Keep kids reading over summer, Oakes advises

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 21, 2001

Superintendent of Schools Donald Oakes speaks at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[05/21/01] School Superintendent Donald Oakes urged members of the Chamber of Commerce to reinforce schoolwork with their children during the summer.

“If children are read to or if they see family members reading, it makes a difference,” Oakes said Friday at the Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon.

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The Vicksburg Warren School District lets out for the summer Wednesday.

Speaking to about 40 Chamber members, Oakes said what children learn during the school year needs to be reviewed at home.

“They have to read for more than just five minutes a day,” he said.

Oakes, involved in public schools for 38 years, was named superintendent April 19 after a year as interim director.

He touched on several topics, including the school district’s $59 million budget, during his 25-minute speech. “Hopefully society is getting its money worth with the caliber of students we are putting out,” Oakes said.

Fifty-one percent of the budget comes from state money, 35 percent is from local funds and the remaining 14 percent is from the federal government, Oakes said.

“That money is going to buses, meals and teacher education, among other things,” he said.

In the end, Oakes said, the education of a child can go only as far as a parent’s participation. “Studies show that reading is a key to education, and I believe in that,” he said.

The Parent Center funded by the school district is one option for parents looking to help their children in school. “They can help parents help their kids to become better students,” Oakes said.

He also stressed the importance of student involvement in extracurricular activities.

“If you have a student in activities, you are less likely to see them in the office with a problem, because they feel more like they belong,” Oakes said.