Elementaries changing to boost tests|[7/29/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

Teachers of public-school children in kindergarten through sixth grade this year will have more detailed curriculum guides that are expected to help improve students’ test scores.

The guides provide teachers with detailed, day-by-day agendas for presenting information in reading, language arts, math, science and social studies, said Dr. James Price, the Vicksburg Warren School District superintendent.

Price told the district’s board of trustees at its regular monthly meeting Thursday night that teachers will be able to use the guides beginning with the coming school year, which begins in less than two weeks.

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The guides have been developed this summer through what Price called “a Herculean effort” by the lead teachers at district elementary schools.

“I’ve never seen anything put together so professionally in my academic career,” Price said, adding that the guides outline “exactly what must be taught day-by-day, week-by-week, semester-by-semester.”

Students statewide are given standardized tests, including the Mississippi Curriculum Test, in late spring.

“We expect to see tangible results from this in our next year’s testing,” Price said.

Districts around the state have received raw data on last school year’s tests and expect to receive more-meaningful scaled scores next month.

“We’re anxiously awaiting that,” Price said of the release of those scores, which reflect the scores of schools, classes and students in relation to one another.

Separately, Price reported that renovations to Vicksburg High School’s cafeteria were completed quickly and economically by district staff over the summer.

“It’s remarkable to see what our people are capable of pulling together when you let them know the urgency and the need,” Price said of those who did the work.

The school now has a dining area roughly twice its former size and new restrooms nearby, allowing administrators to reduce the number of lunch periods and reducing the need for students at lunch to move past classrooms while other students are in class.

Renovations were also completed over the summer to a boys’ locker room and restrooms at Vicksburg Junior High School and Warren Central High School’s new performing arts facility has been moved into with band equipment for students, Price said.

“We’re as ready as we can be for students to arrive on the 10th,” Price said of the approaching start of the school year.

A districtwide convocation of faculty and staff is also scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at WCHS.

In other business, the board: