As we anticipate the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, there are many new educational demands for administrators, teachers, and students in the Wayne County School District. However, I am confident that we will successfully meet all these demands.
I, as the Superintendent of Education of the Wayne County School District, am still fully committed to our District Vision of "creating a culture of collaboration, learning, and professionalism in the Wayne County School District." I am also still fully dedicated to our District Mission to "provide all students with the skills and knowledge that are necessary to prepare them for success in college and the workforce and to prepare them to be responsible citizens and lifelong learners in an ever changing global society." In addition, I continue to fully support our District Goals "to maintain safe and orderly schools, to improve academic achievement at all schools, to increase parent and community involvement, to focus on the individual learner, and to build a professional learning environment."
One of the continuing educational demands for our state and 47 other states is the implementation of Common Core skills and the preparation for our students to be state tested on these skills this year. Last year we purchased textbook programs for language and math that have the Common Core skills included, along with the MCT2 skills and the skills from our current state curriculum. Our teachers in Wayne County are at least a year ahead in their teaching of the Common Core Skills. In preparing our students for the new state tests for Common Core, our teachers have been utilizing necessary instructional strategies and techniques such as daily collaboration through professional learning communities (PLC's), re-teaching, re-testing, differentiation, and making sure that students who need help receive the necessary academic interventions. Administrators and teachers will be required by the state to give evidence of all these instructional strategies and techniques in their new evaluation instrument.
Another educational demand for our district is to enlist the full support of parents and guardians to make sure their children attend school for the full day. Our state legislature passed new legislation that mandates all students in public schools in Mississippi must attend school 63% of the instructional day in order to be counted present. No longer can students just attend one or two periods and be counted present. Therefore, I am calling on parents and guardians to make sure their children are in school each day for the required time in order to receive the instruction they need and in order for our district to receive needed money based on the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) of students.
Still, another educational demand for our district is new state legislation that requires all students in public schools in Mississippi to be on grade-level in reading by the end of the third grade. Last year we hired interventionists at all the schools to help students with academic weaknesses, especially in the subject areas of reading, language, and math. The primary placement of these interventionists was at the grade levels of K-2. The tutoring assistance given by these interventionists and teacher assistants, along with the instructional strategies of re-teaching, re-testing, and differentiation implemented by our teachers will ensure that the elementary students will achieve this state grade-level reading mandate by the end of the third grade.
Please feel free to contact me or any member of my District Administrative team if you have any concerns or if there is any way I can help you.
Ben H. Graves
Superintendent of Education5/13/2013