Teacher’s skills perfect mix for mission

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Seventh-grade teacher LaTasha Jackson has the perfect blend of skills for her job.

Jackson, who started teaching at the alternative school five years ago, was previously a behavior specialist and a preschool teacher.

“When you’re looking at the alternative school, part of the lesson and the curriculum that needs to be put in for the alternative students is counseling,” she said. “Something happened to make them not want to do something in class or caused the result of their behavior. Being a teacher, I can help them academically, but at the same time the counseling kicks in and I can help them get focused and help them handle situations without flying off the tip.”

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Jackson said she teaches her students not only academics but also how they should act in a classroom setting.

“I have a passion for the alternative kids because I want to encourage them and let them know that just because they messed up or whatever they did to end up at the alternative school does not mean that’s their end result,” she said.

Jackson said many people have misconceptions about the alternative school.

“When you walk down into the alternative school, many people think you’ll hear a lot of noise and kids running all over the place, but there isn’t,” she said.

“When you hear the word alternative, you think it’s something that a child has done so bad that caused them to get here, but that’s not always the case.”

Jackson said there are a number of reasons children end up at the alternative school and not all of those reasons indicate a problem.

This year, younger grades attend an alternative school at Warren Central Junior High School that is set up as a day treatment center.

Jackson teaches at the main alternative school at Vicksburg Junior High School, which serves the older grades.

“Younger kids typically have behavioral issues,” she said.

“With the older kids it’s usually something they’ve done to end up at the alternative school. We teach them how to follow the school rules as far as their behaviors so this doesn’t become repetitious.”

There are benefits to teaching at an alternative school, Jackson said, like smaller class sizes.

“This year we’re able to work with students more one on one because our classroom sizes are smaller,” she said. “When a student has questions I can really go to them and sit down with them to explain whatever it is.”

When Jackson isn’t teaching, she likes to spend time with her family and she is a minister with H.O.P.E. Ministry.

“I also have to keep up my business,” she said of her preschool, Precious Moments Learning Center.

“It started with my sons, when I had children. I opened my own preschool to make sure they had the foundation they needed.”

Jackson said when her two sons transitioned in the school system, she moved up with them.