants his children to grow up in this school district.