McKeever With Dr

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 28, 2004

. (James) Price as our superintendent, we have seen significant progress in school-community relations. The VWSD Web page and cable TV channel 23 have proven to be successful tools in keeping the public informed. The school board should continue to make “communication” strategy No. 1 in its action plan and look for ways to improve the sharing of information with the community. The e-mail address mckeeverlistens@netscape.net is just one example of how we can improve communications.

Pratt The administration has come a long way in improving communication, but there is still more that can be done. We need to thoroughly document proposals before they are presented to the public for review. Dr. Price has opened the door to communication with the teachers. We need to continue to open the lines of communication within the faculty so that their ideas can be heard. We need to increase parent participation and community involvement in formulating direction for our schools.

Theriot I agree that “communication” is the key to success in the school district. An example would be report-card nights. Although these events have drawn mixed opinions by some parents, they have put grades in the parents’ hands. Teachers, parents and and students must work as a team for the students’ educational success. Another possibility to increase this teamwork could be setting aside “conference days” when teachers could devote a complete day to parent-teacher conferences.

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One big change for schools will be when elementaries transition to zoned “community” districts next fall. Another proposal is a year-around schedule. How do you stand on these topics?

Boland I fully support community schools. The year-around schedule plan requires a closer look. We must investigate its effect on parents and students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Academics are important and could be improved with this concept. Teaching our students social skills through extracurricular activities (performing arts, athletics, etc.) are also important and may suffer. Having been through 12 grades with my children I understand the balance we must achieve to fully prepare our students for today’s society.

Elwart I believe that community schools will be good for our children, but we need to make sure that the children in all schools get the same educational opportunities. The year-around schedule sounds like a good idea. Being able to offer makeup or enrichment studies for the students sounds like something we should be doing. We would need to study the proposal to make sure that those children that work on farms or must work summer jobs aren’t adversely affected.

McKeever I was the first candidate to openly support community schools and I am the only candidate who openly supports reopening Bovina Elementary to improve our community school plan. As for the year-around schedule, feelings are mixed in the district. However, this summer I learned how important summer vacation is to our kids when I asked my oldest daughter, who loves school more than anyone I know, if she was ready to go back to school. Her answer was emphatically, “No!”

Pratt I support community schools and I recognize the need to keep classes small. The jury is still out on year-around schools. A lot can be accomplished by tutoring children that are falling behind during the proposed three-week breaks. If the children that need remediation are not required to attend these sessions, has the objective been achieved? How will our school district interact with the other school districts in the state, if they are not on a year-round schedule?

Theriot I am not convinced that year-around school is a solution. In fact, I see real problems with transfer students blending into this system. Students transfer from other districts in Mississippi and other states. Integration into a year-around school system would be difficult at best. My hope is that the return to “community” elementary schools will help to reduce our class size which is so very important in the educational process.